Though I feel like my body and I are still at war, slowly but surely I am figuring out what is going on.

My iron was a 14 and while my doctor {that I don’t care for and am no longer going to} believes this is perfectly normal because the range of normal is 10 – 291, I believe {through research and talking to other knowledgeable people in the medical/health field} it’s low for an endurance athlete. I’ve been taking iron supplements and trying to up my intake of foods that contain iron. I am also not talking about iron fortified junk {sorry if you believe that eating cereal with iron added in to it is good for you – I don’t}. I’m talking about whole foods that naturally contain more iron. I think both things are helping me feel less tired and hopefully my iron levels are going up.

My progesterone was borderline low. I suspected this was the case after talking to some friends who had the same issue. My doctor {who again I am no longer going to go to} thought it was ridiculous to have any of my hormone levels tested because according to her “they don’t matter.” According to me, they do matter, and I think others would agree. I’ve been using a progesterone cream and feel a world of difference in how I feel emotionally and physically. My thyroid levels were good, not too high, not too low, which was a relief.

My granulocyte percentage was low and my lymph percentage was high, I had to go back for more testing two weeks later to see if this had changed. Good news is that it’s back in the normal range so they think I was just fighting off something. Even though the doctor doesn’t think this is important I am going to continue to monitor it because from the research I have done it can indicate a possible auto-immune disease.

I’m also working on eliminating foods that are causing me problems. There are so many sneaky things in foods that you really have to be very proactive with knowing what you are eating. When I realized I had a gluten sensitivity I worked to eat less gluten and part of that was adding in gluten free processed foods because I just assumed they were healthy. It’s sort of like my former assumption that everything at Trader Joe’s is healthy or has to be good for you. NOT TRUE. Trader Joe’s may be on the healthier side than most change grocery stores but you still have to read labels to know what you are eating. Corn is the basis for many gluten free foods and guess what corn seems to bother my stomach and digestive system. It really has been eye opening seeing how many things I was eating that I thought was helping my stomach troubles but was actually making them far worse.

I’ve been eating more vegetables, less grains, and avoiding soy as much as possible. The soy part has proven harder than expected because not only did I have to kick my soy latte habit{April 12th was the last day I had one} but soy lecithin is in EVERYWHERE. I don’t mind it in trace amounts but I don’t want to be eating it at every single meal.

I’m also working on eating more protein, which for someone who up until recently didn’t really cook, this was hard also. Because of all the food changes I’ve been making we haven’t been eating out as much. I don’t miss it because I don’t miss the intense stomach pain that follows after. Our grocery bills have gone way up but I’m guessing we are actually saving money in the long run because of how much it was costing us to eat out a couple of times a week. I also feel better looking in our fridge and seeing whole foods rather than just quick things I can feed the kids. My mindset has changed from giving them foods to fill them up, to making sure they are getting the nutrients they need each day to grow and be the best they can be. This part has also been hard, they would much rather being eating something sugary, than something healthy. It’s my fault really…..I know I have an addiction to sugar and I passed it on down to them for the sake of convenience and time and also simply not having the knowledge of what is actually good and what companies have tricked you into thinking their stuff is healthy with creative marketing. {I will talk more about this later}

I still need to go have some allergy tests done that the ENT wanted. He said I have a deviated septum but it’s not so bad that he would want to operate on it. He said my throat is genetically deformed {I find this hilarious for some reason} and he thinks that I have chronic throat and sinus infections which is why I have a hard time breathing and why I also feel like I have a fog surrounding my head. He did say that after the allergy tests came back he would consider operating on my sinus’s to open them up – this way when I do have sinusitis there is room to swell and I will still be able to breath.

I bought the KP Duty a couple of you recommended and you weren’t kidding when you said it was expensive{I spent over $80 on 2 items}! Once I got home I realized it had parabens in it {}. I know it may be crazy or paranoid or what not but I really am trying to eliminate unnecessary chemicals where I can. I took it back and went and got a natural sugar scrub from Target {J.R. Watkins Brand}. The scrub combined with some sun, and maybe some of the food changes, is helping it look and feel a little bit better.

Typing this out makes me realized that a lot has been going on in a short period of time!


For those of you who don’t care about the health stuff back to running. {I know my health information is boring/not relevant for most of you but I share this stuff in hopes that it will help someone else if they are struggling with feeling at war with their body}

Run Me Home 2013 shoes

Ran a 5K race with my husband on Saturday {race recap coming}. Was hillier than expected and probably not the best idea to attempt to race a 5K after 92 minutes of spin on Thursday BUT it was more about hanging out with him than it was really racing. It was his first race back since his knee surgery in 2010 and he came in 9th with an average of 7:22 per mile!!

