First things first. If you follow me on instagram you were the first to know {ha – doesn’t that make it sound more exciting than it is} that I’ve decided to not self coach this training cycle, I have a new coach! I’m really excited to be working with this kick butt woman {more on who it is later} and believe that she is just the person to help get me to the starting line of a late summer marathon feeling strong, confident and free from the worry of dizziness.

My goal is to run a BQ for 2017, which given my 3:48 at RNR DC when I wasn’t racing, shouldn’t be all that hard. I have some stretch goals, but for now I’m focusing on my A. goals of feeling good, fueling myself properly, maximizing the time I spend running/working out, and hopefully snagging a BQ.

I don’t want to look back ten years from now at age 44 and wish that my 34-year-old self had taken more chances when it came to running. I want to live with no regrets and seize the day.

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In order to do this I really had to figure out what has been making me dizzy on and off for over a year now.

I’ve been to countless doctors, as I’ve lamented to you about, and kept coming up short with what was causing it.

Related: Why I’ll Never Do Whole30 Again

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that having my first DNF at B & A Trail Marathon was and is actually one of the best things to happen to me recently.

In the process of trying to move on emotionally from something that hurt inside, I learned that the quickest way to move past something like that is to focus on others. To think about something bigger than yourself.

 

I Have A Runner’s Body reminded me at what could have been a low point that even though I walked off a marathon course for the first time I still was just as much of a runner as anyone else who completed the race that day. My body may have not cooperated but I still had a runner’s body.

The weeks that followed the marathon were filled with reading stories of how other runners overcame obstacles in their lives and grew to love their flaws. What once may have sent me in to a downward spiral did nothing but lift me up. It made me hungry for finish lines I once took for granted.

The DNF also tipped my emotional scales to the point where I no longer was going to sit around and see if the dizziness got better. I was going to pursue answers and not quit.

Armed with my results from my first InsideTracker blood test, I headed to my doctor. I told her that I hadn’t gone to the heart doctor like she had suggested last time. I was sorry for not going, told her I had a mental block about it, and that if she gave me the information again about what I needed to have done, I would schedule the appointment right away.

She took a look at my InsideTracker blood test results and right away said – I don’t think it’s your heart. I think we have been searching for a complicated answer when it may be something simple. Your Ferritin is a 19, which is very low for an athlete. Ok? She said that everyone has a different baseline and that even though 19 isn’t low enough to diagnose clinical deficiency, she believes that years of Ferritin levels at this level or lower has taken a toll on my body. My baseline level of deficient may be higher than others. She remarked that she wasn’t sure how I was even doing all that I was doing with the chronic tiredness, let alone running or attempting to run marathons.

Related: Iron Level Upkeep For Runners

She told me to start supplementing twice a day with iron and to see how I feel in 6 months. As Jonathan Levitt, from InsideTracker, said to me, trying to get your Ferritin levels up is like filling a pool with one tiny hose – it takes time.

I’ve been supplementing exactly as she said and am at the point where when I feel tired in the afternoon before reaching for tea – I double-check to make sure I’ve taken my iron for the day. Since I started supplementing I’ve only gotten dizzy/sick a couple of times. I’ve been running less than I was leading up to the marathon, but the runs I have gone on have felt better than the runs in the last weeks of taper.

I’ll be very interested to find out if my levels have gone up and if as they go up the dizziness completely disappears. Fingers crossed this simple answer is THE answer.Inside Tracker Iron Storage

I headed back to Quest Diagnostics today to have the InsideTracker High Performance Test done so I can give my coach my new levels before training begins.

Inside Tracker 2

 

This time around I did the High Performance test because:

  • No fasting required
  • Less expensive
  • Focuses on the markers that matter for running performance {10 most important markers for endurance, recovery and performance: testosterone, cortisol, vitamin D, ferritin, hemoglobin, vitamin B12, hsCRP, ALT, SHBG, Creatine Kinase}

Inside Tracker 4

I’m hoping the results from this latest test show improved ferritin levels, improved vitamin D Levels {I’ve been supplementing that twice a day as well}, lower cortisol, lower vitamin B-12 levels, and lower creatine kinase levels. Though I will be completely happy if there is only any movement in a positive direction with the ferritin and vitamin D.

