InsideTracker Blood Results
Running, Training Sub 1:25

Getting Blood Tested with InsideTracker

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might know that I’ve gotten my blood tested with InsideTracker on several occasions. Before starting a new training cycle in 2020, I thought it would be a good idea to test my blood again. I would rather know if I’m deficient in something now, instead of finding out the hard way by feeling fatigued in March and April.

I’ve already discussed how my goal for 2020 is to get back into shape. 2019 was not my year for running, but I want 2020 to be the year I get back into fitness. It wasn’t that I didn’t run in 2019, because I did; but my priorities ended up in different places.

One of the many things I wanted to do to prepare myself for my 2020 season is to get my blood retested with InsideTracker. The last time I got my blood tested was over a year ago. I had all of the plans to train and run hard in 2019, but that never happened. I still ran to stay healthy, but I didn’t run to be my best. It’s funny, because I did run many halves and a full marathon, but I was minutes off of any PR. You can’t go hard every year, and that’s something I’ve tried to remind myself.

InsideTracker Blood Results

Anyway, as I prepare for training in 2020, I don’t want to leave stones unturned. My body isn’t the same was it was in 2018 or 2019, and so I decided to get tested again.  I wanted to have a baseline to see what I can work to improve.

Sharing your blood results can feel really personal. Like “OMG, I have low iron, am I a failure?” And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging about food choices, it’s that diet is one of the most polarizing topics out there (second maybe to politics). I’m committed to sharing my entire process this year. I’ll talk about how I plan to build back fitness and hopefully feel better running.

What is my running goal?

My running goal for 2020 is to rerun a 1:25 half marathon (that’s 6:29 per mile). That isn’t a PR, but it is a realistic goal. Last weekend I ran a 10-mile race and averaged 6:58 per mile, it’ll take some work, but I know I can get there because I’ve been there before.

How do I plan to get there?

  1. Get a Current Running Baseline (Hair of the Dog 10k 41:49, 6:40 per mile; and Distance Series 10 Miler, 1:10.07)
  2. Get a Blood Levels Baseline (that’s in this post!)
  3. Train and Fuel Accordingly

It seems simple, and it is, but as we all know, simple doesn’t always equal easy. I’m not putting a time limit on it. Maybe it will happen in the spring, or perhaps in the fall.

What is InsideTracker?

In case you’ve never heard of InsideTracker, here’s a quick overview. They test your blood for 40 biomarkers. From the test results, their science team makes personalized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations.

InsideTracker is not a substitute for going to your doctor and getting regular health checkups, and they clearly state that they are not giving medical advice. InsideTracker makes recommendations based on your blood that will help you recover faster and healthier. Maybe you feel tired and running feels like a chore. You could be overtrained, or maybe you have low iron. Getting your blood drawn takes the guesswork out of “why do I feel like garbage.”

InsideTracker categorizes those 30 biomarkers into “optimized, needs help, and at-risk.” The optimal zone is exactly what it sounds like: normal and healthy. The needs help category is for areas that are a bit lower than they should be. Finally, the at-risk category means that there is something wrong and if you correct it, you’ll probably feel better. When a biomarker falls in the at-risk category and you need to be seen by a doctor, InsideTracker makes it very clear, and they can even send blood test results directly to your doctor.

InsideTracker Has All of the Following and More:

  • A customized dashboard for you
  • Customized Suggestions on your Blood Results
  • Physician-ordered tests only give you numbers

Why InsideTracker? 

If you’re a runner, and you want to get your blood checked, but it’s not a life or death problem, I find it is easier than going through a doctor. With Tricare and military insurance, I am very fortunate that my insurance covers a lot of things.

If I had a medical emergency, my insurance would cover getting my blood tested and checked. I do not have any ongoing medical conditions and my everyday life is fine. I want to know my blood levels so I can tailor my routine to be the best I can with running. I want to make sure my blood is optimized for training and that I’m not missing key vitamins that my body needs. That’s why I chose InsideTracker. InsideTracker is designed for many people, including athletes, to check their levels.

Usually, I choose to get my blood drawn at my house with the mobile service. It costs a little extra, but getting blood drawn is not my favorite thing. In fact, I have passed out giving blood or from needles more often than not.

