Monday, November 20, 2017

Training 11/20-11/26

Let's begin with a couple more thoughts on yesterday's race.  It was my best time in 3 years and faster than my last 3 pre-35 races.  In 5 half marathons this year, I broke 1:50 each time (1:42-1:49) despite the fact that 3 of the 5 were run at altitude.  By comparison, I broke that barrier only once in six tries before that.  With all the ups and downs and the losing record overall, I am clearly headed in the right direction.

11/20- 4 miles at Gold's in a quite comfortable 29:10 (7:18 pace).  Again, this was done THE DAY AFTER A HALF MARATHON!  The evidence is crystal clear now.  I had more to give out there yesterday but there is a missing link that is preventing me from access to my top gear just as I've said all along.  How else do you explain running 30 seconds faster than race pace while actually feeling more comfortable?  I swear that I was NOT dogging it yesterday either.  It really was as fast as I could go.  I did cut the PABA dose a bit, which was likely a good call.  I still need glycine but the Ultimate B is probably no longer necessary.  I believe there is a chance that NADH is the missing link.  According to the bottle, the full benefit is not achieved until 30 days of use.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=4.5

11/21-AM- 3 miles in 21:48 (7:16 pace).  Strong again.  No Ultimate B and it made little difference.  I can definitely feel a shift thanks to the NADH.  I wanted to go longer but was pressed for time and didn't want to push too hard during a shift because it's too unpredictable.  HR is back up to the 150 range, which is probably about where it should be with this kind of effort.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/22- Planned rest day for travel.

11/23- 3 mile trail run in 22:25 (7:28 pace).  HR-144, Cadence-186.  Mildly sluggish but not too worried about it because of the change in routine.  Needed a kick to get the sub-7:30.  It feels like the PABA may be trending down and/or I still need 1 Ultimate B.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.  This was still not bad.  Not looking for high quality this week.  I just want to do enough to stay on target for 1500. 
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.5

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Magic City Half RR

I've averaged just over 30 MPW in recent months with some decent tempos and 10-13 mile long runs mixed in there.  That's not nearly enough work for a fast time but my current post-35 PR of 1:44:38 was a pretty soft target.  I figured that I didn't even need to have a particularly good day to beat it.  I just needed to avoid a bad one. 

Course and Weather:
It was an interesting tour with some pretty nice views of the Birmingham skyline.  It started and finished at Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons (AA baseball team).  It began heading east to Sloss Furnace then west past the Boutwell Auditorium then past Legion Field before turning back to town for a finish inside the stadium.  Looking at the route on Map My Run, it looked relatively flat except for a nasty stretch in Mile 8 and an even uglier patch in Mile 10.  Mile 11 was a gentle decline while 12 and 13 were basically flat.  A cold front passed through last evening but it dawned clear and chilly with temps in the low 40s.  It did warm to near 50 by the finish.  I went with a long-sleeved compression and shorts.  Probably a good call. 

The early miles contained a few rollers but nothing severe or memorable with the exception of the bridge crossing in Mile 4 on the old Rumpshaker 5K course near Sloss Furnace, the site of one of my greatest triumphs in which I beat my old HS PR by 1 second.  I ran the opening Mile with the 1:40 pace group hoping that they would go out conservative early.  That didn't happen as the first mile passed by in 7:32 via Garmin but since this is not a negative split course, it was probably appropriate.  In any event, I decided it was too fast and let them go.  That proved to be a good call in the end.  Here are the early splits.  I have added 3 seconds to each mile because the course was measured 13.23.  Early miles felt pretty comfortable.  I didn't think I had my best stuff but I didn't need it to PR.

7:35 (7:35)
7:34 (15:09)
7:39 (22:48)
7:38 (30:26)

Heading back through the downtown area, I found myself in a good rhythm and lengthened my strides and picked up a few seconds.  With the 13.23 course, I hit the halfway point right at 50 minutes flat, give or take a couple seconds.  If I can survive the hills and bring it on home strong, I might have a shot at a sub-1:40 but expected to fall a bit short.  That's okay.  I'm going to PR.  I only needed an 8:20ish pace the rest of the way and based on how I felt, there was no way that I was going to fade that badly.

7:39 (38:05)
7:34 (45:39)
7:41 (53:20) slightly uphill

Going past Legion Field, the next mile was almost all uphill though not terribly steep, it certainly slowed the pace.  I was keeping with my pack so I figured I was still doing okay.  Mile 9 was sharply downhill early then became more gradual.  Since there would be a turnaround ahead, I was dreading going back up.  For the time being however, my legs rebounded nicely.  As expected Mile 10 hurt but I only remember being passed once and I knew that after that last steep hill, I would have a nice steady decline followed by a flat last 2 miles.

7:59 (61:19) all uphill
7:36 (68:55) downhill
8:10 (77:05) uphill

Okay, 5K to go now.  The sub-1:40 had slipped away and I was probably looking at a low-mid 1:41, which was still pretty solid.  Legs were trashed after the climbs but I figured after some nice downhill, they'd come back and I could still finish strong.  That didn't happen.  I kept trying to dig but nothing was there.  I got passed a few times but nobody was blowing by me.  I spoke to a few others afterwards who all said they couldn't come back either.  By the end of Mile 12, I had to accept a 1:42:xx but I did my best to stay positive and focused.  Just hang on.  You've got a PR and there's no way you lose it now.  Again, I tried to dig and found nothing until I turned into the stadium for the finish and did close pretty strongly despite not being near anyone down the stretch.

7:59 (85:04) downhill
8:10 (1:33:14)
8:11 (1:41:25)
:59 last bit (1:42:24)
Pace per mile: 7:49, AG: 11/51.  Percentile rank: 78

Final Thought:
I blame insufficient training for the fade at the end but sub-1:40 is clearly in sight.  I went with NADH instead of Ultimate B pills.  I chanced it and it was probably a good call.  Still, I don't think I was quite in equilibrium and a quick attempt at the toe touch test confirmed that I was not.  Still, the fact that I can PR despite the pills being a tad off is encouraging.  Another curious finding was an average HR of only 138.  That is MUCH too low for an all out effort and NADH should help with that in the future.  Cadence of 178 was good.  Word on the street is 180 is ideal.  Unfinished business for the remainder of the year includes a sub-6:00 Mile, another shot at a sub-21 5K and a yearly mileage total above 1500.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Training 11/13-11/19 (Race Week)

This race is the Magic City Half Marathon.  My current post-35 PR is 1:44:38.  It's a pretty soft target and set at 4,000 feet altitude and less than fresh after a half the previous week.  I've beaten that time in training several times and I think I can get close to 1:40 if I have my best stuff.