Run Me Home 2013

Friday and Sunday were REST days. I hate rest days and love them. Since I’m not training for anything now I am trying to take more full days off a week to spend more time with my family or to just give my body a break from the years of non stop running. It’s hard mentally not to run since I have more energy on the days I do run, but it’s nice waking up and not running out of the door.

Monday I ran 8 miles in the rain. I normally LOVE running in the rain but cold, dark and rainy, isn’t as fun as a sunny summer downpour. I won’t complain though, because it was a run, and any run is good in my books. I decided NOT to look at my Garmin for any of the miles and just run what I felt was an even effort pace. Somewhere around mile 7.5 I realized I didn’t have enough time to make it home on time so I had to pick it up at the end. Many people have suggested to me to run with out a Garmin but I like hearing the little beep per mile even if I am not looking at what the pace is. I always run with my Garmin. I don’t find myself right now a slave to the paces it shows. I do most of my running on perceived effort and whatever the pace is for that day I accept it. The only time I really use the Garmin to know if I am running fast enough is when I am doing tempos. Then it’s a helpful tool that lets me know I need to pick up the pace.

  • Mile 1: 8:51
  • Mile 2: 8:08
  • Mile 3: 8:05
  • Mile 4: 8:05
  • Mile 5: 8:03
  • Mile 6: 8:03
  • Mile 7: 7:44
  • Mile 8: 7:24

1:04:30 – 8:03 average

This morning I had company for part of my run!!! I was able to get myself out of the house a little bit earlier knowing I was meeting someone. I think he said his marathon PR is a 3:09 and I’m sure his shorter distance PR’s are faster than mine which is AWESOME. I REALLY have been wanting to find people to train with that are faster than me {like my speedy running friend Meghan} who can help push me on runs when I would typically slack.

I had planned an easy run this morning – the run was not easy for me but I was REALLY glad when I was finished to have 10 miles sub 8 average on a Tuesday before the sun was up.

  • Mile 1: 8:32
  • Mile 2: 8:09
  • Mile 3: 7:36
  • Mile 4: 7:27
  • Mile 5: 7:22
  • Mile 6: 7:23
  • Mile 7: 7:24
  • Mile 8: 7:45
  • Mile 9: 7:58
  • Mile 10: 7:33

1:17:16 – 7:43 average

I always get asked about my early morning running and how I do it? Am I tired? Do I not want to get out of bed?

YES I am tired. YES I want to stay in bed. I KNOW though in my heart that every day I get up to run I feel better and that feeling alone is enough to motivate me to drag by tired butt out of bed. On days that it is particularly hard I remind myself how crappy my body and mind felt in college. I remind myself that being fit or staying in shape is not a destination you arrive at. You have to keep at it or it can slide away from you. I never want to return to the way I use to feel and that always gives me that extra push to lace up my shoes.


Have you entered the Believe I Am superwoman giveaway? Check it out here —

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  1. YES – soy is in EVERYTHING, and so is sugar. The only way to escape it is to make most of your own food at home. It’s ridiculous.

  2. yea, i have been eating more at home and it has changed my outlook as far as i am happier eating whole foods. i plan to attempt whole 30 in june (i am travelling for work a fair amount of may and want to give whole 30 my complete attention). i like that you are starting to get better and I wish you well on your body improvements! sometimes, doctors aren’t worth the medical degree they have and sometimes they are :-) it all depends. I enjoy reading about your running and health, as i am currently having health issues (ligaments hate me) and it is preventing me from running but i aspire to be fast like you (to me you are super speedy!) :-) gluck! i will be rooting for ya!

  3. It’s really interesting to hear about the issues you’ve been having as I’ve been having similar health issues and still haven’t found a good answer and definitely not a solution yet. I think it’s great that you’re being your own health advocate and not letting doctors push you around

  4. That was a big update. Glad you are taking action and getting some answers. I am currently wanting to put off my trip to the doctor to address multiple issues until after my big race. Poor judgement on my part but after all this training IF there are any big issues I doubt any doctor would give me the go ahead to run almost 104 miles. 😉

  5. I find your health updates very relevant and intriguing :) Corn and grains/gluten are no’s for me too. It’s really hard though to eliminate them completely because they show up in so much stuff. I was so surprised to learn that most chicken you get from the store contains gluten because it is injected with broth and that baking powder, seasonings, protein powders, etc. almost always contain some sort of corn, gluten or soy :( It’ll definitely be a tough challenge, however you seem to be taking it all under stride and doing great! Can’t wait to hear your next update!

