Sunday, March 18, 2018

Training 3/19-3/25

Several questions will be answered this week:
1) Will I improve on the reduced glycine dose in spite of cheating on the preservatives?
2) Can I get away with cheating on the preservatives now that I am off probiotics?  If not, I must face another PABA flare.  I hope I can tolerate it now.  I won't do it regularly but if I am on vacation, it would be nice to have a couple beers for more than 2 days per week without a bad reaction.
3) Will the glycine spike again after I stop cheating?  It did go down after a non-cheat day.
My predictions:
#1- Probably,  #2- 50/50, #3- Doubtful
-Rumpshaker is listed as Doubtful so that means the 1st quarter of the year has been a total loss and I will shut it down if I don't start to improve VERY SOON!

3/19- AM- Cut the glycine dose from 3000 to 1000.  1 Mile at Gold's in 8:45.  It was a struggle but a significant improvement over yesterday's 10:00+ showing.  Drank a Kickstart (contains preservatives) and actually managed to do a hair better with an 8:34.  Not a significant improvement but I didn't expect one.  The good news is that it didn't hurt me.  My prediction appears to be accurate on #1.  Staying on low dose glycine is a MUST!  If I have to stop it, the extreme sensitivity to Whole Food C will kick in with a VENGEANCE!  I intend to be back out this evening.

PM- The answer to question #1 is a DEFINITE YES!  In spite of more cheating this afternoon, I improved to 23:21 for 3 miles (7:47 pace).  MINUS 47 over triple the distance.  The improvement is attributed to clearing of the excess glycine.  The cheating will stop tomorrow and I will face an adrenal spike.  If I face a PABA flare, it will happen on Thursday or Friday.  I figure if I make it a week without a glycine spike, it's stable at 1000.  I can't afford to see it go lower.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Rave: Travel Vlogs

I spent much of last weekend viewing travel vlogs on YouTube from random countries that I have little to no interest in visiting.  Since the tourism commercials show only the highlights and the most positive light, I prefer to view individual videos in which actual travelers film the scenery and comment on their experiences.  If you would like to view these videos, all you have to do is go on YouTube and search for any country or city then “travel vlog.” Kara and Nate is my favorite such YouTube channel.   Particularly fascinating to me were a couple of cases in which people chose to spend just 2 or 3 days in certain countries for in their words “no particular reason.”  That’s right.  With very little planning, they just booked a flight on the spur of the moment to the capitol city despite knowing very little about the country and almost no idea what to expect.  With no knowledge of the local language, they simply pointed to a random item on a menu in a restaurant and hoped for the best.   Most of these trips ended up being very positive experiences.  Go figure.

Safety/My Worst Experiences:
My wallet was stolen at beach in Jacksonville and I had a close call with a probable robber/mugger in New Orleans.  Both took place in my mid-20s and I have a lot more street smarts and common sense nowadays.  Neither would have happened in my 30s.  Basic common sense goes a long way in staying safe no matter where you are.  Don’t walk alone at night in a part of town that appears to be a bad area.  Make a copy of your ID and passport.  Take 2 credit/debit cards and keep one locked up in your room.  Don’t carry more cash than you can afford to lose on your person and perhaps carry it in your front pockets.  I saw a number of female vloggers who regularly travel solo including Adventurous Kate.  This has done much to ease my fears of travelling alone even to countries in which the culture shock would be significant such as the day trip to Morocco from Spain.  Fortunately, there is an organization called Marathon Tours and Travel, which reserves a block of rooms for runners in many races on my bucket list including Jerusalem and Cape Town.  There is also a planned group itinerary, which can be extended at the end.  Solo travelers can be matched with roommates to save money on lodging.  Travel companions have their pros and cons.  I’d definitely want the company especially in a restaurant or bar but I could miss out on key attractions if my travel partner does not want to go or takes too long to get ready.

Reasons for Bucket List Countries/Others That I Would NEVER Visit:
What I look for is both stunning natural beauty as well as vibrant cities.  History, ancestral ties and lack of a significant language barrier are plusses as well.   I took Spanish in high school and 2 semesters of French in college so I could re-learn some with a little study.  Most young Europeans have some knowledge of English especially in large cities but even feeble attempts to speak the native language are much appreciated by locals.  I was surprised by the beauty of central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan but because almost nobody speaks English and many roads are in poor condition, it is unlikely that I will visit that part of the world.  Perhaps most importantly, the country must be at peace for quite some time.  ABSOLUTELY NO WAY would I visit any war torn country but the fact that terrible things took place in the fairly recent past does not disqualify a country from a potential visit.  My current city of Birmingham, Alabama still has a bad reputation because of terrible things done to black people in the 1950s-60s.  While I certainly do not downplay it, it is unfair to judge current residents who were not even alive at the time.   Vietnam and Bosnia-Herzegovina have made great strides since the end of their wars while others in the Middle East have gone backwards in the last 50 years.  Also, the country must not be desperately poor and/or ruled by a repressive authoritarian regime.  Good roads and infrastructure are a must if I am to drive.  Kenya/Tanzania could be a little dicey in that regard but as long as I stick to tourist areas, I should be okay.

