Monday, March 27, 2017

Training 3/27-4/2

3/27- 2ish miles at around 8 minute pace. Felt okay. Had to cut it short because of lightning in the area. I think I have detoxed everything and am ready to roll.
3/28- Very poor. 3 miles at Gold's in 26:48 (8:56 pace). The culprit is B12, which is related to Iron metabolism.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Epic Road Trip Plan

Now that I am recovered from my NYC trip, It's time to plan the next one.  I've already pulled the trigger on the first race and need to book the hotels soon before they sell out.

6/1-Fly into Helena, Montana- It's cheaper than Jackson Hole and so are the surrounding hotels.  I'll be finishing up my trip here anyway so that's less driving at the end.

6/2-Drive to Jackson Hole (4-5 hours).  Assuming I can get a fairly early start, I'll have time to tour the Tetons as well.

6/3-Grand Teton Half Marathon- I'm not racing it all out and the elevation precludes a good time anyway.  I just want to enjoy the scenery.  From there, I'll catch the parts of Teton Park that I missed yesterday then head into Yelowstone and stay there for the night.  There are 2 circular loops in the park and I figure I can catch at least the southern loop on this day.

6/4- Northern loop of Yellowstone and the Beartooth Highway.  Depending on how I feel, I can go to Helena or Great Falls that evening.

6/5-Drive to Calgary, Alberta, Canada and do a walking tour.

6/6- Finish touring Calgary.  Leave for the Banff area though I'll probably stay in Canmoore, a few miles east because it's much cheaper. 

6/7- Very scenic drive through the Canadian Rockies that will include a couple short hikes.  I'll head back halfway and plan to stay in Invermere, British Columbia.

6/8- Back to the USA and stop near Glacier National Park.  I'll probably have time to at least get a sample of the park.

6/9-Finish touring Glacier.  Easy drive back to Helena.

6/10- Governor's Cup Half Marathon in Helena. Lazy day after that.

6/11- Flight home.

Here is just a little bit of the scenery that I will see along the way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NYC Trip Report

A typical Crazy J trip is characterized by doing and seeing as much as possible in a limited amount of time.  I don't like to simply lounge around in an expensive hotel and don't really care about fine dining either.  I do enjoy going off the beaten path to take in some local culture away from more typical tourist spots.  On this trip, I took it to a new level with the sightseeing.  I don't think I've ever crammed this much into a long weekend before.

3/17- Caught a 6:30 flight out of B'ham and landed in LaGuardia around 10:00 local time.  I took a cab into town, which took an hour and cost me over $50.  I would recommend taking a bus to a nearby subway station instead.  I was able to get a pass for unlimited subway rides for the rest of my trip.  I dropped off my bag at the hotel and I was out the door on my way to Grand Central Station, just 10 blocks away.  I got some lunch at Mendy's deli and browsed around a bit.

Grand Central

Next stop was Times Square.  I snapped a couple pictures and went into a few shops but did not buy anything.  Because it was St. Patrick's Day, I noticed a lot of drunks, pervasive use of the f-word and occasional smells of marijuana.  Word on the street is that you should not bother making small talk with locals and that's generally true but if you ask for directions, they will be helpful and courteous.  I got a nice surprise later in the day when a random young woman approached me in a subway station to compliment my smile.  That made my day.
Bull Market

It was on to Wall Street from there and this time, I did take the subway and found that I got a handle on the train routes pretty quickly.  I walked past the NYSE and the bull before reaching the new World Trade Center just a few blocks away.  I saw the 9/11 Memorial monuments then headed up 100 floors to the top of the Freedom Tower where I got some amazing shots of the skyline.  From there, I found myself in a very upscale shopping area that doubled as a subway station.  I ended up stopping at 34th St to get a view of the Empire State Building but chose to view the Top of the Rock instead.

I got tickets for a 8:50 PM observation and thought it was pretty cool to see the Rock at night after seeing the Freedom Tower in the daylight.  Not surprisingly, I was dead tired by now and was happy to settle in for the night.
9/11 Monument

Times Square

100th Floor of Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower 2

Empire State Building from 34th.
Top of the Rock at night

3/18-I planned to scale it back a bit to stay off the feet.  First stop was Tom's restaurant for breakfast which was used in the TV show Seinfeld.  The exterior is the same but the interior is different.  Much of the show itself was actually filmed in LA instead of NY.  I got some eggs with toast and potatoes, which was decent but only memorable because of Seinfeld.

Seinfeld Cafe

I hit the subway again to the Bronx for a tour of Yankee stadium.  In the only real downer of the trip, I was not allowed in because of a soccer match.  I did walk around a bit and got some tasty chicken at a local establishment for an authentic Bronx experience off the beaten path.  It was back to Manhattan from there where I got a quick sample of Central Park before a lazy afternoon in my room.  That worked out well because it was the only bad weather day of the trip.  In the evening, I met up with Nick and Cara for a steak dinner in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn before bed.

Central Park

3/19- Ran 13.1 miles in the morning.  More on that later. I got cleaned up, checked off St. Patrick's then took the subway into Brooklyn.  I ended up at Flatbush and Fulton St. Shopping district before making my way to Dumbo (Downtown Under Manhattan and Brooklyn Overpass) where I got some of the best pizza at a place called Juliana's.  I then walked across the Brooklyn bridge to Manhattan and back.  My legs held up okay.