11/13 AM- PABA trial intervals.  I went with 1 Ultimate B and no PABA and opened with a 4:26 half mile (8:52 pace).  Hard to believe that just 1 additional Ultimate B carried me to a low-21 5K 2 days ago but I swear it's true.
50 mg PABA plus Cal- Improved to 3:50 (7:40 pace)  MINUS 72
100 mg PABA plus Cal- Slipped to 4:10 (8:20 pace) PLUS 40
Added a half mile cool.
  I'm betting that even the 50 mg was too high.  I still don't know the magic number but that's okay.  I won't be using it.  2 Ultimate B it is.  We'll see how I do on Cal with that.  That's all for today.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=2.0

11/14- Opened with 2 Ultimate B and no additional PABA.  Ran the first mile in a comfortable 7:29 then popped a Cal and actually improved to 7:19.  Excellent news.  Still uneasy because a 3rd Ultimate B would set me back considerably.  Perhaps NADH helps with that.

PM- Basically a junk workout.  This time Whole Food C was tested.  Effort was downgraded from the morning session because of the taper.  Did 1 mile without it in 7:49 then improved to 7:37 with it and felt noticeably better.  Same effort?  I think so.

Again, it is excellent news.  If I had taken another Ultimate B pill however, I would have gone BACKWARDS with both C and Cal.  2 Ultimate B it is and there will be some tweaks.  Neither the Cal nor the C will be life changing but a 10 second improvement per mile would equate to the following improvements at race distances:
5K- 31 seconds, 10K- 62 seconds, Half mary- 2 min 11 sec.
  When I tried PABA, I found that even if I took too much, I STILL got better with 1 Ultimate B so that tells me there is another ingredient in play.  NADH is the only thing left that has potential to be life changing but even if that doesn't work, THIS OUTCOME IS ACCEPTABLE.  BARRING A DISCONTINUED PRODUCT OR RE-FORMULATION, I WILL BE OKAY WITH THIS.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/15- This was a planned rest day but I wanted to try out B-6 and Choline, both of which are involved in glycine metabolism.  I was hurt by both in the past but today both were non-factors which is good news.  Opened with a 4:47 then did a 4:48 on B-6 and a 4:50 on Choline.  Not nearly enough to be considered significant and felt exactly the same on each interval.  I'm tossing both bottles.  On the other hand, I believe the improvements from Whole Food C and Cal were REAL.  I'll try out NADH tomorrow and do want at least 1 semi-quality session before Sunday's race.  CoQ10 and ATP are most likely non-factors but I will finish those bottles and be done with it.
No Grade/distance=2.0

11/16- VERY INTERESTING!  NADH did arrive today and the immediate reaction was DECIDEDLY NEGATIVE!  I did not even have to run to tell.  BUT additional Ultimate B was tolerated AND extra PABA was DECIDEDLY POSITIVE!  AND it did NOT seem to cause an intolerance to Cal or Whole Food C.

Workout was 4 miles at Gold's in a solid 29:51 (7:28 pace) which I believe was sustainable for 8 miles but not 13.  Even pace with moderate effort.  Felt strong overall.  Just like last weekend, I don't need to have a great day to PR, just a decent one.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=4.5
With race day approaching, it's too late and too risky to make a radical shift at this point.  I will go with the 2 Ultimate B until Sunday but this development opens up a much better option.  If I go with the NADH, stand alone PABA will become necessary BUT the dose could be flexible AND the need for Ultimate B may be reduced if not eliminated.  Do I go with the PABA or the Ultimate B?  That depends on how effective each one is.  If that's equal, I will choose the former because I like the flexible dose.  Again, needing exactly 2.0 (neither more nor less) of any pill makes me feel uneasy and if the PABA dose is indeed flexible, that's a lot better.

11/17- Struggled a bit but that was to be expected after taking PABA last night and no NADH today.  Late morning and early afternoon were rough but it did get somewhat better by the evening.  Did 3 miles in 23:09 (7:43 pace) plus a cool but I had to work for it.  It was not an easy effort.  I should hit equilibrium tomorrow but if I don't, NADH is an option.  After the events of today, I am leaning heavily towards NADH over Ultimate B over the long haul.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/18- I should have hit equilibrium today and planned it so I could have raced well on the day before the big one.  I am still clearly off.  Did 1 mile in 7:40 (roughly goal pace) but it felt much too hard.  Tried to pick it up and found a 7:00 pace to be a strain for just 1 lap.  Got home and found that I still have too much PABA in my system and only NADH can help that.
No grade:distance=2.0
I'm going to chance it and race with the NADH even though I'm not sure if there is a PABA limit or not.  I'll find out soon if not tomorrow.  Score is tied so I'll win if I get a PR.  I'll lose if I fall short.

11/19- NADH came through for me!  I didn't hit the equilibrium perfectly but it was good enough for a 1:42:27 (7:49 pace) and good for a post-35 PR by more than 2 minutes.  Detailed post upcoming.
Grade:B+/4 credit/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
I'm going with the NADH.  I'm still a bit sensitive to PABA but it's not going to be a case of 50 mg off either way being the difference between a PR and a disaster.  This is my 4th win in the last 7 weeks so I've got a chance for a winning record in the 4th quarter.  Still on track for 1500 but next week will be low due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  I still have some unfinished business to accomplish this year.
Distance=32.0/ GPA= 3.15
YTD: 1343 miles/ 12-32 with a 2.24

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Upper Midwest Road Trip Plan

Okay.  I’m really jumping the gun on this one but here it is.  I need Wisconsin and Minnesota, which are neighboring states and Minneapolis holds an annual half marathon on the 4th of July, which falls on a Wednesday next year.  I can then go to Wisconsin and race the following Saturday.  2 races in 4 days will force me to back off a bit but if I am in decent shape, I can do it. 

