Back to school time!

It’s August and everyone’s headed back to school. For me, this means no more 40 hour/week physical job and trying to train at the same time, which I’m pretty excited about.

It means no more outrageous lengths of time between posts, and probably more interesting things to blog/read about.

I’m pretty excited for this year. I’m only in 12 hours of class, which is still going to be a challenge as a student athlete, but will leave me with more time to be active in the community and do things I love.

Old followers, thanks for sticking around while life’s been too hectic to post, and possible new followers, expect to see many more frequent posts about my all-too-normal boring life as a trans-student-athlete.

Are you going back to school? What are you looking forward to this fall? Tell me about yourself! With this new time I’d like to get to know more of you.

Take care,

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Filed under and track, cross country

Iron Man No Longer

A while ago, I wrote about my experiences with IV iron for iron deficiency anemia.

In short: I got an IV about 4 months ago. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!

I haven’t been feeling so good (ears ringing, dizzy, tired), so even though my training has been fine, I went for a ferritin test.

It came back a 10. I’m devastated. It cost so much to do the IV and I feel so much better not destroying my gut with supplements. It’s lower than every test I’ve ever had, except when I was truly anemic. (It was a 2 and I was literally passing out.)

I think I’m going to try to get another IV before XC season starts. I’m really tempted to start back on the supplements, but I’m worried that my ferritin will go up enough that the docs won’t want to give me an IV, but still low enough that I feel like shit. For a distance runner, it should be above 60.

I am thinking of the causes of the drop, and I think altitude is a huge factor. I haven’t been taking supplements because the docs told me not to, and going up in altitude (home for the summer) and training well would make my body produce more red blood cells, depleting my iron store.

I also haven’t been taking my B complex or D vitamins.

I guess it’s a call to the doctor to see what I should do. The iron battle saga continues..


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THANK YOU to the strangers at the park

a group of you pretentious adolescents,
five or six, maybe seven.

As I circled the lake
the waves gently lapped
and you shallowly shouted:

“Is that a guy or a girl?”
“No, look, that running over there.
what is it?”
“I can’t tell!”
“I don’t know.” you said, “Ha, ha, ha!”

Haha.. ha.. ha.
I looked over and returned your stares,
my eyes outnumbered
as your laughs flew with the breeze
and landed in the air around my ears.

You paused, and I paused, stricken.
The perfect moment of suspended silence,
but you went on.

Though my stride remained steady,
anger pounded through my veins
and sadness prickled at my fingertips.

I looped around again, intently,
how best to spend my next two cents?
I kept those pennies for another day.

A lap longer, a mile more.
A second stripped off my next race.

and I have only you to thank.


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Trans issues in the workplace… (Update!)

Last week I wrote about a conversation I overheard at work about trans healthcare and medicare.

The next day, one of the two coworkers that was sitting at the desk with the woman that defended trans people asked me about the note I left.

“Hey missy, what was that note about?”

I ignored the missy. Really? One look at me pretty much yells not-a-missy. “Oh, yesterday?” Laughing nervously, “I guess I was too vague.”

“Yeah, I asked he if she knew what it meant, and she didn’t know.”

“Oh, I guess I’ll have to explain more.”

I built up the courage for the next day and a half to leave a another note with a better explanation. I didn’t have time on any of my breaks, but I still wanted to say something.

Believe it or not, this transguy actually talked to her instead!

As I was on my way out, I went by her desk and made some small talk and then got into it.

“Er- sorry that my note was so vague.”

By the look on her face, she knew it was what I came to talk about. The funny thing was, she didn’t ask what I meant. She said “what did you hear?”

“I heard-” I quickly lowered my voice, “- you and James talking about.. medicare.”

She definitely knew what I was talking about then. “Yeah. He’s… weird.”

Satisfied that she knew I was grateful, I dorkily replied “Yeah. But it’s all good,” and high-tailed it out of there. Based on her expression and how she talked, I think she knew what my note meant the whole time. I think she just said she didn’t know so didn’t have to explain to my other co-workers, protecting me from any awkward questions. I guess I’ll never really know, but it feels good on know of one sane person in my ultra-conservative workplace.

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Trans issues in the workplace..

..and by that, I mean trans issues discussed in the workplace.

Let me start from the beginning. I was minding my own business, cleaning shelves in the front of the store when I thought I heard the words “sex change operation.” Whaaat? I know I think about trans stuff a lot, but was I hearing things?

I popped my head up and looked around. Nobody was in my immediate vicinity. I went back to cleaning, only to hear something about transgender and medicare. I poked my head up again and noticed that a couple coworkers were talking about the fact that the ban on medicare covering trans healthcare was dropped.

I was floored. I didn’t think most people paid much attention to trans issues, but I guess they do when it involves their money. I sneaked around and pretended to be cleaning a shelf that was a bit closer.

