Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Whoops! A little race called Vineman...

So, about three weeks ago, I published this little gem about how I had been diagnosed with low iron and how I was so bummed.  And I was.  It had been recommended that I take it easy and pull out of Vineman. But then, I adopted the most type A plan to supplementing (iron in the AM with an EmergenC- no calcium for 2 hours, liquid iron at night with another EmergenC- again no calcium 2 hours before, eating plenty of beef, and drinking my Muscle Milk which has 40% of my daily iron in it...didn't know that one, did ya?!) and three weeks later had my iron checked just not at all coincidentally before Vineman to see how my body had been dealing with the iron supplements.  Turns out, like a BOSS.  My iron went from 10ng/ml to 31 ng/ml in 3 weeks, placing my in the "normal range".  Not what some sports folk think it best, in the 50's, but I am higher than a lot of other females. AND it's only been three weeks.  So hopefully it continues to go up and then I can maybe supplement only 1x daily so this whole thing stops messing with my morning latte bliss.

Side note:  Did NONE of us know that this was a possibility with all of our long distance running/training?  I feel like there is so much fear placed into people about supplementing with iron, and maybe that is a good fear to have if you are not an athlete running a marathon+/week in distance.  But for those of us hammering our bodies day in and day out, asking it to perform, we are physically breaking our red blood cells when we run and then sweating them out.  Always check with your Dr, but it seems like a no brainer that most women endurance athletes should at least have their numbers checked periodically to ensure that they are getting enough iron. Seems like since I became more aware of low iron and talking with my fellow ladies of the Social Sphere, it is SO common and sounds like a lot of you supplement.  Making a mental note to pay more attention to things that don't currently directly affect me but could.

So after speaking with a friend/sports nutrition/expert who cautioned me against racing and also speaking with a sports orthopedist, who said that as long as I felt OK, and my iron had come back up, that I wasn't really going to do any damage (but i'm getting my iron stores check tonight anyways).  Who's answer did I take?  The one I paid $200 for of course!  However, the friend who told me to not race and focus on Kona has also been helping me on nutrition and I was able to implement our new strategy and that was a HIT...talk about a calm tummy...more on that later. So she HAS to be happy with me for racing right?!!  Otherwise we would have gone into Kona with a never been tested nutrition plan.  I can rationalize wit the BEST of them.

My wave went off so late I got to see BFF Jess!
With all of this in mind, I knew that it would not be a fast, PR, guns ablaze kind of day.  And I told myself that if at any time I wanted to pull out if I was feeling bad that was also A-OK...no shame here in doing what feels best to your body.  And I knew that I had to be OK with whatever result happened on the day and told myself that that was the only was I could race.  That mental preparation really helped when I saw gals going past me who I can normally keep up with.  I knew I couldn't push that pace and that was OK. And I felt flat all day (16 minutes flatter than LY apparently), but not like in Texas where I felt awful and didn't know what was going on. My HR monitor didn't work on the bike, but it was in a normal range for racing on the run and I figured as long as it stayed there then I would keep running.  And at a certain point, you have to finish, cause if you run 6 miles, you have to get back to the transition area to pick up our bike, so may as well cross the finish line :)

Night before race nutrition:  OSMO Pre-Load to get my sodium stores up and ready for the heat of racing.

Pre swim nutrition: Chia/coconut granola, Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut peanut butter, banana, OSMO Pre-load  Approx 900 kcal's

Swim: 6th AG 29:08 vs LY: 28:26
So Shallow you could run...or swim!
For the first time, there were 2 waves at Vineman for the women 30-34, so coming out of the water in 4th with my wave I knew there would be a few more gals who  had swum faster in the wave ahead and were now 6+ minutes (time between waves) up the road.  I went out with the eventual winner of the amateur race Sarah C, but quickly lost her as that flat feeling came across and she is a SUPER swimmer.  It was so shallow this year that SO many people were walking, but again, walking in water is NEVER as fast as swimming...it's a RACE people!

