Anemia and my first DNS

Training hasn’t been going so well recently as the last couple of weeks I’ve been incredibly tired, as in, unbelievably so.

So I booked an appointment to see my GP as I’ve been falling asleep everywhere, have no energy whatsoever and whenever I was sleeping I’ve been waking up just as tired as when I went to bed!

My doctor didn’t think it was embarrassing that I was booking an appointment because I was tired – I was worried that I was imagining it and just being lazy but he seemed to listen to what I had to say and decided that I should go for some blood tests to see if anything came up.

Well – it turns out that I am, in his words ‘severely anemic’ my iron absorption levels should be between 25 and 200 and mine were the grand total of… 3! No wonder I was so tired!! As iron is responsible for creating red blood cells and carrying oxygen around the body it was fair to say that I was absolutely exhausted.

At the moment I’ve been put on iron tablets which might not work due to me not really having a stomach in which to digest and absorb the stuff. He’s hoping that a large volume of iron might help my body even to absorb a small percentage of it however I need to have more tests to try and find out why I’m not absorbing the iron in the first place. The answer to this might be that I have to go on iron injections but I’ll be honest if I can stop being this damn tired then I’ll do anything at the moment! I’m barely getting through my standard working days nevermind even considering training at the moment!

This has, understandably, bummed me out a bit but on the other hand I’m really relieved that there’s something medically going on to make me like this – I honestly thought I was either imagining being so tired and using it as an excuse to not workout or simply being lethargic and more I slept the more tired I was becoming. Knowing now that it’s not any of these things and it’s actually my body and something wrong then I can give myself some slack and let my body recover.

Hopefully the iron tablets / injections will work and I’ll be able to ramp my training up once again.

My aim for this summer is the bike and gaining confidence with my clipless pedals and generally getting stronger riding however the last thing I wanted to do when I was feeling shattered and weak was to try and stay upright on a bike! Plus it hasn’t helped that it snowed here in the UK this past week! I didn’t want to try and cycle in that! So this week was pretty much a rest week for me – no use pushing it when my body doesn’t actually have the capacity to carry oxygen around my body!

And this brings me on to my next topic…

My first ever DNS

I had signed up for the first sprint triathlon of the season which is due to take place on Sunday (8th May) but after speaking to both my doctor and coach they’ve both advised not to do it. This particular triathlon isn’t the easiest in terms of terain, the bike course is four loops and involves a dead right hand turn at the bottom of a downhill section which then u-turns straight back up the hill again – my bike confidence would have taken a battering on the course with full energy levels but the way I am currently? It could derail me again for a long time. The run course whilst not being hilly takes place along a canal path which last year was basically flooded due to horrible weather and it’s not been much better this year either and not to mention that I haven’t run if forever (it’s actually only been two weeks but feels like forever).

S also mentioned that it’s probable that I’ll get out of the pool, my usual strong section, absolutely shattered with the knowledge that I’ve still got the bike and run sections to go.

So, to cut a long story short I’m going to be getting my first ever DNS – but in my head I’d much rather have a DNS than a DNF (and collapse! lol).

I’m thinking of this DNS as a sensible reaction to a known situation – this is me taking control of something and being cautious and letting my body recover – now that I know there is actually something wrong with my blood levels there’s no point pushing it. If I’d not trained and eaten crap then yeah I should be totally pushing through the pain and getting on with it but this isn’t the situation here.

I’m a huge advocate of pushing through pain and ‘just getting on with it’ but here a DNF would be me going into this knowing something’s wrong and blindly go on anyway.

I have another triathlon in 5 weeks so my focus has now turned to that instead – I also did that one last year so I’ve got a time to beat too! Hopefully by then my bike skills will have gotten better and I’ve recovered from this illness and will be back running again.

Here’s to looking forwards!


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