Results from my blood work from InsideTracker are in!! It was like Christmas when I received the notification in my inbox. Then the nerves kicked in. How messed up am I? As expected due to recent fatigue, the results showed – you have work to do if you want to kick some butt running. The awesome news- I’m relatively normal!! All that talk in my previous blog about the potential damage I’ve done to my immune system over the years is now a non-factor according to my results. 😄 😃 😀 😊 ☺ I have not had a cold in over a month, so my white blood cell count was low. Maybe the recent sun exposure could be of help? My D count was great and cortisol levels normal. Getting enough fat. Check.
The green lights on most of the tested biomarkers was a big sigh of relief, but the red/yellow have given me a clear picture of what I am lacking without excuses not to improve. InsideTracker gives you a ton of recommendations based on your food preferences or dietary restrictions. It’s calling me out that recently my diet must really suck, so here are ways to help you change. No more just going with the flow of what’s left over in my cupboard or giving into another cookie craving when I really should be eating some greens! Time to get some discipline and form a plan!
The Red Flags
Low on Ferritin, Hematocrit and Testosterone.
My consistent poor levels that I’ve tested in the iron group are the main limiting factor for getting the most of my potential. Without iron- less oxygen transport and you can’t run as fast! I suspected ferritin and hematocrit were low due to feeling wiped and an off feeling when I was really trying to run hard. In 2 of my recent races, my feet actually went numb, as if there wasn’t enough oxygen circulating in my body. My reading – 27 for ferritin (50-150 is ideal) and a pathetic 12.3 for hemotocrit (13 is the bare minimum you want). Let’s just say it’s obvious I don’t take EPO.
Once again hearing these low levels- I have to keep searching for a way to get them up! First I’m going back to the supplement Proferrin. I recently switched to Ultimate Iron (a friend’s recommendation) and not sure if it worked for my body.
I am also going to start back on liquid ferrous sulfate (unless others have suggestions). I need to be aggressive (but also know the limit and not go into iron intoxication) – because I once experienced that after being way crazy in the supplement and food category. Back in 2011 while I was trying to function at altitude, after getting an 18 ferritin reading on a blood test, I thought it was time to suck it up and focus on getting iron in whatever form I could. In a 12 hour period I took multiple liquid iron doses, cooked liver for din, had iron pills and ended up dizzy, unable to hear or fully control my legs on my run. I called poison control only to be asked why I was trying to kill myself! Nice try, but I know this takes time and only at an absorpable rate. I am also seeking to purchase some of the “iron rich” foods they list, although many I already consume.
This next reading I was contemplating if I wanted to share. I’ve never been tested, but my testosterone levels were ridiculously low. This means “athletic performance suffers big time” (as well as other things). I have been taking an SSRI medication (antidepressant) for over 16 years and long story short, whether I need it or not, I am heavily addicted and unable to wean off of it without feeling extreme physical and emotional side affects. The proven side affect – low testosterone.
When I was 15, the medication helped tremendously and thank it for changing my life. Now I feel stable and most of the time confident I likely don’t need it to fully function, but my brain has been fed a steady supply of dopamine that gets me on par with feeling normal. I do believe my lack of seratonin is likely hereditary condition, as I can relate to many close relatives. I’m not ashamed of this, it’s just something I was born with. The paralyzing shyness, fear and low self-esteem starting at an early age was very hard to deal with. Can you out-grow something and overcome this without medication? Possibly.
Either way, just cutting off the entire supply has been extremely tough and debilitating. I would compare it to getting off crack, experiencing the withdrawal numerous times over the past 10 years, even at a very slow rate. First its the physical side affects – shakes, nausea, weakness and then later comes the agonizingly painful mental part. It’s not as easy as “suck it up”, but seeing these numbers has given me another reason to seek a way to cut my current dose in half once more, or strive to live life without it. For my daughter’s pregnancy, I was on my lowest dose, and consequently ran my best times, still on that same dose the following year. Other runners dealing with competing on SSRI’s- I’d love to hear from you!
High on Cholesterol and Glucose
Can you say pre-diabetes!? Not completely surprised by this, since I hadn’t been making the smartest choices and my weight on the scale was also creeping up (normal racing weight 122-124, recent weeks 128). To combat fatigue in the afternoons, I replaced rest with sugary snacks, only to add to my problems. During the transition of packing and getting set for Arizona as well as the actual driving time, my unhealthy snack and meal options increased. Even if you are running 50 mile weeks and don’t yet resemble the average American, you can’t use it as an excuse to eat crap!
My glucose levels… Looks like I need to cut back on the simple carbs. In the past when I have strived to eat the low GI foods which include tons of fiber, it has sent me to the bathroom way too often on race or workout days. I have to find the balance of backing off on the fiber before a race, but switch back to the good stuff on other days. I am also tempted to get some runs in the AM without eating before, because my body does not know how to operate without its steady supply of food. I am heavily reliant on my morning meal to fuel me through my morning runs. I typically don’t run until noon, so this wouldn’t apply unless I switched my schedule.
So now due to whatever nutritional/lifestyle choices I made (aka dealing with life’s stresses), I’m stuck with more weight to carry and less capacity to get oxygen to my working muscles. It could be a much worse sentence, but this was definitely a wake up call to clean up my act and diet or continually deal with the consequences!
The next few weeks I will do my best and then put this in the back of my mind and put my game face on ready to push whatever oxygen I can into my lungs and legs and onto the course at Lehigh University for US Club Nationals on December 13. My heart will be on the line to give it my all and am very excited to join a very strong Bowerman Track Club team led by our very own pro runner Emily Infeld! My running career doesn’t end here so I am excited to continually strive to get the best of myself working with InsideTracker’s info and recommendations.