I could fly in on Monday (7/2) afternoon or Tuesday (7/3) morning.  I’ll probably go with Tuesday morning.   I’ll only get a sample of downtown but that’s okay.  I can’t think of any “must do” attractions but it seems like it’s a nice city and I'll enjoy a walking tour for a few hours.  If it rains, there is an extensive sky way system, which was designed to protect from the cold.  

7/4- Race day in Minneapolis and from there, I’ll head east to Wisconsin.  The main attraction there is Door County, which is a peninsula with Great Lakes on each side and known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.  I expect it to be jammed on the 4th and there are several special events during the day so I will probably stay the night in Green Bay area then get an early start the next morning but if I’m ahead of schedule and feeling good, who knows?

 Thursday-7/5- I could take a dip and soak up some sun on the beaches but the main attractions are state and county parks and a boat tour.  From there, I’ll head north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or simply “the U-P.”  The scenery there looks even better and if I can only do one boat tour, it will be in Michigan.  Part of me is thinking go straight to Michigan from Green Bay because I won’t have a lot of time on Friday.

Friday-7/6- It’ll be a 5.5 hour drive from Marquette, Michigan to the site of the 2nd race in the town of Sauk City, Wisconsin (near Madison).  Fortunately, there is race day pickup so that will give me more time in Michigan.  I could probably get away with leaving around 2 PM.  

7/7- Race day in Wisconsin.  From there, I have the option of going back to Minneapolis and taking an early flight on Sunday or going back to Door County.  If I choose the latter, I won’t go all the way back to Minneapolis that evening but take an afternoon or evening flight on Sunday.  If I've seen enough of Door County, I could tour Madison before heading back.

If I can do this trip along with New England next Spring, it will take me up to 36 race states and 47 with a significant experience. Iowa and Nebraska would still be missing.   Iowa is debatable because I did drive into a real town (Keokuck) and in Nebraska, I did stop at a local grocery store and made light conversation with a couple locals.  Previous visits to Michigan and Wisconsin involved only a visit to McDonald's and a gas station.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Training 11/6-11/12 (Race week)

The race is called 5K at the Junction and located a few miles west of downtown.  Supposedly, it's a flat course and though I've run a couple strong 3 mile time trials, my official post-35 PR at this distance is rather soft at 21:54.  If I have decent stuff, I should beat that time easily.

11/6- Weak 3 miler at Gold's in 25:38 (8:33 pace).  No need to panic just yet.  It's possible that the weekend's workouts hit me today 2 days after the long run.  More than likely however, it was the Cal pills.  1 pill probably won't hurt me but I took 3 yesterday.  Even with the glycine, I'm not bulletproof but as I've said before, a little bit of sensitivity is NOT a bad thing at all.

PM- Improved a bit as the day progressed.  Tacked on 2 miles on Lakeshore in 15:54 (7:57 pace) with a negative split.  Added a half mile cool.  Should be back to normal by tomorrow.  A single dose won't hurt.  Low dose several days in a row will leave me a bit weakened.  A high dose is a significant problem but I was still able to do the workout with a passing grade.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.5

11/7-AM- No running this session but made an important discovery last night.  PABA needs to be reduced but not eliminated.  The more PABA I take, the more glycine is required to knock out the sensitivity because PABA raises benzoate.  BUT due to the overactive GNMT enzyme, my ceiling of glycine tolerance will always be limited.  Cutting the the PABA from 500 to 100 should allow 1000 glycine to be tolerated and that dose will be strong enough to knock out the sensitivity.  The issues with Cal likely had to do with too much PABA.  On 500 PABA, I'll need 2000+ glycine to knock out the sensitivity but I can't tolerate that much.  Let's pray that 100 PABA does the trick once and for all.

PM- Officially concerned.  Only marginally better today.  4 miles at Gold's in 31:52 (7:58 pace) plus a cool and it took a 4th mile rally to get the sub-8 overall.  Got home and found that as expected, just a trace of Cal made things worse.  PABA made it "worser".  Additional glycine would knock out the sensitivity but would also cause other issues.  From now on, I've got to cut WAY back on the PABA.  I've ordered the 100 mg.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.5

11/8- VERY interesting.  There has GOT to be a sweet spot with PABA that will allow me to tolerate the glycine that I need WITHOUT rendering it ineffective in combating the sensitivity to other stuff I may need down the road.  I came pretty close to finding it today in my interval testing session. I opened with just a pinch of PABA, which wasn't enough to tolerate glycine and I knew it before I started.  Here are the splits:
Opener- 2:48 (8:24 pace)
With Cal- 2:40 (8:00 pace)
A 24 second improvement in pace WITH Cal, the same stuff that hurt me just yesterday.  Indeed, that is enough to be significant so it remains an option IF the sensitivity is solved.
More PABA- 2:07 (6:21 pace).  YUGE
More Cal- 2:12 (6:36 pace).
Still not bad but this is a significant difference as well.  I was about even at the halfway point but struggled on the back half.  As expected, more PABA  beyond this left me MUCH worse and a trace of extra Cal made it "worser".  I finished out the day with a 6 lap cool down at a very slow pace.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=2.0
I'm not messing with Cal anymore until after the race.  It will clear in time for that.  The 2nd interval suggests that it could be beneficial IF the sensitivity is solved.  I'm guessing that the sweet spot with PABA is somewhere between 100-300 mg and probably closer to the lower end. I got close on the 3rd interval.  The problem is that the 100 mg PABA  has not arrived yet so I have to break open the 500 and estimate.  Yasko's Ultimate B, which is what I took before the 3rd interval, contains PABA but the amount is listed as part of a proprietary blend so I don't know how much I am getting.  I could go with PABA alone, Ultimate B alone or a combo of both.  The first option is MUCH cheaper but I've got to go with what is most effective.  On race day, if I'm wrong on the PABA dose, I'd rather miss high.  As long as I avoid the questionable supps, it won't hurt me too much.  If I miss low, glycine won't be tolerated.  Detailed post explaining what in the hell this all means is coming soon.

