Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Bix 7: A(nother) Memorable Race

Saturday morning I ran The Bix, a 7 mile road race in the Quad Cities, although the race was only in Iowa. It was quite the race and overall a great time.

I went to the Quad Cities on Friday and stayed with my aunt and uncle. It was nice to see them. I had many family members running the race: me, my uncle, cousin, brother, 2 second cousins and 2 third cousins. Also, my aunt's dad ran with the race.

I got up early - 5AM - to eat breakfast before the race. The weather was supposed to be awful - steady rain all morning. We decided to leave for the race a little after 7 because we didn't want to stand out in the rain. We got down to the River Center at 7:40...20 minutes before start time.

Luckily, we were all in the 1st starting corral. The gun went off right at 8:00 and the race started. The course in INCREDIBLY hilly. The first 0.5 mile is up a steep hill, and the hills don't stop after that. Luckily, it is an out and back course, so for every up hill I knew I would get to go down it on the way back.

It rained steadily through the entire race. Actually, before the race even started my shorts were soaking wet, looking like I got them out of the washing machine. I wore a dri-fit t-shirt so it wouldn't be heavy in the rain. The temps were bad - it started out near 70 degrees and didn't get much warmer due to the rain.

I saw my parents, aunt and another cousin, grandma, 2 other aunts and 2 more cousins along the course cheering. It was so uplifting because they were at different points throughout the race. I liked being cheered for, too. I ended up finishing the race in 1:02:36, an 8:56 pace. I was pleased and hadn't run that fast in a while. After the race I felt pretty good, too. I think maybe my iron pills are starting to work. One can only hope!

After the race I met my uncle and cousin who finished before me and we were waiting around for my aunt's dad. I got soo cold standing in the rain. I didn't warm up all day.

I signed up for my next race, too. I am really excited about it. It is a 10k in Iowa on August 14th. It is in a little town about 10 miles from where my grandma lives. I try to visit her every summer and this year I wanted to run in the Sweet Corn Festival race so it just worked out. Plus, the 10k coincides with my marathon training. I'm off to go running now....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ironman, can I have some iron?

(Sidenote: I have a hard time sitting through movies, and, therefore, have not seen many. However, I have seen both Ironman movies.)

On Wednesday I went to see my endocrinologist for a check-up. He had me get some blood work done beforehand since it had been over one year. I went to get it done a couple days before my appointment. Blood work always seemed like a waste of time to me and an unnecessary needle in my tiny veins. But I went, like a good patient.

When I was meeting with my endo., we talked about my training regimen. He gave me some advice that has helped other athletes he has worked with in the past. As we were talking, he was flipping through my blood work results. My stomach began turning when he started asking questions....

"I assume you've had low iron in the past since you are a vegetarian, right?" No, my iron has always been fine.

"Have you been feeling tired lately?" Yes. When I started to think about it, after I did a 15-miler in June, I did not have enough energy to do anything longer than 10 since. I chalked it up to just working out a lot, twice a day. However, I was told differently.

I am anemic. My iron is so low that my doctor was surprised I could run for 10 miles straight. I guess I have a lot of determination to get those runs done. He ordered more blood tests to be done since not only was my iron incredibly low, but also my white blood cell count as well. When I asked him why that was, he told me that it could me anything from not being hydrated enough while I gave blood to the iron effecting it to leukemia to a vitamin deficiency. He wanted to see what was wrong. He did give me a prescription for iron so I can have more energy again.

I got a call yesterday from the nurse, who told me that not only was my iron low (apparently there is a range and 10 is low, but my iron count was 2), but also my hemoglobin (which should be 13-15 - mine was 10), red blood cell and white blood cell count. She said that my iron was the most concerning and my doctor will check the other levels at my next appointment in October.

I started to wonder about things....I think my iron has been low for the past month for sure. But, how did it get that low? I had been sleeping 10+ hours a night, which I know is not normal. This past week has been pretty rough and I feel like my tank is drained. Although I started taking my iron pills, I know they take a couple of days to work. My doctor said he didn't think I would be full strength again for 1.5 months.

With all the conundrum of the week, I decided not to race in the duathlon that would have been today. Honestly, I don't know if I could have done all the biking. The hills on the course were mountainous! But, I am still doing the Bix, the 7-mile road race. My runs have been slow - 9:30 pace or so - but I will complete it. The last mile is all uphill which will me I will be completely exhausted at the finish, but I don't care. I've wanted to do this race for a long time, and even though my time will be awful, I'll try my best. Life will go on, my iron will come up, I will get more energy.

Have you ever had low iron? What did you do for it? How low was it?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Valley of Training

The summer heat is getting to me. I've been trying to train like crazy for my upcoming races (7 mile road race in 2 1/2 weeks, 5k possibly in August, marathon in late September, and a few half marathons thrown in for good measure), but this past week I've lacked motivation. I'm still doing my runs and bike rides, but I can't put my finger on what it is. I know that it is critical for me to log as many miles as possible now in order to best be prepared for my marathon, but the miles are long and hard and typically slower than I'd like.

I've started to wonder if possibly I'm over training. I've been doing double workouts for the past couple of weeks and although it has done wonderful things for my insulin absorption, it has left me feeling a bit tired. I tried to analyze my diet and noticed that I didn't get enough iron which possibly was causing me to feel tired. I've tried to add more iron-rich foods, although this is a hard change for a picky eater like myself. However, it has seemed to work as the past couple days I've had more energy.

Do you ever hit a valley in your training or in life? How do you get over it?