View of Manhattan from Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge

Next, I went into a section of Queens called Long Island City just to do something in that borough.  I got another nice view of Manhattan.  There were a few fancy restaurants overlooking the river but after a late lunch, I was fine with bar food.

View of Manhattan from Queens

3/20- Walking tour of the Upper West side including the Seinfeld apartment address of 129 W 81st St.  The address is real but it's home to a realty office not an apartment building.  A few blocks away was Riverside Park with views of New Jersey.  On the East Side, I just walked by the high end shops and did not even check the prices of items for sale then checked out Trump Tower.

Radio City
Had to Check it out.

Inside Trump Tower

With time to kill before my flight, I went back downtown to Battery Park where I saw a decent view of the Statue of Liberty.   I did have time for the 9/11 museum this time around and it was gripping.  Wish I had more time but I couldn't risk a SNAFU on the trip to the airport.

Now the race report:

2017 began just as horribly as the previous 2 years but I feel like I’ve turned a corner over the last 3 weeks thanks to molybdenum, which has opened up the sulfur pathways.  Still, being limited to 20-25 MPW over the last 2 years with much of that being junk runs, I could not expect a good time.  It’s going to take a few months of steady 40 MPW training before I see significant gains.  Based on my recent workouts, I thought I could do 1:42-1:43 if everything broke in my favor.  If I was a little off form, I would still be able to fight for a post-35 PR of 1:45:58.  There was some question about whether or not I should be taking glutathione for methylation support but unlike in the recent past, a single missed dose won’t kill me.

NYC got hit with a nasty Nor’Easter earlier in the week and there was a chance of another round of snow showers over the weekend.  It turned out okay.  Friday was sunny and 40 but Saturday was a mix of cold drizzle and snow flurries.  Fortunately, it cleared out by the morning.  Conditions at the start were mostly cloudy and 34 degrees with an 18 mph wind.  That’s tough but I’ve raced in worse.  In a long tech and pants, I was fine once I got moving and maybe a touch warm when the sun came out but chilly when the wind began to gust.

Looped around Central Park for the first half.  The terrain was for the most part gently rolling with the exception of tough spots in Mile 4 and near the start.  From there, we came out of the park and through Times Square before turning down towards Battery Park with views of the Freedom Tower.  The finish was near Wall Street.  Truly an iconic route.  From mile 6 on, it was ever so slightly downhill except for a small climb out of the tunnel near the finish.

Race outfit

I just stayed relaxed early and did not even look at the watch until I was over the first hill nearly a half mile in.  I hit the Mile marker in 7:53 which was just where I wanted to be.  Mile 2 saw some nice downhill and my pace quickened to the 7:30 range.  That’s too fast.  Back it down even though I felt good.  I passed 5K in 23:50 officially (7:40 pace), which would bring me home around 1:41.  It’s a little quick but not stupid fast and I still feel strong.  After a brief out and back section, we were in Harlem at the north edge of the park.  There were 3 noticeable climbs here including a long steep stretch for about a half mile near the end of Mile 4. 

By the end of Mile 5, we were through the hills except for the last stretch out of the tunnel and my watch read 38:5x or just north of 7:45 pace.  The 10K mark passed in 48:15, which is a new post-35 PR for that distance.  The 24:25 over the previous 5K was very respectable considering the hills and if paced well, this is a negative split course.  I’m not sure of my exact time at the halfway point because my GPS clocked it at 13.35 (quarter mile long) but I figure it was around 51-flat so I was in very good shape to hit my goal.  I really sucked at running the tangents today.  Central Park has a lot of curves in the road and I went wide most of the time.  Oh well.  Most of the remainder of the course would be flat and straight.

Many runners feel a surge of adrenaline upon entering Times Square.  I got a small boost and managed to pick up the pace a few ticks but it was no surge.  I still felt fairly comfortable but the legs were starting to hurt.  At mile 8, my watch read an even 62 minutes or exactly 7:45 pace.  The math was easy.  Just hold the pace under 8:00 for the last 5.1 and you’ve got a sub-1:43.  

Unfortunately, things unraveled just before the 9 Mile marker.  In a flash, I went from feeling relatively comfortable to flat out awful.  To make matters worse, the wind picked up bigly near the water.  I bet I instantly slowed by 30 seconds per mile and it would get worse from there.  Maybe I could have used the glutathione here but oh well.  I was 73:07 at 15K for a 24:52 split and still under 79 minutes at 10 miles.

The Freedom Tower was now in view and I tried to draw some inspiration but to no avail.  Taking a gel also had no effect.  Just getting to the Finish safely was the primary concern now.  According to the official results, my pace slipped to the 8:45 range and the last 5K was over 27 minutes.  Knowing that I would come up short of the “B” goal, I just coasted in on fumes with a watch time of 1:46:19, which was good enough for the 67th percentile in my age group. 

29 states down.