11/9- AM-Junk intervals.  With the Cal still in my system, the times were slow but I saw enough to know that if I go with all Ultimate B, it must be 2 pills.  1 was clearly not enough and I was significantly weakened after a 3rd.  Totaled 1.5 miles this session.

PM- Felt better after lunch as I got some clearance.  Again, extra PABA will only hurt IF I take something questionable.  Track at Gold's was extremely crowded and I had to stop several times because people were 3-4 abreast and I couldn't get by.  Totaled 2.5 miles in 17:45 (7:06 pace).  I came through 1.5 in 11-flat (7:20 pace) then increased it to 6:45.  I figured that was right around race pace for a 5K.  I wasn't wide open.  It was a hard but measured effort.  A 6:45 pace over 3.1 miles will bring me home in 21-flat.  I don't need a great day to get a post-35 PR, just a decent one.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/10- 2 mile Junk run on Wisteria on all PABA with no Ultimate B.  I did not time it but saw enough to know it's not the answer.  It's pretty clear now that Ultimate B is needed.  The sweet spot is either 2 of those suckers or 1 + low dose of stand alone PABA.  I'll know by early next week.  Lazy day off work for Veteran's Day and that's probably a good call before race day.
No Grade/distance=2.0

11/11- 5K at the Junction.  My performance was most definitely worth a post-35 PR (21:54) but I along with several others missed a turn and cut the course short by about .15 miles.  Official time was 20:19 but I kept going after the finish and didn't stop until the watch read 3.14.  My watch time was 21:14, which is a 40 second improvement over my previous PR.  I think I would have been just short of a sub-21 with a legit distance.  No real hills but the course was sloped such that most of the back half was a slight incline.  I'm counting it as a 21:14* but I feel that I have unfinished business and may try for the sub-21 at the Jingle Bell in early December.
Grade:B+/3 credit/distance=4.0
I went with 2 Ultimate B and no extra PABA.  Probably a good call and if this is THE formula, I can deal with it.  The only gripe is that it is pricey.  Took Cal and Vitamin C after I got home and felt NO noticeable ill-effects though I obviously did not run.  Still, the fact that I need exactly 2 makes me feel uneasy.  If I had gone with 1.5 or 2.5, it probably would have been ugly.  Either 1 or 3 would have flat out sucked.  Since PABA alone doesn't work, there must be some other missing piece.  I have a strong feeling that it could be NADH, which may explain an ATP deficit.

11/12- Easy 5 on Lakeshore plus a 1 Mile cool.  Finished the 5 mile in 46:44 (9:21 pace).  I intended for it to be slow but not THIS slow.  I tried 500 mg PABA again and confirmed that it alone will NOT allow me to tolerate glycine.  There must be another factor ingredient in Yasko's Ultimate B.  In all likelihood, 2 Ultimate B it is though I will try 1 plus low dose PABA next week.  Perhaps extra NADH will alleviate the sensitivity to that stuff.  Without any PABA, the methylation block issues with MTHFR will kick in bigly so yes, a little PABA is needed.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
Outside of a good race on Saturday, this was a shaky week.  Still, it was enough to keep me on track for 1500 miles and ticked my yearly GPA up.  I need to average 27 MPW the rest of the year, which is no cinch with the holidays ahead.  If 2 Ultimate B does it, I'll win more than I lose going forward.
Distance= 28.0/ GPA= 2.58
YTD: 1309 miles/  11-32 with a 2.22 GPA
I have exceeded last year's mileage total.

With my friend DT Moss after the 5K

Sunday, November 5, 2017

States and Provinces To Visit

What constitutes having "been to" a state or province?  That's a question that has stirred up considerable debate in online discussion forums.  It is generally agreed that airport layovers do NOT count nor do fly overs.  Drive or ride through a state?  That's debatable.  I personally DO count it so long as I am awake and aware.  For example, you can pass through a corner of West Virginia on I-70 or Arizona on I-15 for all of 15 minutes.  I say you can count it unless you were taking a nap at the time but you would definitely be encouraged to do a lot more than that.

Here's another issue:  How about if you were taken to a state when you were a baby or a toddler and have no memory of being there?  I've always counted it before but now, I'm not so sure.  That's part of the reason I want to go to New England next Spring.  I have VERY faint memories of Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts but don't remember being in Connecticut or Rhode Island at all.  If the most lenient standards are applied, I've been to 49 states with only Hawaii missing but if you only count the ones in which I've done something memorable, my total drops to 42.  No doubt that a half marathon race is a significant experience so that's 32 right there.  Here's what I've done in 10 others:

Maine- Flew in Bangor and drove to Nova Scotia.  Also ran on the State University track on the way back.  On a previous visit, I walked on the beach near Kennebunk and spent a night in Portland.

New Hampshire- Rode through the White Mountains and stopped in Concord to tour the State Capitol with an interesting guide.

Vermont- Spent a night in Rutland and had dinner at a local restaurant.  Drove through the Green Mountains.

Maryland- Actually lived and worked there for 3 months and spent many happy hours in Ocean City in the summer of 2000.

Delaware- Crossed the border many times from Maryland and spent some time on these beaches when I wanted something different.

New Jersey- Been here several times because I have in-laws who live there.  Also ran a Junior Olympic track meet here in 100 degree heat.

Minnesota- Flew into Minneapolis and drove to Fargo.  Stopped for pizza at a local restaurant and walked around the Mall of America.

Utah- Spent a night in St. George and hiked/ran in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Washington- Breakfast with an old friend in the Seattle area.  Also spent a night in Spokane and ran on the Centennial trail.

South Dakota- Parents took me here on vacation.  I was only 8 years old but that's definitely old enough to remember specifically Mt. Rushmore, hiking and fishing.

Clearly, all 10 of these meet the requirements of something significant but there are 7 others that don't.  In addition to the aforementioned 3 in New England, I did very little in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Iowa.  In all 4, I did nothing other than stop at a grocery store, a gas station or McDonald's just across the border.  All 4 have a lot more to offer than this.

Now on to Canada:
I've been to 7 of the 10 provinces.  For the record, my favorite is Alberta but there's a lot to like in all of them so far.  I think I meet the "tough requirements" in all of them.

British Columbia- Spent a night here and hiked through 2 beautiful national parks on the epic road trip in the summer of 2017.