However, this time around the mobile service wasn’t an option, so on a good day for our schedules, my husband drove me into Philadelphia. (I didn’t want to drive myself, only to pass out at the office). Thankfully, it was fine. It feels silly typing out my fear of needles as an almost 30-year-old woman. I’ve given myself panic attacks getting blood drawn, so it’s not an easy deal for me.

The woman at Quest Diagnostics was great and I was in and out.

My InsideTracker test results:

I have several biomarkers that fall in the need help category:

My cortisol has lowered but still not Ideal:

My cortisol being lower came as a surprise for me. Running-wise, my body hasn’t been stressed, but the rest of life has been stressful. I was shocked that I’m finally trending in the right direction.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Cortisol

My creatine kinase is high:

Creatine kinase is essentially the amount of damage your muscles have. The more fatigued the muscles are, the higher it is. While mine isn’t dangerously high, it is higher than we would like.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Creatine Kinase

My vitamin B12 is too high:

I do eat a lot of red meat, so that makes sense. I don’t drink energy drinks or sodas anymore (the only soda I like these days is Dr. Pepper on road trips). The recommendation here is that I eat less red meat. Luckily for me, many diners now serve Beyond Burgers… we’ll see.

My “inflammation group is too high”:

This could be several things, including getting tested two days after a hard 10k. One major component of my fitness plan for 2020 is to get more sleep. I already strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep, but truthfully I’m someone who needs more sleep.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Inflammation Group (the grey indicates wasn’t tested last time)

My iron is low:

Until my mid to late 20s, my iron was always borderline high. The first time I was tested, I was skeptical that maybe it was a fluke, but being tested twice in a row with lower iron means that I do need to work towards getting more iron. I will start taking an iron supplement once a day.

Inside Tracker Results
Iron InsideTracker Results

Both my calcium and vitamin D levels are normal:

YAY! As someone who had too many broken bones in my early 20s (mostly from overtraining), I am happy to hear my vitamin D and calcium are at normal levels. I’ve worked hard to get more calcium and Vitamin D, and I’m glad to see that it worked.

Inside Tracker Results
Calcium InsideTracker Results

The Plan:

Now that I have this valuable data about my blood, I can adjust my diet as necessary. I don’t plan to follow a strict diet or completely avoid certain foods. Running is lifelong and restricting anything isn’t going to do anyone any favors. There are a few foods I can add to help to increase my recovery, decrease creatine kinase, and lower cortisol.

  • Beans: I don’t eat a lot of beans. I don’t know why, but when I’m hungry, I don’t think about eating beans. So I’m planning to add a cup of beans on most days.
  • Wheat germ: Wheat germ keeps coming up as something that helps lower inflammation groups and improve overall health. I didn’t know anything about it until InsideTracker, so I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds to it.
  • Iron supplement: I do believe most things can be gotten from food, but it can be difficult to boost low iron effectively, so I prefer to also supplement with iron.
  • Less red meat: I don’t plan to go vegetarian or vegan, but I also don’t plan to have steak every meal.
  • Sleep: Sorry, don’t talk to me after 8 pm.

In all, I’m happy I got my blood tested with InsideTracker. I’m looking forward to 2020 and putting effort into running again.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds in the next 3 months.

If you are interested in InsideTracker, you can learn more here.

Questions for you:

Have you gotten your blood tested? Have you used InsideTracker?

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me running
Running, Training Sub 1:25

1:25 Training Files: Windy Workouts and 10 Milers

As I start training again, I’ve decided to call my next training block: “The Sub 1:25 files”. It has a nice ring, right?

As I mentioned on my 2019 training log, my 2020 running goal is to get back into 1:25 half marathon shape. While this isn’t a PR, it’s a realistic goal for me (since I haven’t done that in nearly two years).

I’m not putting a time limit on whether it happens in the Spring or Fall.