I’m normally frugal when I’m just passing through a rural, suburban area or a small city.  My usual targets are establishments such as Motel 6 or Super 8.  If I am racing, then if possible, I will want to stay within a mile of the start/finish line so I can simply get up and walk without having to worry about parking.  I will also make an exception and splurge if I am staying in a major city that I do not know well.  In that case, I will pay a little more to stay in the heart of town so I won’t have to fight the traffic or move my car to and from different parking garages.  I’ve never stayed in a hostel before but I would be open to it in the future.  I would have misgivings about sharing a room with a total stranger but I would not mind shared bathroom facilities especially if it would save a significant amount of money.

On most of my US and Canadian road trips, a rental car is a necessity.  Exceptions to the rule would be NYC and DC, where use of the subway is a necessity and you would be well advised to avoid driving in those cities.  Dropping off a car at a different location than the pickup will usually cost you a lot more money and it is usually not allowed to return the car in a different country.  That means a trip from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina is definitely a bus/train trip.  Most of my destinations should not require a rental car especially if there is a good subway or bus system and/or I am planning to stick to one area.  Exceptions would include beach hopping in Iberia and Australia as well as tours of Iceland, the Mediterranean/Alpine loop and possibly South Africa.  I’d be a little apprehensive about driving abroad and will research safety issues but if I stick mostly to highways, I should be okay.  When possible however, I would opt for Uber or public transportation. 

Most often, my only regret is that I did not have more time to see everything that I wanted.  For this reason, return trips to Los Angeles and Chicago are on my bucket list as well as NYC.  I initially wanted to check off Newfoundland when coming back from Europe but I missed out on Cape Breton on my first trip to Nova Scotia so I'm going back then I will take a ferry.  
Essential American Road Trips:
Gulf Coast- Apalachicola to New Orleans via US-90

South Atlantic- Savannah to Charleston via US-17

Smoky Mountains-Straddle the Tennessee/North Carolina border with stops in Knoxville and Gatlinburg.  Check out nearby cities of Asheville, Chattanooga and possibly Nashville and the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

Great Lakes- Door County Wisconsin to the UP of Michigan

Rocky Mountains- Tour Denver and see Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountain National Park

Teton/Yellowstone- There is an airport in Jackson Hole but it may be cheaper and more scenic to fly into Salt Lake City instead.  I flew to Helena because I was going north to Canada.

So-Cal-Pacific Coast Hwy with stops in San Diego and LA.

Pacific Northwest- Portland, Mt. Hood, Oregon Coast, Mt. Ranier and Seattle

New England- NYC to New Haven via Train then drive along the coast to Boston and Cape Cod.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Training 3/12-3/18

3/12- Gold's 5 in 39:52 (7:58 pace).  MINUS 35.  I'll take it but I'm still not feeling anywhere close to my old self.  Sluggish and sore all the way.  1st half-19:47, 2nd half-20:05.  Did not finish strong.  Had to fight just to maintain pace.  I bet the PABA flare is starting to hit now.  That means tomorrow morning will be ugly but I should improve as the day progresses.  I'm only taking 100 mg.

3/13- Back side of the PABA flare went as expected.  Rough morning but did improve in the afternoon.  Jemison 3 mile on a mostly flat route.  Finished in 23:03 (7:41 pace) with a slight negative split.  2 more miles would have resulted in a time just a hair better than yesterday but I'm hoping for a 37:xx tomorrow for 5 miles.  A couple thoughts:  The flare hit 3 days after stopping the probiotics despite drinking a beer on Sunday.  Most likely, that means that I can handle it occasionally.  Second, the PABA flares are requiring much lower doses.  Perhaps, this is the last one.  Doubt it but we'll see.

3/14- Gold's 5 in 37:42 (7:32 pace).  MINUS 26.  Splits were 18:47-18:55.  Good start and solid finish and the pace never went above 7:40 in the mid section.  Not bad but I've still got a ways to go.  I won't even allow a glimmer of hope until I am under 36.  Not sure if I'll push it too hard tomorrow but if I do, I want a sub-37.

