The Big Off-Season Tune-up

  This is the time of year when triathletes can finally rest and take it easy.

My off-season officially began in the last mile and half of my Olympic distance race in mid-October. The heat got the best of me. I mostly walked it in, feeling lame, alarmed, and defeated. (But would you believe I podiumed?) I knew I didn’t feel right. And with chronic insomnia, I hadn’t felt right in a long time.

I made a long overdue appointment with my doctor. She took eight vials of blood and performed a couple of other tests. Yup, she pretty much looked at everything under the hood.

The good news:

• I’m not going to have a heart attack anytime soon.

• I do not have sleep apnea (according the home test that made me look like a Jedi warrior and scared Todd’s cat 7)

The bad news:

• I’m low in iron, but not anemic. According to Runner’s World, 56% of the runners they polled had an iron deficiency.

• I’m low in vitamin D. Yes, you can be low in D even when living in sunny So Cal. I had tested low in this three years ago too. Being low in D can cause fatigue. I guess it’s one of my bug-a-boos. My body doesn’t absorb it well. Back then, I was told that 50% of Southern Californians are low in it.

• My endocrine system is a bit of mess. My doc said, “I’m amazed you’ve been able to do what you ‘ve done. Your body isn’t producing energy right now.”

The great news:

It’s fixable. I just need to give myself some time to let my body rest and get re-adjusted with the meds and supplements. Which means, for now, super light workouts. No exercise within four hours of bedtime. Limited activities. And do whatever I can to reduce my overall stress. I’m still a bit overloaded with work, but I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. For now, I'm basically going to have to act like a bear in hibernation.

I’m glad I got checked out. I had about a million excuses to put it off. But in retrospect, the beginning of the off-season is the perfect time to get checked out by your doc. Okay, your turn. If you haven’t done so in a while, please make an appointment so you can have a great season next year.