Taking my medicine

Nothing makes me grumpier than downtime from running, but that is exactly what I have chosen to do. After Sunday’s race debacle, I knew I needed some chilling, but wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I decided to pick the brain of a friend who is an experienced coach, doctor, and very strong runner. I figured he might be one of the best sources for ideas, and I feel pretty good about talking with him.

So, after he chastised me for even running the race, he went on to recommend some complete downtime from running–about a week was his suggestion, or until I’m not sore/tired anymore. Ok, I can do that. I told him that I have a forced week off starting next Thursday due to my LASIK appointment, and asked if might not sneak in a run or two just before that appointment. He laughed and commented, “spoken like a true runner.” His suggestion, however, was that I just roll one week into the next and really rest up. Not what I wanted to hear, but probably what I’ll do (ok, if I feel really good by next Wed, I might try a very short run knowing I’ll be off for a full week again).

While I’m breaking from running, my friend thought it would be ok for me to do some easy cycling and swimming. Now here’s where it always gets tricky for me. When I can’t run, I want to compensate by training hard in other things. Stupid, I know, but it’s how I’m wired. So I’ve been concentrating really hard on doing everything at a very easy, low heart rate level. So far, so good. I can’t afford to build up any lactic acid in these legs right now.

My bitter pill

On the anemia front–I’ve been supplementing with copper. Why copper and not iron? My type of anemia is thallessemia (a genetic blood disorder) and iron is actually contra-indicated. One of copper’s jobs in our bodies is helping red blood cells, much like iron. Last year when I saw the sock doc for my ITB syndrome, he found I was copper deficient. After supplementing for a couple of months at that time, I had my blood drawn again and saw my best hematocrit count yet, a 42. So after consulting with him, I decided to try the copper again and see if makes a difference.

All I can tell you is that right now, I’m still stinking tired. I want to nap every day, want to sleep in every day (want but don’t do) and I’m dragging. I don’t like feeling this way at all. Just to have my normal energy levels back will be a gift, so I’m hoping my two-pronged approach will work and work quickly.

Have you ever been anemic? Ever overtrained? 

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  1. says

    Yes and yes. I can relate to cross training at a super high intensity when you can’t / don’t run. I push myself so hard – sometimes even harder than running – and have felt more worn out and tired! LOL
    I was anemic in college (due to poor eating habits) and felt lousy all the time. Even a short run was a challenge b/c I was always out of breath. I was put on Iron pills which seemed to help after a bit.
    I hope the forced rest and the new pills work their magic – try to enjoy the downtime!
    Michele @ nycrunningmama recently posted..Saucony Shoe Giveaway!!My Profile

  2. says

    No and yes….I’ve over trained when trying to reach a certain goal. For example I wanted to run 1500 miles last year and mid-way decided to make it more than that! I had to take a break when I noticed my body was not happy with me and not responding when I needed it too. Not easy to do but worth it in the end. I hope your time of rest and new pills are just what you need!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

  3. says

    I’ve never been anemic but I hear you on the dragging thing. I’ve been taking daily naps since the beginning of the year with my schedule having me up so early each day teaching bootcamp, but training is finally starting to wear me down and I’m just dog tired right now. This next month can’t get over soon enough. I need summer vacation STAT!
    Julie recently posted..Raffle Prizes – Sweet Deal!!My Profile

  4. says

    It’s so damn hard to take time off..
    People are always asking me if I try to “get out” of running and I’m like ….no!….
    Good luck with your resting, I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that you come out on the other side refreshed and unscathed!
    Middleaged Runner recently posted..An Oceanside Adventure!My Profile

  5. says

    There was a really interesting podcast on running times I listened to when I was injured over the winter. (When I find it I’ll post a link.) It was by a high school coach who through years of experience found that injured female runners needed to fully rest while boy runners could cross train like maniacs through their injuries. He said even after 1-3 weeks completely off the female athletes could come right back and run PRs. He said it seemed like when female runners got injured it was less an actual injury (if that makes sense) and more their bodies saying they needed a break. I thought this was really interesting and I tried to remember this as I cross trained. When I came back from injury after a few days of running again (after 2 months off) I felt great until I didn’t feel so great about 2 weeks later when I found out I was pregnant again! But I really think there was something to his theory. Good luck recovering and hope your lasik goes well!!!
    Salty recently posted..Love the Skin You’re In: Suncreen and Summer RunningMy Profile

