Running the bloody numbers

I don’t know why this should surprise me, but I’ve received feedback on the order of “so, when are you going to post your bloodwork results?!” I’d thought that was way too much detail to share, not that I mind sharing it.

It is interesting to compare numbers to other athletes, although as the saying goes, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Without knowing a lot about what the numbers really mean, well, it’s hard to know what the numbers really mean.

So without further adieu, here’s what’s going on in me that is not visible to the naked eye. I’m just sharing the highlights, not every single reading.

Note that test reference numbers are based on the subject’s age, gender, etc.. So you may have a completely different set of “normal” criteria if you go get these tests done for yourself.

Thing measured           Result           Reference
                                          (Lab's "normal" range)

Blood pressure           108/59           Damned good!
Pulse rate               45               Sweet!

  WBC                    4.4              4.0-10.5
  RBC                    4.17             3.8-5.1
  Hemoglobin             13.3             11.5-15.0
  Hematocrit             39.8             34.0-44.0
  MCV                    95               80-98
  MCH                    31.9             27.0-34.0
  MCHC                   33.5             32.0-36.0
  Platelets              259              140-415
Iron and TIBC
  TIBC                   456 (high)       250-450
  UIBC                   353              150-375
  Iron, Serum            103              35-155
  Iron Saturation        23               15-55
  Ferritin, Serum        35               10-291

Vitamins (ordered on suspected deficiency)
  Vitamin D              36.4             32.0-100.00
  Vitamin B12            456              211-911

Lipid Panel (for shits and giggles, and gloating rights)
  Cholesterol, Total     143             100-199
  Triglycerides          54              0-149
  HDL Cholesterol        71              >39
  VLDL Cholesterol       11              5-40
  LDL Cholesterol Calc   61              0-99
  LDL/HDL Ratio          0.9             0.0-3.2


Bloody good

Just got the call from my doc. Good news: Bloodwork came back normal. Bad news: This confirms that the problem was somewhere in my training.

I get the full results by fax tomorrow morning. But, for the curious, the ferritin level was 35. My notes say a female endurance athlete should be, at minimum, somewhere in the 25-50 range. So that’s a good number, although perhaps not great. I’ll see what the other iron-related readings are (he did the whole shebang) and decide if I want to supplement anyway.

Meanwhile, Coach Kevin is putting the frosting and sprinkles on a nine week basebuilding schedule. I don’t know the details, but he’s said it will be different from the previous basebuilding schedule because I’m fitter this time around, plus he’s allowing for the horrible summer heat and humidity.

A nine week schedule sets me up to start training for CIM at the start of September. That yields a 14 week training cycle, including the taper. I think this will work better than Newport’s 22 weeks.

But more on that in a bit…

Okay, that’s enough recovery

I’m going to consider this week as my last week of post-marathon (as it were) recovery. Which means basebuilding begins anew tomorrow.

I know I’m recovered because I have been determined to run a race. Not because I expect to PR in anything (especially in the summer heat and humidity of NY), but mostly because I’ve missed running fast in a crowd. I tried to race in a brand new 10K up in Rockefeller State Park yesterday, but had to skip it after getting horribly lost. So I tried again today, with greater success, and ran the Achilles Track Club 5 miler in Central Park.

I’m not even going to bother putting together a race report, because this wasn’t really a “race” race. I just wanted an atmosphere in which I could run fast for more than a mile or two. I went in with no expectations and a liberating “I don’t give a shit about this race” attitude.

As a result, nothing bothered me. The lady at registration gets annoyed because I only have $25 (that’s what the NYRR web site said it cost) and they suddenly wanted $35? I don’t give a shit. I get stuck behind a bunch of 8:00 pace people for the first half mile? I don’t give a shit. Four women pass me in the last two miles? I don’t give a shit.

Yes, it was fun to race and not really care much about it. Although I did find one thing to motivate me: a woman with 12% body fat passed me in the first mile and said, “Nice job” and instead of appreciating her innocently offered good tidings, my inward competitive bitch muttered, “Lady, you’re dead meat.”

We spent the next 3.5 miles passing each other. She’d pass me on the uphills, I’d pass her on the downhills. At mile 4.5, a downhill, I passed her for the last time and kept up the effort all the way through the uphill finish. I did not hear “Nice job” again.

Final time was 37:17, good for 45th Female overall and 4th in my AG. I realized somewhere after mile 3 that I could have run harder. I guess it’s been over half a year since my last short race (a 10K), so I’ve forgotten how to run them. I knew I hadn’t raced all out because I still had plenty of energy afterward. So I came home and then went out and ran another 8 miles. Now I’m tired.

All in all, this was a good transitional week between the relative slothdom of the weeks immediately after the Newport race and next week, in which I hope to keep running some faster miles and get the mileage up around 70. I may even try to race again next week. I covered 58 miles this week, which is close to the 60 I wanted to hit.

I’ve not yet built the new spreadsheet for this season, so here’s the low-tech, unflashy breakdown:

  • Monday: 5 miles, recovery
  • Tuesday: 9.6 miles general aerobic with last 15 mins at harder effort (~91-93% MHR)
  • Wednesday: 7.1 miles, recovery
  • Thursday: 8.2 miles, recovery
  • Friday: 4.9 miles, recovery
  • Saturday: 10.1 miles, recovery
  • Sunday: 5 mile race, 7.8 miles general aerobic

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to get the results from last week’s bloodwork. I’ve held off on posting a post-Newport post-mortem until those come in. I have lots of theories about what could have been done better in the training (opinions that are shared by Coach Kevin), but if the bloodwork comes back with neon numbers pointing to an obvious problem at the cellular level then I’m apt to revise some (but not all) of those opinions. I still think there’s room for improvement in the next cycle, but the extent to which (and how) I think the training should be tweaked will rest in no small part on what the lab numbers say tomorrow.