InsideTracker Blood Test Results Part 2

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I feel as if there is so much to catch up on.

In late December, I decided to get Insidetracker done again.  While it is cheaper than getting several tests done through insurance, it’s not inexpensive by any means.

Since I’m a healthy adult and nothing is “life or death”, blood tests are not covered by Insurance. I chose to get InsideTracker again because I knew it would help.  I did receive a discount from Insidetracker which was helpful.  I got results done in July and ultimately found my iron was too high as well as a few other things.  (Detailed post here).

So What Happened in the Last Few Months?

After receiving my results in July, I did start taking a probiotic as recommended.  I gave the probiotic 3 months, but I didn’t notice a change in anything.  At an extra $90 ($30 per bottle at the recommended 3X per day), I couldn’t justify the cost and not noticing a difference.

Iron:

Since July, I’ve also worked to lower my iron, but it seems I worked too hard and it plummeted almost to the “too low” category.  This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had too such low iron. The fact that it dropped that quickly is alarming.

InsideTracker Iron

But it would explain why I’ve been more tired.

How did I lower it?

Since July, I went off my multivitamin which had 100% iron in it.  While I prefer dark chocolate, I ate a lot more milk chocolate with less iron.

I already consumed (and still do) red meat 2-3X per week as well as leafy greens.  That’s probably why it didn’t lower anymore.

Now that my iron is too low, I think I’ll go back on my multivitamin with iron in it and dark chocolate. 

Liver Enzymes:

Since getting my previous results, my liver enzymes have stayed “at risk.”  They need work and to be honest, I’m not surprised.  They took a backburner while I worked towards everything else, so I didn’t do much with them.

InsideTracker Liver Enzyme

This time, I am going to add both wheat germ and an extra serving of almond, sunflower or peanut butter to my diet each day.  I’m actually not a huge peanut butter fan.  I don’t hate it, I just don’t have it often.

So what’s the Plan?

I’m spending the next 6 weeks focusing on making these small changes because it’s perfect timing. While I do have responsibilities and things to do, I’m not working full-time.  I have access to cooking, preparing and eating foods that would work for me.  If I cannot make these changes now, there probably won’t be an easier time.

For the next six weeks, I plan to watch and monitor my diet.  I’m not going to make a lot of extreme changes, and I don’t plan to change the caloric intake, however, I do plan to eat more nutritionally dense food for me.

What I like about InsideTracker is they make recommendations for foods that can help optimize your personal results.  While I could spend hours researching, how to increase iron levels or decrease liver enzymes, it’s right on my dashboard.  For me, it means including a lot more wheat germ or nut products.  I can’t make any promises, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing my experiences along the way in the food and diet world too.  Although I like to read other people’s posts, nutritional posts haven’t been on the forefront of my blog for a while.

I would definitely recommend InsiderTracker as it’s a great tool to help you figure out what nutrition your body needs.  You cannot get more of an awakening than learning your blood results.

Questions for you:

What are some ways you consume wheat germ?

Have you ever taken a probiotic?

Training: Easy Runs and a Turkey Trot

Training Last Week:

Short Version: In summary last week, I recovered from the Philadelphia half and had a quality week of training.

Monday: Easy 75 minutes/Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: Easy 75 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 80 minutes
Thursday: Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (18:30)
Friday: Easy 75 minutes
Saturday: Easy 10
 Sunday: Easy 70
 Total:  64 miles

All of my easy runs were easy and I enjoyed Monday-Wednesday better than I enjoyed racing the Philadelphia half.  I bounced back mentally and physically from the race.  My friend, Montana, was back in town for Thanksgiving so I was able to run with her on Saturday.

Montana and I

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (18:30):

I didn’t feel 100% during the race.  My legs still had the Philadelphia half on them but they didn’t feel bad either. My mile splits were a consistent 5:56, 6:02, 6:00. My hopeful goal was to be under 19 but my dream goal was to run 18:35 (6 min pace).  I’m happy I achieved that and it was a great race for me.

