The Devil is in the Details

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.

A Boston Marathon running Doctor?? Yes, Please!

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!

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16 thoughts on “The Devil is in the Details

  1. I have endometriosis, too. I just had my second surgery in June (sucks), but right now I’m in a good place and am training for my first half! I don’t have to be on an iron supplement currently (well, that was what I was told after the surgery). I’m wondering if I should back on one since I’m working my body so much more now. I have noticed that I’m exhausted, but that could be because I just started Law School 🙂

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    • I had that same surgery years ago. That recovery is tough!! From what I’ve read about 20% of women with endometriosis have anemia because of it, so odds are you don’t but combined with the running, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out if you have the time. Good Luck with first year Law!!

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  2. So sorry about the ferritin, but good call on the blood tests. I need mine tested soon too, as I’ve had anemia and I know marathon training is probably doing a number on my iron levels. It looks like you had a great doctor though, it’s always nice to find a doc who runs but seems really hard to, for a “health care” field you think you could find more doctors who exercise, you know? Not necessarily marathoners or even half marathoners, but it’s hard enough to find a doc that even goes to the gym these days. Weird, maybe it’s an SC thing.

    Good luck with training and throwing yourself into it. I wouldn’t blame you to with the kiddos in school, that might also take your mind off them being there, especially over the next few weeks (empty nest). And that bedding looks absolutely amazing too… so lucky!

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    • Thank you Amy! I completely agree with you on the doctors. It is not just a SC thing. I had a doctor before who would act like I was silly anytime I suggested I might have low iron. Finally I switched, had it check and I was right!

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  3. Yay for time to get your running done and all the other things a runner has to do in order to stay healthy! Mind you, I find that I procrastinate more with my boys in school full time. It’s way too easy to put things off because you have time, and before you know it the day is gone! Glad you got the blood tests. I need to do that and will be looking at Coach Hadley’s list because last time I got standard bloodwork and there was no number for ferritin…I don’t think my levels are low, but doesn’t hurt to know!

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    • I’ve noticed that too. I’ve gotten stricter about making sure I run right away after putting the kids on the bus because, like you said, you think you have plenty of time and then before you know it, it’s noon and super hot.

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  4. Can I just say how very jealous I am of your new found freedom?! Don’t get me wrong – I love spending the day with the two little guys and I know one day I will be in your shoes and will be heart broken that I am alone for that many hours of the day. But right now, I am knee deep in the middle of the night wakings, 5 hours of sleep, and 5am runs to train for the Philly marathon. However, it does make me a bit excited to hear you speak of how much better you are running now b/c of sleep…
    Can’t wait to meet you at Philly! =)

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    • I wish I was closer! I’d offer to watch your guys for you so you could nap 🙂 Believe me, I felt guilty admitting my new freedom. I have been where you are and it’s hard but it will go SO fast.

      I can’t wait to hang out with you in Philly!

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  5. I take a ton of supplements for other deficiencies and imbalances. They help tremendously. I don’t get enough sleep…only about 6 hours or so. I feel so much better when I get more. Part of why I take all the supplements I do is that my system was so unregulated that I couldn’t sleep when I was supposed to and had zero energy when I need to be awake. Things are leveling out a lot now. Whew!

    I think you are so smart to dig into the details and to not add the stress of working outside the family stuff right now. You have some big stuff you want to do. That is work enough. Stop feeling guilty about anything. You DESERVE to do things this way. It is the healthiest way, too. Good luck!!!!

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    • Thank you so much! That is a very good point you make about not being able to sleep when you wanted too. I went through a period like that and it is incredibly frustrating. Glad you seem to be working it out though, I hope you can bump up that 6 hours to 7 or 8.

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  6. I am right there with you on the sleep thing… I get 6-7 hours on good night and that’s never a straight 6-7 hours. I’ll definitely have to look into Bedgear, thanks for sharing!
    I’m so happy for you to have more time to focus on running! You are being so smart with your time, too. A lot of people let the little things go by the wayside and I think it’s those details that can take our running to the next level. This was a good reminder that I, too, need to refocus on those things. Can’t wait to see what you’ll do Philly!

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  7. Kris I honestly cannot even imagine what this period is going to do for you. You are already an incredible runner and having this extra time is going to put you over the top. I cannot wait to see where it goes.

    I’ve never been checked for iron before. I always thought it would be a good idea though. I need to get at least 8 hours of sleep or I become to grumpy and tired to comprehend anything.

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  8. Low iron here, too, also caused by female problems. Mine was 11, but I’ve only been able to get it up to low 40s.

    This is really exciting- training “full time.” Your running has been going SUPER well, and I’m excited for you.

    Your post was a big reminder of how much better I need to do with taking care of myself. Thanks!

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  9. I used to feel dizzy in between my runs and workouts but ever since I took iron pills (Ferrous Sulfate), I never felt it anymore. I knew right away, I am having anemic episodes during workouts. Goodluck with your upcoming marathon! I’m looking at your progression on the left side of your page, I know you’ll do great!

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  10. I am where you were (6 hours of broken sleep a night due to my two little ones (ages 19 months and 3 1/2 yrs) waking me up each night) and am jealous of your newfound freedom! (but as you said, I know the time will go quickly). I sent Bedgear a note as well and mentioned I’d heard about them from you – I’d love to order their products but can’t seem to find out how to do so online! I’m late in commenting on this but I just had my blood work done and my iron (ferritin) level is 33. What kind of iron supplement do you currently take? I am trying to figure out the best way to supplement as I head into my next training cycle to prepare for a spring marathon. Any advice?

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