Final Thought:
All in all, I’m okay with this race.  Performances are expected to vary by up to 5% on any given day so I was well within the range even with the fade at the end.  If I had struggled to break 1:50, then changes would be needed.  I’ve broken that barrier only once in my previous 6 races so I still believe I’m on the right track.  The probable resolution is that I will never approach my former glory but if I can avoid the horrible days and extreme sensitivity to pills, it's a trade that I am more than willing to make.  Even if I am no longer competitive, I can still do well enough to enjoy these events.  I don’t think I would have visited NYC if not for this race and would have missed out on an amazing trip.  Next up is something out west and I am leaning towards the Teton/Helena combo in Wyoming and Montana.  Long way from the big city there.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Training 3/20-3/26

3/20- Planned rest day.  Appropriately sore.

3/21- 3 miles untimed on Jemison Trail.  I was not expecting much and was not disappointed.  I got back to Alabama very late last night then got up early for work.  As for the pills, I feel I may need to cut the Curcumin, which is not a huge surprise.  The molybdenum removed the iron from storage and the Curcumin bound it up and now it may have gone too far.  We shall see.  I am betting that the glutathione is fine but we'll see on that as well.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

3\22- Trak Shak 3 in 29:45 (9:55 pace). Felt drowsy most of the day. Not yet recovered from the trip. I should be better tomorrow.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance-3.0

3/23- Lakeshore 4 in 34:35 (8:39 pace). Nice improvement over yesterday. Slept 10 hours last night. Caffeine is the cause of this mini-relapse. I cheated after the race. I can get away with it for 1 day, maybe 2 but no more than that. Back on track now. Should be normal by tomorrow.
Grade: C-/1 credit/distance-4.0

3/24-AM Attempted interval session.  400-800-1200-800-400-400 at 95 seconds per lap.  I found myself struggling for a 1:40 on the opener and managed just 3:27 for the 800.  After that, I collapsed and cut out the 1200.  Managed just 3:55 for the 2nd 800 and a pair of 1:57s for the 400s (7:48 pace).  Something is clearly off with the pills and I'll be back this afternoon to find out what it is.

PM- Vestavia was closed due to a soccer game so I ended up at the gym for 2 lap intervals.  Slightly less than a 400 but enough to give me the info.  Took Curcumin at lunch and was noticeably worse off.  Did not even need to run to know it.  Started off at 1:52 (8:24 pace) plus a 1 lap warm.  Then, I began the experiments knowing the Curcumin slowed me down by 36/mile.  That is significant and it must be stopped. 
Glutathione- Improved to 1:49 (8:10 pace). MINUS 14
SOD- Improved  to 1:48 (8:06 pace).  MINUS 4
Yucca- Slipped to 2:12 (9:54 pace).  PLUS 1:48- CULPRIT FOUND!
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

3/25- More trial and error this time with Lynch's MTHFRade.  Opened with a Mile in 8:38 then drank 2 servings of the MTHFRade and came back with another Mile this time in 8:40.  All the questions have been answered now.

I was unsure about the Glutathione heading into NYC so I took a micro dose to be safe.  While it's not a game changer, it is likely beneficial and will be re-ordered.  The Curcumin needs to be cut out, which is not a huge surprise.  It was a temporary measure to bind up the excess stored Iron that was dumped after starting the molybdenum.  If I had cut it out before race day, I probably would have been 2-4 minutes faster in NYC.  Still, it was not a bad race for me.  The ill-effects didn't really start to kick in hard until this week.  The Ferritin re-test HAD BETTER turn out good or I must go radical.

The SOD is a non-factor.  I'll finish the bottle but will not re-order.  The best news out of this is MTHFRade is also a non-factor.  That means the problems with Curcumin are NOT related to sulfur.  It must be Iron instead.  MTHFRade contains taurine and I took 2 serving but was just 2 ticks slower over a full Mile.  Not even close to a significant difference.  The last question is the caffeine intolerance.  It is best avoided altogether but I can handle it once a week, maybe twice on non-consecutive days but ABSOLUTELY NO MORE THAN THAT!

PM- Gold's 3 in 25:28 (8:29 pace). Didn't push at all and felt surprisingly loose. I should be decent tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=5.0

3/26- 2 mile junk run just to hit 20 on the week. Took too much MF with caffeine the previous day and died after Mile 1.  Even knowing what the problem was and being certain that I'll be better tomorrow did not help my mood.  It's all about the chemistry.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
I am not upset or disappointed in the events of this week.  I had planned on a throw away week with experiments anyway.  I got the answers that I needed and I should be back on track going forward.
-20 miles on the week.  YTD= 339  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Training 3/13-3/19 (race week)

3/13- Gold's 10 in 78:20 (7:50 pace).  This is what I meant to do over the weekend.  One of my most enjoyable runs in a long time.  After a slow start, I clocked 8 consecutive miles between 7:49-7:53 and passed 9 miles in 71:01.  Found another gear at the end and finished with a strong 7:19.  That tells me this pace is definitely sustainable over another 5K and would bring me home in 1:42:55 on race day.  That's a 20 second cushion on the #1 goal, which would be my fastest time since Tulsa in November 2014 before the methylation problems became too much to bear.  Got a shot at it now!
Shorter and sharper for the remainder of the week.  I won't gain much in terms of fitness but it's possible that the relapse is not fully behind me.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.0

Methyl Folate news:
Woke up EXTREMELY SORE without it.  1000 was clearly not enough and 1400 made a BIG difference BUT there was NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE between 1400-1800 nor from 1800-2200.  Odds are 5000 may give me trouble but I'd probably be okay on 3000 as long as I take PABA.  I'm okay with that.  I brought the relapse on myself with either caffeine or the MTHFRade.  Now, let's get this blizzard over with and clear out the roads because I'm ready to take on NYC.

