Yesterday was one of the most famous road races in America – the Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. This year I was fortunate enough to toe the line and give it my best shot. After last week’s big mileage week, I tapered down with only two light track sessions this week. The race was a really fantastic experience with the Mizuno team and several other athletes I’ve met competing against. For our pre-race dinner, we went to a spectacular restaurant on Main Street in Falmouth called Osteria La Civetta. I had the special, which was a polenta encrusted bluefish.
After dinner, my wonderful and always supportive parents and I drive back to Fall River, Mass where we stayed in a hotel. After a 5:30AM wake-up call I went out the hotel lobby to pouring rain for a 2 mile shakeout. I think the rain was coming down harder than the shower pressure after that run! Quickly packed up my things and we drove into Falmouth. After running 20 minutes warm-up with Cristo and Craig, I did drills for practically an hour as the race was delayed due to flooding on the course.
The race start was a mess as I somehow got in about the 6th row of people. I slowly worked my way up and spent the entire race passing people. It was pretty cool to run with Chris Solinsky for a bit, who when I passed him said “good job man.” I certainly know Chris is not in his sub 27:00 10k shape, but it was still fun to be directly competing against him. My splits were fairly even with a slight negative split as I ran 35:38 chip time for 28th overall, one spot ahead of Chris.
My legs felt fairly good all week, but I could kind of tell something has been still a bit off. As I mentioned in a past blog post, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 9 weeks ago. Last week before returning to the east coast I had my blood rechecked to see if the medication was working. The blood test results I got back were honestly disappointing. My ferratin (iron) dropped by over 50%, my thyroid levels were still low, and my testosterone was low too. I was on the lowest dose of levothyroxine and my doctor thought it was best to double the dose. Hopefully that will improve my energy and metabolism! I’ve learned a lot of important information from this rough patch I’ve been going through.
1.) As distance runners we tend to want to train “hard.” Let’s remember racing hard and training smart is the most important.
2.) Iron is lost through sweat. The exact amount has been debated in the literature. I’ve been diligently heat-training all summer wearing extra layers of clothes to sweat more in preparation for the Kauai Marathon. I’ve been extremely careful to bring plenty of water and electrolytes, but didn’t realize the impact on iron. For those of you (maybe not specifically!) heat-training due to being in a hot & humid climate – remember that you might be losing more iron than you think in the summer.
3.) Listen to your body! If you’re feeling fatigued, get blood work done! Find a specialist or AT LEAST a doctor who understands endurance athletes. I’m confident there’s no doctor more knowledgeable than Dr. Glowney at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine.
4.) Nutrition is highly important for a lot of things – including testosterone and overall metabolism. Did you know that you need to eat enough cholesterol and saturated fats to produce testosterone? What is one of the best foods for saturated fats and testosterone production? Answer: coconut oil.
Now I’m 20 days from the Kauai Marathon. I’m fit and ready to beat my course record from last year (2:23:21), but now is the time to do all the little things right to make sure I’m healthy and ready to give it my best shot. I’m tapering back the mileage for the last 21 days. This weekend I’m going to do the Boulder Heart and Sole Half-Marathon as my last challenging effort before the marathon.
I hope to come across with pure honesty and reflection in this and every blog. Not everything is smiles and sunshine. I certainly do not want to be running 35:38 at Falmouth every year, a time I don’t feel is worth the work and effort I’ve been putting in. It’s tough as an athlete to say, “hey I’m not running personal best times right now, but I’m staying positive, going to figure out what’s going wrong, and doing all the little things I can to get back there.”