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Monday, November 28, 2016

Fueling for Success

Back in June I went for my first test with Insidetracker.  I was nervous and excited, but mostly relived with I saw my results were pretty decent.   I needed some work on my fasting glucose, and my lipids, but I really wanted to see my DHEAS increase, and cortisol levels decrease.  DHEAS is defined by inside tracker as "Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate, or DHEAS, is a hormone precursor that is synthesized in the adrenal glands from cholesterol. The body uses DHEAS to make different steroid sex hormones, including estradiol and testosterone, as well as other sex steroid precursor molecules. DHEAS levels increase from childhood until age 20-30, then decline steadily with age. Healthy DHEAS levels in women are associated with a healthy immune system, increased energy, better bone and muscle health and good sexual function. Having lower levels of DHEAS throughout life is associated with decreased immunity, poor cardiovascular health, and unstable blood sugar levels."  I took the advice given to me on ways to improve my diet.  All of which were small changes.  To see the changes suggested see my blog post entitled "Getting Stronger From The Inside Out"I was far from perfect in my pursuit of eating "healthy", but I would day 75 percent of the time, I used the recommendations and put effort into eating to better fuel my body, and went back to work to chase down some goals. 

My training ramped up, and about 2-3 weeks after making those small changes, I started to feel quite a bit better.  Racing was going pretty well despite less than ideal conditions.  I wasn't racing very fast, but I was feeling good, and winning. So I was happy with the way things were going.  I won all three Akron Rubber City Race series races. An 8k in June, and the half in August were scorchers.  Over 80 degrees, and just gross.  The final race, the full marathon had better conditions of mid 70's and less sticky.  I felt great from gun to finish line and despite it not being fast, I knew I was very fit. You can see the recap of The Akron Marathon here.  My recovery was very easy, and I felt pretty good with very minimal down time.  The main changes I made to my diet were eating avocado nearly every day on a turkey or chicken sandwich.  Switched from rice or noodles to quinoa.  My snacks were dark chocolate in a scoop of peanut butter, and chia seeds on my yogurt.  It is incredible the difference that small of a change can make!

Since then I have been training for some faster turn over, and working to get my aerobic threshold lowered, and have my sights set on USA 15k in Jacksonville Florida on March 11th.  I have been feeling really good, and seeing very consistent improvements in training.  So on November 18th I had another blood drawl to see where things were. My feeling better was no fluke!  

My test results came back with better lipids, slightly lower glucose, though it could still use work.  A nice jump in my DEAHS levels (15 pts), a small increase in my testosterone levels, optimal inflammation indicators, and a 4 pt decrease in cortisol levels. My ferritin levels have improved, and instead of being just inside the optimal level, they are near the middle, and up almost 60 pts!  They gave more suggestions, and I am going to take them to heart and work toward another step forward in my fueling game! 

I had a bit of a scare seeing my iron (different and much more finicky than ferritin) levels, but after consulting with a dietitian, I am fairly confident those results were skewed by having taken an iron pill before bed and then having my blood test in the morning.   I will test again soon to be sure it is not something that needs further attention. 

A few days following my test, I laced up and raced the Powell Turkey Trot 4 miler.  I felt great, ran 22:29  (5:37 pace), on a rolling course, and won.  I knew fueling my body correctly was a huge part of the movement forward I have had over the past 4 months. 

I look forward to working with Inside Tracker in 2017 to help me reach some ambitious goals. 

Check back on the blog in the next couple of days for my Turkey Trot Recap, and goals for 2017!

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