I have been super behind on posting a training update, but for good reason. From the Sir Walter Miler, our RDP training weekend in Asheville, an epic Oiselle Bird Camp, moving into a new house, celebrating our RDP 1-year anniversary to 90 mile weeks and racing my 1st race of the season at the VA 10-Miler, life has been a little crazy. But despite all of the craziness, things have been far better than they were at the beginning of this year. What started out a rough painful year morphed into new found love of the sport. But even more so, this new season has been all about team.
When training wasn't going well and running wasn't fun, I focused my energy on RDP and was driven by the success of my teammates. One day I’d be back there. One day I would be training side by side with them. Cranking out long runs, slogging through easy miles, and working hard together. When Grandmas came together and I pulled out a 2:48, I knew I was ready for more. Ready to move forward. Ready to put the past behind me and run hard. Ready to chase PR's and big goals. Ready to do it all, but specifically with my team. And that was the reason I made the hard decision to change coaches.
In August of this year I couldn’t hold out on my call to be with my team. Training with Steph taught me so much about myself. She taught me how to listen to my body. How to be strong. How to run through adversity. She was an amazing role model and friend to me in the 2 years we worked together which made the decision so hard. I cried thinking about it but I knew the biggest thing I was missing was a team to work with. A team to push me and challenge me. A team to lift me up and a team to humble me.
In the last 2 months, things have been going well. I have been feeling better and getting stronger. In practice I have been doing whatever I can to hang on to teammate Tristin Van Ord. Sometimes I get dropped and I love it. Just having sometime to train with has given me the boost I needed. I've gone from dead lifting 150 to dead lifting 190. My mileage is up to 90 and my pace is getting better. I have been working out well and the process is leaving me more and more confident. But, there are still challenges. Still things that I am working on. Still things that I haven't quite figured out.
In August I got an InsideTracker test. I had fully expected it to show significant improvement but disappointingly, not much had changed. I have been working on increasing my magnesium, which had dropped. I have also been working on my Iron levels. My ferritin is constantly moving up and down. Sometimes my ferritin is great but my blood iron is borderline way too high. Sometimes my ferritin drops lower than I would like it to be and my body can feel it. This happens because either I am taking my supplement at the wrong time, taking it with something that could be blocking absorption, having too much gut inflammation, or my supplement is too much at once. All three of these could cause me to absorb only part of the supplement. For this reason, keeping track of YOUR normal and knowing what YOUR levels are is essential before putting supplements into your body.
The other factor at play for me in particular is celiac disease. People with celiac disease tend to have absorption issues. Knowing this makes working with InsideTracker that much more important to me. I need to be checking my levels often to make sure I am staying on track. Because of the amount of variability my body experiences, I need to ensure that everything is working properly. I tend to get an InsideTracker Ultimate test 4-5 times per year, 1 at the beginning of each season and 1 towards the end of each season. In order to make sure I am on track, I schedule a blood test in between these with my doctor just to check the markers I have the most issue with. The comprehensive blood work from InsideTracker helps me make sure I am getting proper recovery and managing my stress well. I also take advantage of the food recommendations to help vary my diet, something I often don't think about. Healthy eating also includes variety which is something I don't do a good job with but InsideTracker reminds me to do so.
Coming off of my first race of the season this past weekend, I was feeling like something may be off. It could very well be that it wasn't my day but with my history, my mind always goes there and knowing either way puts my mind at ease. I was tired early and was grinding the last 6 miles of the very hilly 10 mile race. My win for the weekend was that even though I felt terrible and didn’t run what I felt I was capable of, I was faster than last year. I'll take the course PR on a bad day any day.
Now my training is fully focused on the marathon. With 5 weeks to go, the marathon is the center of my attention. Indy Monumental has held a special place in my heart as a runner over the last few years. In 2014 it was the place I ran my OTQ with a 3 min PR in the half marathon. In 2016 it became the place I ran and won my first marathon after dropping out of the Olympic Trials. Now in 2018 I am heading there with my team. When I first qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials I went to Indy alone. I didn't have the Volee friends or running friends I do now. I went there completely unsure of whether or not a sub 1:15 was possible. Crossing the line knowing I accomplished something I had dreamed about, was the most unreal experience. But when I crossed that finish line, I only had myself to celebrate with. So this year, I am most looking forward to going with my team. Feeling the energy as we each reach that line feeling strong and ready to go. I have been trying to keep my mind open but the one thing I know for certain is that I will be going for that OTQ in Indy once again. And of course, celebratory tacos.