Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trying to get my Mind over the Matter….

                A few hours after the Competitor Magazine online article came out about me (http://running.competitor.com/2013/05/news/all-systems-go-5-questions-with-sandi-nypaver_71907#post-comments ) I got a call about my latest iron results from my doctor. Not only did my iron levels not improve, they plummeted. I knew my iron results from earlier in the year were probably worse than they looked because I didn’t know it was bad to run before a blood test (dehydration=thicker blood), but I wasn’t prepared to see that my iron and ferritin were both worse than they were in August of 2012.

                Looking back, I should have known it was coming. I was once again making excuses to myself on why I was tired and I had to motivate myself to do some very simple things. I forced myself to think that with all the iron I was taking that my iron had to be going up. If anything, I do feel like that thinking did help me continue to mentally push myself physically, for better or for worse.

                After getting over my initial frustration, I found a new doctor to go to in Boulder (I had to do this since I moved).  She was very understanding of my worries and sent me right away to get my thyroid tested (that came back normal) and then had me set up appointments with a gastroenterologist and a hematologist.

                Today I saw the gastroenterologist and to be honest, all that did was make me more upset. While at least I’m taking steps to figure out why I’m not absorbing iron (as well as other vitamins), I really dislike the steps I now have to take. In two weeks I have to get a biopsy of my intestines to see where the iron is going. I get a tube shoved up and down two ends of me. Luckily I will not be awake for this 1.5 hour biopsy (then I have to spend 45 minutes in recovery and have to have Sage drive me home).  Unfortunately, this will be happening less than 24 hours before I leave for Ohio/ New York for the Cayuga Trails 50. During this biopsy they will also see whether or not I just have sensitivity to gluten or actual Celiac’s disease. In order to do this, much to my displeasure, I have to add a little bit of gluten back into my daily diet to flare up the allergy. All I could think was “oh great, now not only will I feel exhausted all the time, I’ll also get to feel sick and bloated, and now iron and other vitamins will absorb even less.” I see the hematologist tomorrow and will I will look for a way out of this, but I know this will probably come to surface.

                I now have to realize with my constant state of being tired , my soon to be sick stomach from gluten, the possibility my mood will drop (eating gluten when your allergic to it can cause negative emotions), and the fact it takes a long time for iron to build up, that I will not be ready for Cayuga Trails 50. I’m not saying I won’t run it, my non-refundable tickets are booked, but there is a chance I will just be there to crew for Rachel or Sage, or know I might just see how far I can get or finish just because I like being outside. However I will stay hopeful, and continue to train for the race, but on a scaled down version of what I would normally do. I think that’s the best option I can come up with right now.

Photo by Sage Canaday
                The main thing I have to do is get my mind over the matter. While I realize my health is still better than a lot of people, I can’t deny my frustration. After dealing with this for so long, I was set on having a running comeback this summer and really feeling good in the mountains. I know this can and will still come, but I am forced to test my patience to a new level, a level I have no want to go to. Yet, I have read tons of books and stories about the power of one’s mind. Perhaps it is time for me to focus my training a little less on miles, and a little more on my mind. I’ll start with taking advice from Rachel, who recently posted a blog about meditation, and try out the whole meditation and visualization thing for at least 5-10 minutes a day. Hopefully, if I can work out my mind, I can overcome the physical challenges that lay ahead. Maybe, I can get my mind over this matter.

“It is the mind that makes the body.” – Sojourner Truth

Later this week you can expect pictures of my wonderful weekend trip to Washington, see a fun article I did for Inside Dirt, and hopefully find out what projects I have been working on.

Run Wild, Run Free,



  1. We are always so hard on ourselves, that realizing we ARE much, MUCH healthier AND fitter than 90-some percent of population rarely crosses our minds. Here is to figuring details for you and to running long and well and healthy!

  2. Best of luck figuring out the health issues, Sandi! As painful as it can be getting to the bottom of this stuff, there's often one big thing going on, and if you can fix that one big thing...I used to have thyroiditis and anemia during my college running career. A few years later I was diagnosed with celiac, and now that I'm rigidly sticking to that diet, I don't have symptoms of thyroiditis or anemia anymore. I remember that "going back to gluten" pre-endoscopy phase well...it was torture! But whew, so glad I figured that out. Good luck and let us know what happens!


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