For the first 4 months of this year I was just going through the motions. Following my training, going to the gym, meeting with my strength coach, and getting PT. I was maintaining everything but it all felt stagnant. In February we tried to dive back into normal training and my body couldn't handle it. I couldn't even make easy runs feel easy. For a while I was just desperately looking for answers which affected me mentally. I went to a doctor who made me feel like everything was in my head. In moments of weakness I believed him and felt like this was it. Maybe this is just where I am now. But, between my functional medicine doctor and my primary care doctor we finally figured it out. I used Jasyoga's Work-IN to stay centered and now here I am. With 3 weeks to go to Grandmas, I know I can do this.
Late April I was doubting being able to race Grandmas. In the months prior, I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time, but as it got closer I didn't see myself progressing at all. I had received test results from my functional medicine doctor indicating parasites and a worm. I had spent so much money trying to get answers that I was scared to make a wrong decision. I got a prescription for the parasites/worms in late April and after finishing them was finally feeling relief. The last week in April I did 3x3mile and died. This past week, I did 3x3mile faster, I didn't die, and it was much hotter and more humid. The first 4 months of training might have felt stagnant in the moment but sticking with it gave me a chance.
Through all of this I used InsideTracker to make sure I was keeping everything else on track. I have had issues with absorption so keeping up with this has been essential to keeping my blood levels optimal. I tested in January when I first resumed training to give myself a baseline when I am rested. Then I tested again about 2 weeks ago. I have to supplement with a lot of vitamins to make up for my absorption issues. I have noticed with regular testing with InsideTracker that there are some vitamins I must supplement with. I have also done some genetic tests that showed absorption issues specifically with B12, folate, Vitamin D, and iron. I don't ever recommend blindly taking vitamins without knowing where you are to begin with. Not only can this be dangerous, you also won't know if the vitamins you are taking are working. There are several different vitamins that can block absorption of others and there are also certain ones that work well in combination and when taken at certain times of the day. There are different brands and types of vitamins that vary in their ability to be absorbed. For instance, I need to take magnesium and if you look at different types you will see some that are made from magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, or magnesium carbonate. Knowing what works is the only way to improve it!
I reviewed my results with InsideTracker and in these last few weeks before Grandmas Marathon I'll be eating more chocolate to up my magnesium (no objections here). I'll also be taking a magnesium citrate supplement prior to bed. This will help my sleep and my cortisol management. My evening snack will be something with whey protein. Whey protein before bed is good for keeping morning cortisol levels down and improving sleep. The last thing I plan to change is the timing and dosage of my Iron supplement. I am going to take my 65mg dosage of Iron away from food with vitamin C and split it into 2 doses if I can. My vitamin D levels were good so I am going to continue to take my 4000 IU's with Vitamin K and the magnesium before bed. Vitamin D is fat soluble so it is absorbed best in combination with a fat and with vitamin K so the supplement I use has coconut oil in it (see here). I will also continue to take my B complex, folate, and gentle iron in the morning.
Now that I have gotten things figured out I have been doing whatever I can to make it to race day. I've had to adjust my goals but this whole experience has given me the ability to be present. Through this year I continued to train knowing that I would be strong once I got through whatever was going on. The ability to feel good running again is all I can ask for. While I do want to be back running PR's, I am taking it step by step. When this blog posts tomorrow I will be in the middle of a 20 mile run with 14 of it at marathon pace. This will be the longest sustained effort I have done this year and one of the last hard efforts I will do before Grandmas. I don't know how it will go but at least I have the opportunity to try.