3/15- Not a relapse but this was a let down.  Came through 1 Mile on Lakeshore in 7:04 pretty much spent but did have even splits.  Treated the 2nd mile as a cool down and did not time it.  There are 2 possible explanations.  I did drink beer for the 3rd time in 6 days last night and 2 per week is probably my limit.  2nd- It appears that TMG needs to be reduced or eliminated.  TMG= Trimethyl glycine so that's not a shocker.  I normally take 2 of those suckers but a 3rd today made things worse.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.

3/16- AM-Very interesting experiments.  Began with no Ultimate B, Methyl folate OR TMG but the full dose of everything else:
Opened with a 2:57 3 lapper (8:51 pace)
Ultimate B- 2:46 (8:18 pace)  MINUS 33 but not nearly good enough
I clearly still need methylation support.  The 3rd interval was crazy.
It was a 2:25 overall but the first half was done on MF only without TMG and managed only a 1:34 (9:24 pace) so I was worse than the opener.  TMG is clearly still needed but at a lower dose.  Popped a TMG and finished with a 51 second back half (5:06 pace).  If I had been wearing racing flats instead of regular trainers, it would have been even faster.  

Did not have time for further testing but was noticeably worse after taking just half of an additional TMG.  REALLY DON'T FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT SENSITIVITY!  Got home and tested additional glycine.  What was previously a non-factor turned BAD!  Did not attempt an evening workout.
Not a total shock and I kinda saw this coming.  Since probiotics can produce benzoates and the Glycine conjugates them, it follows that my need/tolerance for Glycine has diminished now that I am off the probiotics.  I get the sense that extra TMG is bad even with a reduced glycine dosage but I will try it tomorrow.  If the sensitivity becomes unmanageable, I can switch to SAM-e or Yasko's Methyl Mate.  I would prefer to avoid the latter because it can raise Ferritin.  I hope to stabilize on 1g of TMG.  Group run will probably be rained out.

3/17- Another very interesting interval session.  
Opened with no Glycine or TMG but the full dose of everything else.
500 TMG- 3:22 (10:06 pace)
1000 TMG- 2:52 (8:36 pace) MINUS 90
1500 TMG- 3:04 (9:12 pace) PLUS 36
  1000 is clearly the sweet spot with the TMG regardless of the Glycine dose, which was 0 for each interval.  Now, when you add the glycine:
1000 Glycine- 2:35 (7:45 pace)  MINUS 87
2000 Glycine- 2:05 (6:15 pace)  MINUS 90
3000 Glycine- 1:54 (5:42 pace)  MINUS 33
4000 Glycine- -2:06 (6:18 pace) PLUS 36
-The sweet spot is 1000 TMG and 3000 Glycine.  It is possible, however unlikely. that the Glycine dose must be 5000 if I take less TMG.  That will be confirmed tomorrow.  AFTER the workout.

3/18- Took the sweet spot that I found yesterday and it has turned sour already.  Glycine dose is trending down rapidly.  If it evolves into a complete intolerance, I am dead.  Took 3 today and it will be just 1 tomorrow.  With nothing to lose, I am going to test the tolerance to preservatives now that I am off the probiotics.  I knew it would suck before I started but forced 1 Mile on Lakeshore in a time over 10 minutes.  A trace of extra glycine made it "WORSER" so I confirmed the culprit.

-19 miles on the week

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Possible European Road Trips

My friend Cheryl from work has encouraged me to join the Century Club, which currently has just over 1,000 members who have visited at least 100 different countries.  It is highly unlikely that I will achieve this but if I were to include any semi-autonomous regions within the countries, it might be do-able.  I've already got 49 U.S states, 7 Canadian provinces and soon to be 6 foreign countries down after my Texas/Mexico trip next month.  Let's suppose I visit the United Kingdom and stop in Scotland and England.  That counts as 2.  In Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales could count as 3.  In Europe, it is quite possible to visit several countries all within a single day.  Here are some examples:

United Kingdom- My paternal grandmother was born and raised near Glasgow, Scotland.  Glasgow to London is only 6 hours by car.  In this case, I would probably fly to Edinburgh, ride to Glasgow and take to tube down to London with a stop in Birmingham just for laughs.  From London, I can break up the trip back with a stop in NewFoundland, Canada.  Add 3 for this one.
Image result for london england pictures

