Imagine being an “A” student and suddenly all your
grades turn to C’s. You had put in the same work, but
something just was not right.

That’s similar to what happened to freshman Jackie Gaydos
at the beginning of the cross-country season.

“I just wasn’t running the same times as I was a few
months before,” Gaydos said.

“I was tired all the time and couldn’t run a
lot,” Gaydos said.

Gaydos and every other freshman redshirted. But, even though her
efforts did not count for Michigan, Gaydos was still upset with her
performance. How she was running in the fall was in stark contrast
to how her senior season of high school went.

“I improved a lot in my senior year compared to the years
before that,” the Allen Park native said.

Gaydos made the Michigan all-state team in both cross-country
and track, won the division II championship in cross country and
was the state champion in the mile.

But when she arrived in Ann Arbor this past fall, she was not
living up to her aformentioned accomplishments.

Finally, in October she discovered what was wrong. She had
anemia, an iron deficiency. She was simply using more iron then she
was taking in. This was a direct result of the jump to division one
athletics; all of the extra running was taking its toll.

“The training in college was much more intense then in
high school,” Gaydos said. “I was running a lot more
and my body wasn’t used to all the running.”

Discovering the deficiency was a great relief for Gaydos.

“I was glad I found out I had something and was not just
me running poorly,” Gaydos said. “Some of the other
girls had it before, so it was not a shock, although I didn’t
think it would happen to me.”

Gaydos did not start training again until December. However, the
track season had already started, and she didn’t know whether
she would redshirt or not.

“Once the training started, I saw that I was at the same
ability before I got sick,” Gaydos said.

For the Jack Harvey Invitational — the Wolverines’
first meet of the season — Gaydos ran attached, implying that
she was redshirting for the day.

In the mile run she placed first in one of the sections and
fifth overall, six seconds behind the first place finisher.

“The section I won was the slow section, but it still felt
good to be able to do well,” Gaydos said.

At the meet Gaydos showed she could help the team. Distance
coach Mike McGuire talked to Gaydos about the season and let her
know that she was not going to be redshirted.

“I was nervous for the first meet after I found out I
wasn’t redshirting, but I was excited also,” Gaydos
said.

Now that she knows that she is competing with the team, Gaydos
has one thing on her mind — qualifying to run in the Big Ten
Championships.

“I don’t know if I can, but it would be a nice goal
right now,” Gaydos said.

But, for now, she is happy that she can run effectively like she
used to.

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