Monday: Easy 8 miles
Tuesday: Easy 6 miles
Wednesday: Workout (total miles 12)
Thursday: Rest+ Travel to VA
Friday: Easy 8 miles with 10X20 second strides
Saturday: Tidewater Distance Series 10 mile race (1:10.07) Total miles 14
Sunday Easy 8 miles

Thoughts:

This week went well. I decided to drive down and visit my parents for the weekend in Virginia.  While I got to see them over the Holidays, I wanted a few more days. Typically January NJ weather is gloomy and dark.  This year has been extremely mild so far. I plan to run a few 10-mile races this year and last weekend could be the hottest one!

Wednesday: 3 miles at 10-mile pace (6:58) followed by 8X1 min hard/ 1 min rest

My workout on Wednesday was different than what I’ve done before.  One of the main goals of my 2020 season is to do different things.  Doing the same workouts, in the same comfort zone, doesn’t help you get faster, so this seemed fun.

The day itself was windy.  Funny enough a few days later, I ran 10 miles averaging 6:58 pace.  Both were challenging running days but in different ways. After that, I finished with 8X1 min easy/hard, which was mentally and physically challenging. I’m proud of myself for getting it done. Plus, I found $2 on the second portion.

Distance Series 10 Miler: 1:10.07

My “A goal” was to run under 1:10.  I wasn’t expecting the humidity to be so high.  I can’t remember another time I’ve run a 65-70 degree race in January. I didn’t run in as straight of a line as I could have which ultimately led me to running slightly longer than the 10 miles. Normally I wouldn’t care, but it was the matter of being under 1:10 or not being under 1:10.

distance series mile splits
distance series mile splits

Anyway, I ran the race consistently and all of my miles were between 6:55-7:01.  I’m happy with my effort for the day.

Next Week:

I don’t have any races on the calendar for a few weeks, so I’ll just be working hard and doing more workouts.  The goal for the next 2 weeks is to build fitness.

Posts from the Week:

Brooks Ricochet 2 Shoe Review 

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 8L Hydration Vest Review

Hiking Pocahontas State Park

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

What is your 2020 goal?

How is your training going?

me running
Running, Training

Training: New Year’s 10k and Building a Base

Since a few people remained interested in my training logs, I figured I would continue. One of my primary goals to 2020 is to clean out things, mental, physical, and digital (including blogging). I want to trim what I don’t need anymore. I’m not sure what that means for blogging and social media, and I’ll most likely continue doing it, but I’m going to put effort into things that matter the most.

Speaking of cleaning out, my 2020 Resolution is to get rid of something every day. Whether it’s physical, mental, or digital. Several people told me to create an Instagram, so you can find that here if that interests you.  Which makes zero sense considering I want to trim social media, but it keeps me motivated and it will be fun to look at all of the progress throughout the journey.

Back to Training:

Monday: 1 hour Swim 2X1500 meters
Tuesday: Easy 6 miles with Alexis 6X30 second strides
Wednesday: Hair of the Dog 10k (41:49)
Thursday: Easy 8 miles
Friday: 12 miles easyish with 6X30 second strides
Saturday: Easy 6 miles
Sunday: 14 Mile Long Run averaging 8:15 pace

Thoughts:

Last week’s training went well. It was nice to start the New Year off with my fastest 10k since 2018. I wrote a full recap here. We wanted to do something different to start in 2020, so we decided to head to Rehobeth Beach. Neither my husband nor I have spent a lot of time in Delaware (minus driving through). The race itself went well and I ran even splits and negative split the race!

Most of the rest of the week was spent doing easy runs (anywhere between 9-10 min miles or untimed). My long run on Sunday went as well as it could. We had 35 mph gusts so I was always running in the headwind or tailwind. I’m happy with it.

Next week, I’ll continue to build mileage and fitness.  I’m probably going to head back to Virginia to see my parents and spend a few more days with them.  January won’t be the “most exciting month ever” with minimal races, but it will be an important month to build fitness.

Posts from the Week:

Nike Pegasus 36 Shoe Review

Hair of the Dog 10k (41:49)

2019 Running Yearly Recap

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

How was your New Years?

What are you training for?

