A Perfect Storm

Posted: September 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

fatigue-cartoonComing into the home stretch leading up to my first ever 1/2 ironman, a perfect storm came together. First, I think I began to push my workouts a bit too hard/long in the closing weeks. The 60mi bike/10mi run brick probably should have occurred one or two weeks prior, and it probably shouldn’t have been followed up by a 1/2 marathon effort just a few days later. The very slow pace I had on that run should have been a warning sign.

Second, the summer drew to a close. Gone were the days of workdays ending at 5pm with plenty of daylight, early Fridays, and Monday’s off. As the sun went down earlier and I left work later, I started finding myself completing, then starting workouts in the dark, which was a major mental bummer, and really limited my riding for safety reasons- whipping through central park at 20+ mph in the dark isn’t the best idea.

Third, and probably most significant– I began a vegetarian diet. Without getting into the why, I pretty much went cold turkey. Around the time of all these changes I began to lose all motivation for working out. For months, since the spring, I’ve been swimming, running and riding my way across the City in preparation for this race. And while of course there are times when I just didn’t feel up to it, it wasn’t an insurmountable task to get out the door. Recently, I’ve felt 0% motivation to get out and do anything, which is uncharacteristic for me. My training suffered greatly the last three weeks, with very nominal efforts.

It was only when I went to the doctor to get my baseline nutrition readings (to set a benchmark against to measure my health 3-6 months into my new vegetarian lifestyle), and the results came back showing low iron/possible anemia. Pretty much everything I’ve read online since says the lack of motivation/energy I’ve experienced is a risk for endurance athletes in general, and vegetarians. Combining the two would seemingly put me at significant risk of anemia, and given that I sweat much more than the usual athlete, I was probably losing even more iron.

So here I am, 1 week out from my first 1/2 iron, and my training pretty much blown up for last 2.5 weeks. Its a major bummer, and since I’ve learned of the issue, I’ve been trying to eat iron-rich foods (pumpkin seeds, etc), as well as have orange juice which can aid in absorption, but it can take a long time to restore iron levels. I was warned about switching to this diet so close to a major race, and I guess I should have listened.

We’ll see how I do next week I guess, and since this is a long-term change, I’ll make sure to figure out how to get appropriate nutrition for my active lifestyle moving forward.



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