Alberta- Toured Calgary and Banff.  2 nights spent and saw some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth on the same epic road trip.

Ontario- At least 3 different visits here, most notably a day and night in Toronto.

Quebec- This is my most questionable province.  I was only about 6 years old but I do remember a couple details such as a hike up steep stairs in QBC and being greeted with a "Bonjour" by our waiter at breakfast.  As an aside, I encountered a few French Canadians in Alberta who appreciated that I greeted them in French.  I intend to be back when I race in Maine/New Hampshire.

New Brunswick- I did not spend a night here but did tour the town of St. John by foot as well as the Bay of Fundy NP and ate at a local restaurant so that's definitely enough.

PEI- Walk on beach, night in Charlottetown with a meal and walking tour.

Nova Scotia- Race in Halifax.

Missing 3:
A drive from South Dakota to Sasketchewan will be tough but do-able and I can come back through Manitoba.  Most likely, I will spend the night in the former but not the latter.

Newfoundland will be tough and the best chance is to break up a trip to Europe and slowly adjust to the time change.  I hear St. John's is worth the visit.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thoughts on MGTOW and Dating

MGTOW is an acronym which stands for Men Going Their Own Way.  It is primarily an online community composed of straight men who choose not to marry and in some cases, exit the dating scene altogether arguing that a relationship with a woman is likely to be a negative experience.  The group does raise some important points in which I find some agreement.  First, the wage gap shrinks to 5% or less when the occupation, experience and hours worked is factored into the equation.  Second, there are several aspects of American society in which women actually have the upper hand over men.  This is most notably true in the criminal justice system, workplace safety and divorce settlements.  I feel strongly that the alimony and child support system is in need of reform to dis-incentivize divorce.  Still, with that being said, I must reject the MGTOW movement as a whole.  Some of the content is blatantly sexist and I suppose you could say that it is the male equivalent of radical feminism.  A relationship with a woman can be a TREMENDOUS positive but you've got to be choosy about your life partner and much heartache can be avoided by following some guidelines and screening.

I might be accused of sexism for this post but it is not my intention.  My defense is that the red flags that I have listed can apply to both men and women.  If a woman makes a post about poor qualities among men that ought to be deal breakers in a relationship, it does not make her a man-hater.  The purpose of this post is to provide advice to BOTH men and women in hopes that it will prevent a few people from getting in/staying in a bad relationship or from marrying someone who is not a good match.  Here it comes.

I hate divorce especially when children are involved.  I’ve seen the negative effects it has on other families and in a perfect world in which I was 10 years younger and never got sick, I would only consider women who have not been married before.  The reality is that I am 37 years old and don’t think I could date anyone under 30 at this point in my life.  Finding a woman in Alabama that is over 30 and never married will be a VERY tall order.  Another factor is the knowledge of genetic defects that could be passed on to my children.  Seeing my own child face the same health problems knowing that my genetics caused it would be too much for my heart to bear.  Instead, I will be a darn good mentor and stepfather to a school aged child.

MGTOW is correct that there are reasons to have some reservations about getting married.  Half of marriages fail and the success rate for a 2nd marriage is in the 30-35% range.  I will have to beat the odds in order to be successful but I still intend to give it a shot.  70% of divorces are initiated by women yet child custody and alimony usually favor the mother.  I’m not making judgments here.  That is a fact and many men will balk at marriage for that reason.  I do recognize that there are some situations in which divorce is an acceptable or even necessary decision.  Among the valid reasons are abuse, abandonment, adultery and other compulsive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse or a gambling addiction.  I have no specific data but everything I have read about reasons for a divorce suggests that the “hard cases” listed above are in the minority.  I heard of cases in which the wife admitted that the husband did nothing seriously wrong but that she was simply “not happy” and grew tired of her man.  It happened to one of the guys in my Bible study.  Of course, I am just as upset when a man does the same thing for no good reason.  I have a pair of cousins who suffered greatly after their father left his wife for another woman. 

Recent divorce:
Before I get serious with any divorced woman, I will need to know what happened, specifically who initiated the divorce, for what reason and when it occurred.  If it was within 2-3 years, I’d give it the green light if a). Wife got dumped for an invalid reason, and b). Husband got dumped for a valid reason.  The other 2 cases are red flags.  If the divorce occurred more than 3 years ago, it becomes a yellow flag.  Proceed with caution.  Some people change and if they repent, a 2nd chance can be given but not without a significant waiting period.  A 3rd chance?  Unless there was radical change in the meantime, 2 previous divorces would be a deal breaker.

There was one particularly disturbing case on my news feed about a year ago.  A FB friend who claimed to be Christian announced herself as Divorced.  The appropriate response would be “Sorry it happened.  I’m here for you if you want to talk.”  Nope.  Her post got over 200 likes and over 80% of the comments were congratulatory and “You will be so much happier.”  I withheld judgment because I didn’t know what happened but 3 months later, she was married to another man and moved across the country.  It’s pretty obvious that the divorce was obtained for the purpose of marrying another man.  That’s the same as adultery for both parties and Jesus said it Himself.  In the unlikely event that there is a married woman who wants to divorce her husband to marry me, it’s not a red flag, it’s a BLACK FLAG.  I’d respond by cutting off the friendship altogether.

Pre-marital sex:
I am saving myself for marriage.  Finding a divorced woman who will agree to that will be a VERY tall order and probably impossible if she is not a Christian but I MUST NOT give in on that issue.  I’ve heard the sermons on the subject but there are plenty of secular reasons for it as well.  Besides the obvious risks of STDs and unplanned pregnancies, it releases hormones connected with attachment that are just not healthy outside of marriage.  I know several people who stay in bad relationships because they don’t want to give up sex and it makes a break up so much harder than it has to be.  Moreover, research has shown that the more sexual partners you have prior to marriage, the more likely you are to end up divorced.  Don’t do it.  As for children out of wedlock, one youthful indiscretion is a yellow flag but multiple children with more than one man in which there was no marriage is a red flag.