3/14- Gold's 5 in 36:54 (7:23 pace).  Very strong.  No ill-effects from yesterday.  Bore a resemblance to the Crazy J of old.  When healthy and well trained, these type of workouts are really not that hard for me.  Still, I was surprised by how well I did today after a double digit run @ sub-8 pace.  I did have to work a bit to keep the pace below 7:30 but this was far from a hard effort.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=5.5
Hey NYC, get out your snow plows because I'm coming for you.

3/15-Planned rest day.  I expect the delayed onset soreness might hit me but I bet I could handle a workout if need be.

3/16- 2 miles in 13:58 (6:59 pace). I was hoping for a little better but it is not a cause for alarm. I think glutathione is causing me to feel just a tad sluggish so I'm cutting it. The fact that I am not horrible with a questionable pill is encouraging.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance-2.5

3/17- No running but this was NOT an easy day.  Whirlwind tour of NYC while the weather was good.  Stops included Grand Central, Times Square, Wall Street, World Trade Center and the Rockefeller Center.  Maybe I'll do a junk run tomorrow but I had best stay off my feet as much as possible.

3/18- Stop and go junk run through Midtown.  Found a good pace early then backed it down.  Did not record the distance but I'll call it 2 miles.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=2.0

3/19- NYC half in 1:46:19 unofficially.  A little slower than what I hoped for but well within the range of variability.  The course was measured a quarter mile long and it's hard to run tangents in a crows so it's a good bet I covered 13.1 in less than 1:45.
Grade:B-/4 credit/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
First win of the year.
Distance=34.0/ GPA= 28.2/9=3.13
YTD: 319 miles.  1-9/ 1.92

Thursday, March 9, 2017

More Road Trip Plans

I’ve raced a halfway decent 5K and a half since turning 35 but my only 10K has been Peachtree last year, which was a disaster.  A post-35 PR would be pretty easy.  There is a good local 10K this coming weekend but my gut feeling is to skip it.   Instead, I’ll do a 10-12 miler followed by some shorter and sharper stuff race week.   I don’t really care if a race effort leaves me slightly less than fresh in NYC but I REALLY don’t want to risk an overuse injury after the quality long run last weekend.  Any other 10Ks coming up?  There’s usually a 5K/10K combo at UAB in April and there is also one in Tuscaloosa.  I wouldn’t mind a little regional travel this Spring.  Pensacola and Tupelo are options for a repeat and there is also Cotton Row in Huntsville on Memorial Day.  I think I'd lean towards the Coke 10K in Corinth, Miss because I've never done it before.  

If I don’t relapse, I’d like to make plans for an epic road trip.  I can check off Wyoming and Montana with 2 half marathons on back to back weekends but the most fun will be had in between those dates.  Here’s the preliminary plan:

6/2- Fly into Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Drive through some of the Grand Tetons
6/3- Grand Teton half marathon then into Yellowstone.
6/4-Sample Yellowstone, spend night in central Montana
6/5-Drive to Calgary.
6/6-Tour Calgary and go to Banff
6/7-Drive through Canadian Rockies
6/8-Back to USA, Sample Glacier NP
6/9- Drive to Helena
6/10- Race in Helena, back down to Jackson Hole.
6/11-Fly home.

The Grand Teton half is known for indescribable scenery but at 6500 feet elevation, a good time is out the window.  Unlike Tahoe however, the course is mostly flat.  Helena is a race that I am only interested in to check off another state.  It’s a mostly rural point to point course that’s gently rolling but the 4000 feet elevation will hurt.  There is a race in Yellowstone the same day but word on the street is that it’s poorly organized and the trail can be treacherous plus it’s a long drive from Glacier.  Helena would break up the trip.  If for some reason, this falls through, the backup option is exciting as well.  I would race Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota’s Black Hills and see Mount Rushmore.

I see 3 interesting possibilities here depending on my fitness level.
Option 1-Detroit Free Press-I’ve wanted to do this one since 2012 but it never fit my schedule.  It is a PR course and if I’m in competitive shape, that’s the frontrunner.

Option 2- New England Double- There’s a race in New Hampshire on the last day of September and another in Maine (3 hours away) on the first day of October.  Of course, both will be training runs and I don’t care about my times.  My fitness would have to improve to the point in which I can tolerate back to back 13 milers in training.  Even with the recent improvements, I’m not there yet.

Option 3- Albuquerque, New Mexico- Another race chosen only for the 50 states project but I’d like to see West Texas (Amarillo and/or Lubbock) as well.  There is a local couple that are planning to finish up their 50 state full marathon project and I may alter my plans to support them.

I get in Friday morning (3/17) and the plan is to see Times Square first while the crowds are not too overwhelming.  Nearby is Grand Central Station, Trump Tower and the Rockefeller Center.  If I have time, I’ll do some browsing on 5th and Madison Ave.
Saturday, the plan is the Seinfeld cafĂ© for breakfast then the Yankee Stadium tour.  I can then sample Central Park and the Upper East Side.  If I have time, I’ll go downtown for the Freedom Tower and do a junk run in Battery Park.
Sunday is race day and because the finish is downtown, I can catch the quick stuff while I am there such as the NYSE and the 9/11 Memorial but the priority will be Brooklyn and the bridge.
Monday- I don’t leave until evening but I’ll need plenty of time to get to the airport.  I can pick up some of the quick stuff I may have missed that morning but I want to have lunch in Queens just to do something in that borough and maybe save some on the cab fare back to the airport.