I didn’t know how the race would go.  Last year, I ran an 18:48 and was ecstatic (also after running Philly).  My hopeful goal was to be under 19 but my dream goal was to run 18:35 (6 min pace).  I’m happy I achieved that and it was a great race for me.  It’s actually my third fastest 5k ever (behind the Resolution Run 18:22 and the Flower Show 5k)

I’m happy with how the week went.  With the exception of the Turkey Trot, it was a boring week.

Running related posts:
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Shoe Review
Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.44)

Questions for you:
How was your Thanksgiving week?
What was your favorite workout last week?

You Know You’re a Runner When…

I’ve been working at the Running Store for over two years now.  I’ve probably seen every kind of foot type and gait you can imagine.

I’ve even  written several running shoe related posts (if you ever have a question, just ask):
Losing Toenails: The Runners Rite of Passage?
What to Expect at a Running Store
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes

I blog about running; I work at a running store, and I run myself.  Heck, I’m not even an elite runner, but a good portion of my life is influenced by running.  Of course, a good portion is not but that is not what I choose to blog about :).

So perhaps you’re walking around the world and you see someone you think you could share your hobby of running.  How do you know?  How can you tell?  Those bright speciality running shoes?  That vintage race t-shirt? 

You know You’re a Runner When:

You’re Shoes May Cost $120+, but a single pair of socks costs about $12+…hey, blister free running is worth it? 

You Pay $30 for half an hour of fun…but watching a movie in theaters…no thanks.

Your wall décor are medal holders, race awards and finishers trophies.

You’ve taken a vacation that revolves around a race or 3… 

Your laundry consists of 95% running clothes, 5% other clothes. 

You’ve purchased plenty of liquid sugar (GU) but whine when regular food has added sugar.

You wear compression underneath everything.  Work clothes, date night, wedding? 

cep compression capris
I’ve got compression for my compression…

You wake up earlier on the weekends for long runs or races.

You must finish a run on an even number.  5.89 miles is not the same as 6 miles…as a 10k…as half a marathon…as 7 miles…

Your coworkers stopped asking if you wanted to go out for lunch because they know you’re going for a run.

Your significant other used to try and change your mind about running but has since given up an even joined you for runs or races.

Can't beat them, join them right?
Can’t beat them, join them right?

Question for you: What are some runner’s quirks you have?

A Timeline of Injury

Since I’ve been injured, it’s a good time to reflect on injuries and talk about things that have helped me personally through this particular injury.  It’s much easier to talk about injuries when you are actually injured versus reflecting upon it when you are completely healthy.

I’m not a doctor, expert or coach, but I do have personal experience in being injured.  (What great personal experience that is…).  Thinking out loud, It’s important to remember, every injury heals at a different rate and every person recovers differently.

So in summary, what works or has happened to me, might not for you.  But if you’re anything like me, you enjoy reading about other people and what has worked (or not) for them.

A Timeline of Injury

So here is a timeline of my injury:

Early to Mid May:

I began to feel burnt out with running.  I wasn’t injured, and I ran several races including Broad Street, the Newport 10k, and the Track Mile.  Both Broad Street and the Newport 10k went well and I ran Personal Bests, but I felt eh after the mile.  I didn’t feel good, but I didn’t feel bad.  I didn’t feel injured either (which is important).  I began to read signs that I felt burnt out and decided to take some time off.

In late May I got a bad case of food poisoning.  It forced me to take five days off no questions asked.  When I went out for a short run on day six something in my ankle felt off and weird.  It wasn’t sharp, but it was a dull ache.  I thought I had rolled my ankle, but I just decided to rest and take a 2-week break.

During that period my foot progressed and felt worse.  Finally, I decided to go to the doctor and get an MRI.  Since I have a special form of insurance, I was able to book someone in network (Who I wanted to see) without primary care approval.