  6. Hi Dorothy-
    Thanks for writing this! I’m really happy that you talked about intuitive health and wellness and nutrition–despite the scientific expertise that doctors have (and this should not be brushed aside), we know our bodies best–especially athletes, who tend to be more ‘in touch’ with their bodies than others.

    Like you, I don’t have any documented extreme allergies, but find that I have ‘reactions’ to gluten and especially soy. As a former sufferer of iron-deficiency anemia (my blood iron levels dipped to 8[!!] at one point ahh!! Since then I’ve gotten an iron transfusion and have gotten my levels back up to 13-14 range), I am all too familiar with your struggle. I had no idea how low-energy I really was until I got the transfusion and bumped back up to the low-moderate range.

    As far as progesterone goes, I am right there with you, too–after losing my period for over a year, I had my hormone levels tested and had extremely low progesterone and estrodial levels. I’m not too big on taking medicine (especially hormones) that I don’t absolutely need, so have since been trying to focus on eating more high quality fats (omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, EPA and DHA found in healthy fatty fish) which can help to regulate hormone levels naturally (they are also linked to lowering cholesterol and reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases, yay!) Maybe that is something you could look into as well?

    Thanks again for your honesty. It is appreciated!

  7. I hope you feel better soon! I have been dealing with low iron too so your post definitely gave me an idea how to deal with it. :) I’ve been taking supplements lately. So far, I’m doing okay.

    Rest well.

  8. Great blog, I have been curious how you have been feeling its good to hear you are figuring it out. I have started to focus on real foods as well. I have found that starting small (I started with breakfast food) for all of us in my house and in small doses as helped introduce healthier options. For my daughter I have figured out that if you keep presenting them with the “real” food options along with something you know they like they will eventually start to eat it. I am not a creative cook or like to cook (thank goodness my husband does) but finding new things to make that use mostly real ingredients has been a challenge. I have given in to making small changes with food in our house, if you tackle it all at once it is way overwhelming! I have found some good recipes for easy kid friendly snacks (home made go-gurts, whole wheat waffles, granola) at

  9. I don’t actually think I have any specific sensitivities but I just did Whole30 and can’t believe how much better I feel. And you’re right, sugar, cane sugar, soy lecithin, corn etc. is everywhere! What I found interesting about learning about this stuff is that some foods act like other foods like corn and beans are kinda like wheat grains to your body. So no wonder so many things can make us feel off. Anyhow, hope you start getting to the bottom of it all. For me it was just curiosity but hopefully for you you can start finding some real solutions.

  10. Dorothy, SO relevant! I think so many people throw in the towel for good because they’re frustrated about health issues (I’ve been a major slacker because of it), but investigating it on your own is so key. I spent a lot of money trying to figure out what was happening to me, and I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of it. While I think I have a better than average diet, I don’t think I’m building my immune system up enough. So I’m not giving up on my search, and your blog keeps me inspired to keep up my running, even if it’s not as much as I’d like to be running.

  11. I was just curious if you have had your B12 levels checked? Being that low on iron could indicate low B12 also. I have perniciois anemia which is very rare for a 33 year old and it took 17 years of suffering for a doctor to find it. I now take B12 injections monthly for the rest of my life but I finally feel normal. After 3 months of injections all of my other abnormal lab results started leveling out too.

  12. I went to the doctor recently too because I’ve been having issues losing weight/my bodyfat, despite being super active and eating clean. I ate 100% clean for over a month and NOTHING changed. in fact, I gained 5 lbs. The doctor refused to do hormone testing too, and told me, “when it comes to not losing weight, join the club.” Awesome.

  13. I also appreciate your health update posts Dorothy. I too have Gilbert Syndrome and I have not found many others who also suffer from it. When I read your past post regarding it, it felt good to know I am not the only one out there and get some confirmation that the symptoms I experience are “normal” if you experience them too.
    Sorry to hear that you are having more problems. I have not ran in about 10 months because I have been trying to figure out the cause of some chronic knee, hip, and back pain I am having.
    I wish you the best of luck on your search and finding what makes you feel healthy and strong.

