I do wish. But I’m down here at sea-level Maryland. My hematologist informed me the other day that essentially, that’s how my body feels/performs–like someone from Maryland who tries to race at altitude. In other words, even after four IV infusions of iron, my red cell counts and iron stores are still in the basement.
It was a frustrating visit with the doctor, I’m not going to lie. He has essentially thrown up his hands in terms of how to help me. We did six months of oral supplements with vitamin C for added absorption. No improvement. We did four rounds of iron infusions. No improvement. What he thinks happens to me is that my body destroys red cells as quickly as it produces them. Interestingly, it’s not all that uncommon in female runners, especially those, ahem, getting a bit older.
So what am I left with? Basically accepting that as long as I’m running, I’m not going to get into the normal range. Instead, my focus has to be on maintaining the numbers that I have through diet and supplementation. He did suggest taking a six-month running break if I wanted to get my numbers up, but we all know how well that suggestion went over!
Thankfully, I have some very smart friends in some very useful fields. One of my running partners is an RD, so she is helping me optimize the food and timing of supplementation. Another is an acupuncturist who is close to finishing up her studies in Chinese herbal medicine. She’s also going to give me some feedback and suggestions.
The other part of the equation I’ve got to work on is the mental side. I can’t let myself believe that this will affect future race performances because as soon as I think like that, it will. I haven’t known much differently in all the years I’ve been running based on past bloodwork, so this is just who I am/what my body is. I’ll keep on keeping on and do the best I can.
Anyone else have never-ending anemia? Suggestions?