Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Can Iron Supplements Really Make a Difference?

I get annual physicals for my job and my blood test have always shown I am on the low side of normal for my red blood cell count.  Last year and this year, I dipped below "Low normal" to "anemic" according to two different docs.

Typical signs of anemia are paleness (yup, but that's normal for me), being tired (who isn't?) and low blood pressure (uh, yes...noticeable drop in the last year).  Ordinarily, low blood pressure is a good thing, but this caused my doctor to test my blood.

Image Source:  Hospitalsoup.com

I took iron supplements for a while last year and didn't really notice any difference, so stopped and forgot to go back for a follow up test.  This year, my doc suggested supplements and re-testing in July.  And I am on it.

I really think it made a difference this time.  About three weeks ago, I was struggling with a 3 mile run.  Two weeks of iron supplements later, I had a very easy 5 mile run.  My average pace wasn't great (10:51), but I was consciously taking it easy to baby my left foot/ankle. But the point is, I felt good throughout the race.

Today I ran a very comfortable 3 mile race at about a 10:23 pace (that included walking up the hills per foot doctor's orders).  Better, and I definitely had more gas in the tank at the end.  Could be a coincidence, but I don't think so.  Sometimes doctors actually know what they're talking about...

Half Marathon Training Progress Report -
  • 3 mile run (10:23 pace)
Total Distance - 3 miles
Total Time - 31:09

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rockstar 8K

Okay, I have been avoiding blogging because I'm injured and am off my training schedule...way off.  My Half is in 3 weeks and I'm more than a little nervous.

Results of my Doc appt - tendonitis (as expected) and, if that wasn't enough, shin splints.
  • Good news - The Doc didn't tell me to change my shoes or quit training
  • Bad news - Wearing an ugly ankle brace and not allowed to run hills
  • Worse news - The Half is a hilly race with a pretty major hill toward the end
  • Good news - Cutting back on running seems to have helped
  • Bad news - I've been off my program for three weeks and my longest continuous run, as of today, is 6 miles...
  • Good news - After the race I won a 60-min massage!
  • Best news - This felt like an easy run

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (a week ago Tues) -
  • 3 mile run/walking all hills (11:20 pace)
Total Distance - 3 miles
Total Time - 34:03

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Yesterday)
  • 5 mile run (10:51 avg pace)
Total Distance - 5 miles
Total Time - 54:23

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tragedy at the Boston Marathon

As I write this the consensus is that two bombs exploded today near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the two dead and 22 injured.  I suppose we could be thankful that "only" two people were killed, but I doubt their families feel that way.
Image Source:  CBSNews.com

Whether this was an act by someone affiliated with al Qaida or another group or even domestic terrorism...what could possibly be the point of murdering innocent people? It's the country's oldest marathon...an outdoor sporting event run by both elite athletes and regular people.  Shame on America because we love to run?

If there is a political message here, it is stupid, and I am not impressed.  Building bombs...not hard.  Placing bombs in a huge crowd out in a very public place...not hard. Being cowards...not hard.

Here are some examples of hard things - Creating positive change in the world. Standing up for your beliefs and changing people's minds with facts and reasoning. Raising a family that will contribute to society.  Being a role model for your community. Helping others.  Those acts are impressive and have impact and can change the world.

Terrorists are disgusting, sniveling, impotent cowards.  The men and women who helped the wounded and dying today - they are heroes and deserving of our respect and our nation's attention.  Not just the police and firefighters (but definitely including them), I'm talking about each and every person who lent a hand or moved some wreckage or just helped someone to the medical tent.  I'm thankful for them, and I celebrate them, and when I think back on this day, I will remember the heroes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Only Six Weeks Until the Big Day

But I have to make it past Friday first.  I did something to my foot...the left one...the one that was falling asleep...on the treadmill...and then off.  Not good.

Swollen ankle after Sunday's run.  Sore tendon (I think) on the top of my foot, that area is swollen too.  Right where my foot meets the front of my ankle, labeled "superior extensor retinaculum" in the graphic below.  Feels fine to wear heels, but I can feel the tendon(s) pulling when I'm barefoot.