Unrealistic Expectations:
I’m not perfect but neither are you.  Nobody is.  Yes, it will take effort on both side to make it work but I know of one guy who repeatedly bends over backwards for his girlfriend but it’s never enough to keep her happy over the long haul.  Yes, I’ll buy her gifts and take her out to a nice restaurant on occasion but that stuff should NOT be necessary to keep her happy.  Instead, I want a woman who can be happy just by being around me.  Let’s suppose I’m sitting on the couch with the woman I love.  Her arm is around my shoulder and we share smiles and pleasant conversation throughout the evening.  That’s more than enough to make me happy even if I’m watching a chick flick or a TV show that I don’t really care about.   If you can’t make your significant other consistently happy in dating, you would be strongly advised not to marry them unless you want to be dumped for no good reason.  One such case occurred because the husband committed the terrible sin of leaving dishes in the sink too often and I'm sure men have had reasons just as stupid. 
Trashing Their Ex:
If you consistently speak negatively about your ex, it is a sign of bitterness and is often a warning sign of verbal abuse down the road.  A former friend of mine made repeated posts about KILLING her ex and even provided details of her preferred method.  Granted he was a cheater so some anger is to be expected but that’s way over the top.  As I got to know her better, I found that she was sharply critical yet thin-skinned and overly emotional herself.  That’s a double whammy for me.  Joseph thought Mary had cheated and because he was a righteous man, he intended to divorce her quietly and avoid exposing her to public shame.  That’s what you’ve got to do.  Several people that have hurt me in the past have suffered misfortune shortly thereafter.  Don’t gloat over it and don’t be upset if they have success.

Overly Critical:
If I had a rough day, I want to come home to somebody who will speak words that are loving and comforting.  Of course, she has every right to expect the same from me.   Coming home to a person who is sarcastic and seems to find fault in everything I do or say would be sheer misery.  I’d probably have a tendency to withdraw but I want to encourage you NOT to tolerate verbal abuse.  Stand up for yourself.  This applies to both men and women.  I’m not suggesting getting into a shouting match.  The next morning, just calmly say that their words and tone of voice was inappropriate and hurtful last night.  If the situation were reversed and the same words and tone were used by me, it would never fly.    If they apologize and promise to do better, accept it and things will be okay.  If they become defensive, get out of the relationship before marriage is considered.  An apology means you value the relationship over your ego.  Seeing a person that you supposedly love walk around hurt knowing that it was you that caused it ought to cause heartache even if you think you were right.  If it doesn’t, you don’t have much of a heart.  Sad but true. 

Although she should be my number 1 fan, I don’t expect her to accept everything I do if I am clearly in the wrong.  If she gives me a list of things I need to improve upon, I will NOT be upset.  She should not be upset either if I do it.  I want her happy, which will in turn affect my happiness.  I would much rather her gently tell me that something is wrong early rather than see her keep the anger bottled up. Then I’d get blindsided by an angry attack or worse down the road.  Communication is key.  The earlier a conflict is addressed, the better the chance of it being resolved amicably.

Control Freak:
Disagreements will be inevitable.  Listen to and consider your significant other’s point of view.  Make the compromises when appropriate and/or do something special in return.  Build consensus, meet in the middle and ask for their input when making a decision.  If you find that your girlfriend/boyfriend MUST get their own way at all costs, it is sure to create resentment and weaken the bonds. Break up.  Again, communication is the key.  If my girlfriend has a cause and/or something that she really wants to do, I might try to talk her out of it if I have reservations but I will never tell her NO point blank.  It is perfectly reasonable to have the same expectations myself.
It will take a special person to be compatible with me and it could take an act of God.  If after several years of dating, I decide it’s not going to happen, how will I react?  I won’t go as far as to say that I’ll be okay with it but it’s not the end of the world for me.  There are some advantages to being single and I don’t need a woman to make me happy.  As long as I am healthy, I can be content to be single.  If a woman adds to my happiness, then I’m all in.  I really don’t think my red flags are unreasonable either.  All I want is an equal partnership in which neither party feels dominated or unappreciated.

I’m not in a rush.  I don’t want to treat a first date as a job interview to determine if she is wife material.  Instead, I’ll focus on enjoying her company and we’ll see how things proceed.  I figure within 3-4 dates, I’ll know if she is girlfriend material.  A long courtship is fine and preferable in your 20s.  In your 30s, I’d say 12-18 months is sufficient to make the decision to break up or get married and a 6 month engagement seems about right.  All the cards should be revealed by then.  If the decision is to break up, don’t look back.  If it’s to get married, you should have definitive plans and a date picked out within 2 years.  Don’t stay engaged indefinitely and don’t live together before marriage.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Final Outcome?

I said that I expected to get a resolution one way or the other by the end of October.  Here's where I stand as far as my pill requirements:
-ADHS adrenal modulator- need 3 pills, flexible dose
-Syntol Probiotics- currently on 4 but that should trend down
-Jigsaw Magnesium- can do without short-term.
- Molybdenum and Adenosyl B-12*
-TMG and Methyl Folate*

*- Must be taken together. If one is taken without the other, it's worse than neither but the doses are somewhat flexible.
**- THIS ONE IS YUGE!!!  It MUST be taken together but it will ELIMINATE ALL OTHER SENSITIVITIES!!!  The sweet spot is most definitely 1000 mg glycine while the PABA dose is flexible.  If the current success continues, it will be LIFE CHANGING IN SO MANY WAYS!!  I put a question mark in the title because I've been burned too many times to declare victory just yet but all my research and personal observations tell me that PABA and glycine are the keys.

The bad news is that I do expect to be dependent on these pills or something similar for the rest of my life.  I'm okay with that.  There is a chance that down the road a few years, I may be able to get away with missing a day or two here and there but when defective enzymes caused by genetic mutations are the enemy, it's not going to go away.  The goal is to manage it in such a way that I can live as if I did not have these defects.

There will be some additional testing in the future but I'd have to say that no matter what I see in those results, the prognosis looks pretty good.  Suppose my ceruloplasmin is still on the low side.  I can take Whole Food C and that should raise it.  Before the glycine/PABA, the sensitivity was so bad that just a few specks would cause my whole body to tighten up within 60 seconds and leave me with a flu like malaise (minus the fever and congestion) for the rest of the day.  Hard to believe?  Yes but if you are a regular reader, you know very well that it's true. 

