The "normal" levels don't factor in athletic performance. It's the same with ferritin. My doctor couldn't figure out why I was so fatigued on my runs because my level was literally the bottom of the "normal" range when it should have been at least 5X that for an athlete.
Thank you. We plan on getting a Ferritin test. It seems like that is a no-brainier. Did you have any other symptoms besides fatigue?
I don't think the gels are a good idea. They're just sugar usually and they spike your blood sugar then it drops.
Honestly, I don't think this is all that complicated. She hadn't eaten for four hours. She'd travelled. She was in a different place. Showing ketones in her test means she was not in a good physical place to do the race. Also the dehydration.
I'd just make sure to stay hydrated and eat normal foods with a focus on protein and fat. Then see if it goes away. I guess there's little harm into looking into other things, but given the fact you say she has a really high metabolism and hadn't eaten for hours when she was probably hyped up/nervous as well as being dehydrated, I think you found your problem. She also did the second race really depleted - after the first bad experience not fuelling properly and then racing again.
You say it's difficult to get her to drink enough water. What about looking at other drinks? Or adding bits of real fruit to water, making your own drinks. Milk based drinks, lots of options.
I used to have my meals as normal and then a snack about 2-3 hours before a race. But I wouldn't have something that was just carbs.
It sounds like the whole experience really knocked her about which might be why she didn't eat for a few days. I know when I massively overdid it at a track meet (I did five events) I actually felt sick after for a few days.
a high school teacher/coach wrote:
You might get her ferritin levels checked. Those could also be symptoms of anemia which is one of the most common undiagnosed ailments among high school runners. Generally very easy to remedy.
Also, fueling is more likely to be inadequate with teenage girls than other demographic groups.
Ferritin is 22
She took a week off and ate well as she usual. She is not the best with hydration, but she hydrated well. She said ran her first 800m. She said she felt a little lightheaded afterwards.
Ferritin is 22
much too low.
that is potentially the issue (assuming this isn't a troll tread)
Low, but I wouldn’t say “much” too low. I realize that athletes need more than average. The pediatrician considers it to be normal (of course) and will not encourage a supplement.
Joe... 22 is LOW. We have a daughter that was a trials qualifier. When her ferritin was 30, her very sharp doctor was ADAMANT it was too low, and was extremely proactive with recommendations to raise that number.
She should be double that number in a perfect world.
Remarkable what a difference it makes when a ferritin level is correct.
You really don’t need to do anything special in terms of fueling for an 800m or 1600m race. Quite the opposite. The best thing to do is to eat and drink what you normally would during your hard workout days.
This might be difficult for you to consider, being a parent, but one possibility is that this is psychological, not physical. Before you rush to your keyboard to respond, I should add a caveat: there’s no way I could know this with certainty. I don’t know your daughter. But it’s something you should consider. Given what you said in your post, I think it’s the most probable explanation.
You state that your daughter had blurred vision, lightheadedness, couldn’t eat for days, after 800m and 1600m races. If she really does have a metabolic disorder, anemia, or something like that, she would have the same symptoms during training. There’s nothing special about a race versus intense training, metabolically speaking. And the metabolic demands of an 800m or 1600m are really not that great. These events are just a few minutes long. If you do a workout, say, where you warm up, do 8x400, and cool down, you are using more energy, net, than you do in an 800m or 1600m race. If you go for a 5 mile run, same. If your daughter is doing fine in training but tanks in races, then it’s probably not a metabolic issue.
By my lights, this is probably what’s going on: Running is really important to your daughter. You love your daughter, and you want to do everything you can to help her succeed. But you are doing too much. You are overbearing parents. You think that you are helping by analyzing every aspect of her training and diet, but you really are just making things worse. Your daughter feels an undue amount of pressure to succeed. She feels like a failure if she doesn’t win or set a PR. Your daughter has a bad race, and she feels like she let you and herself down, so she goes into hysterics, acting like she’s about to faint, telling you she has blurred vision, etc. This gives you, the overbearing parents, some kind of explanation for having a bad race, other than just simply not performing well. You probably have considered this, but you don’t want to admit that your daughter is making stuff up, so you go along with it.
Just relax. Having a bad race is not the end of the world. It's part of the sport.
1) packing extra food for before and after races.
2) get blood iron/ferittin levels checked.
3) eat consistently throughout the day to maintain glucose levels.
4) staying out of the sun if it's very hot or staying inside where it is warm if the weather is cold.
Can someone please explain the effect of iron on someone who has healthy hemoglobin/HCT levels and a low Ferritin level within normal range? I know someone with hemochromatosis and their Ferritin is 45.