A New Distance and an Old Problem

After a crummy blood work report, I am on a stringent new (not really new) schedule to take my supplements. I try pretty hard to aim for full disclosure when it comes to my gastric bypass surgery; this is one of those areas that is not all rainbows and unicorns. Blood work, I mean. A healthy person should have iron levels between 35 (threshold for acceptably low) and 60 (healthy male). My iron level was 12 last week. Two points lower, and I would have ended up with an IV infusion of vitamins and iron. I kind of wish we had just gone that route anyway.

It is of course not uncommon for gastric bypass patients to get low on all of their vitamins and minerals, but when you are an idiot caught in a bad cycle of feeling low and blue, and you simply stop taking your vitamins because it is too much hassle, it can quickly lead to your blood being only slightly thicker than water.

Feeling low, stop taking your vitamins. Feel lower because you are low on vitamins. Vicious cycle. That’s where I am, but after a really good talk with my Nurse Practitioner and getting a plan in place, I am trying to turn my vitamin levels around and get something resembling energy again. CVS got $41 out of me this week for prenatal vitamins (I have written in big black marker “NO I AM NOT PREGNANT” on them since they sit on my desk), Vitamin D3, and VitronC (iron is absorbed better with vitamin C) and I am taking them on schedule, without sabotaging things by say like taking iron with coffee and creamer (caffeine and calcium hurt the body’s ability to absorb iron). I am even making the effort to make sure I take the iron pills and prenatals with something like a V8 or eating a couple of clementines first, just to help boost my absorption.

So most people know: no iron = no energy. It is hard as hell to train for a half marathon when your iron levels are not just in the basement, but more like buried under some pavers in the back yard. It does explain why I have struggled so much more this cycle than last time. I have had to modify my schedule a bit. The team I am running with is using the Intermediate training schedule from the Sportsbackers training team. I trained last summer and fall using the Novice schedule, so I knew that going up to the Intermediate schedule would be a challenge in the first place. Add in severe anemia, and I have really struggled. So some of those weekends in early January when they started running double digit distances, I changed it to 7-9 mile distances and do them on my own. Or like last weekend, when they ran 12+ miles, I modified the route to drop off about a mile and a half. It worked and I felt like I did pretty well.

So this weekend, we go all in. The distance is 13.27 miles. MORE than a half marathon. This is a good thing but a bit daunting when I haven’t run 13 miles (or more than 10 actually) since November 10th. I have never done a 13 mile training run. That distance has always been race day for me. In fact, given that the route is just a hair more than 13 and a quarter miles, this will probably be the longest distance I have run, ever.

That’s a thought that is both exciting and a bit scary. And yet cool all at the same time.

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