Next year:
Yes, I’m already thinking of it.  For the Spring, I’m thinking Vermont plus a road trip into Quebec and/or the capitol of Ottawa.  I’ve already got California but San Diego has a race in August called America’s Finest City that’s been on my list for a while.  When I’m there, I can take a day trip to Mexico.  Tijuana is only 17 miles away but it’s a hassle getting in and out.  Tecate is about an hour away but it’s an easy crossing and I only want to get a meal and a drink just to say I’ve been there.  Canada and Mexico in the same year would be pretty cool.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Training 3/6-3/12

3/6-AM- Gold's 3 in 23:39 (7:53 pace).  Probably a mistake to double today but no harm done.  A longer single run at a slower pace is the better choice after a hard long run.

PM- Canterbury-Jemison 5 in 39:35 (7:55 pace).  Smooth and fairly relaxed despite very tired legs.  I didn't care if the pace slipped to over 8.  Even effort over hilly terrain early.  The first 3.5 were just a tick south of 8:00 pace but on the flat section, I dipped to the 7:45 range.  It's normal to see the paces slow when there is a higher volume of miles under my belt in recent days.  A few more easy days will bring the standard issue pace back down.  On the medical front, Curcumin is necessary but extra pills don't seem to really matter.  I should be able to reduce ADHS soon.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=8.0

3/7-Easy 6 in 46:35 (7:46 pace). Even pace with plenty in the tank. This is sub-1:42 pace and I don't think it is too unrealistic to expect to hold this pace when fresh. Moly will indeed work at doses between 75-225. ADHS was cut with no problem.
Grade:B+/1 credit\distance-6.0

3/8-AM-Lakeshore 6 with the fast group and managed to stay with the pack for the first half then dialed it back. Passed 5 miles in 40:30 (8:06 pace) but fading so I cut off the watch and treated the last mile like a cool down. Not worried that I struggled today. It's just too many miles without enough rest. I could have duplicated yesterday if it was an evening session.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance-6.0

3/9- Another 5 on Lakeshore this time going the opposite direction plus a mile warm. I was doing my standard pace through 3 then endured one of my worst bonks ever. I couldn't do 10 minute pace after that. The collapse was just as sudden as it was complete. Got home and found the culprit to be too much MF. PABA helped but not enough.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance-6.0

3/10- This was a scheduled rest day but I need to know what the hell is going on with the MF. Started on 1200 and finished the first mile in 7:56 with a rapidly slowing pace. On 1600, I was immediately MUCH worse and didn't even try another mile. Took full strength PABA when I got home and improved but doubt that I could handle a real workout.
PM- Fared no better on full strength PABA in the afternoon session but tacked on another mile.
No grade today./distance=2.0

3/11- Good call on skipping the local 10K.  I would have had NOTHING.  A couple pieces of good news. Both Yucca and SOD (so far) APPEAR to be tolerated now whereas they were disasters before.  I credit the molybdenum for opening up my sulfur pathway.  Unfortunately, neither helped the situation with the MF.  I tried on zero and was awful.  1 lap at Spain Park in 2:16 (9:04 pace) then on 400, I improved only to 2:09 (8:36 pace) but 800 left me worse off than zero.  I jogged 2 laps at glacial pace then tacked on another mile later in the day. Time was 9:40.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=2.0
If I cannot tolerate the MF, it's the death knell for my recovery.  I don't see a pathway to balance without it.  What could be causing the sudden intolerance?  It could be Lynch's MTHFRade, which is supposed to prevent side effects or it could be cheating on the caffeine restrictions.  Both will be stopped.  Stopping caffeine did help in the past with MF intolerance but I never stuck with it because it did not solve my other problems.  Last resort now.  One way or the other, I may know by NYC just as I predicted.

3/12- AM- 2 miles on Wisteria and improved to 17:40 (8:50 pace). Looking at another slow climb out of a hole. Did manage an 8:34 on the upside. NYC will get hammered by a big league blizzard on Tuesday. Early forecast looks cold but mostly dry next weekend. Central Park will still be blanketed with snow.

PM- Again, I doubled the distance and improved the pace.  4 miles at Gold's in 33:49 (8:27 pace) with another negative split.  Improved from 1@9:40 to 4@8:27 in just 24 hours.  I'll shoot for 6@sub-8 tomorrow.  Took 1000 MF.
Grade:D/2 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
Despite the relapse and missed long run, I managed 36 miles on the week.  As for the MF dose, I said before that I'm okay with the dose going down but NOT UP AND DOWN!  My need had better not shoot back up next week.  Because I have the homozygous MTHFR mutation, I KNOW that I need at least 1000 and there is no path to balance without it.  Once again, I feel the formula SHOULD be set for good.
GPA= 14.6/8= 1.83

Monday, February 27, 2017

Molybdenum and the Smoking Gun

It is nearly Spring and though I will not get a confirmation one way or the other in writing, it’s a pretty safe bet that I will know the outcome very soon.  Nothing is certain given my history but I really believe I’ve tried every trick in the book now.  Last week, I asked why the hell certain sulfur containing products such as glutathione, SAM-e and glucosamine seemed to be beneficial.  In fact, the latter option actually mitigated much of the ill-effects of taking the “bad sulfur” containing products such as Taurine, Milk Thistle and Curcumin.  If any of those 3 were taken alone, it would have been disastrous to the point that I would not be able to run a 10 minute mile.

