Inside Tracker Blood Test #2

A few months ago, I got my first blood test from Inside Tracker. After which, I made some lifestyle and eating habit changes, took a break and saw some good results.

I took a month off from running.

I ate more nutrient and calorically dense foods.

I gained about 15lbs.

I came back to get second in the Cayuga Trails marathon, win Many on the Genny and have the courage to leave a job that was stressing my body and causing sub-optimal performance and fatigue.

I was feeling pretty good until Escarpment, which I completed, but I begin started a cascade of little niggles, that turned into bigger problems leading to a pinched nerve and foot issues at Greenlakes. After that race, I took a step back and started to look for more answers.

I saw a chiropractor. I changed my stretching and mobility routines, I didn’t run and I did other things. I spent more time with family, I was more present at my job, I got a van.

I didn’t run for almost a month, allowing my body to dictate my return. I shifted my priorities to other things, but kept up with recovery work.

One thing I hadn’t thought about for a while before Greenlakes, and oddly before my dad asked about free range eggs and why I don’t eat what comes from our chickens, I largely forgot about my Inside Tracker test and my at-risk levels.

Here I was, unable to walk, sad and tired. Sure, I was happy in my job and knew I was in the right place, but something was off and I was ready to fix it.

So I started eating eggs again, once every few weeks. I also stopped reading labels or asking what was in things. I let my parents and friends make and give things to me and I ate them. I took a very relaxed attitude to this, and felt a lot of pressure lift.

I got serious about my supplementing and now am compulsive about taking all my vitamins everyday.

I realized that I want to be able to run for life and be healthy and happy doing it, so I will take care of my diet and recovery outside of running.

Well, I feel better, am at peace with whatever fitness I have, running or not, and what do you know, my levels have improved.

My B-12 is great.

My testosterone to cortisol ratio (indicating overtraining) is in the correct range.

These were two things I was concerned about.

My vitamin D and Iron are still at risk, so this is the next hurdle.

Then I will tackle magnesium. I’m trying to work on sleep and just need to find my secret sauce.

I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

One thing I don’t know very much about is my low white blood cell count. I had a lot of inflammation, however I had just come back from a run, which increases inflammation and temporarily suppressed immune function. This will be in my focus along with vitamin D and iron.

What I started doing began to work, time to try a bit harder. I am discussing my test with the Inside Tracker team shortly and getting their recommendations as to how to proceed.


Any questions?

Building Blocks: A Short Tempo

After a few weeks of steady running, I started to feel like myself again. My legs felt adjusted to running and I no longer was in discomfort from lack of fitness through my runs
As I described in this post, building fitness is painful at times. It’s not an injury pain but a bodily fatigue that feels like learning a skill I thought I mastered. It’s taxing on the body, and also the mind. I feel as though I’ve made it over the first hump in returning from injury time off. Running is coming back.

So why not try a bit of tempo paced work?

My plan was to do a bit of pyramid style faster running and see how it felt. I would be happy with anything even if it was a 10 second on, 5 minutes off type of thing.

I began with a 2 mile warm up and felt pretty fine getting a bit faster towards the last half mile. I then progressed into a 400 on, 1200 off, 800 on, 800 off, 1200 on, 400 off, and finished with a full 1600 meters at tempo pace before a 2 mile cool down.

It wasn’t easy, but it felt doable. It was a confidence boost rather than a workout that provided any kind of adaptation in my legs. I just needed to believe I could do something faster than “easy”.

This is by no means what others do or what anyone “should” do. Other ways to do this, build up some fitness or rev the engine so to speak, are short hill bursts, strides or a fartlek. This workout just works for me, it is my confidence run.

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9.9 Humbling, Beautiful Miles

My day started while it’s still dark. It usually does actually, but today even my later 6AM wake up was cloaked in a darkness I associate with fall running. This morning I had it in my mind to try for 10 miles. If my foot hurt, I would stop, but outside of that, 10 was the goal.

Damn, it was hard.

I can remember a time when 10 flat miles was cake. Ironically, during that time I questioned whether 10 miles was enough. Could I do more? Push harder? Is this right?

This morning, I felt no pressure to conform to that. I gave myself grace and acknowledged that this running thing is hard. Building fitness is a huge challenge. But it’s also my favorite part.

The first few miles are uneventful as my body wakes up and it’s still too dark to notice the beauty of my small town. I make it through Stewart Park and pass the college rowers warming up. I wonder what it would be like to be strong like that. I am strong too, but in a different way. I run over the two bridges, one is so wobbly I think about come winter if I’ll slip this year like the two previous. 