Early June: MRI and Diagnosis

My MRI concluded I had fractured my ankle. I was ordered into a boot for a week.  I was allowed to spin and swim but nothing weight bearing.  So for a week, I did just that.  I was still burnt out from running, so the rest didn’t bother me.

Mid June:

Mid June hit me pretty hard.  There was a half marathon I wanted to do, The Odyssey half, that I had to skip.  I wasn’t in pain, but I knew it would be idiotic to run knowing I had a broken bone.  I could have probably run through it but who knows what sort of bones I might have shattered…running on a broken bone is dumb. Plus I probably wouldn’t limp but I wouldn’t feel great either.  I spent most of June in a funk.  I didn’t feel good and I mentally struggled with not being able to run.

Late June:

I was ordered for four weeks of rest and by the time I knew it, the end of June was here, and I was allowed to attempt a run.  (Run being .25 miles).  I ran, and it felt like a typical first run back: awkward and awful. I didn’t expect a magical run but I had hoped to feel a little bit better.

July:

I spent July slowly building my base.  Slowly being key.  I ran every other day and only ran a few miles at the most.  By the end of July, I worked up to my first race back: The Run for the Hill of It.  Luckily it was scorching that day and took all of the pressure off of me. I didn’t feel in shape racing but I was injury free.

August:

August was both the best and worst month for me.  How?  I logged a lot of miles, and I felt as if I *finally* got over my injury.

So how could it be bad?

I raced frequently enough that I wanted more, and wanted to be where I was previously.  Before my injury, I was running 2 minutes faster in 5ks.  My half marathon pace was faster than the 5k pace I was struggling to keep.  Running a 20 minute 5k just felt like I was starting over.

September:

Here I am just over 100 days since my initial injury.  I feel like I’m recovered.  I hate declaring that because you never know what could happen but I do feel as if my injury is in the past.  Am I in shape?  No, but I am injury free which is the first important step.

100 days ago and I was injured but who knows where I’ll be in 100 days?

100 days isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things.  I know my fitness will come back.

Questions for you:

What was your last injury?

Where do you see yourself in 100 days? (December time frame)

 

Why You Should Take a Rest Week

Cutback week…

Down Week…

Less Running…

Essentially all phrases that mean, not running…Why You Should Take a Rest WeekIt seems counter-intuitive to take a week to back off mileage, intensity, and speed.  So why do it at all? 

Reducing your training for a week can help keep injuries away.  Rest weeks allow your body to repair damaged muscles but also allow your mental state to rebuild.

As runners we often want to run as fast and as long as possible.  We want our mileage to be consistently high, and we want to be at our best all of the time.

Rest, down weeks and taper, can be the hardest weeks to incorporate into training.

When Should You Take a Cutback Week?

Like there is a different shoe for every runner, there is a different “right time” to take a cutback week for every runner.  Generally, every 4-6 weeks, athletes should take time a week of decreased mileage and intensity.

How Much Should You Actually Cut Back?

Again, there is no right or wrong answer.  Anywhere between 25-50% of weekly mileage or 50-90% of the highest mileage weeks.

How Can Rest Weeks Prevent Mental Burnout?

Let’s face it, at some point, most runners “burn out”.  My burnout came shortly before I got injured.  I tried to push through it but looking back my body was telling me to rest.  I should have rested both physically and mentally.

Taking a rest week allows yourself to “miss running” and to rebuild the confidence you once had.

Bottom Line:

Any runner, elite or not, can benefit from taking a rest week.  It will help recover mentally, physically and emotionally.  You aren’t going to lose fitness from taking a step back from running for a week.  In fact, you are going to recover and gain fitness.

Question for you: Do you take recovery weeks?

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

It feels like I picked the hottest and most miserable weather to get back into shape.  Even though I only took two months off due to injury, I lost a lot of fitness.  Honestly, that’s fine.  Thinking out loud, We can’t be in peak fitness forever and a break doesn’t hurt anyone.