I believe the reason for this is that not all sulfurs are created equal.  The “good stuff” such as the glucosamine is a sulfate while the bad stuff generates sulfites.  Sulfate=good.  Sulfite=bad.  There is a defect in my transulfation pathway that is blocking the conversion of sulfites to more friendly sulfates.  Though unconfirmed, evidence is strong that the culprit is an enzyme defect related to the SUOX gene that can be corrected with increased molybdenum.  I had been taking only a micro dose of 50 mcg but have since increased it to 150.  The results?

Small doses of Taurine and Curcumin are now well tolerated and may actually be marginally beneficial.  As for the PABA, a small pinch is needed to guard against Methyl folate sensitivity but taking a full strength dose was disastrous.  Now, I can take the full strength and barely feel any ill-effects.  All of this means that I do have to take a lot of pills every day and if I forget one, I’m in trouble.  There may be a sweet spot with some of the doses BUT the big difference is (drumroll please)  NO MORE MOVING TARGETS AND GOING BEYOND THE SWEET SPOT OR TAKING OTHER SULFUR PILLS WILL NOT SIGNIFICANTLY HURT ME!!  I’ve said it a million times that all I want out of this is STABLE chemistry.   Anything that I achieve in my running is a bonus.  What would happen if I loaded on “bad sulfur” with molybdenum?

I haven’t tried taking mega doses of Taurine but based on personal observations with Curcumin, I can bet that I will feel a little sluggish if I took too much but I’d still be able to get through a standard issue workout.  That’s a hell of a lot better than a 10 minute mile without the moly.  Extra molybdenum beyond 150 mcg is probably required if I was to take Taurine on a regular basis and would mitigate much of the ill-effects.  Any other options to try?

I’m leaning heavily towards the extra molybdenum option and am open to going beyond 150 mcg.  If I stuck with the low dose, I will be completely intolerant to Taurine and Curcumin as well as many other sulfur containing products.  Increased methylation that comes with taking TMG and MF also increases the demand for molybdenum. 

 I MIGHT be okay on the low dose if I avoid these problem pills like the plague and indeed I should not be taking much Taurine as it is because of the CBS mutation.  Still, something is BADLY wrong if a small dose of ANYTHING triggers such a STRONG negative reaction.  A pill such as Curcumin or Apple Cider Vinegar that could be useful in reducing excess Iron or preventing it from flaring up in the future would be off limits because of the sulfur content. 

 Even if I avoided all of that stuff completely, I still believe that the blockage in the sulfation pathway slows me down.  My top interval speed improved from 5:48 to 5:29 after solving the MF sensitivity with PABA.  Moreover, there is no guarantee that the sweet spots will remain constant.  I could develop a complete intolerance to PABA which means that a single dose of Methylfolate would cause me to gain/lose up to 60 seconds/mile while shooting at moving targets.  Once again, that is UNACCEPTABLE and I don’t care how fast I can go when everything is in sync.  I would say the same if I was in sub-5:00 Mile shape on my best days but terrible on the bad ones.  Any risks with molybdenum?

The biggest problem encountered thus far is increased demand for ADHS (adrenal support) but once again, I believe it to be a temporary spike that will calm down fairly soon.  It supposedly lowers Ferritin, which is good, but it may aggravate excessive serum Iron.  If that happens, I can safely take Curcumin to fix that without having to worry about the sulfur content.  If it does indeed lower Ferritin, I will NOT have to risk a Liver flush or blood donation which cannot be undone and could potentially alter my chemistry significantly. 
There is a risk that it could lower copper and ceruloplasmin but I’m not worried about that because I actually felt better when it was around 20 rather than the 25.9 on the last test.  Avoiding citrates and staying on the B-12 should keep that number afloat.  B-12 MUST be up to snuff or a bad reaction to molybdenum is likely.  While I don’t doubt that better balance in Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Adrenal activity is beneficial to my health, NONE of them are the smoking gun that explains the extreme sensitivity.  Even if my mineral balance was near-perfect, I’d still have BRUTAL sensitivity if the sulfation pathway blockage is not addressed.

Time will tell how I do on this formula but the longer I go without a relapse, the more likely it becomes that I am victorious.  If I raced NYC right now, I’d probably finish around 1:48-1:50 just like in training.  Given another 2.5 weeks of steady training, improvements are possible especially if the adrenals calm down.  I think I have a realistic chance of a post-35 PR which was a 1:45:58 last May in Kansas City.  A sub-1:43 will be tough but that would be a MAJOR confidence boost because it would be my best time since 2014, which was before the methylation problems became unmanageable without treatment.  Once again, I’ve probably set my last PR but I see no reason why I can’t be competitive if I am able to train at 40 MPW.  If the formula is stable, training updates will continue as long as I improve.  When I plateau, I will scale them back but continue to post road trip reports as well as Rants and Raves. 

