All About the Iron

It stopped raining! Woohoo! But, it got very windy today and a “cold” front came in…which means it was 55 degrees this morning when we ran.

FL windy Jan 16

I will still take this over a foot of snow. Just sayin’.

Todd shovel snow Jan 16

We did an easy 6 miles this morning, which means we hit about 1.5 minutes slower than we do on our tempo days. We are really trying to get a good balance of slow and fast this time around, because I am not always good at taking easy days easy. I used to go out and try to hit all my paces at XX minutes per mile. But, it was easy to see that was not working out for me. It resulted in all my days being at XX minutes per mile versus my fast days being much faster. Running is always a work in progress and we are constantly learning what works best for us.

Em and Todd FL Beach Jan 16

This brings me to a very important topic that I want to share with all of you. I will start by saying that we are NOT in any way qualified to give out medical, sports nutrition, sports training, or basically any advice, so do not follow what I am saying without consulting a professional, okay? I am just sharing this to let you know of the struggle that I went through and what it resulted in.

In 2013, iron was the name of the game and I was losing. At the time, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I went from being able to easily run 20+ miles several days a week at a good clip, to barely being able to break 10 minute miles for 5 miles (not that this is slow, and I do not mean to offend anyone out there but, for me, this represented a significant drop in my abilities). I got winded just walking up a flight of stairs, my anxiety levels skyrocketed, I could barely sleep, I was very low in my mental positivity, and I was irritable. I went to the doctor for my annual checkup, but all my results came back normal. Little did I know, they do not test for iron levels in normal blood work.

Long story short, I went all the way through Badwater training at this extremely depleted state. Looking back, Todd and I are shocked that I was even able to finish (hence the slow time we posted). A few months after Badwater, a friend brought up the idea of iron and asked if I had ever had my levels checked. I went out the next day and got checked and, sure enough, I barely had any iron saturation in my blood. It truly was amazing that I had even been able to run at all that summer, much less compete in “the toughest footrace on the planet.”

Em Todd Andrew Outside DVNP

Since that time, I have totally revamped my diet to ensure that I am getting sufficient iron. I do not typically eat red meat or pork, simply because I do not like the texture, so I make sure to get plenty of other good iron sources into my diet daily. You may notice that I eat a ton of oatmeal, so now you know part of the reason why – that, and it is a super delicious, cheap, and easy food. Plus, it is just ridiculous when mixed with PB.

Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Jan 16

Don’t get obsessed with your diet or anything, because that can certainly lead to other nasty issues, but please just please be conscious of this important nutrient. I am proof that, you may have pretty solid nutrition otherwise, but, if you forget this one nutrient, then you could be in for an unnecessarily difficult and tiring time. Life is much better when you have energy and can use it to do whatever makes you joyful.


Off to rest now and prepare for the exciting weekend ahead. Hint – it is someone’s birthday and we have lots of fun things planned.

Todd milk Jan 2 16

Talk to you this weekend!

What is your favorite thing to spend your energy on that makes you most joyful?

Do you eat red meat? What is your favorite iron source?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I used to have really low iron and that’s when I was already eating lots of red meat, eggs, spinach, and cooked with cast iron pans. I did everything to boost it but (sorry if this is TMI) but I didn’t get it under control until I started the Nexplanon birth control and stopped getting my period. My energy levels are so much better now. I love oatmeal and PB too. Sometimes I add cinnamon to it which I’d highly recommend!


    1. Oh, yes, Caitlyn! I actually always add cinnamon but forgot to write that in! I also eats tons of eggs and found that tuna works well for me.


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