Hair of the Dog 10k Bethany Beach
Running, Running Reads, Training

Hair of the Dog 10k (41:49)

Hair of the Dog 10k Bethany Beach (41:49)

2019 was not my year for running and I wanted to start fresh. I talked about it in my yearly recap but it wasn’t a priority. I ran and had fun but I am minutes away from PRs.

My husband and I had never been to the Delaware Shore (Rehobeth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Bethany Beach), so we decided to check it out.  We knew there was a Hair of the Dog 10k at Bethany Beach and thought it would be something fun and different to spend the New Year in Delaware.  The Annual Hair of the Dog 5k/10k also have a Polar bear Plunge. The Post Race Party and Post Plunge Party at Mangos is right in downtown Bethany Beach.

One thing I appreciate about the Hair of the Dog 10k is that it started at 8:30 am (the 5k started at 10 am). New Years Day races usually start at odd times ranging anywhere from 10 am to 5 pm.  It makes sense, but I appreciated the normal race start.

On race day, we got there around 7:30 am, did signup and packet pickup, then a quick warm-up. It was a beautiful day in Rehobeth: just under 40 degrees, some wind, but sunny. We’ve had a couple of New Years that have been 10 degrees or less so we couldn’t ask for better weather.

We lined up at 8:25 am and by 8:30, we were off. My goal for the Hair of the Dog 10k was not to fly and die. IE: go out too fast and pick up the pieces.

My fitness is not anywhere and I feel like I’m starting over to get back into “PR” fitness. I know the work it takes to get there, and I know it won’t be easy. I thought under 42 would be a reach goal considering I didn’t run under 42 at all in 2019.

When we started moving, I felt good.  I found myself in a pack with a few other people.  We crossed the first mile at 6:41. I thought, wow, I’m on pace to run under 42 at the Hair of the Dog 10k. Then I laughed because making that goal at mile 1 seemed silly.

During the second mile, a woman passed me. I tried to go with her, but I didn’t have it in me. The second mile had a 180-degree turn and I crossed in 6:47. Here comes the fading, I told myself. Then during mile 3 of the Hair of the Dog 10k, I realized I didn’t feel that bad.  We went onto the slippery boardwalk and I became cautious of ice and slick patches. I crossed mile 3 in 6:43.  I just wanted to get off the slippery boardwalk.

Hair of the Dog 10k Bethany Beach mw running
Hair of the Dog 10k Bethany Beach
Thank you Dave Fredman Frederick for the Photo

Maybe slowing down a few seconds helped in the second 5k.  As we left the boardwalk, I passed the woman and was in first. The next few miles didn’t feel bad and dare I say: “good”?  I crossed mile 4 in 6:39, my fastest mile of the day.

After crossing mile 4 of the Hair of the Dog 10k, I grabbed water and kept going. Mile 5 had another 180-degree turn and I crossed in 6:40. During the final mile, the cyclist began chanting, “go go.” Then as I entered the boardwalk, she fell back and yelled, “go go, you can catch her” at the second place woman.  I crossed mile 6 in 6:40 and just powered to the finish.

Even though we were on the boardwalk, I still sprinted to the end. I passed one guy and crossed in 41:49.  Later, my watch recorded I went 6:12 pace for the final bit. This is funny because I rarely ever have a “kick.”

Hair of the Dog 10k Thoughts:

I couldn’t have asked for a better start running-wise to 2020. I am looking forward to dedicating time to get back into shape.  I know it will be a long way to go before 38 minute 10ks feel “easy,” but I’m also looking forward t the process, something I couldn’t say last year.

Questions for you:

How was your New Years? What is your goal for 2020? 

Did you run a race? Was it called “Hair of the Dog” or “Resolution Run”? 

me running california
Running, Training

2019 Running Yearly Recap

My year of running in 2019 is rather simple; it is the year that wasn’t.

For running that is…my life was great, but my running? Not so much.

I actually posted about it on Instagram yesterday. I think “top nines” and “best of” the years are silly. To have an app decide your best moments in the likes doesn’t make sense. Most of my favorite times of the year don’t even have a photo!

I had fun with running, but I’m minutes off any PR I’m hoping 2020 will be a better year, but I’m also not naive about how much that will take to get there.

