Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Strange Symptoms

I've been struggling for about 3 weeks with some weird symptoms that seemed to be all over the board despite my mileage and training intensity being lower than normal. Looking back, it seems like I have been dealing with these symptoms in a more minor way, since mid-December.  The symptoms hit a peak last week when I tried to run the Lost Lake 50k course as a training run and could barely get up the hills, I stopped short with only 16.5 miles. I took the next day off and struggled to even walk from room to room without feeling breathless. How could this be?  I was as well trained as I have ever been in my life.  I had a month of lower mileage (60-70 mile weeks) compared to my favored 90 mile weeks. Some of the symptoms I was feeling:
Elevating my legs after a long and really slow workout this past week.
1. Low energy so severe at times I can't run a simple hill or get work done on the computer after a hard workout.
2. Creepy skin/nerve feeling like an itching on skin, especially on arms. Along with this I was feeling some weird crawling going up my legs that felt less painful than the arm itching and more jumpy feeling.
3. Shortness of breath: I'd have to stop to catch my breath just walking into the kitchen.
4. Heart palpitations daily
5. Trouble maintaining my usual speed on the trails and road, even on an easy day
6. Regular headaches

I was starting to think I was going crazy or something was more seriously wrong than I realized.  Doing a little research on my symptoms (and with some medical knowlegdge to begin with) I began to suspect that I had developed an iron deficiency.

Apparently this is quite common in runners. Based on my symptoms, I got pretty deficient!  I am finally feeling better after almost a week of supplementation. I've included a few articles on iron deficiency, but beware of supplementing without getting tested, too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron Deficiency in Runners
Athletes and Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron and the Endurance Athlete
Iron Deficiency in Runners


  1. Sounds like a wonky nervous system response. Keep this "type of thing" in mind too (big training miles are a form of stress) http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue

    ...particularly if you are not suffering insomnia - one of the big tell-tale signs of anemia.

    Feel better soon!

  2. Ya like what Adrienne says, aside from low iron you have been pushing yourself pretty hard and consistently without much of break since probably pre Tahoe, your body maybe is just ready to chill out.


Thank you for commenting!