This race did not go so well for me. Let me start at the beginning…

Friday night, I got no sleep. I have no idea why. We just got a brand new mattress that I’ve been sleeping very well on otherwise, so I’m not sure why I kept waking up every hour throughout the night. I got up with no problems though, and didn’t really feel tired.

I ate a bagel with goat cheese, which is normally my favorite for pre-workout fuel, but I had a really hard time choking it down and didn’t even finish it. I did manage to gulp down about 8 oz. of water though.

The race started at Decatur High School, which is actually walking distance from my house, so I walked over there about 15 minutes before start time while Jeff finished getting ready so he could take pictures as I passed (the course went through our neighborhood.)

As the race started at about 9:15, I felt totally fine. I knew that I hadn’t really trained for this race because I’ve been busy doing the LiveFit training program which restricts cardio in the first month, but it was a beautiful day and I was feeling good and trusted in my overall fitness level to get me through the 3.1 miles even if I didn’t set any records.

I wasn’t even half a mile into the race before I started feeling tired though. My legs were heavy and achey, my head was pounding, and my neck was tight. I was huffing and puffing and really having to push myself to keep moving, even while only doing around a 12 minute mile pace.

About half way through 5k

As I passed Jeff around 1.2 miles in, I let myself stop for a minute and confessed to him that I was really struggling. I ran around the corner but was walking again by the time I was out of sight.

Turning the corner

As I continued on, Jeff started walking down to the high school to meet me at the finish line. Really, I was hurting so badly and breathing so hard that if I didn’t know that he was at the finish line waiting for me I would have just cut back through the neighborhood and headed home.

I tried hard to run as much as I could for the rest of the way, but it wasn’t a mental game anymore, I had a physical need to walk instead of run. I saved up my energy, and ran the last little bit onto the football field and through the finish line.

Coming into the finish

39:32, my slowest 5k yet.

I’d say that it’s just a product of not having really trained for this race, or that I didn’t sleep enough or ate breakfast too close to the start time, but I know there’s something else going on here. I seriously felt like a might have an aneurism around mile 2, and that makes absolutely no sense for someone who has a very healthy diet and exercises regularly. It also makes absolutely no sense to me that I’ve been trying my hardest to be a runner for nearly 3 years and I still to this day cannot run an entire mile without stopping. I mean, I could, but it’d leave me too exhausted to go any farther than that.

And then something clicked when I was talking with Jeff about this the other day. I just had blood work done recently so he asked me if my iron levels had come out as low because it sounded like I might be anemic. This was odd because I’ve been tested for anemia many times throughout my life because I’ve always shown the classic signs of iron deficiency, the most notable being persistent fatigue, but my iron levels have always been normal. I have; however, had extremely low levels of B12 for at least the last few years which has no dietary explanation. As it turns out, a serious B12 deficiency can manifest in much the same way as iron anemia, with chronic fatigue and difficulty breathing.

So, I’m writing all this because I intend to pursue some options with my doctor to get my B12 levels back into a normal range, and see if that has any affect on my running abilities and my overall energy levels. I want to share a bit of this journey here on the blog because I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who really struggles with exercise endurance, and if low B12 turns out to be the magic answer for me, then maybe that information can help someone else too.

This may have been my slowest race yet, but I’m actually extremely proud of myself because I truly had to fight to finish it. I’m hoping that if I can figure out what’s going on with this intense fatigue, it’ll be the last one that beats me.