My self diagnosis, courtesy of the online Sports Injury Clinic is Extensor Tendonitis.  Has nothing to do with the lacing of my shoes...as I have been adjusting that and ensuring that my laces have been loose.  May have a lot to do with my training course, with varying inclines and declines.  Adding hills to your run can bring on this condition, but I need to run hills because the Historic Half has a few and one is a killer!  

Also blamed for this condition is overdoing barefoot style running...that's not me!  I swear!!! Yes, I'm still working on it - but I'm only up to a mile!  I will admit that I attack any hill on the balls of my feet...I always have.  I still think it's less than a mile total, even for Sunday's 8 mile run/walk.

The general consensus regarding the treatment is Rest, Ice, and Proper shoes.

Rest - Haven't run since Sunday, but still have to walk around...

Ice - Have been icing the top of my foot and ankle every night this week.  May add some ibuprofen in tomorrow.

Proper shoes - No idea, really.

I have already made an appointment (Friday) with my foot doc for a professional opinion. Hopefully she'll tell me something like, "Just take a week off and buy [insert brand] running shoes."  Not running a step until then.  Wish me luck...

Half Marathon Training Progress Report -
  • Trying not to aggravate the issue

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fueling...It's Time

Up until today, all of my runs, have been without additional fuel.  My treadmill runs would have some water, but my outdoor runs did not.  I know I will need some fuel to make it through the Half, but have no idea what kind, when to start, how often, etc.
Image Source:  Run and Become website

Trolling the web for info and it looks like I should have started already.  Today's run was 8 miles, with a tiny water break in the middle...not enough.

According to Runner's World writer, Sarah Bowen Shea, I should be fueling for any run that is over 75 mins.  And according to marathon coach, Jason Fitzgerald, I should be fueling every 30 mins after that. He recommends gels or chews with water, or even just sports drinks (for Halfs and shorter), but not both.

But I'm eating clean so the chemicals and general non-naturalness (it's a word...now...) of performance "food" concerns me a bit.  But thanks to my friend, Janice, I may have a solution for that.  She recommended this Natural Race Food article from Active.com.

The author suggests:
  • Dates
  • Coconut water
  • Pureed fruits/veggies
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Frozen grapes
  • Homemade honey/molasses "gel"
  • Watermelon dipped in salt
  • Dehydrated fruit
  • Honey
  • Navitas Power Snacks
Some of these seem a little messy and/or inconvenient, so I just ordered 2 different flavors of the Power Snacks.
 Image Source: NativasNaturals.com

The Blueberry Hemp was sold out.  Probably a good thing since my job does random drug testing.  Wouldn't that be fun to try and explain?

Half Marathon Training Progress Report
  • About .25 mile walk
  • 8 mile Run/Walk (12:44 pace...hence the focus on fuel today)
  • .75 mile walk
Total Distance - About 9 miles
Total Run Time - 1:41:55
Total Time - About 2 hours

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Another Tough Run

Except that it really wasn't that hard...3 miles, outdoors, and a route that I've completed easily 3 times before this.  I'm running into a bit of a wall and not sure what to do about it.

Could be I'm not fueling properly (banana and iced coffee two hours before the run), could be that time of the month, could be dehydration, could be a million stupid and ultimately inconsequential things.

For now I will just celebrate that I did my run, in spite of the planets clearly being aligned against me - electrical issue at the house, crazy traffic (No, it is NOT OK to go below the speed limit in the fast lane!), forgetting my badge (impacting not just parking, but office access and my ability to get on my computer) and the list goes on.

Oh, and I will be happy that my feet did not fall asleep...tied my laces a little differently today, but still need to test that out on a long run.  Ultimately, bad run(s) or not...I'm still on track for the Half.

Half Training Progress Report
  • 3 mile run
Total Distance - 3 miles (11:15 pace)
Total Time - 32:57