Northwest Europe- Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a common travel hub.  From there, you can add 3 more countries within just 4 hours by picking up Belgium and Luxembourg with an obligatory stop in Brussels.
Image result for brussels pictures

Iberia- I've been to Barcelona on a Mediterranean cruise but I was so wiped out from jet lag that I could not properly enjoy it.  Spain and Portugal have by far the best surf in Europe as well as beautiful beaches with amazing rock formations.  The best time of the year to go would probably be in early Fall, at a time when 6 foot waves are the norm and the water is still decently warm.  I could fly into Lisbon, Portugal and drive 7 hours to Valencia, Spain on the other side of the peninsula with a stop halfway in Madrid.  There is also an option to take a ferry for a day trip to Morocco.

Praia da Marinha: one of the Algarve's best known pin-ups. Image by Lucyna Koch / E+ / Getty

Germany/Poland- I initially said that I would simply take a train for a day trip to Poznan, Poland after my race in Berlin.  I found out through Ancestry that my Polish roots can be traced back to the Krakow area in the southeastern part of the country.  That being the case, I'd want to take a bus to Krakow then rent a car from there.  The nearby Tatras Mountains look amazing and there are some beautiful hikes with mountain lakes that rival Banff and Yoho National Park in Canada.  I'll try not to bust my dupa on those hikes.  LOL.  The Tatras extend into Slovakia so why not add another country?  This trip would cover 70% of my ancestry.

Mediterranean/Alpine- This one could be the best of all.  There's usually not much surf on the Mediterranean coast but the water is beautiful and climate is warm and sunny.  What I would like to do is fly into Nice, France and make a loop.  Round trip airfare is less than $1,000 from Atlanta.  Though I'd want to make several stops, I could drive all the way to Croatia in less than 8 hours.  Possible stops along the way could include Monaco, Genoa and possibly either Milan or Pisa/Florence on the way.  From Croatia, it's roughly 8 hours to Zurich going through the Alps, which is some of the most picturesque scenery in the world.  Innsbruck is a must see.  From Zurich, it's another 6 back to Nice.  Countries would include France (repeat), Monaco, Italy (repeat), Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.  If any readers from France have anything to add, I'd appreciate it.

Image result for nice france beachesImage result for swiss alps pictures

Monday, March 5, 2018

Training 3/5-3/11

Starting today, if a pill is not essential for me to function, I won't take it and will not experiment anymore no matter what.  3 weeks until Rumpshaker and it's do or die with this formula.

3/5- AM- 3 miles at Gold's in a robust 28:33 (9:31 pace).  This is MINUS 21 compared to yesterday.  Relatively even pace with late rally.  I've been preservative free since Friday but the Berberine could still cause a PABA flare.  HR-136, Cadence-172.  I will probably be back out this evening.

PM- Repeated the 3 mile at the same location.  Time was down to 25:47 (8:36 pace).  MINUS 55.  Even pace and felt significantly better overall than the morning session.  No big deal though.  I've seen this movie hundreds of times.  Will improvement continue or will I be knocked out for good by another relapse?  Tomorrow should be sub-Mendoza but Wednesday could be dicey with the possibility of a PABA flare.  HR-147, Cadence-172.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

3/6- Gold's 5 in 38:50 (7:46 pace).  MINUS 50 with 2 extra miles.  Not even close to enough to get excited and I'm still in danger of a PABA flare tomorrow.  Good start, held my own in the mid section then did not need a kick to break 39.  1st half-19:20, 2nd half-19:30.  I'll take it.  HR- 155, Cadence-178.  I'll shoot for 160/180 tomorrow.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

3/7- No surprise.  The PABA flare did hit today and hit HARD.  Coaxed 1 mile then called it quits.  I've not consumed any benzoates since Friday but the Berberine and possibly the B-5 produce them so the flare hits 3 days after quitting the Berberine.
No grade/distance=1.0

3/8- AM- Double dip relapse on the back side of the PABA flare.  It will take a couple days for it to clear out.  3 miles in 26:24 (8:48 pace) with a slight negative split.  I'll shoot for the Mendoza line this evening.  I'm not drinking any beer until after Rumpshaker.  I can probably get away with it once or twice a week but I am not going to chance it.  HR-135, Cadence-178.  Again, I was going almost all out but as evidenced by the low HR, the top and middle gears were not accessible.