Perhaps a subsequent hair test will show that ADHS is not strong enough.  Fine.  I can switch back to Thym-Adren to get in balance faster and most probably will NOT have a bad reaction.  In short, I AM STABLE NOW.  If any test reveals a need for additional treatments, I can take them without fear of a terrible reaction.  GLYCINE/PABA HAS KNOCKED OUT ALL UNEXPLAINED SENSITIVITIES!!!  Never again will I be in a position in which I know exactly what is needed to get in balance but cannot tolerate it because of enzyme defects!!

I've recently run the equivalent of a 20:45 5K in a 3 mile time trial.  Given that I am 37 years old and my training has been spotty for the past 3 years, I'd say that's still pretty solid.  Consistency with the training is the key to improvement and with no threat of sudden relapses, I see no reason why I cannot jack the mileage back up to the 40 MPW range and add back some real interval workouts.
I figure my 5K fitness is worth about the following at other distances for a 30 MPW runner:
Mile: 5:50
10K- Sub-44
Half- 1:38 ish.
I see no reason why I cannot maintain if not slightly improve on those times until I am 40 especially with more consistent training to wipe out the headwind of aging.  It will get gradually worse from there but it will only be a few ticks per mile each year.  It won't be a situation in which I wake up one day in my 40s or early 50s and say "I can't do this anymore."  That should not happen until I am pushing 60 and even then, it won't hit all at once. 

As for the remaining 2 months of 2017, I will skip Vulcan but I do want to run the Magic City half (local) at sea level.  I also want to get in a local 5K and a Mile time trial.  If I can average just 29 MPW the rest of the way, I will finish over 1500 miles on the year.  By comparison, I only managed just over 1000 in 2015 and 1305 last year.

The projected completion year for my 50 state half marathon challenge is 2021.  By that point, I hope to be starting my Inhabited Continent Challenge.  Here's what's on my bucket list:
-Glasgow, Scotland (near the birthplace of paternal grandmother)
-Berlin, Germany (train to Poland)
-Cape Town, South Africa (possibly Durban)
-Jerusalem, Israel
-Hong Kong, China
-Rio, Brazil
-Santiago, Chile
-Melbourne, Australia (possible 1-2 day layover in Tokyo).
Most likely, I can only do 1 such trip per year.

Another piece of BIG NEWS:
If I am still healthy and stable by Thanksgiving, I will put myself on the dating market before Christmas.  I really believe there is a different vibe about me when healthy or at least stable. A smile from a stranger is common in the South and I usually don't give it too much thought but recently, I got the sense that a few women really did find me attractive.   Here's what I've noticed so far:
-More spring in my step
-Improved posture
-Better eye contact
-More pride in my appearance.
I know I'm not the most desirable guy out there but I'm certainly far from the least as well.  I fully expect to get some dates out of my online profile.  Whether or not I get a real relationship is another issue.  Stay tuned for another post on the subject regarding common mistakes in this area that I am determined to avoid.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Training 10/30-11/5

10/30- AM.  2x2 mile intervals at Gold's.  Did the first one in 14:02 on 1000 glycine and felt quite strong in doing so.  I'm not sure if I could have gone sub-20 for 3 miles running all out but most definitely comfortably under 21.  Took another 250 and was noticeably weaker but still managed a 14:42, which is still not bad.  Overall time was 28:44 (7:11 pace) and I may be back out this evening.  The sweet spot is ALMOST definitely 1000 but I'd like to try 750.  Odds are, my performance will be similar to 1250.  If that's the final outcome, I'm okay with it but the narrow range makes me feel uneasy.  It's possible that ATP or the precursor will make a difference.

PM- Took the afternoon off work and had a rough time at the DMV but finally did get my car tag renewed.  Workout was 5 miles on Canterbury-Jemison in a solid 37:32 (7:30 pace)   Comfortable effort on a hilly route too with little pace variation.  Got cat-called and complimented on my legs. LOL.  Good job.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=9.0

10/31- Tried 750 today and got about what I expected.  4 miles in a solid 29:23 (7:21 pace).  Even splits and a comfortable effort but not quite as strong as the previous day on 1000.  I'd probably be slightly worse on this dose tomorrow because I took 1250 yesterday.  On the final day of the critical month of October, I believe the final outcome is known and it is acceptable to me.  More detailed post is coming.  ATP and Serine could make a difference but I'll be okay if they don't.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/1- Back to 1000 and that's where I stay barring a change after Serine.  Good workout today.  3 mile tempo in 19:54 (6:38 pace).  Beat my previous post-35 PR by 3 seconds.  Splits were 6:34-6:40-6:40 and needed a kick to do it.  Still felt like I had more to give but could not access it but I am happy with this one.  Perhaps, I'm a little faster with a rest yesterday.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance-3.5

11/2- Planned rest day.  I did do a 1.5 mile junk run from home.  Serine precursor is a NO.  Because the enzyme defect is overactive, the precursor made it worse just as I predicted.  I'd rather not be sensitive to glycine but it will be okay so long as the dose stays CONSTANT at 1000.
No grade/distance-1.5

PM- No running but I've learned something else about my training that could explain a few things.  My cadence yesterday was clocked at 188 steps per minute.  That's some quick leg turnover.  The average runner does about 160-170 unless he or she is sprinting nearly all out.  I am consistently higher than that even on my easy days.  In addition to the low heart rate, that could be part of the reason why a pace slower than 8:00 feels so uncomfortably slow when healthy.  Too soon to say about the ATP but I know the Serine is a NO.

11/3- Strong.  4 miles at Gold's in 29:12 (7:18 pace).  Comfortable all the way with a slight negative split.  ATP is not hurting me but I can't say if it's helping or not.  HR-152.  Cadence-182.

