This week was 41 miles of running and 27 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.
After last Saturday's long run, I was starting to wonder if there was something else going on besides just heat/humidity/outofshape. I know my limits, I know how to modify for heat/humidity, and I'm pretty good about running at my current fitness level. So it's very strange for me to crash and burn as if I was a new runner. So I decided it was time to check on my ferritin/vitamin D, plus basic CBC (complete blood count).
In the past, I've regularly checked that stuff, using one of those "buy the tests on the internet and then go to your local lab" services, since it usually ends up cheaper than going through my doctor. So, I shopped around and found a decent package that included a CBC, vitamin D, and ferritin, plus some other stuff I didn't care that much about. I scheduled the lab appointment for Wednesday.
Then Tuesday's workout sucked. Yes it was bad weather and I haven't been on the track in a while. But still - I was running 10-15 seconds slower per 400m then I used to and it felt hard. And I've also had some very mild nausea that has gone from intermittent to near constant over the past few months. Plus all the recurring injuries.
So I dropped a note to my primary care doc, and he scheduled some additional bloodwork and set up an appointment (virtual) for next week to discuss the results.
[and yes, one possible if extremely unlikely explanation could be pregnancy, but that is NOT it.]
I got the first round of bloodwork back this week and....vitamin D was fine, ferritin was surprisingly high for a runner (136) but normal. The CBC showed no issues with white or red blood cells.
However, the test also included a serum folate test, measuring for B-9 (aka folate). And that was very low. 1.7 where "normal" is higher than 5.4 and "borderline" is 3.4 to 5.4.
[if you're wondering, those online blood test request services do send you an alert asking you to consult with your doctor about the result. Good for them.]
Low folate can result in fatigue and weakness and nausea (check). And even though folate is available in a lot of foods - green veggies, fortified grains, etc, it also is one of the nutrients that inflammatory bowel disease can block the uptake of - if your intestines are screwy, it passes right through you. And guess who has an inflammatory bowel disease and also a pool-running blog?
And folate deficiency is also frequently matched with B12 deficiency, which can result in nerve issues and pain. And guess who has been experiencing multiple nerve issues/injuries this spring/summer and has a pool-running blog?
So...once I got this information, I paused stuff until I can see the doctor and map out a plan. (his bloodwork tests included B12 as well as a complete iron panel). From my research, folate is involved in muscle repair. And you don't get fitter from training hard - you get fitter from training hard and then adapting via muscle repair (oversimplification).
If I'm limited in my ability to benefit from hard workouts, then there's no reason to do them, and an increased injury risk from forcing them. Better just to stick to shorter slow jogs, plus some pool-running to maintain volume and a bit of careful weights/yoga to preserve things where they are. Once I get this deficiency fully figured out and addressed, then I can return to focused training.
Monday: 7 miles very easy (9:40), upper body weights/core and 4 miles easy (9:31). Foam rolling at night.
Tuesday: 10 miles, including a track workout of 2x400, 3x800 in 97, 97, 3:23, 3:17, and 3:17. 75 second recovery after the 400s, 2:50 recovery after the 800s. Followed with leg strengthwork and streaming yoga. Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday: 5.5 "miles" of pool-running and streaming yoga. Foam rolling at night.
Thursday: 5 miles very easy (10:12) and 5.5 "miles" of pool-running. Foam rolling at night.
Friday: 4.5 "miles" of pool-running and some leg strength work. Foam rolling at night.
Saturday: 6 miles very easy (9:33), upper body weights/core, and 6 "miles" pool-running. Foam rolling in evening.
Sunday: 9 miles easy (9:21), drills, four hill strides, and then streaming yoga. Doubled back with 5.5 "miles" pool-running and some leg strengthwork. Foam rolling in afternoon.