PM- Gold's 3 and my time is down to 23:21 (7:47 pace) MINUS 61.  Even pace and no real complaints but again, this was about as fast as I could go today.  Massive improvement over the morning session in spite of drinking an organic energy drink today.  Today, it probably helped a bit because it boosted my HR to 155.  This proves once and for all that sugar and caffeine are not and never were the problem when used in moderation.  It is the benzoates that I cannot tolerate and must go through withdrawal upon stopping them.  Am I in the clear now?  Doubt it but we shall see.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=6.0

3/9- Unplanned rest day.  Syntol Probiotics are the culprit this time.  I don't feel so bad about this latest revolting development because I really should have seen it coming.  First, the anti-microbe supp turned bad on me then the Berberine so this should not be a surprise.  The probiotics are not essential for me to function and have not been for quite some time.  Apparently, they produce benzoates so I am at risk of another PABA flare in 3 days.

3/10- AM-Extremely feeble attempt to run.  1 mile in 10:40 on Wisteria.  Probably no better than a 10:20 on a track.  I'll try again this afternoon and will likely be in the 9s by then.  HR-134, Cadence-168.

PM- 2 miles at Gold's and my time is already down to 17:28 (8:44 pace).  HR-145, Cadence-174.  Tomorrow, I hope to go semi-long even if the pace is crap.  By the evening, I may be able to do that.

3/11- 5 miles in 42:47 (8:33 pace).  MINUS 11 with 3 additional miles.  I'll take it but I was hoping for a little better.  I did have something left at the end, which is a good sign.  HR-151, Cadence-174.  I could face a PABA flare tomorrow or Tuesday.

-26 miles on the week.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Intolerance to Benzoates

  I've been burned before when I've said this but it does appear now that my formula is all set.  The Glycine dosage will remain high until further notice.  Forget what I said about the pantothenic acid.  It's a loser.  The diet is less clear and that's what is currently holding me back.

I can avoid an adrenal spike by simply abstaining from high dose caffeine every 3rd day.  I thought I could avoid a PABA flare by simply avoiding benzoates every 3rd day.  Not so fast.  What is a PABA flare?  Normally, PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) is poison for me and a full 500 mg dose taken just once will trigger the usual flu-like malaise, which slowly fades over 3-5 days.  HOWEVER, on my 3rd or 4th day drinking water only, my body suddenly demands PABA at a precise dose.  I figure it's probably withdrawal.  Then, the next day, I go back to complete intolerance.  NOT VERY NICE!

Therefore, the only way to avoid a flare is to stick to drinking water only, which is very difficult to do over the long haul.   Almost every major brand soft drink, beer or sports drink contains benzoates, which are used as preservatives to protect against mold growth and increase shelf life.  The BIG question is how much of that stuff can I tolerate?  Surely, a few cups of Powerade on a weekend long run once a week should not hurt me.  I hope that I can handle an occasional beer as well. 

I intend to test this theory in the next week or two but here's how I think it will play out.  I'll be able to tolerate benzoates for 1-2 days THEN I must abstain for AT LEAST 3 days after that.  1-2 days on/1-2 days off will work with caffeine but NOT benzoates.  If I did go with the off and on strategy, I bet that I will always be mildly sluggish and have to face the flare whenever I go 3 days off.  Can this be done?  Figure, I can do what I want on the weekends but must be disciplined during the week.  I can live with that and really should not be consuming that crap on a regular basis anyway. 

If the label says "Organic" or "No Preservatives,"  it is probably a safe choice.  Gold Peak Green Tea for example contains minimal caffeine, real sugar and no preservatives.  It's probably not as good as water because it does contain lots of sugar but it seems unlikely to do significant damage even if consumed regularly (which it won't be).  Organic beers are becoming more popular and are available at Whole Foods but I'd probably be hard pressed to find them in a bar.  Even still, that stuff will not be consumed regularly.  One rather bizarre episode occurred last week.  I had no major problem with a highly caffeinated organic energy drink BUT felt much worse after drinking a can of regular Coke later on that day.  The organic energy drink contains about 150 mg caffeine while the Coke has about 30 mg.  That proves that caffeine is not the problem.  Benzoates are.

It may be possible that in time, this issue will fade with continued use of Glycine and B-5 but even still, this stuff is not good for me.  It will not be consumed on a regular basis and I will go organic if I have that choice.  Even organic beers and energy drinks will be limited to weekend usage.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Training 2/26-3/4- Race Week

2/26- AM- Just a quickie to assess how I feel after cheating on the diet over the weekend.  This is not a relapse but I am definitely more sluggish than I should be even after the mileage of last week.  Came through 1 Mile with strain in 7:20 then jogged another half as a cool down.  I plan to be back this evening.  Since I only cheated on caffeine 2 days, I should be safe from an adrenal spike but a PABA flare could hit on Wednesday or Thursday.  3 consecutive days WILL trigger a spike.