I make it over the four lane highway and to my turn at Buffalo street and wonder if I’ll make it to 10 miles. I’m at mile 4 and I can feel my fitness, or lack there of. I start getting into the podcast I’m listening to about cultivating a side hustle. Sweet Jesus I don’t have time for that right now, but it’s a great concept. My sister makes beautiful signs out of restored wood, I should encourage her to listen to this podcast, she has a side hustle.

I get to Cass Park and make it to the bathroom just in time to take my characteristic mid-run poop. I’ve tried to stop going outside if I can avoid it because you never know if you’ll show up in the news. Is my backside cute enough for Good Morning America? I don’t want to find out. Kim K already has made her ass into her side hustle so I think I have big competition (pun intended). 

I get to the turn around point and have a choice to make. Keep going home and end at 8 miles or do another loop of Cass and get to 10. I am questioning how my foot feels (fine) and how my fitness is (not great). I decide to try. Slow and steady, just move forward, get to the rink, get to the boats, back to the bridge, back on Buffalo. Now the straight away down to my end point, my work, to CTB for coffee and a cool down. 

I made it. I stop my watch, almost 10. 9.9. Good enough. Cool down routine using the tree outside, get a coffee (half hazelnut , half love buzz) and walk a half mile home.

I did it. It was hard. It was humbling. It was fucking beautiful.

See you out there (finally)!!!!!


Racing has certainly done a 180 on me this fall. I originally had plans to do a few races leading up to JFK in November as training runs, but the universe had a different direction for me to take.

Starting with Escarpment, where I was very humbled and shaken, manifesting into a nerve issue in my butt at Green Lakes and then travelling to my foot, running this past few weeks has been inconsistent, then non-existent as I work to heal my foot.

It’s getting better, but not at where it should be right now. I understand that and realize that it’s not my fault per se, but another step in my running journey.

I received word this morning that I did not get off from work on the Saturday of the Watergap 50K. The gym I work at part time is small and there are only 4 employees. Two of them have families and the other has a massaging business taking precedence on the weekends. I simply did not find coverage.

Taking this as a sign, rather than push it and try to force another employee to give up their weekend, I am not going to do the race. I have not run in a week and don’t like betting on “being able to run” in a certain period of time. This includes JFK. I continue to see improvements in my foot, but if it’s not better by then, of course I am not going to race it.

Last week was very emotional as I processed facing yet another training setback. I felt like a failure yet again. It took some time and a lot of talking with my friends and other runners, but I have come out of the anger phase of injury. I am simply looking to move forward.

Most people ask what I’m doing different this time, so here is the biggest change…one that is still very hard for me, and one that I’m not sure will be forever, but needed right now.

I have started eating some animal products again.

It’s now out there. I’ve only confided in a few people, and they can see how upset I’ve been over this. They have been nothing but supportive in whatever I choose and I thank God for them.

How did I get here one might ask? After Green Lakes, I was upset with how that went, but then also noticed that even with resting after that, I was still tired, oddly off balance and just in a weird zone. I shrugged it off, and just rested more. However, I could not ignore the symptoms I was having. I say symptoms, not cravings. I was not craving meat, eggs or dairy.

I looked up what I was experiencing and there it was, classic B12 deficiency. I looked at my Inside Tracker panel, and was reminded that I was low in that nutrient back in April when I was tested. The first 3 years I was vegan, I didn’t know about supplementing and this past year, if I get busy or work early, I forget to take my vitamins.

Nothing I can do about that now, except change what I am doing thus forward.

So, I have started incorporating small amount of animal products, a huge dose b12 supplement and more balance work in my training. I’m thinking of this period as a supplement for my body. I just want to get those levels up.

What this time is not: this is not me renouncing my veganism. I still believe it is important to try to eat as close to a vegan diet for the animals, the planet and for your health. I think I should have made more sure to take a b12 supplement, especially because I am an athlete. I am not “breaking vegan” and am not advocating anyone healthy do so. I am doing this for my body and my health.

I am not going to overthink this any longer. I have been in emotional distress the past week over this and can no longer live in that state of mind. I’m following what my body is telling me it needs.

If anyone has any questions, please email me and I can try to answer.


My Podcast Interview is LIVE!

A few months ago, I spent a weekend running at Bristol ski mountain with a few Rochester friends. That hill workout was my first workout back from a mostly unstructured off season.

I wrote about that here.

After the workout, my coach and I ate breakfast with Chris O’Brian, local running and podcast legend in Rochester. We then spent an hour or so podcasting for his show Running Inside Out. I had a lot of fun recounting a few races, talking about rest days and remembering why I love to run.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think!