Supplements and sports nutrition 🎉

Excited to share the good news that I just passed the ISSA-certified Sports Nutrition Specialist certification. It took months of lectures, lessons, lots of studying, a 638 page textbook, a 183 page workbook, more studying, over twenty quizzes, and one big, badass final exam.

I have a deep interest in learning how to fuel athletes for top performance, including the basics, i.e., maintaining the right macronutrients mix, as well as digging into the details, like getting into the nitty gritty of micronutrients, i.e., vitamins, minerals, specific amino acids, sodium, etc.

In the past, I thought if we ate enough spinach and nuts among other things, we’d basically get enough iron, calcium, vitamin C, D, and so on from food.

It wasn’t until 2014, a few months after I ran the Chicago marathon (unknowingly and completely anemic) that I went to the doctor to try to find out why I was so tired and weak during workouts or runs.

Blood tests revealed that I was severely anemic and probably had been for the previous two years or so. My levels were alarmingly low, and yet I just thought that was how I was supposed to feel while running long distances. I figured people get tired when they’re running, so I didn’t question it until my performance was laughable.

The last straw was when my personal trainer at the time had me doing assisted pull-ups and I could only complete four or five. I would just stop mid pull-up and start laughing. I couldn’t manage to get myself up and yet by all accounts, I should have been able to knock out ten of them easily. My trainer asked me to get my iron checked.

After my diagnosis, I started taking supplements on and off while staying vegetarian, but my levels didn’t improve. Maybe because of my veggie diet or maybe because I wasn’t consistent with the supplements, or maybe because of both.

After seven years of a vegetarian diet, my doctor asked me to start eating fish and meat again. Even after that, however, my iron levels still remained low. Not as terribly low as they once were, but low enough that the doctor insisted I take an iron supplement in addition to eating meat and fish. So I did, on occasion, when I remembered. I still had it in my mind that I would and should eventually get everything I needed from food and the supplement was mumbo jumbo. I’d heard that most ingredients in any supplement or vitamin leave the system before it’s taken in, so I didn’t think it really mattered.

For a couple of years after that, my blood tests would inevitably come back low in various micronutrients like vitamin D or iron (again), or I’d have a wonky thyroid number. But each time, I’d try to fix it with food and forget all about the supplements. I’d remove sugar from my diet and add in some black beans for iron. Ironically, after eliminating all processed foods from my diet, my thyroid number went back to normal, but the micronutrients still came back deficient.

It wasn’t until I put myself on a high quality, steady (meaning I took consistently it every day without skipping) one-a-day vitamin, plus additional vitamin D, calcium, and raw iron supplements, did my blood work – and more importantly – energy levels, recover sufficiently.

I never knew how good I could feel because I thought tired and weak was how everyone felt when running, until I was on a solid vitamin and mineral regiment. Now, I run long distances and feel strong.

If this is you, there’s hope. Of course, check with your doctor on what’s right for you. But if you’re feeling tired or weak, a blood panel might give you an indication of why. You’ll probably have to ask specifically for them to test for iron deficiencies. It’s not included in a regular blood test.

All of this is why I decided to specialize in sports nutrition. It’s important and personal to me.

If there are other people out there like me, who believe they can get all the nutrients necessary to perform at peak levels without vitamins and minerals or additional supplements but still struggle to do so, I’d like to share my story and the science with you.

Not saying my story is going to be yours, but the transformation in my diet has helped me perform at a higher level, recover faster, and I get to keep running without injury.

If only I knew this back in my thirties, but those days are gone.

Right now, it’s time to celebrate. 🎉

Stay healthy, runners. 🙏🏽

8 mile long run

Put down eight miles this weekend. It was a good, strong, slow run. I was lucky to avoid most of the downpours in the bay area, but it was still windy, wet, and hovered around forty degrees, rising to forty-three degrees by the time I was finished with the run. Colder for the bay area, but not close to Antarctica cold.

I’m still a mile behind my training schedule for the long runs, but with how I’ve been feeling while running (💪🏼), I’m okay with that.

It’s four weeks until we leave for Antarctica and the race is exactly five weeks away. I can’t believe how fast it is approaching. I still have a lingering cough, which I can’t attribute to anything but that damned flu shot I received weeks ago. I just want it to go away.

As far as race gear, the plan is to wear a long sleeve performance tee under a warmer three-quarter zip fleece, which will be topped with a waterproof shell. Depending on how cold it will be on race day, I will increase the thickness of the waterproof shell. So I’ll probably bring two. Not sure yet.

My gloves are half fingerless with mittens that pop on top of them. Really great for both warming, cooling, and operating my iPhone, Go Pro (if I bring it), zipper on water bottle bag, etc.

Bottoms will be warm running tights with shorts on top. Again, if it’s really raining or sleeting or the wind is over 25 mph, I’ll add thin, waterproof shell pants.

I’ve got great trail shoes, warm (and proven) running socks, a warm beanie and if needed a balaclava. I haven’t landed on my sunglasses yet, but have a backup pair if I don’t find what I want in the next few weeks.

As far as nutrition, it’s only 13.1 miles, so I’ll likely stick mostly with water and dates. I might add a CLIF bar in my pack for a just-in-case scenario. Maybe I’ll lose more calories in the cold than I realize, so I’d rather be on the safe side.

It’s all getting so close. Will continue to keep you posted as the weeks count down.