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

Getting back into shape isn’t always the most pleasant experience.  Getting back into shape when it’s extremely hot, can be even more miserable. A lot of fellow runners have asked how I am getting back out there.  I’m not a coach, expert or anything close.  I’m just a female who likes to run and blog through the journey.

Here are a Few Tips:  
  1. Track Everything: When coming back from injury, this is especially important. I began tracking when I felt any residual soreness and how I felt during the run.  Slowly, the residual pain started at 1 mile.  Then later it was 2.  Then even later it was 3 and finally after I finished a 5-mile run, I realized I was completely pain-free.  Tracking things allows you to see physical progress.
  2. Set Achievable Goals: You aren’t going to be 100% pain-free or set a PR within the first week of running. Setting realistic and achievable goals is important.  Maybe it’s to work up to racing again, or maybe it’s run consistently every day.  Making a goal keeps you focused.
  3. It’s All Mental: Fitness is based on a collection of runs and races. It isn’t based on one single event.  Even if you get discouraged during one single run, chances are you’ll have a better one soon.
  4. Stay Positive: This is easier said than done.  I try and focus on the positives on each run.  Even if the positive if just “I ran injury free”.
  5. Constantly Reassess: Injuries are tricky that way. Some injuries, you come back and feel on top of the world.  Other injuries, you feel as though it will take months or even years to go back to where you left.  To be honest, this is an injury that is taking longer than anticipated. I reassess my foot daily to see where I’m at and how I feel.
Finally, just remember your fitness is a collection of workouts. A day, week, month or event a year isn’t going to make or break your journey.

Questions for you:
How do you come back stronger from an injury?
What is your favorite type of weather to run in?

Workouts:

Training is getting progressively better.  I’m feeling fewer residual aches and pains as my ankle continues to heal and get stronger.  I’m not training for anything, and I don’t have my sights on anything.

As I mentioned in my July recap, my goal for August is to continue building a base and make sure I’m completely injury free.  All injuries heal at different rates, and there is no sense in choosing a goal race when I don’t know how this one will heal.

Monday: Easy 45 minute run Core
Tuesday: 60-minute run Core
Wednesday: 85-minute run  
Thursday: Rest  
Friday: Easy 45 minute run  
Saturday: Donar Dash 5k (20:21)  
Sunday: Long Run (12.5 miles) Core
Total: Total: Roughly 45 miles  

Thursday through Sunday are typically the busiest days for work.  There is a big townwide event, and it’s like working Black Friday at a big retail store.  I don’t know why I decided to race on Saturday, but I want to continue testing my foot.  It was my first 5k and first road race (last week was on a soft trail in Wissahickon).  I will write a race recap soon, but I was happy with it.  The weather was hot, and my body was exhausted from working.  Of course, it’s hard not to compare to previous 5k times, but I know I’ll eventually get back there.  Hopefully, it doesn’t take me an entire year like last time.

donar dash

I ran with a good friend and coworker on Sunday.  I had planned to do a “long run” but didn’t know how far.  We ended up running 12.5 miles.  It was a little bit further than I anticipated but the miles went by quickly, and my ankle felt okay during the entire run.  Today, however, I’m sore as (explicit here).

julie and i

Thoughts:

I’m happy my running feels as though I’m progressing well.  I’m making good progressing while increasing mileage.  I’m feeling less achy and even after my longer runs, I felt far less residual pain than previous 6 or even 8 mile runs.  I’m hoping having more cushion in the Hoka Clifton is helping me keep aches in pains away too. Max cushioning has been good for my feet since coming back.

 

I might have increased my mileage and time a little bit faster than I should have this week.  I’m happy with how the week went.  My plan is to hold between 45-55 miles for the rest of the month.

Questions for you:

How was your week of workouts?

Do you have a busy season of the year for work?