A fellow runner Adam asked me to send him my Vitamin D experience. He wanted to get the word out since it impacted me, significantly. This is what I sent to him and thought I would post it here as well.
In the Fall of 2007, I extended my endurance longer than I ever have imagined. I attempted the Superior Trail 100 mile race and quit at 77 miles. From that point on, I never recovered. I took some time off, ate well, and thought I was doing everything right. I continued to train but felt fatigued. My bones hurt often. I had so much trouble sleeping.
I tried numerous things including changing the training from less running to more biking and walking. I tried massages and purchased a computer program to monitor my diet. Everything seemed like I should be feeling fine, but did not feel right.
In February of 2008, I went to Kansas City to run Psycho Wyco 50K. My chest was tight and I had a cold the week before the race. I went anyway and quit at 20 miles. Now besides, aches and pains, inability to sleep, and overall fatigue, I had a chest issue I just could not shake.
I continued to try to run through it and in March, I fell and hurt my knee and my lungs we so stressed when I ran. To make a long story short, I had steroid injections in the knee and a steroid inhaler for the lungs. (Later discovering steroids are a major reason for lack of Vitamin D absorption.)
When Summer came, I started to feel a little better and was hopeful I could attempt the Superior 100 again. I had finished grandma’s (over an hour slower than 2007) and finished Afton in about the same time. So I thought I could make the attempt. Although, my weight had climbed 40 pounds as I just felt so fatigued for over a year and food was my choice to make it better. My second attempt at Superior resulted in fatigue and pains in the bones by 30 miles, I quit.
I quit having the desire to run, bike, and walk. Depression had now set in. I just lost any enjoyment in so many things. It had been over a year and things were not better. I decided to totally quit working out. I decided I just needed to repair the mind, body and soul. So for 6 weeks, I did nothing but work and relax. I entered everything into my diet software and checked the nutritional balances, and did not feel any different. I did lose 2 pounds, but still felt sore, could not sleep, totally worn.
So being a man who had to be at the end of the rope before seeking help, I finally called the Doctor and made an appointment in November. He did a blood test. He said everything was normal except my glucose was 104 and my Vitamin D was 11 ng/ml. The recommend Vitamin D level is between 30 ng/ml to 50 ng/ml. So he put me on Vitamin D therapy which meant I was to take 50,000 units once per week, 12 weeks. In case you are doing what I did, yes, 50,000 units is correct.
I did not notice much difference for the first few weeks. I continued to take my calcium pills I always take with the Vitamin D. Then after four weeks, I started feeling better. I woke feeling 60 years old, as opposed to 100… (I am 47) I started to workout. Then in the second week of December, I felt a sharp pain in the abdomen/groin area that radiated through to the back. I went to the physician and he thought it may be a sports hernia. I was bummed as for the first time in over a year, working out did not make me feel worse. But I thought, how can it be a sports hernia when it is the entire mid-section and the pain moved. So I took more time off.
I researched the web and found that in some cases, high doses of Vitamin D and calcium result in Kidney Stones. So I laid of the calcium. Then in January, I started to workout. A few runs, lifted some weights. What I noticed most in January (after 8 weeks of 50,000 Units of Vitamin D) I was able to sleep. I could not recall the last time I was able to sleep like I was, a full 5-6 hours, without drugs.
Since I was planning a trip to Germany to visit my son, I decided just to spend time with light workouts, nothing structured until I returned. So on February 20 when I returned from Germany, I went back to the Doctor to have my blood tested. I was 43 ng/ml for the vitamin D count.
I felt better than I had in a long time. No bones hurt, I was now sleeping 6-8 hours and waking without pains, I started to run again. After a long time off and a net gain of 45 pounds since the summer of 2007, I decided to take it slow. I would do 15 miles the first week with runs of 2-4 miles and increase about 5-10% a week.
Since February 20, 2009, I have weeks of 14.4 miles, 20.2 miles, 21.3 miles, 22.2 miles, and 26.1 miles. I also have biked, walked many miles and I do not feel fatigued, I am breathing just fine, I am enjoying runs and many other things.
Now I am not saying Vitamin D is the only reason… well, yes I am. I did everything I could to resolve the issues on my own, my diet looked fine on the computer, but the computer did not know I started with a pathetically low Vitamin D count.
So now I am felling better and running again. I have no thoughts of running the Superior 100 or any other races at this time. I am just getting outside, enjoying the runs, and whatever I decide as I go, will be what I will do. Of course, I do have to finish Grandma’s… it would be my 25th consecutive year!