Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness By Suzy Favor Hamilton

 

Suzy Favor Hamilton was born a fast girl

Constantly in motion, Suzy was a natural athlete with a runner’s body and the drive to go ever faster. That drive, and an insatiable need to win, propelled her into the spotlight and swiftly transformed her into the ultimate track-and-field sweetheart.

Wholesome and victorious, she seemed to be the quintessential all-American athlete. She had everything—natural beauty, talent, major endorsements, a seemingly supportive family, three trips to the Olympics representing her country, and a young husband who loved her. But underneath a façade of triumph lay a mind caught in a web of doubt, self-sabotage, and constant anxiety. It wasn’t enough to win one race. Suzy had to win them all. And during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Suzy decided that she would rather force herself to collapse than be defeated on the world’s stage. Her racing career ended in that moment.

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An attempt at normal life in Madison, Wisconsin, was at turns mind-numbingly dull and frightening, as Suzy navigated the responsibilities of holding down a nine-to-five job, caring for her young daughter, and trying to be the wife her husband thought he married. When she struggled on all those fronts, the escape she craved presented itself during a trip to Las Vegas. Vegas represented all the excitement, the rush, and the glamour that Suzy found herself needing more and more. There, in the city of sin, Suzy re-created herself as an in-demand escort, ready to wow her customers with her personality, her amazing body, and her skills. Living a double life, Suzy became more and more reckless in her constant search for a high that always eluded her.

Until one day she discovered that all along she had been running from herself—and the secret pain of an undiagnosed mental illness. Fast Girl is the shocking and inspiring story of a woman’s struggle to outrun her demons and finally find peace.

 

Suzy Favor Hamilton is a three-time Olympian for women’s middle distance running. She is a sought-after public speaker—addressing eating disorders, mental illness, and the struggles that young athletes face—as well as a yoga instructor. Favor Hamilton lives in California and Wisconsin.

 

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness Book

The former middle distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness, and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition, but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind.

During the 1990s, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: manic depression and bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition, as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path, and assumed a new identity. Fueled by a newfound confidence, a feeling of strength and independence and a desire she couldn’t tamp down, she became a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, working as “Kelly.”

But Suzy could not keep her double life a secret forever. When it was eventually exposed, it sent her into a reckless suicidal period where the only option seemed out. Finally, with the help of her devoted husband, Suzy finally got the proper medical help she needed. In this startling frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind. It is the story of a how a supreme competitor scored her most important victory of all—reclaiming her life from the ravages of an untreated mental illness. Today, thanks to diagnosis, therapy, Kelly has stepped into the shadows, but Suzy is building a better life, one day at a time. Sharing her story, Suzy is determined to raise awareness, provide understanding, and offer inspiration to others coping with their own challenges.