Bike Nutrition: 2 Tram Bars -just found these things and they are ridic! OSMO Active Hydration, total kcal's: 800

Bike: 2:41:34  VS LY 2:30:16
Compact (me) vs all you can bring T1
Where all of my time would be lost from LY.  This is where I began to implement my new MONEY nutrition plan.  Only solid food was allowed from now until the run and even then I had to try to keep real food in the picture and only go to my beloved energy chews towards the end of the race.  The bike was, as always beautiful but starting in the 3rd to last wave meant there was a LOT of passing to do.  And while this makes you feel like a hero, "I'm CRUSHING this bike" tends to run through your head way too often, it also means that you have to be even more aware than normal about what others are doing and how others are riding.  I know I've heard others talk before about having a faster age group wave right after the pros, and I think this would be a great idea.  It would allow those that are a bit more aggressive to get out there and do their thing and I think it could offer a better racing experience for all athletes.  Back to racing, the sun came out right as I was thinking, jeeze, I'm still cold, where's that sun?!!  POOF, it came out, but thankfully not like last year.  We got a real treat with the weather this year and it only got into the 80's.  Off the bike, and try to see if I had any run legs available for use...

Run Nutrition: cup of Gatorade/cup of water to dilute the Gatorade and not have any tummy issues, a few cups of coke towards the end, half banana, half nectarine, water, 1 pack of Cytomax Energy chews on the back half of the run.  Total kcal's  400

Run: 1:41:31  VS LY 1:38:06
I hit the run and immediately was running with a guy who was keeping a good pace.  I must have been annoying to be right on his hip for those first few miles...he picked it up and dropped me, but I found him at mile 12 and said hello to my long lost friend.  I was not feeling my competitive juices flowing and was just running plodding along saying hello to friends and then it happened...around mile 8 I saw two girls who had passed me at mile 48 of the bike and I have raced against one of the gals before and knew that I usually can run quicker...so I started to catch her and then saw another gal up the road...it took me until mile 11 to catch her and she forced me to run two 7:20's in a row (not normally a big ask but it was on Sunday) to get a comfortable gap.  But then, a gal passed me int he last .25 mile of the race, and beat me by 12 seconds...DOH!  But again that's OK...I should not have been racing on Sunday...I was under orders to participate and see how it went.  Hard to quash that competitive spirit right?

I ended up 9th in the AG and 19th amateur female.  It's hard not to compare myself to last year as that time would have garnered me the 2nd OA position as well as 2nd in the AG.  I'm keeping that in perspective and focusing on the last big goal for the season and that is Kona.  Hopefully I got some fitness at Vineman this past weekend and enjoyed racing with friends from all over the country that I don't get to see that often.

Thanks to all of you who have reached out to offer stories of  low iron and your solutions and support, I truly appreciate it.  Makes me not feel alone in this at all!!

Through the fog and into the Sun!


sunnyrunning.com said...

Hah! Of course you did Vineman anyway. And, yes, they should definitely have tiers in races, an elite amateur wave type thing, because it's just silly when it's so so crowded.

And, I thought EVERYONE knew women endurance athletes are all about the low iron! Good thing is jumped in three weeks.

hailey said...

Thanks Kelly, I must be late to this party...thinking I was immune it!

Beth said...

When your ferritin was low were your other iron indicators normal? I ask because I had similar symptoms and had my blood checked but they did not check ferritin. My other levels were normal.

hailey said...

Hi Beth! My hemoglobin was normal which is good as if you have low hemoglobin AND low ferritin, that is anemia..but I was just iron deficient. That seemed enough to me!

Eva Siegel said...

Recently I have stumbled upon a curious article providing the analysis, conducted by nutrition scientists, on which elements are essential for keeping great shape and how they work - http://bit.ly/Qh9G8S. They also write a lot about pre-workout and post-workout nutrition. Very interesting information for all athletes.