Guest article provided by trail and ultra runner Sophie Seward as part of our ongoing collaboration with Front Range Elite.
As a freshly minted adult, I embarked on my personal manifest destiny across the country with all my belongings in two duffel bags. I was filled with conviction that the abundant trails and optimal altitude of Colorado were the key I needed to unlock what I desired the most in the world: to reach my potential as a long-distance runner.
Hitting the trails
Quickly, the physiological benefits of altitude training allowed me to set personal records in every distance when I competed at sea level. My high school personal records were now my workout paces. I was thrilled to be achieving my self-perceived potential. New goals that I had only secretly dreamed of were within arm’s reach.
As my performance improved, I became obsessed with improving my performance even more. I added miles and ran faster. I researched the best diets for optimizing performance. I watched races to analyze the best strategies.
Struggling with setbacks
However, a few months into my great strides towards improvement, I started to experience setbacks. Easy recovery runs started to feel effortful. Workout paces felt impossible. Often, I would have to stop mid-run and wait for my dizziness to subside. My training setbacks started to seep into my races. One bad race turned into two bad races, which turned into five bad races. Suddenly, my goals slipped into the abyss and frustration became the overwhelming reality.
From across the country, my dad could sense my frustration. He made note of my increasingly vast complaints about fatigue and dizziness. He recommended I get my ferritin checked, so I scheduled an appointment with the local physician.
My results came back. I had a ferritin level of 9 ng/mL and I was classified as anemic. The news was a relief. I finally had a reason for my performance regression. There was hope for my road back to reaching my potential as a long-distance runner.
Finding the perfect iron supplement
As I progressed back into training, I started taking daily iron supplements to help my body get back to the proper ferritin level, but it was difficult to find the perfect one for me., I tried every iron supplement that the local Kroger and natural grocery store carried.
The iron supplements were effective in elevating my ferritin levels, but I struggled with the side effects of gastrointestinal issues. Eventually I found Floradix Iron & Herbs. My body could absorb Floradix Iron & Herbs without gastrointestinal issues.
The importance of nutrients for trail and ultra-runners
While my struggle with anemia was relatively short-lived, I know I’m not the first (or last) long-distance runner who will deal with it. However, I am glad that I found an effective solution and I hope other runners can too.
I am happy to report that I am back in full form, feeling healthy and happy. I am surrounded by a family, team, and community that supports my goals, celebrates my successes, and lifts me up after my disappointments.
The real answer to the question of why nutrition is so important to me is that it lets me keep doing what I love: running, training, and racing. Following hard sessions with proper nutrition and rest is the best way to absorb the training. I’m on a mission to see what my best is, and I want to set myself up in the best way I know how. That starts with being able to train properly without getting injured or digging too deep into my body’s energy reserves, and Floradix Iron & Herbs helps me do just that.
Sophie is a first year PhD student at Colorado State University in the Human Bioenergetics Department. She started running in the sixth grade after moving to Indiana. She caught the running bug and has never stopped. She went on to run at Western Colorado University and became a 4x Division II All-American.
ABOUT FRONT RANGE ELITE
Front Range Elite is a Colorado-based nonprofit with a mission to foster a supportive space in which athletes can develop their potential as they pursue running careers. Currently, the organization backs a team of 11 amazing women who are training for excellence in the field while promoting clean sport, serving their community, and acting as good stewards of the Earth.