Inside Tracker Vitamin D

The human body is complex.

I have learned through this process not to ignore that little voice inside that says something is off. For the past year or so I’ve been eating salt non-stop. I don’t use a salt shaker anymore but have sea salt in a little dish because I eat salt BY ITSELF. I was walking past the salt grabbing a pinch and eating it throughout the day. Now that I’ve been supplementing with iron, eating salt like that is disgusting to me, it’s TOO SALTY {there was no such thing as too salty to me a couple of months ago}.

After spending way too much time on the internet, I found other people who have had the same issue only to have it clear up once iron supplementation started. Interesting….

Related: Two Huge Causes Of Anemia In Female Runners

The encouragement from my doctor plus the results of this inflammation indicator finally got me to take some of my other food allergies as seriously as I now take wheat. I plan to head back to my allergist soon for re-testing to see if any of the results have changed. I’m hoping that once I get things under control in other areas my body won’t react in such an inflammatory way to certain foods.

Inside Tracker Inflammation

Though I’ve had my ferritin levels checked at my doctor before, the results always came in after the appointment. A nurse would analyze the results and then call me to discuss. I specifically asked about my iron levels before and was told they were in the normal range. While YES they are in the normal range, any decent running coach can tell you that a normal range for runners and a normal range for sedentary people is vastly different. Having the results from InsideTracker ahead of time allowed my doctor and I to have a face to face talk about my various levels. I’m convinced this is what set the light bulb off in her head that it was possibly the ferritin and not my heart as she had previously considered.

Knowledge is power and as they say #blooddontlie

 

Note: I was not paid by InsideTracker for this post. All opinions and thoughts are authentic.

Comments

  1. This is very timely for me. I’ve had the same diziness issue and had actually gotten frustrated enough that I’ve cut my running way back, which I hate. I had a heart test (fine) bloodwork (fine), but nothing like InsideTracker in advance of an appointment. I’ll try it out and ramp up the running again!

  2. Carrie Souleret says:

    So glad they may have an answer! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and that you will get better :)

  3. What iron supplement are you using?

  4. tracey p. says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I too have been having “light headed” spells on and off for a good year with no resolution. I just had my Iron checked and my ferritin level is 9 (extremely low) although I’m not considered anemic. I am being treated and also checked for another source of such low numbers but at least I have a starting point. thanks for the info and good luck to you!

  5. Donna H says:

    I was having the exact same symptoms plus shortness of breath. Went to the doctor and had blood work done. My Hemaglobin was 9 and my ferritin was 8.3. I’ve been taking a food based iron pill w/vitamin c powder for 2 months, 4-6 times a day and my symptoms is just about gone.

  6. Were you able to get your allergist to do good food allergy testing for you, or did you do outside testing also?

    I had some extensive bloodwork done by a naturopath last year and my ferritin was very low also–I was good about supplementing for a while, but I haven’t been lately. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so tired…

  7. Tricia Johnson says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better! I hope this is the start of a turn for the better for your health and how you feel when training.

    I was having some issues with food awhile back and asked my doctor to refer me to an allergist and she said I needed to start with an elimination diet and then she would possibly refer me but they couldn’t do a test for food allergies. Is that the case? How did you go about finding your allergist?

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Also interesting was how ferritin continued to climb, but not enough to call a win just yet. Ferritin (the stored form of iron) is one of the markers that takes much longer to improve, so it’s good to see some of the nutritional changes working, at least marginally and heading in the right direction. Hopefully that (and hemoglobin) continue to rise. As seen below, almost half of the InsideTracker users do not have optimal ferritin. What does this mean for athletes? Fatigue. And a doctor most likely saying “you’re normal, this is not a problem.” A great read on this disconnect between a doctor and runner and why it’s so important to be proactive about your data can be found here. […]

  2. […] we last talked about my dizziness issues I received my blood work results back from my InsideTracker High Performance Test. It felt like I […]

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