He Blinded me with Science
There are the obvious issues I've covered here on my blog; mainly you can "run" five marathons in a year in a half, but few of us can "race" that many in that time. I have been hooked up to the Gatorade VO2Max machine and trained for a year with a heart-rate based training plan which helped drop my heart rate at higher speeds. While my heart rate has improved, I still felt a need to get to the bottom of my fatigue. At Boston this year, I wasn't overcome with testosterone in the first few miles by flying out of the gate. In fact, I knew that in the first few miles, I had no fuel in the tank. Who slipped the Drano in my mojo (and why was my wine rack still crooked?)
Just as I jumped into running science after last year's 2010 Boston Marathon, I once again drove up the road after this year's Boston to running mecca in Boulder, CO to seek divine guidance. "Oh Swami, why does my spring have no spring and it feels like someone stole my spark plug." I sought the answer with a naturopathic Dr. in Boulder who I was referred to my one of my running lexicons. He heard my symptoms and ordered my second athletic blood work in the last 60 days to get to the root of the issues.
Once again, iron deficiency showed up as the one that jumped off the page on my results. Uncommon in males (is that why I've felt compelled to watch "Real Housewives of Orange County " and rearrange the furniture?,) my iron level (specifically my Ferritin level) was 67. Men range from 20 to 380. My "Nature Doc" who specializes in athletes said that out of 500 men he'd see in a year, he might see two with iron levels as low as mine. Not the kind of lottery you want to win. Clinical diagnosis; sports anemia. That doesn't sound good. That once again explains the fatigue I've felt in my recent races, but more importantly in my training.
Consulting my Doc and other running coaches, I stuck to my plan of NOT running for one full month. The last time I never ran for a full month was the month before I started running in 1999. My eleven year streak was over, but I was ready to try anything (did I mention the thong?)
If you're still reading this (thank you) and you're probably saying, "when is he getting to the good news?" Boulder Dr. has a plan to get me back to healthy iron levels in a short period of time. It may sound a bit radical, but I hooked up to an IV bag of Iron to get me on the fast track to boost my iron back to normal male levels. No, I'm not "doping," I'm not on the "juice," but pill format can take up to a year to get me back to where I need to be. in parallel, I've re-dedicated myself to diet balance (re-reading Matt Fitzgerald's "Racing Weight") to also balance my body.
The other good news, is that my running chastity belt came off on Monday and I've logged 14 miles in three days. Too early to tell, but mentally I feel great and have my next goal in site (but not ready to announce to the world wide web.) Needless to say, I feel I am still learning this sport and have much improvement to make. I am Iron Man!
Have you suffered with sports anemia? How are you dealing with it?