Friday, July 8, 2011

Vermont 100 Update, a Happy Toe, and Liver Enzymes?

Mile ~75 at the 2009 VT100

Well I'm enjoying a nice easy week of low-mileage running and resting following a fantastic 50-mile race up in the Finger Lakes last weekend.  I have lots of school work to catch up on, but decided to spend most of this week dealing with doctor/dentist visits instead.   I am again deploying to Antarctica this upcoming Winter and decided to knock out my medical exams early (As long as they are done within 6 months, they can be used).   This was also the perfect chance to finally get my dreaded foot x-rayed.  I am very happy to report that both the doctor here in town, and the radiologist in Hershey have said there is no fracture and that I simply bruised the toe something nasty.  I got to see all the x-rays as well, and they looked ok to me.  I never really gave my toe a chance to heal until last week when I went an entire week without running.  It still hurts a little, but has definitely gotten better.  Finally.

As far as the VT100 next weekend.  It is ON.  The volunteer group has again placed me with a great pacer, Mark, (who I've already spoken with and who sounds like a great running partner!).   The plan is to take it very easy over the next 7-10 days and be nicely rested for the race.  I head up on Friday morning and will pitch my tent just like in '09.   I will be doing a more official race preview sometime in the next day or two where I will spell out my race strategy and look at my split times form '09.....but for now, I can simply say that I am shooting to get another buckle (sub 24hr).

Some bloodwork notes:
I have quite a genetic predisposition to heart disease, cholesterol, and liver issues.  Over the past few years I've gotten bi-annual bloodwork exams to check numbers.  I've changed my diet, gone (and left) vegetarian, tried various supplements, modified my running, and altered certain other lifestyle habits....only to see my various bloodwork numbers bounce around all over the place.  They never really all change in the right direction though.   Sometimes my cholesterol numbers go down, but my liver enyzmes go up....and vice versa.   The doctor put me on a very low-dose statin for my cholesterol, which seemed to help, but which I've also been less than vigilant about taking.  With this all said though, my results today were a bit different than normal.   Since getting back from Antarctica, I've changed my lifestyle a fair amount.  While the running has been more than before, I have also tried to simply "be healthier".  I switched a lot of my food intake to fruits and unprocessed foods.  I haven't been crazy about it, I've just made an effort. Since this change, I've lost nearly 20 lbs and have dropped from 168lbs to just under 150lbs.   This is the first time in a long time where I'm very content with my weight and physical fitness level.   My cholesterol numbers have dropped significantly (and I haven't been taking the statin regularly).  It seems whether it be by drugs or by diet, I can have an impact on my numbers.   

My problem always seems to come in with the liver enzymes.   Part of the problem is that I always end up getting bloodwork done right after I've run some ridiculous race.  There is a lot of evidence out there that ultrarunning elevates liver enzymes as your body takes several days to clean itself out after the stress you put it under following a race.   With my family history though, every time my doc sees high enyzmes, he gets a little worried (as do I).  

(Here is one published paper on Liver Enzymes and Ultrarunning: HERE)

So I decided to ask all of you....fellow ultrarunners:
Have any of you fellow ultra-athletes ever had bloodwork done soon after (the following week) running in or competing in an ultra event?  What did your Liver AST/ALT numbers look like?  Were they elevated significantly?

I am getting retested next week to see if those numbers come back down to normal, but if not, who knows what's next.  The doctor started spouting off terms like "fatty-liver" and "hyperlipideamea", "ultrasounds", blah blah....but I'm pretty sure this is all just because I ran an ultra last weekend.  Guess we'll see.


Definitely looking forward to spending a long weekend in Vermont.  I had originally planned on hiking the Long Trail while there as well, but don't want to push the foot.  Also, I've decided instead to take a small vacation in August (more on that in a later post).

1 comment:

Derrick said...

interesting about the liver and bloodwork. Can't help with that. Good luck with working through it.

Great news about your toe. Good luck in VT100!