  6. says

    Good to hear you are resting, sounds like that is just what your body needs. And..glad you are getting some answers about the anemia. I think the proactive approach really helps – doing what we CAN do when we can’t do exactly what we want (if that makes any sense at all).
    Shut Up and Run recently posted..Finding My ChiMy Profile

  7. says

    I’m sorry to hear that but I feel ya. I have been completely exhausted. The other day I napped for 3 freaking hours! I never do that! Then I promptly went to bed at 9:00. I have not really run since Eugene and my body finally feels “caught up”. And you know what? It’s been awesome once I acquiesced and said “who cares if I don’t run or do too much right now, this is supposed to be fun; an additional life enjoyment. Really it’s not a big deal”. I’m gluttonous by nature and taking some rest was amazing and I feel 100x better. Enjoy the rest maybe with a new book.
    Fueled by Spite recently posted..Cross trainMy Profile

  8. says

    Would it creep you out if I told you I had a dream the other night that I went to the dentist and the dentist was YOU?! What?! Actually I had a real life dentist appointment the other week and the hygienist sort of looked like you, so that’s probably where that’s coming from. Anyway, weird blog commenters aside… good luck sticking to the rest!
    Laura recently posted..The routineMy Profile

  9. says

    That’s interesting about being copper deficient.
    I hope you somewhat enjoy your downtime from hard training. Maybe some nice trail walks/hikes will help?
    I don’t think I’ve ever over-trained. I’ve never been diagnosed as anemic, but sometimes I think I have the symptoms.

  10. says

    That’s interesting about the copper deficiency. I was anemic most of college because I was vegetarian, and my doc told me to take iron supplements. The down side, was after a few days, the iron pills really started upsetting my stomach and made me feel awful. I decided to stop taking them, and up my iron intake from a nutrition standpoint. And I’ve been doing that ever since. We eat 95% vegan in our household (the occasional chicken dish will pop up once or twice a month), but spinach salads, kale, artichokes, and soynuts are my fave go-tos :)
    Erin recently posted..#WhatshouldwecallgradschoolMy Profile

  11. says

    You are going to slap anemia right in the face so hard, that Jean Claude Van Damme is gonna be jealous.

    Well wishes and try not to over-train too much and enjoy the rest week. I know it’s tough, but you can do it. How about some poopy TV soap opera’s or bad reality television? Just turn on E and waste a day. :)
    PavementRunner recently posted..Playlist Thursday: Makeup GaloreMy Profile

  12. says

    I know what it’s like having forced down time. I had 2 months of it at the beginning of the year.

    I never thought about having a copper deficiency as a possibility. It would be great if there was some quick test at home like a pregnancy test where you could check all your mineral and vitamin levels each day.

    My wife had LASIK back in 2004. It was worth every penny.

    One week down time is nothing. The rest should do you a lot of good. Deep down, I think you would agree.
    2 Slow 4 Boston recently posted..I’m Getting Schooled… Part 2 of 5 (Lactate Threshold Test)My Profile

  13. says

    I hope you feel better soon, the fatigue from anemia can be horrible. I have always bordered on being anemic but nothing that has affected me too bad. As far as overtraining goes I have definitely done that which usually results in stress fractures and shin splints for so I am just trying tread lightly and build my mileage so I can get to my marathon injury free.
    Toni Church recently posted..A Tabata Workout plus a GymBoss GiveawayMy Profile

  14. says

    I have been “cross training” since Boston due to a few different reasons one being 12 stitches in my knee! I totally get the overcompensating in other activities to fill the void of running!! I think all this other stuff I have been doing is harder on my body than running. But I know to get to where I want to be I have to strengthen my weaknesses now. I hope you a feeling better soon!
    Stacey@DErunningmom recently posted..Expresso!My Profile

  15. says

    I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of
    it. I’ve got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…
    Maria recently posted..MariaMy Profile