Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Been Going On In Running

What's been going on is more of the same as last fall.

To recap: In September I came back from my trip to Germany, ready for my last month of marathon training, to find that running had suddenly become hard. Like, really hard. As in, four miles suddenly seemed as if it was too much. I did not know how I was going to run 26.2 in six weeks time.

I wasn't sick, I wasn't feeling impaired in any other way, I just couldn't run. Not fast, and not far without a lot of effort.

I figured I had been overtraining - I had been hitting some pretty high mileage - so I cut way back for a couple of weeks until running felt comfortable again to me, and then slowly resumed a moderate running schedule. I pretty much stopped training at this point, I just wanted to feel that I had enough miles on my legs that I could cover the distance, but not push myself so much that I flamed out again and couldn't run at all.

And I got to the starting line, and I crossed the finish line, and that was my 2015 Chicago Marathon.

Afterwards I cut way back on my running, just doing enough to feel I was doing something. And then between being sick and the holidays and being sick again and not wanting to get up early and go out running in the dark I didn't run very much at all in January. But I assumed that when I started again I would have no trouble getting back into a comfortable routine.

Only that didn't happen. February came and went and March came and went and April came and I couldn't get any consistency at all. Some of it was scheduling - the usual interruptions of work and kids. Some of it was still having trouble getting up early enough yet having no other time to run than early morning. But even when I was running I couldn't know from day to day how it was going to feel, and it took a lot longer to recover from longer/harder runs than in the past, so I couldn't count on one day's good run meaning that things were better. I had races on my calendar - including a 10-miler in four weeks - and would try to plan a training schedule for them, and then I'd have a string of poor runs and know I wasn't going to be able to maintain that schedule.

I knew I had gained weight over the winter and the year before so that made a difference, but that shouldn't have been all of it - even with the extra weight I'm still lighter now than I have been most of my adult life. And overall I was just generally feeling run down - still needing more sleep, catching more colds than usual and having them affect me more, somewhat achy, just not feeling right.

Finally I went to my doctor (for another couple of issues altogether) and in the visit mentioned that I had been feeling run down for the past eight months or so. She sent me off for a whole slew of lab work - mostly for the other things and it felt as if she were just tossing extra tests in there because, well, why not, I was already having blood drawn. But they came back showing a vitamin D deficiency.

So-o-o... for the past three weeks I've been taking a weekly mega-dose of vitamin D. And I have to say that I'm feeling better in small ways. I'm not as achy. I'm waking earlier in the morning and feeling more alert when I wake. I've been enjoying my runs more and not feeling that I'm laboring as much with them, though I'm still slow. A tickle in my throat here and there but nothing that's moved into being a full cold. And I've felt more able to start re-incorporating yoga and strength training into my routine, albeit in teeny tiny doses. Anything is better than the nothing I'd been doing.

I'm sure the increased sunlight has been helping. I'm sure the sugar fast I've been on has been helping too. But I gotta say, I'm feeling grateful for that little blue capsule I take on Sundays.

Grateful too for health insurance,


  1. I'm sorry you were struggling. I definitely know the feeling and it's SO frustrating when you're not sure why it's happening. I'm glad the Vitamin D seems to be helping things along. I found that switching up all my runs and doing more speed work rather than just running straight miles has helped me lately. I hope the vitamin D continues to help and you're able to enjoy running again soon!

  2. Vitamin D deficiency sounded positively Dickensian when I first read this post, but apparently it's gotten pretty common in recent years because of the popularity of veganism! I know you mentioned going vegan somewhere. How is that going?

    1. Huh, I've done a bunch of reading on Vit D deficiency and it definitely seems to be more common (or more commonly diagnosed) than before, but I hadn't seen any link between a rise in veganism and a rise in Vit D deficiency. I do take a multivitamin that had included vit D but apparently most multivitamins don't have enough.

      I'm uncomfortable calling myself vegan - and was even when I was being more careful about it - I think of myself as practicing veganism. And I've had to back off of even what I was doing a year or so ago. My brain goes to bad places when I place restrictions on what I eat. It's mostly in how I think about it, though - in my day-to-day eating not much has changed. I avoid dairy and eggs to the best of my ability / sanity and I don't eat meat. The rest of the family does, though.