Todays Workout- 17 mile long run averaging 7:12 pace with last 3 miles up-tempo (6:42, 6:27, 6:08) Only water for the first 14 miles, then 1 Strawberry Banana Gu gel.
Within the last two weeks the running portion of my life has changed drastically. 9 years ago when the Mr and I decided it was time to expand the Lawrence Clan we got a bit more than we bargained for. Instead of one baby we had three in 17 months. It was a whirlwind of crazed chaos and I would go back and do it all again in a heart beat if I could. As chaotic and stressful (it sure was!) as it was I LOVED having a baby, toddler, and eventually kiddos hanging on me so when- for the first time ever– I put all three kids on a bus to leave me for 7 hours, instead of being happy for my new found freedom, I sobbed like a baby the entire walk home from the bus stop.
What am I getting at? I have time…lots of time. The Mr. still travels VERY often for his Navy job and my kids are obviously still too young to ever be home alone so I’ve chosen not to rejoin the workforce for awhile longer. This is a perfect opportunity to throw myself all-in on this running thing. After running at 8 pm and 5 am for many years and at one point training an entire marathon cycle solely on the treadmill while the Mr. was deployed I understand how incredibly lucky I am for this opportunity. I actually feel a bit guilty about it. With that guilt comes the realization that I no longer can be wishy-washy about things. I can’t use a busy schedule for an excuse anymore. I CAN do corework, ice baths, proper nutrition, yadda yadda yadda. The last thing I want to do is look back and think “Maybe if I had just…” So here I go, realizing that every little bit matters because as the saying goes, The Devil is in the Details.
One of the first “detail” things I wanted to do was get my iron levels rechecked. I had been putting it off because if I had an hour without kids, I was going to spend that hour running. No excuses anymore. Two years ago I was extremely exhausted and we found that my iron ferritin level was at 8! 8 is bad people, very bad. Distance runners should be above 60. Last year I had managed to get mine up to 52 so I’m hoping it’s even higher now but my gut tells me it’s not. As of now I take an iron supplement 3 times a week but Dr. Wittenberg recommended I start taking it daily and we can reevaluate when my levels come in, which will be within the next few days. The reason I need it so frequently is because of my former anemia and also because I have Endometriosis (short explanation- I have too much estrogen) which (sorry male readers!) means I lose more blood/iron than most girls. If you are interested in more info on blood-work testing, I recommend you read Coach Mark Hadleys post called Blood Tests for Runners that discusses bloodwork a bit more. I had the full bloodwork done that he mentions. It sounds a bit extreme but I wanted all my bases covered. You know…that detail part.
This is exactly where I was going to post my Instagram shot of my bloodwork but friends told me it was too graphic to share. Viles of blood are weird?! Who knew? Instead I will share a picture of my Doctor’s office and you will know immediately why I chose him as our family physician.
The second detail I’m working on is sleep. Right now I get about 7 hours asleep but I want to bump that up to 8-9. After years of kids waking at midnight and a summer of 4:45 alarm clocks, my body is not wanting to transition to more though. I do know how important that extra sleep time is. Every runner has their favorite recovery method. Compression socks, ice baths, protein drinks, whatever. They are all great but sleep wins out as the best.
When Bedgear sent me a package of recovery enhancing products I almost cried happy tears. When the kids were young I managed 5-6 hours of broken sleep a night and my running times reflected that. Because of that I REALLY appreciate a good night’s rest. Anything Sleep Related ranks right up there with cupcakes in my love factor. The Bedgear company specializes solely on “Performance Bedding”. This means the products aren’t just soft, they are actually practical. Every aspect was designed with purpose in mind. The fabric is an extremely soft Dri-tech that pulls heat and moisture away from your body keeping you cooler. A cooler body sleeps deeper and the deep sleep zone is where your body recovers most. The sides are ventilated but with a fabric that reduces allergens from ever entering the pillow (a plus for animal lovers like myself) For a girl that was previously sleeping on a $10 Target pillow, the difference was substantial.
I’ve been using the Dawn for about 10 days now and I will never use another pillow again. I took it with us on an overnight trip and I will not forget to bring it with me to use in the hotel the two nights before the Philadelphia Marathon. Definitely check out their website Here for more information on their performance focused pillows, protectors, and sheets. I cannot say enough good things about their products and staff. In a time where elite and sub-elite athlete support is being dropped, let’s remember to be mindful of where we throw our money and aim to support those companies who choose to give to our sport as much as we do. Companies like Bedgear and my sponsor Running, Etc. do just that and I’m proud to -in a small way- represent them.
So there is where I am right now. With 9 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon I am focusing on every aspect I can to race my best on race day. I have more details to share with you next week that I’ve been focusing on. As always, thank you for reading my journey. Have a great weekend everyone!
Anyone else supplement their iron?
How much Sleep do you average?
Anyone Racing this weekend? Wishing you luck!