Until then, stay healthy. 🙏

Five weeks to Antarctica race

low storm clouds over running trail

Training is almost back on schedule. I’m still running about a mile short on the weekend long runs (seven miles), but feeling nice and strong during the run and recovering quickly.

Rainy weather has made for interesting conditions in the bay area, but still nothing like Antarctica. Not a snowflake to be found, just a lot of rain and wind.

Luckily, I have a couple more training trips to cold places that should help at least expose my lungs and body to the frigid temperatures anticipated on race day.

Also, I don’t feel like I’m getting the hill work needed in what’s expected on the Antarctic race course, but I’m doing my best to get to the trails.

The run I get to do most days is just outside my doorstep and this is a training no-no. Even though it’s so easy and convenient and connects to the bay trail, which goes on for miles, it’s not even close to what I am expecting in Antarctica.

If I can’t make the time to get to the trails and put in the work, I will pay for this dearly in Antarctica in the way of tired legs and a lot of huffing and puffing. 😟

That two-week sickness really set me back, but I have five more weeks to turn it around. 💪🏼

I still need to finish my packing list as well. The race company posts their recommendations, but I feel like it’s missing quite a few things that will make my race a happy – or at least more comfortable – race. Will post my complete packing list once done.

Until next time, stay healthy. 🙏

Back at it

slippery when wet paint on run path with Saucony shoes

It took over a week to recover from the flu shot-caused illness, at least enough to start running again. I did three very tough miles in an attempt to get back on the half marathon training schedule. I hope to knock out six more this weekend, which is still a mile behind where I should be.

But I suppose I’m not the first or last runner who has encountered sickness during her training so let me share what I’ve learned.

If you get sick, get rest. I think sleeping for hours or days at a time actually shortened the illness. I didn’t try to get out too soon and simply let the virus take its course while I stayed hydrated and warm under many blankets.

Drink lots of liquids. No brainer here. The more liquids you can drink to help your body flush out the badness, the faster you’ll recover.

Vitamin C is king. I took loads of vitamin C even though I doubted it would help with the flu virus. It did. I wasn’t nearly as tired or feverish after I started loading up on the C. Make sure you have enough zinc in your system to absorb it too.

Sticking to the bulletproof fast was easier than ever. Since I didn’t have an appetite, eating during a short, say eight-hour window, was a snap. I ate only healthy, clean foods with mega-nutrients like avocados, lettuce, nuts, salmon, etc.

As an aside, I’m loving the bulletproof coffee concoction with the intermittent fasting, and will give an update next week after the three week experiment officially ends.

Last but not least, although I am no doctor, my experience has told me to avoid the flu shot. If you had the shot and believe it works for you, then keep at it. Good for you. If you’ve not had the injection in the past and not caught the flu, you probably don’t need it.

Although flu shots can have different ingredients, the most popular injection contains genetically modified dead flu strands along with a bunch of other junk they label stabilizers and preservatives. Oh, and don’t forget the wonderful lot of antibiotics they also include in there. Antibiotics in the flu shot. Strange, isn’t it?

This terrible mixture goes directly into your blood stream. In my case, a few days later it manifested into a painful and debilitating illness that lasted over a week.

I don’t care what the CDC says about its “safety.” It’s not like large governing bodies in the US have a fabulous track record of open and honest policies. Historically, they tend to make lobbyists and big businesses, like drug companies who produce the shot, lots of money. What a racket. 👎

Stay healthy runners.

Training setback 😫

After the flu shot last week, I became so incredibly sick that I was not able to get out of bed, let alone get in my six-mile training run over the weekend.

I was frustrated with the whole situation. I knew intuitively I should have avoided the flu shot, like I do every year, but the nurse so strongly insisted on it, I felt pressured and acquiesced.

After five days of flu symptoms and the worst sore throat I’ve ever endured, I’ve resolved to give up all my anger and resentment, and simply focus on healing myself.

What happened? On Wednesday, I was perfectly healthy when I walked into the wellness office looking for guidance on what I might need for my trip to Antarctica and Argentina.

I left infected – er vaccinated – and symptoms started the very next day. It began with a low grade fever, a few aches, a slight sore throat, and continued to worsen hour after hour.

The height of the illness came at 2am, about 88 hours after the shot, with the sweats and puking in the middle of the night, not unlike the real flu. Now, five days later, a small cough and terribly painful sore throat still remain. At least I have the strength to sit up and type and eat again.

While this story is somewhat controversial and goes directly against the CDC, I am confident that the “vaccine” caused the sickness. And because of that, logically, the CDC is wrong. It’s not like governing bodies of health have a good record of keeping us healthy.

In the past, food lobbyists have swayed US Dietary Guidelines so they could sell more wheat and corn and meat. If that’s possible, how much more powerful are the drug companies? Oh, it’s so frustrating!

Not that we’ll solve this today. Instead, I need to figure out my training situation. It’s like I can feel my fitness fading away with every fiery swallow.

I missed my six-miler due to this illness and don’t know when I will be strong enough to resume running. (I’m praying it’s in the next couple of days.) I need this swollen and painful throat to heal and the cough to subside. Once that happens, I’ll start back with three miles and work my way up again.

Assuming, I rebound in the next 48 hours, there is a 10K happening near me on Saturday. If I’m feeling well enough by Wednesday, I will register and run that for a my make-up training run.

Send healing prayers for a fast recovery. 🙏