Training 2/27-3/5

2/27- AM- 3x3 laps at Gold's just messing around with my formula.  I did everything wrong on purpose.  I went beyond the sweet spot with MF (3600) while taking no PABA and only a low dose of ADHS but did take the full dose of moly.  Not surprisingly, I was beyond awful early.
Opener- 3:15 (9:45 pace)
With PABA- 2:50 (8:30 pace) MINUS 75
With Curcumin- 2:47 (8:21 pace) MINUS 9
The PABA is clearly needed BUT the dose is FLEXIBLE!  As for the Curcumin, I thought maybe the serum Iron shot up when the moly allowed Ferritin to be removed from storage.  That does not appear to be the case.  I may have gotten a marginal benefit but MINUS 9 is not enough to be considered significant.  I'll keep the Curcumin in my cabinet for occasional use. Reducing Iron will NOT calm down my adrenals, only ADHS can do that.  I accidentally missed my B-12 this morning so that shows that a key missed pill will leave me hurting.  I'm okay with that so long as the dose is FLEXIBLE!

PM- The B-12 plus extra ADHS was the game changer.  5 miles in 39:18 (7:52 pace) with nice even splits and a little something left at the end.  This pace will bring me home just north of 1:43 in a half mary.  I don't think I can hold this pace for 13.1 but I'm sure I'd be under 1:50 today.  Maybe 1:48ish.  This is exactly what should happen when a formula is working.  I may not feel much difference from one day to the next but over the course of a few weeks, improvement will be evident.  I'm 20 days out so there's still a chance to improve on this.
Grade:B-/1 credit/Distance=6.0

2/28-Again, I tinkered with my formula this morning.  I found that even on low dose molybdenum, the demand for ADHS remained high.  Also, the reaction to taurine containing MTHFRade was IMMEDIATE and STRONGLY NEGATIVE.  Sulfates helped but not enough to be a game changer.  Without a doubt, extra molybdenum is my best chance to cool the smoking gun.
AM- 1 mile junk run on Wisteria before molybdenum.

PM-Lakeshore 5 in 38:52 (7:46 pace).  Not a significant difference from yesterday but an improvement nonetheless.  I'll take a MINUS 6 every day and at that rate, I'll be competitive very soon.  Lakeshore is a little roly poly in spots so a perfectly flat surface would have yielded a pace closer to 7:40.  Tacked on a half mile cool.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.5

3/1- Tried the full strength PABA and as I predicted, I was a little more sluggish as a result but not enough to be considered significant.  Went with a shorter 3 miler today in hopes of going under 7:30 pace.  I was on pace for the first half but faded a bit and finished in 22:54 (7:38 pace) plus a half mile cool.  Figure that a 5 miler would have been just south of 40.  If I had gone with a pinch of PABA like usual or took extra moly to counteract it, I probably would have been about :10 faster per mile.  As it is, it's not horrible.  If I took the full strength PABA with the low dose moly, it would have been over 9 minute pace or worse.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.5

3/2- Planned rest day. Hurt by a double dose of moly. Not pleased about that.

3/3-5 miles in 37:46 (7:33 pace). Closed with an impressive 7:13. This pace was a MINUS 13 over 2 days so steady improvement continues. Long tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/ distance -5.0

3/4- Downer.  Group run downtown with the BTC and it was embarrassing.  I got off to a great start and was up with the lead pack then faded in Mile 2 and turned around. I managed to hold the pace in the 8:15 range and avoided a complete collapse.  I knew something was wrong and my heart wasn't into it so I cut it short.  I don't know my exact distance because of a GPS malfunction but the elapsed time was just north of 32 minutes so I'll consider it a 4 miler.  I will try again for a long run tomorrow.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=4.0
Felt MUCH worse after another trace of moly after I got home BUT quickly got better after taking Curcumin.  However, Curcumin did NOT mitigate the ill-effects of another trace of moly.
This turn of events is unfortunate but not a death knell.  There is some sensitivity with the moly but I don't think it's 150 or else.  I know that 50 won't cut it and 300 is too much but I'm betting that any dose between 75-225 will work.  Even if it's 100-200, that's okay.  It has become apparent that the Curcumin IS NEEDED.  That's probably because the moly has dumped the Ferritin (stored Iron), which results in excess  in the blood and tissues as I predicted.

Curcumin is sulfur containing so that means I can't it tolerate unless I take enough molybdenum.  The good news is Curcumin lowers Iron so that means it could be the key to calming my adrenals.  I may not need mega doses of ADHS anymore but even if I take extra, it won't hurt me.

3/5- I MADE IT. Lakeshore 15 in 2:00:37 (8:02 pace). First half was 59:57 then hung on for a 60:40. Pace never went above 8:15 and closed with a solid 7:43. This pace brings me home in about 1:45:30 and was sustained for 1.9 additional miles. Good shot at a sub-1:45 now. Sub-1:43 looks possible.
Grade:B plus/2 credit/distance- 15.0
-40 miles on the week.
GPA of 2.80 is my highest of the year
Yearly average has climbed to 1.77 with 239 miles. Not sure what I will do next weekend.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Training 2/20-2/26

2/20- Day off work for President's Day.  Did the Ferritin re-test and am just hoping to confirm that the Iron is NOT the smoking gun.  Even if it remains high, no action will be taken until after NYC.