Don’t get me wrong; my priorities were other places, and while I trained, I didn’t run anywhere close to the same mileage of PRs. I didn’t think a PR would magically come after not working for it. But, I didn’t know I would run a 1:36 half marathon when I actually thought I was in decent shape.

Anyway-

Favorite Races:

She Power Half Marathon

Club XC Nationals

New York City Marathon 

Fastest 5k: Adrenaline Run (19:26)

Fastest Half Marathon: She Power Half (1:29.27)

January:

The big and exciting event was going to California and running the Carlsbad Half Marathon. January on the East Coast can be dicey and while our winter was milder than usual, I was happy to get a short minication out of it.

View this post on Instagram

Hiked so high, almost touched the sky.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

February:

February was a cold and lowkey month for me. I ran, I trained, but nothing too exciting. I ran the Cupids Chase 5k in Moorestown and almost fell on ice. Plus, my parents came up. I also took a trip to Upstate, NY in February with my husband so he could ski. Most people don’t realize he was actually a skier in college. I attempted to go for a run outside and ended like this.

March:

March is one of my favorite running months. There are a lot of my favorite races, including Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler, Adrenaline 5k, Shamrock Half Marathon, and the Phillies 5k.

The Phillies 5k was hard for me since I had won 3 years in a row and this year, I got fourth. There were a lot faster women there and I knew that (so it wasn’t surprising) but that is always a hard feeling.

April:

In April, I ran the April Fools Half Marathon (one of my favorite races). My body was burned out and after that I took a week off and decided to start swimming, something I hadn’t done regularly since college. Since April, I’ve swum on and off. It’s been good to get in the pool and do something different again. For didn’t know, I swam well before I ran.

June:

June was probably my best half marathon of the year in which I won the She Power Half in Indianapolis. We were there for a wedding and it was a fun experience to win a race I wasn’t expecting too, plus despite running alone, it was my fastest half marathon.

July:

In July, I began training for the marathon I neer ran, Big Cottonwood. I also competed in the Allen Stone-Run-Swim-Run, where I was the fourth woman and caught a lot of people in the run.

It was fun doing a race I had a long history with.  The next day, my dad and I ran the “Run for the Toilets“5k and I won overall. The 8 person (yes 8 person!) 5k was created to raise money for new toilets for the Elks Lodge. Winners won a “custom” toilet plunger award. They will probably do more since it didn’t get the turnout, the race directors wanted.

August:

In August, my husband and I took a vacation to Colorado and ran the Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon. It was a lot of fun and the most gorgeous half marathon I’ve run. That being said, the altitude was tough!

Other than that, I faced the challenges of marathon training in August. The heat and humidity made me question my why. Like anyone, I had my fair share of bad runs with the good.

September:

September started off with a bang and I won the 18.12 challenge in Upstate New York. I was not expecting to win either so it was fun surprise.

About a week later, I pulled my hamstring and ended up not being able to run the marathon I spent most of the summer training for.  In late September, I was offered a spot to run the New York City Marathon.

October:

My goal for October was to run and train for New York City Marathon smartly.

I signed up to run the Cow Run and ended up racing in a cow costume.

In October, I ran a few run races, including the Gritty 5k and the Atlantic City Half Marathon. Even though it was very windy, the Atlantic City Half Marathon was one of the slowest half marathons I’ve run since beginning to run half marathons.  It was mentally tough to log that time.

November:

The New York City Marathon went just like I hoped: I started and finished healthy.

After New York, I took time off and now want to focus on shorter races. I don’t know when I’ll run another marathon, but I have no interest in them.

I also ran the Medford Turkey Trot for the fourth year in a row.

December:

And now in December! YAY, December has been a fun month for running as I get back into it. I haven’t felt great, but I’m looking forward to building mileage and training towards shorter races like hales and fulls. I didn’t run a lot of races in December but did do a Cross Country race, which was a lot of fun.

I’m hoping January will be a better year for running. As I said in my training log yesterday, I know my reasoning for not running as fast: fewer miles, fewer workouts, and running wasn’t a priority. While I won’t say running will be my
“number 1 priority”, I am hoping to log a few more miles.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

How was your year of running?

What was your favorite race of the year?