Chanhassen's Castanias feeds the iron need for speed

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 13, 2014 - 6:28 PM

Chanhassen’s Emily Castanias, felled by an iron deficiency, has regained her ranking as one of the state’s best distance runners.

hide

Chanhassen distance runner Emily Castanias, center, tested her speed by competing in a 400-meter dash during a recent meet at Wayzata High School.

Photo: Photos by MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Emily Castanias thought she was giving everything she had while running in the Victoria Lions Invitational cross-country meet in October. But the results didn’t jibe with her effort, baffling the Chanhassen senior.

“I felt like I was running at a good race pace,” she said. “But in reality, it was a good two, three minutes slower than what I was used to. I just couldn’t get my legs to go faster.’’

A natural at distance running since taking up the sport in seventh grade, Castanias never had dealt with anything more than typical soreness or occasional blisters. Her track and field times in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs had been good enough to land her a partial scholarship to the University of Minnesota.

But now, something was obviously wrong.

After discussions with her coaches, Castanias took a midseason break and consulted doctors. The diagnosis? Severe deficiencies in key nutrients vital to running.

“There was an iron deficiency on top of a lot of other random deficiencies,” she said. “I was feeling fatigued all the time.”

Her coach, Anita Woodrow, a former University of Minnesota runner herself, knew iron deficiencies were common in runners but had never seen a case this serious.

“Even the coloring of her skin was pale,” Woodrow said. “She was barely keeping her eyes open.”

As bad as she looked, Castanias felt worse. Not only could she not run as she used to, but her goals as a runner were fading away.

“It was such a shock,” she said. “I was like, ‘Is my running career over? Am I done?’ ”

Woodrow said many runners don’t understand the need for proper nutrition.

“You burn so many calories running that, for girls especially, the whole 1,800-calorie -a-day diet is not for you,” she said. “You need more like 3,000 calories a day.”

After nearly three weeks of resting without running and overloading on iron-rich foods, Castanias returned for the cross-country section meet. Her improvement was drastic.

“I felt so good. It was like a whole different season,” Castanias said.

She finished in the top five in the section meet, then ended up 35th in the Class 2A state meet. Not quite what she envisioned when the season began, but she considered her result a victory.

“I’m totally happy with it,” she said. “I finished with my best time ever at the state meet.”

Six months later, Castanias’ recovery is complete. She still binges on iron-laden foods — “It’s not that hard to whip up a spinach smoothie,” she said — but her running never has been better.

  • related content

  • Emily Castanias has overcome an iron deficiency and posted times in the 1,600 and 3,200 that put her among Class 2A’s best.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 2 FINAL
Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 100 4th Qtr 3:11
LA Clippers 99
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
NJIT 61 FINAL
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close