  14. I have become much more aware of eating cleanly since the beginning of the year. I pretty much never tire of hearing about it. I am Paleo, which I jumped right into without doing Whole30, but I may go primal since I haven’t noticed any real sensitivity to dairy. Well, cheese. Yummmmm, cheese. I also have KP, and have noticed it getting a lot less noticeable, but I thought it would be like BAM!! cut out gluten, no more KP. Definitely not the case for me.

    I’ve been extremely disappointed in the state of medicine. I have had very similar doctor experiences. So, you are planning on going to a naturopath? I am interested in hearing about that. I am NOT interested in paying out of pocket for these alternative providers. My chiropractor has really been incredibly helpful.

  15. Have you tried the Honest Products? They have really good stuff.

  16. I haven’t – I’ll have to look them up!

  17. I am planning on going to a naturopath! I have been researching and asking for recommendations from friends. I don’t want to pay out of pocket either, but if what I am doing now doesn’t fix how I feel then I’m just going to suck it up. I figure my health is worth it in the end and long term it will save me money. I think the state of medicine is sad too. There are many GREAT doctors out there but some of them just have a god complex and get annoyed when you are pro-active with your health. They look at you and just assume since you appear healthy on the outside that you are just complaining. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I am thinking about doing Whole30 – I can’t do dairy – haven’t had milk since 2003 – I love cheese but it’s just too painful most times to eat :( bah…..anyways congrats on eating clean!! It’s not easy :)

  18. My uncle has Gilberts Syndrome too. Did you know it runs in families? I am convinced some other people in my family have it too and wish they would get tested. Have you read the book – It Starts With Food – it definitely made me think more about chronic pain and how it can possibly be food related from chronic inflammation! Each of our bodies are different and for some food does nothing – but for others it can cause some serious havoc!! Hope you find answers soon!!

  19. You need to find a new doctor and ignore what they say about join the club! I too have gained weight despite being very active and healthy when it comes to food. Yes I splurge but not enough to gain 15 lbs in one year. YES I gained 15 lbs … sucked. What I realized is that my hormones were messed up and I think I may have had a case of adrenal fatigue and that combined with inflammation from food was making it impossible for me to loose weight. I’ve lost 5.5 of the 15 and would be happy to get rid of another 5 as long as it’s fat and not muscle 😉 When I tried to talk to them about my weight gain and assure them it was not for vanity reasons I was asking – I just thought it was pretty insane that I had consistently gained weight the healthier and cleaner I ate…..she looked at me up and down as if I had 5 heads…..anyways I’ll get off my soap box. Find a new doctor :)

  20. I did not!!! Thanks for the suggestion – I’m writing it down. All I know is the doctor repeatedly said to me that I did not have anemia and so she thought it was ridiculous I was worried about a 14. Hard to find the courage to ask for more tests when you are feeling shut down. I’m on the hunt for a new doctor and I will add this to my list of what I want tested.

  21. Have you read Thrive or It Starts With Food. Both are good books {though they don’t agree on the same diet} that could help you figure out if some of your health issues are related to food. I’ve taken tips from both books that have really helped me feel better!

  22. They have products for the family and the household.

    I am glad you are keeping an eye on your blood levels, I have a severe case of anemia and running has made it harder on my body but my doctor knows how much I love running so we are working on one day at a time, my blood level has been a 6 and even a 5, so I am glad you found another doctor.

  23. sara Colvard says:

    Hey I was having a lot of stomach issues and they tested me for EVERYTHING and nothing was wrong with me. I started taking probiotics daily and I felt a HUGE change. Maybe you should try it out?

  24. I take probiotics and drink Kombucha :) both have helped me feel better too!

  25. Hey Dorothy,

    I too suffer stomach issues and feel constantly tired. I read Brendan Brazier’s books too and found them useful! I am seeing this great new doctor who is actually taking my stomach issues seriously (hooray! I have had them for over 10 years!) and I have trialled no dairy and no gluten diets through her (both helped, though didn’t entirely alleviate the issues). One book I read recently, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, really went into depth on hormone imbalance as a result of chronic stress (that could be related to food or lifestyle or a variety of reasons) and this led women to have IBS symptoms and also gain (or not lose) weight. It was fascinating how integral having balanced hormones was to overall health!
    I;m glad to hear that you are starting to feel better and get it sorted. :)

  26. Ashley says:

    Pay attention to your allergy tests and what you react to. I had chronic sinus issues until I started effectively treating my allergies (key word being effective). Allergic reactions include mucus build up which can lead to infections. Now that my allergies are under control so are my illnesses!

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  49. Health Update & More Running

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