Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's in the blood.

First, Happy New Year! 2014 was not the year I had hoped it would be when it came to races and health, but nonetheless it has been a good year, especially outside of Triathlon. Hopefully 2015 will blow all expectations out of the water!

So, back to a more serious tone for a blog post. I've vaguely written about my battle the past few weeks with recovering, feeling wiped out, and taking my trip to Provision and having blood work done. While I'm still in the midst of it (not back to training until Jan. 5th at earliest) and by no means an expert on anything medically related, I'd like to share a few takeaways of what I "think" I've learned.

Let's Iron out the details of this bad pun
Going into the blood test, I had a suspicion (from too much googling) that I had low iron. A lot of the symptoms (and causes) lined up with my situation. So when I first saw my results and both my iron levels and my hemoglobin were on the high side of normal, I was a bit confused. After some explanation and then later some much further reading, I came to learn a new word. Ferritin. (Actually Serum Ferritin) and while my iron levels were high (free floating iron) my ferritin (stored iron) was low, creating a sort of anemia, particularly in exercise.

Fortunately, the solution is pretty simple. Start taking iron to get the levels normal, then change the diet to keep them there. (Nobody wants to take iron long term, the side effects suck, as I'm now acutely aware.)

The next thing on the list was my Happy Vitamin.

Sunny D...amirite?

Who would have thought that a fairly introverted video game playing nerd who does most of his rides on the trainer, swims in the pool and runs before dawn would have low vitamin D.

I'll be straight up honest with you, I didn't know crap about vitamin D. I thought it came in milk and helped your bones be strong. (hey, I was right)

It also plays a role in a TON of bodily functions, including your mood and some believe your athletic performance. While concrete evidence that it raises performance doesn't exist (that I'm aware of) a deficiency in it will almost certainly hamper performance one way or another.

Then there was/is my diet.

I (did) eat basically the same thing for breakfast and throughout the day, then cook something (a little) different for dinner. I learned that in my late teens when I was bodybuilding (There are only so many combinations of "can of tuna, grilled chicken, protein shake, cottage cheese.") and, honestly, it was extremely simple. Something I didn't have to think about at all. Grab and go. And I was pretty sure most of it was healthy...oats, eggs, Greek yogurt, fruit, granola, nuts, etc. After coming back from my doctors visit (where he reminded me a little variety might go a long way) I actually counted some of what I was taking in every day. The one that surprised me the most...

"equinsu ocha
No, I'm not going on a holy crusade against the white devil. (You speak Wachootoo?) I'm just saying, I didn't realize I was eating over a hundred grams a day. (Yes, not carbohydrates in general, sugar.) I know the cavemen out there just fainted, so I'll give you a moment.

So I guess it's no wonder my insulin levels were WAY too high. Sure, a lot of that was sugar from fruits (apples and banana's) but man, that's a lot of sugar. I also sweeten basically everything I drink besides water with splenda, which depending on which war you're fighting is either strictly worse or only moderately better than just sugar itself. So...yeah.

All these things are fortunately caught early(ish) the most important one (to me) being my insulin... while it's not a "problem" now, a few more years of doing the same thing had a strong possibility of leading down the road that ends with insulin resistance and eventually diabeetus, which I would prefer to avoid if at all possible.

So to my point... I think it would benefit most of us (if only from a curiosity standpoint) to have a blood test, just to see what's up in there.

Mine was ran through, an online company that actually does the testing (then emails you the results) who, after buying what you want tested (I had the package of hormones and blood work, which ran $300. Skipping the hormones will be less but T levels were something I needed checked) will send you a requisition and then it's a matter of making an appointment at your local Labcorp (where you get drug tested if you've ever had to for a job interview) who does the actual "poking."  A week (or less) later you'll have tons of info to look at, and while I would highly suggest having someone who knows what they are talking about to consult with, you could get by with doing your own research on the internet.

So, again, Happy New Years! Be Safe tonight (and in general) and have fun!

Thanks so much for reading, I appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Coming to a race near you!

Congratulations to everybody who made the team, I'm looking forward to racing with you guys in 2015! Special shout out to my local bunch, Jimmy, Sharon and Allison. I implore you all to keep an eye on our facebook page for all the updates this coming season!

It seems I'll be spending Christmas on the sidelines this year. My forced break, which is now spanning into 2015, has opened my eyes to the fact that endurance athlete does not necessarily mean healthy person. While on the surface I am distraught by my imposed stop-work, deep down I know that it is something that is necessary if I'm to ever improve (and more importantly, if I'm going to be a healthy individual, inside and outside of endurance sports)

I suppose I've felt the need for a break like this for some time, at least on some level. Fear however (the fear of "losing" fitness and not being in shape for the next year) kept me solving every problem with a hammer. Need to get faster, do more. Last race didn't go well... do more. Sink leaking... add volume! Now I've come full circle with that self-fulfilling prophecy and I'm sidelined in the perfect time to be working on my running.

Blood tests are back, and while I'll spare you (at least this post) the findings in detail, I will say that there were some real deficiencies in my diet. Now that I can address them and heal back up, I suspect when I return to training things will be better than ever.