PM- 2 mile junk run on a beautiful evening just because I felt like it.
Grade:A/1 credit/ distance- 6.0

11/4- 13 miles from O'Henry's.  Once again, I got dropped early but held it together for 13 miles in 1:41:48 (7:50 pace).  I felt a little sluggish today probably due to the paces earlier in the week and struggled in the midsection but came back to finish pretty strong.  If I can simply duplicate this in 2 weeks at Magic City, it's a post-35 PR by 2 minutes.  Clinched a win.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=13.0

11/5- Resolute Recovery Run.  Did 5 miles with the back half being nearly all uphill.  Did not time it but my new friend Gerald said we were doing about 7:45 pace.  Sounds about right.  A bit sore from yesterday but it was manageable.  It was also nice to be in the daylight at the start after the time change.  That won't last long however.  Come December, both the mornings and evenings will be dark until early-mid February.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
A convincing victory.  In theory, this should continue with the glycine conjugation squared away.  I don't think ATP is much of a factor so I'll finish the bottle and be done with it.  I might try CoQ10, Whole Food C and Cal down the road but I don't expect any of them to be game changers.
Distance= 42.0/ GPA= 3.49
YTD: 1281 miles.  11-31 with a 2.21 GPA

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Glycine Intolerance and Possible Solutions

I didn’t have my best stuff in New Mexico but it could have been a whole lot worse if the race had been a few days earlier or later.  After some initial success, the Syntol probiotics have lost their effectiveness in combating the sensitivity.  I don’t doubt that they are still needed but I will lower the dosage and apparently, I need a reserve of glycine in my system.  What happens if I do not take the glycine?  I will need to take an exact cocktail of pills every day just to feel decent and will never even come close to my former glory.  I will probably never truly stabilize and have to make periodic adjustments after sudden relapses.  Yes, I can work, live independently and travel throughout North America but races will be a crap shoot. 

Much of my social life revolves around group runs and because I frequently die 3 miles in, it leaves a hole and makes me look bad in the eyes of the group.  Also, as long as I have to deal with this type of sensitivity such that I am triggered by something as benign as B-vitamins, C and Calcium in small doses, I will almost certainly be alone for the rest of my life.  Nobody can understand the nature of the beast unless they’ve been through it themselves.  To make matters worse, I KNOW that glycine will solve the sensitivity but the glycine itself is not tolerated.  That is the ULTIMATE IN CRUELTY!  Fortunately, there may be a way around it that will allow me to tolerate the very necessary glycine.  I was once both intolerant and highly sensitive to methyl folate yet it was needed because I have the dreaded MTHFR mutation.  TMG and a B-complex which contains PABA, a precursor to MF, appears to have knocked out that problem once and for all.

Option 1- Take a precursor to Glycine such as Threonine.
I could use it as a substitute or an addition.  This is probably least likely to be successful but still worth a try.  Why might it work?  In some cases where the blood/brain barrier is a factor, the precursor is actually more effective than the amino acid itself.  PABA is a precursor to methyl folate and I found that adding just a small amount of PABA, the sensitivity to MF was gone.  Why it might not work?  I believe my sensitivity to glycine stems from an overactive GNMT enzyme whereas the MTHFR enzyme is underactive.  Thus, adding a precursor could make the glycine sensitivity worse.  If I use it as a substitute, there is a chance, albeit small, that it will produce just the right amount of glycine to knock out the sensitivity to other vitamins and minerals without producing a reaction to excess glycine.

Option 2- Support the Glycine Metabolism Pathway
This option involves taking ATP and/or Choline.  It definitely could be beneficial but unlikely to resolve the sensitivity because it likely does not affect the problem enzyme.  I’ve had trouble with ATP and Choline supplementation in the past but that was before Glycine.  In the past, I was criticized for running my workouts too hard for my fitness level and some low-lifes even resorted to personal attacks against me.  I countered by stating that the workouts really were NOT all that hard for me and I sometimes under-performed in races because I simply could not access my top gear.  If the heart rate feature on my new Garmin is accurate, it presents strong evidence in my favor.  At my age, my max heart rate ought to be 180-185 beats per minute and a strong cardiovascular system could raise it a few points higher.  I’ve never taken it higher than 160 even when running all out.  Do I simply have a lower than normal max heart rate?  I don’t think so.  Even when my legs are hurting after a solid tempo or time trial, I’ve never felt like I was spent in terms of cardio.  Moreover, the farther out of whack I am, the LOWER my “max heart rate” becomes.  I hit 160 on a 3 mile time trial, which lasted just under 20 minutes but could not take it higher than 150 in New Mexico despite racing hard for nearly 1 hr 50 min.  On the days that I have to struggle for a Mendoza line performance (3 miles @ 8:00 pace), my heart rate typically won’t go higher than 135.  Even if my max heart rate is low, it should not vary that much from day to day.  In theory, ATP should raise the max heart rate but the impaired glycine conjugation may prevent its effectiveness. 

Option 3- Target the Over-Active GNMT enzyme
This option is the MOST likely to be successful.  It is well documented that methyl folate will slow down this enzyme and thus, I need a larger dose to do the job.  Early indications are that raising it from 2 mg to 3 mg won’t be enough.  Either I need to be much more aggressive (5-10 mg) or take large doses of its precursor PABA.  Yesterday, I had a VERY important revelation.  PABA stands for para amino benzoic acid.  My benzoic acid has tested high enough to be flagged in the past but not so much that it is in the stratosphere.  I’ve since added a small amount of PABA in Yasko’s Ultimate B, which has taken it higher and thus increased the need for glycine.  As I’ve posted earlier. High benzoic acid is an indicator of poor glycine conjugation, which according to Self-Hacked and my own personal observations is the cause of the sensitivity.  The treatment is more glycine, which I could not tolerate because of the over-active enzyme.  If I take more PABA, in theory, it will be doubly beneficial.  First, because it’s a precursor to methyl folate, it will slow down the defective enzyme.  Second, it will raise my benzoic acid levels, which will increase the demand for glycine.  PABA alone without glycine will make things worse and vice versa but I can deal with that.  The same holds true for TMG and MF and it’s not a problem. 
Stay posted for training updates.  I may yet get the resolution before the month is out.

I learned a lot from today's workout.  PABA WILL MOST DEFINITELY ALLOW ME TO TOLERATE GLYCINE AND THUS KNOCK OUT THE SENSITIVITY TO OTHER STUFF.  However, I still have a fairly low ceiling of tolerance (less than 2g/day) no matter how much PABA I do take.  The tolerance could increase if I try the other options listed here but all I want out of this is freedom from sensitivity.  Just 1g/day will do the job in that respect.