AM- Workout was 3 miles at Spain Park's track in a time of 24:53 (8:18 pace).  That's a MINUS 84 over triple the distance from yesterday. Started off at sub-8 pace then quickly settled into the 8:30 range but held it there.  Took just a pinch of PABA but it's still obvious that I have too much in my system.  A couple of questions remain.  Will I tolerate the pinch of PABA or will I develop a complete intolerance?  If tolerated, will the small dose be enough to relieve the brutal sensitivity and moving targets with MF?  Lynch's MTHFRade is well tolerated so far.  We shall see.  I may be out again this evening.

PM- Took the evening off.  The MTHFRade is a NO probably because of the taurine content.  PABA or BUST!
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/21- Good news.  The answer to the 2 key questions are YES to both.  PABA IS tolerated in small doses AND the small dose IS enough to prevent extreme sensitivity and moving targets.  I'm going with this formula at least for the next 4 weeks until after NYC.  The workout still was not pretty because of yesterday's ill-advised MTHFRade.  3 miles in a moving time of 23:45 (7:55 pace) MINUS 23.  Could not hold a sub-8 pace without PABA so I popped a trace and actually did marginally better with it.  Then, I tried extra MF and again showed marginal improvement despite going beyond the "sweet spot".  Here are stats:
2000 MF w/no PABA- 3 laps in 2:40 (8:00 pace) but fading.
2000 MF w/PABA- 2 miles in 15:54 (7:57 pace) steady all the way.
2800 MF w/PABA- 6 laps in 5:11 (7:48 pace). likely near 8:00 for 2 miles.

PM- Took the evening off.  NOT good news on Ferritin.  My number dropped from 204 down to 189.  I was shooting for 150 or below.  Can't be sure that the methylation is the smoking gun now.  I've got to go with the liver flush after NYC and if that doesn't work, it's blood donation.  I am also quite puzzled that I can tolerate some sulfur containing pills such as glutathione, SAM-e and glucosamine just fine but others such as taurine and milk thistle are disasters.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/22- Gold's 3 miler in 21:27 (7:09 pace) MINUS 46 with splits of 7:01-7:16-7:10.  Solid performance and I believe it is my best time of the year.  Still, no cause for celebration.  I've been here a million times before only to relapse yet again.  I will not even allow myself to hope again until I am under 21 and will not declare myself back until I am consistently under 20.  It seems that the sulfur containing glucosamine/chondroitin has mitigated much of the ill-effects of the sulfur containing taurine and milk thistle.  WHAT THE ______?
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=3.0

2/23- Lakeshore 5 in 43:35 (8:43 pace).  Started off at a smooth 7:30ish pace but it was downhill after Mile 1.  I was still at 19:37 at the half and probably under 24 at 3 miles but totally DIED on the back half to a pitiful 23:58.  Yes, it sucked but it's a suckage that I can accept.

I tried increasing the molybdenum in an effort to lower ferritin levels but it appears that it has also opened up the blocked part of the transulfation pathway.  Taurine was tolerated and so was Curcumin.  Whenever a MAJOR problem is solved, it's common to see a temporary spike in adrenal activity.  Instead of the usual lethargic feeling, I was loose but easily winded.  Extra ADHS seemed to help.  A more detailed post is coming.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/24- 3 miles at Gold's.  Started on the usual 3 ADHS and was 2:46 (8:18 pace) and fading through 3 laps so I popped 3 more and went non-stop @ 7:55 pace the rest of the way en route to a 23:54 finish (7:58 overall pace) or just below the Mendoza line.  Extra ADHS was not a miracle but it was a definite improvement and again, I believe it's just a temporary reaction.  3 weeks from today, I will be on a flight to New York City.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/25- Half marathon distance in 1:50:46 (8:27 pace) with the BTC.  Not much power or strength but remarkably consistent splits.  I never went under 8:20 or over 8:35 and I felt that I could have gone a few miles further at this pace.  Not half bad overall.  If the adrenals calm down and I can avoid a relapse, I will have a respectable showing in NYC.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=13.5

2/26-AM- Reduced my ADHS dosage and my system wasn't quite ready for it.  Hoped to run 6.5 miles on Lakeshore but settled for 3.5 in a time of 27:33 (7:52 pace).  Started strong but faded to the 8:10 range over the last 2 miles.

PM- A few interesting observations.  PABA was tolerated at FULL strength and so was a double dose of Curcumin as well as Apple Cider Vinegar.  I believe the molybdenum opened up a blockage in the sulfation pathway.  Tacked on another 3 miles this time at Vestavia and it was a carbon copy of the morning session.  Not quite as fast early but I did a little better at holding the pace.  Finished in 23:39 (7:53 pace).  Neither yesterday's run nor the morning session seemed to effect me very much.
Grade:C/2 credit/distance=6.5

Weekly summary:
Probably the best week overall this year.  I may be in a situation in which I am NOT SENSITIVE TO ANYTHING IN MY COCKTAIL!  That, my friends is all I really want out of all this.  Anything else is a bonus.  A couple more questions need to be answered.  I'll know what if any effect the Curcumin has and whether or not I even need the PABA now that I am on the molybdenum.
Distance=37.0/ GPA= 21.4/10= 2.14
YTD: 199 miles.  0-7 record with a 1.63 GPA (slowly climbing since Week 2)