I cannot believe that we are already into the last month of 2016! This year has flown by incredibly fast. Granted, my day job kept me engrossed in a seemingly never ending political cycle. I work in the finishing department of a commercial print facility and was surrounded by some sort of political mailing of some sort since October 2015. I was beyond ready to resume my normal running habit once Election Day passed. However, life has a funny way of throwing out curves.

I’ve been reflecting upon my running life since joining the volée in the summer of 2015. Well, I found my own running tribe earlier that year and I have been blessed to call each of those fierce women my friend. We bonded after speed work sessions at a local track from April to October, ran races and cheered for each other, both on and off the course. We’ve shared grief, elation, changes, support and dreams. This past year has definitely been one of the richest I have had in regards to surrounding myself with strong women. Granted, I was terrified to put myself out there and be vulnerable when it came to forming bonds with other women. I’m so very thankful to have found a warm and welcoming group of women that believe that being kind and supportive to one another is a priority.

I was a bit surprised to be granted the privilege to be one of the Iowa volée leaders this year. I have been a bit preoccupied by work as I mentioned before and a bit more as I’ve been branching out to make my life healthier. I suffered an injury early in the summer and the process of coming back has been challenging. I spent the bulk of November working with my doctor trying to figure out why I am constantly exhausted and why my prediabetes had gotten worse. I then started chatting with a sports focused nutritionist who realized that my nutritional issues were a bit deeper than her particular focus and she referred me to another nutritionist that specializes her nutrition in a very holistic approach. I am now on a very different path for 2017.

As I was chatting with a friend a couple of months ago and mentioned that I was going to see a nutritionist, she described it best as a “come to Jesus” moment. I struggle with depression. The fall and winter is where I really dip low, however, this past year early spring was a particularly low point. I tried to run through the low. Despite a very promising spring and early summer full of running PRs, I wound up injured and struggling. To be honest, I’m still not quite 100% but I finally have a reason as to why. I have an overgrowth of yeast, which has been taxing my body for years. I had been managing symptoms for so many different issues that it never occurred to me that the symptoms might actually stem from the same issue. I wasn’t the only one who missed this either, my primary doctor and an urgent care doctor missed it as well. Though both remarked that I really didn’t fit the normal prediabetes profile. I now know why my A1C is elevated and has been for a very long time.

A short science lesson, yeast breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose, which is used by your red blood cells, with fermentation as a by product. In prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to convert the glucose to a form your red blood cells can use. So the red blood cells get a build up of glucose that causes the insulin your body does produce to be ineffective. With an over abundance of yeast, my body is essentially too drunk to work properly with the fermentation by products building up in my blood. So as a result, my blood sugars are elevated, and I was put on a medication to lower those levels. However, that particular medication robs my body of vitamins and minerals that were deficient in my body due to my unbalanced eating habits. Interestingly enough, my thyroid hormones were also under producing from the diabetes medication that I had been on when I was first diagnosed with prediabetes. So I’ve been on an artificial thyroid hormone for a couple of years which has been putting a lot of stress on my body, along with the stress of the overgrowth of yeast. After a scary and eye opening meeting with the second nutritionist, I now know how close to permanently damaging my hormone balance I have been these past few years.

The work cut out for me is daunting, but I have bigger dreams that outweigh the fear of making changes in the way I eat. Granted, the plans I had to train for a couple marathons are going to be shelved for this year. My body has been constantly running a marathon trying to function with the overgrowth of yeast. While my muscles can recover from running 3 miles regularly, mentally and structurally the rest of my body is rebelling. I am restricted to 3 easy miles every other day until the yeast overgrowth is under control. I’m also a journey to better self care practices. Unfortunately, training for long distances is not the self care practice that I need to focus my energy toward.