On a less bleak note, tomorrow is the big day! From all of us at the Triathletes Wit (that is to say, me.) we are wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Festivus, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa... Winter Solstice... whatever. Enjoy it and be safe!

On Schwinn?

So until next week.

Thanks so much for reading!

-Christopher Morelock

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More waiting

Despite a doom and gloom (with a good dose of whining) overall feel to this post, a positive note to start things off on!

I was chosen to be a Cobb Mobb team captain for 2015!
It was this picture right :)
I'm extremely excited to be working with the Mobb again for the next season, and this year you'll be seeing a lot more of these sweet kits at your local races! If you haven't liked the Official Cobb Mobb Facebook page, why not head on over.... we're closing in on a million likes (give or take a few hundred thousand) and your's might be the one to push us over.

Also, a new Team Manager for 2015, Dana Rucker!

The boss

Last week I spoke about my general feeling of "uhgg" for the last few weeks and my scheduled trip to see Dr. Kevin Sprouse at Provision. Our initial meeting went well and he struck me as both down to earth and knowledgeable. My outward vitals checked out a-ok, so it was, a bit disappointingly for me, a prescription of rest and a trip to Labcorp to have blood taken for at least the next week. 

Thursday I had my blood taken. It was pretty much the most miserable day in recent memory. They pretty well set you up for failure since you have to be "fasted." No coffee or food meant I had a raging headache before I walked in the door. Then the lady seemed to keep pulling vials out, going so far as to remark "that's a lot." Thanks... Fortunately I had the foresight to bring some food with me, so I was able to drive myself back to work without endangering the general populace, at least no more than normal.

Today (Wednesday) I'll be back at Provision for my follow up to discuss my blood screening results. It's been another week of doing nothing for me, something I'm not particularly fond of. I still feel beat, although less so than last week I believe, and certainly better than I felt after the vampires took half of my blood last Thursday.

Despite this, I'm still using this time as productively for my social life as I can. I even made a big hit at the Christmas party on Saturday.

The Cobb Mobb hat really set off the holiday attire, right!?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feeling Low

I'll start with the good news, Desmond's surgery went well and he's now well on his way to a healthy life! All his tubes have been removed and he's all smiles! Again, Lindsay's blog if you want to check in for yourself.

As for myself... I'm on my way to the Doctor, probably an hour or so after this blog post goes live. Since the 5k on Thanksgiving I can't seem to recover. Running at a very high rpe at a very slow speed, feeling lethargic in general... just run down. Usually a day off or so (at the most) solves this kind of feeling, but now it's been over a week since I logged a workout and I still feel about the same.

The best I can describe how I feel is like I have just done a 8-10 mile run at moderate pace. Not "hurting" or sore, just tired. I feel that way all day and have for the past week or so despite taking a clean break from training. I'm scheduled to meet with Dr. Kevin Sprouse (of Garmin Sharp) at Provision Wednesday... hopefully he has some insight into what is up.

As I've been getting ready for the appointment I've been mentally logging when I felt poorly. I didn't feel great at the 5k, and cut my bike ride short the night before, so that's a definite point on the map... but now I've started second guessing further back in the past. Have some of my "bleh" spots the last year been some underlying cause? What about my sickness at Nationals? What about when I was sick in Panama City a few years ago? Hopefully I'm just chasing shadows and drawing lines where there aren't really any... but it's a scary thing to think about.  Hopefully it's as simple as a virus I'm fighting off or something similar. I will certainly keep my thoughts on paper about it.

All isn't terrible however. I've had the opportunity (that is... time) to be in good company more often.

Me Jenny Jimmy and Sharon

So, there's a bright spot out there.

Fingers crossed, wish me luck for a quick recovery.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Important things (and a race report to finish)

So, first an important piece. This week one of my best friends son Desmond will be undergoing open heart surgery at Vanderbilt. I hope you could take a moment to send prayers, positive vibes, good mojo, whatever you've got to the family and to Dez. I am most certain that they will appreciate it, and I know I will.

Dez, isn't he cute!
Here is a link to Lindsay's (Dez's mom) blog... stop by if you've got a second.

The painting has begun on the Scott. I got a very rough layer down over the weekend but am currently waiting for the weather to break to really get the first "good" coating on. I expect it'll take a couple of layers to get it looking slick, and then it'll be sticker time. My excitement to finishing off this project is renewed, now that I'm so close to the end.

Base laying

As far as the Turkey Trot went on Thursday... well it went. I would say a mixture of poor pacing on the course (the back 2 miles was probably too up sloping and windy to have managed 6'/miles on... should have tried for an even 6:10 or so.) and some trollish wind led me to an unexciting 19:38. Still in no man's land, although it is a little encouraging that I may indeed be able to get into the 18's by new years on a more even course (with some better pacing and more suffering.) or at least that is what I will be telling myself every time I head to the track between now and then.

See me... I'm the idiot that's half naked.

Again, please give a thought for Desmond (and his parents!) if you can spare it. Thank you guys for checking out the blog, I appreciate it so much.

- Christopher Morelock


fancy flashlight :)