Monday, October 28, 2013

R.I.P. Gluten?!

Despite having no race report to contribute, I thought I'd give another "regular" post a shot.  So, what's on the proverbial menu?  Gluten.  Or rather, gluten is NOT on the menu.  Anyone who knows me, or anyone who read my last post, knows that I've been dealing with some mysterious health issues for the last few months.  And not mysterious in a fun, entertaining, Scooby-Doo sort of way.  Mysterious in this scenario means I continue to have my delicious blood stolen away by lab vampires, and yet the doctors continue to scratch their heads and I continue to feel sub-par everyday.
                      The perfect pictorial representation of how I've been feeling...
                                   thanks again, Hyperbole & A Half.

Also as mentioned in my last post, the best course of action so far has been to do a trial run of eating gluten-free (lactose has been re-instated, thank god.  Long-live cheese!).  Now, some of you smarties are probably wondering why not just test for Celiac's disease (a digestive disease in which people cannot tolerate gluten, a protein that is in wheat, rye, and barley).  That's a great idea, but unfortunately, it seems the answer isn't quite that easy.  You see, people don't have to test positive for and/or have full-blown Celiac's to suffer from gluten sensitivity.  This article is pretty interesting (in a depressing way):

This is what I imagine gluten looks like...

It's been nearly a month since I cut gluten from my diet, and I must say, I think it's the solution.  My energy level seems to be slowly returning to normal, the aches and pains in my head and body have significantly improved, and my tummy is much happier these days.  Not only that, but on several occasions I have relapsed and had stretches of days of feeling like absolute garbage.  And without fail, I've been able to trace back and make a connection between my "illness" and eating something that likely had gluten in it (spices, salad dressings, restaurant food that I thought would be safe but wasn't labeled gluten-free, etc.).

So as much as the idea of having to be high-maintenance and gluten-free for the rest of my days totally bums me out, the alternative of feeling sick is much worse.  And looking on the bright side, the prevalence of gluten-sensitivity and Celiac's seems to be on the rise.  As a result, more and more restaurants and food companies are offering/labeling g-free items which helps fill the hole in my soul created when I cut out delicious g-filled treats.

From a running/performance standpoint, this whole situation has definitely taken a toll.  I am miles and miles, figuratively and literally, from where I was at the beginning of the summer and unfortunately there's no magic switch to turn my fitness back on.  But hopefully, I've found the solution to what's been ailing me, which is a huge first step.  With the mystery apparently solved, I have no doubt that gradually, I'll make up what's been lost and be ready to rip next year.

                                      Who doesn't get inspired by Rocky?

By the way, a huge THANK YOU to all of my friends, family and competitors who have been an amazing support system through this all.  So many of you have offered suggestions about ailments to check for, advice on good docs to see, recipe ideas, and general well wishes. guys and gals are amazing!