One of the company’s drivers was trying to convince the secretary that the ban being lifted was ridiculous. She kept telling him that she knew someone who was trans and they were really uncomfortable in their body, and he kept making ignorant arguments. Now to be clear, I understand why people who don’t accept transpeople don’t want to pay portion of their medicare tax (even if it ends up being a veeery small fraction of money) – It’s a difficult debate that has even more implications than just the scope of medicare. My problem wasn’t so much his point of view as his ignorance and the rude things he said.

I was surprised that they were having such a loud conversation about that kind of thing, since in my city there’s a don’t-talk-about-it-stigma. After they were done talking and he left, I looked over. She looked back at me and I quickly went back to cleaning. Sometimes a look can share everything and nothing all at once.

I was surprisingly not bummed out or pissed off. I felt a mix of feelings, sure, but I didn’t feel wholly bad. I guess I was kind of shocked that someone stood up for transpeople, even when someone was being so direct.

When I was on my way out of work, I had a note ready that said “Thanks for standing your ground. It means more to me than you could ever know.” A vague note, but I hoped she’d know what I meant. My plan was to drop it on he desk as I left. However, when I was leaving, there were two other co-workers sitting at her desk too. My heart was pounding.

Be brave, Transiteration, be brave. I casually said bye to everyone and put it nearest to her in one motion. A couple steps later, she asked “what’s this?” I mumbled “nothing much” as I walked away.

I dunno if she’ll bring it up, but I’ll keep you updated!


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I am Iron Man

You got runner problems, I feel bad for you son – I got 99 problems but iron ain’t one.

It’s no secret that endurance athletes have problems with iron. Personally, I’ve had problems with it since I started running in high school. In middle/high school I passed out twice- out cold on my feet. I was constantly dizzy and tired. My parents took me to a doctor and got my ferritin (a measure of your stored iron) and my blood checked. It was bad – my ferritin was 2  and my red blood cells (RBCs) were all out of whack. I was severely anemic. I started taking about 100 mg of elemental iron a day in 4 doses and kept on iron for the next 5 or so years.

In high school, the highest my ferritin ever got was a 29 – during my senior cross country season. That was probably my best season, and for me, a 29 was good.

In college, I couldn’t keep it up freshman year and most of this sophomore year it hovered between 13 and 24. Long story short, a couple months ago I decided I was over it. I only have 2 more years left to run in college, and I want to make the most of it.

A couple months ago I contacted a hematologist with the hope of getting IV iron infusions. When I was there they did a ferritin and CBC test. My ferritin was 14 which is low, but my CBC measures were all pretty normal. In other words, my iron stores were low, but it hadn’t started to show in my blood yet. 14 was still low enough that the doctor was willing to give me an infusion.

They did the first one that day, and the second part three days later – how Feraheme is typically prescribed. Basically they put in IV line in with saline for 15 minutes, pushed the iron and steroid in, and observed me for 30 minutes. If you’re going to do something similar, I recommend really pushing the vitamin C in the days before. The steroid depressed my immune system so I wouldn’t have a reaction to the iron, but with the side result of coming down with the flu (full-blown 103 fever 7 day horizontal flu.). At first I thought it was side effects of the iron, but they said it wasn’t.

For the few weeks afterwards, I was running worse than before. I had already lost 5 lbs since last semester and the flu made me lose 5 more. For about three weeks I slept 9-10 hours a day with some naps. My mile repeats were as bad as 6:49 and I still felt terrible.

Eventually I started feeling better and running better. This was around the time I started doing 5 or so double runs a week. Last week I ran one second off my PR in the steeplechase (11:40s) and came back a few hours later to double in the 5k, PRing by almost 20 seconds and getting right under 19 minutes for the first time ever!

Before the infusions, my resting heart rate was in the 70s or 80s (at the doctor it was the 90s!) and now it’s around 50-52. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!! I’ve honestly never felt better in my life. Side note: at night when I’m trying to fall asleep it feels like part of my heartbeat is missing.. it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I’m confident that even if CBC numbers look okay, a low ferritin (less than 60 and 30 for sure) is not good for endurance athletes.

I’m not sure when I’m going to need another infusion, but I’m glad I did it. If you’re considering IV iron and want to ask questions go ahead and comment or contact me.

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Filed under running, cross country, and track

Hi, Sorry To Burden You, But I’m Thinking About Killing Myself.

Originally posted on KIERAN MOOLCHAN:

When I lived in residence at university, my neighbour killed himself.

The night he died, he came into the bathroom while I was brushing my teeth. I said “hey”. He said “hello”. I reminded him of a long standing offer to play Starcraft, and he said he might play, but he had a lot of studying to do.

Two days later they found his body on the banks of the Red River. He’d jumped off of the Bishop Grandin Bridge.

I had been the last person to talk to him, and at his funeral all I could do was ask myself over and over what I could have done, or how I could not have noticed. Some people might say that there was no way I could have known, or that once he had made up his mind that there was no stopping him.

For all I know he was…

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