I had my annual physical last week. It went well. I'm healthy. Got my blood work results back yesterday and my cholesterol looks good. I think there is still room for improvement there, but I'll take it!
One number came in very off. It's something I've dealt with on a minor level for years but now it's serious and I have to pay attention. Iron. My doc says the lowest he likes to see it is 10. Most things I'm reading set that low bar around 30-60. The scale goes as high as 250 or something. My iron?
On the one hand, this is great news because it really explains a lot. I've been feeling very run down the past month and had no clue why. I just thought I was fighting off some sort of bug. Turns out that my tiredness, my lack of motivation, my draining energy was most likely related to having very low iron. Christy pointed out that's it has probably been steadily declining so I didn't notice a sudden drop. This also explains the weird spells I've had recently- feeling anxious, jittery, dizzy... just... off.
I've always been borderline anemic. But the most it ever meant was that I couldn't ever donate blood and that I craved steak about once a month. It wasn't ever a big deal.
So what would cause the change now? No easy answer on that but I do think there is one factor, one change made in the last year that is adding to this problem.
Turns out, low iron can be caused by endurance training, hard workouts, etc. Here's a great article on the subject. Go read it- I'll wait here. Did you read it? Good. It describes everything I've had going on. It answers so many questions. You might recall that I had a frustrating run on Monday. This iron thing... explains so much of it. Just this past Sunday, I was feeling off all morning. I was kind of dizzy and light headed at times. I expressed to a friend that I felt jittery or anxious- just "off." And now I can look back and see that I hadn't eaten a good breakfast and my iron must have been really low and that it was impacting me. And the same holds true on Monday. And in previous weeks.
But here's my frustration... I feel like I keep having these excuses for not improving in my running. First, it was an IT band issue due to running form. Fixed that. Next, it was exercise induced asthma. Fixed that. Now, it's iron deficiency. A friend pointed out that these are diagnoses and not excuses. I agree. I also feel like I keep finding something wrong, fixing it, and then I find something else wrong.
I just want a run where everything is right.
As Christy pointed out, I'm still in a better place. I'm still able to do more and be more active. I was venting my frustration about finding all these stupid health issues since exercising. And that if I hadn't started exercising so much in the first place, maybe I never would have even had breathing problems or maybe I wouldn't have exacerbated the low iron thing. Maybe being one of those couch dwellers would have been a better....
NO! Um... hello? Snap out of it!! Glad I have a friend like Christy who can point out my stupidity- in a kind and loving way, of course.
Yes, exercising is increasing my awareness of stuff that doesn't work exactly right in my body. But if I wasn't on this healthier track... just think of the more serious health issues I would most likely be facing!!
So there are no plans to become a true Ironwoman. But hopefully this is yet another step taken on this journey. Hopefully this is yet another fix that will help me achieve my goals, make some progress, and feel strong and healthy again.