PM- Canterbury 4 in 31:48 (7:57 pace).  Not a bad showing.  This was a hilly route and I really didn't push it until the last half mile when I saw that I could finish with a sub-8 pace.  Slow start but came alive on the mostly downhill back half (16:28-15:20).  Tacked on a half mile cool.  HR-151, Cadence-178.  Not worried about tomorrow.  Wednesday could be a little dicey.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.0

2/27- Easy 6 on Lakeshore in 46:29 (7:45 pace) on another nice evening.  Decent showing.  Even pace and never really struggled though I still feel a bit sluggish.  I believe I was 23:13 at the half so I was almost dead even there.  I am most definitely safe from an adrenal spike.  If a PABA flare occurs, it will come tomorrow or Thursday.  Though I never cheated 3 days in a row, I believe I did on 3 out of 4 days so we'll see if I can handle that.  It does appear that the more I cheat, the more sluggish I feel so I am determined to stay clean.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

2/28- PABA flare hit today.  It came earlier than usual and required less to hit the balance point.  I managed to overshoot again despite taking only 200 mg.  Hopefully, that means quick clearance.  I did attempt to run today but knew it would be ugly.  Quit after 2 miles in 16:56 (8:28 pace) and it would have been the usual "day after relapse" mid-high 25 3 miler if I kept going.
No grade/distance=2.0

3/1- 3 miles in a time over 27.  I knew I was off but I had no idea it would be that bad.  The culprit was B-5.  My fault for experimenting but what is extremely upsetting is that I got better initially.  Likely out for the race on Saturday.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.0

3/2- Officially OUT for tomorrow.  I had a theory that B-5 will only work when I am cheating but that turned out to be false.  I pitched that supp as well as another in my cabinet.  I did attempt a workout this morning and knew within a few strides that I couldn't go.  Coaxed 1 mile on Wisteria in a time over 10 minutes.  I won't be able to crack the Mendoza line until at least Sunday so I will not even train tomorrow.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

3/3- Missed race. Since I actually signed up, this is an Automatic F.  This relapse was my fault for cheating on the benzoates too often, which led me to try B-5.  Still, that does not make me feel any less angry about it.  Before adding B-5, I said earlier that it was do or die with this formula.  I get another chance only because I altered it.  Tested my tolerance to benzoates the last 2 days.  We shall see if I endure another PABA flare after 2 days on.
Grade:F/3 credit/distance=0

3/4- Went to Stone Mountain yesterday on a beautiful day so it wasn't a total loss.  Today was.  3 miles on Lakeshore in 29:36 (9:52 pace).  Never had a good pace and needed a small rally just to break 30 minutes.  A new culprit is Berberine, an anti-fungal product that was previously a non-factor.  I had been taking it only to get rid of it so it's not a death knell.  It may indirectly create PABA so I may face a flare anyway next week despite being free of preservatives.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
OUCH!  I've got another possible race on the radar in 3 weeks.  Can I get through this with no excuses?  If I relapse again and there is no explanation, it's over.
Distance= 21.0

Friday, February 23, 2018

New Destinations



Costa Rica/Nicaragua


Hong Kong






South Africa





Australia/New Zealand

Ecuador- Stunning mountain views and lots of beautiful hikes.  Old town looks pretty cool too.  Just a few miles outside of town, you can stand on the Equator.  Surprisingly affordable airfare as well.  I saw one flight from Atlanta for under $500.  This could be do-able on a long weekend in January or the 4th of July.  With high elevation and the equatorial latitude, temps are comfortable year-round.  The elevation at 9,300 feet would be too high for a serious race effort.

Bahamas- Not much in way of surf but there are some beautiful beaches here along with what has been called the best water park in the world in Atlantis.  There is also a place where you can see where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean and the water color changes on the spot.

Costa Rica/Nicaragua- This is probably my number 1 winter destination.  Temps will be close to 90 at lower elevations and it hardly ever rains during their dry season.  Absolutely beautiful beaches with excellent surf and some pretty amazing hikes.  Again, airfare to Costa Rica is affordable from Atlanta and only requires a short layover in Miami.  If you take a bus to Nicaragua, you can enjoy the more rustic and less touristy beach town of San Juan del Sur.  You can hike up volcanoes, enjoy the views and then take a sand board down.

Philippines- Probably the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia with some amazing hikes and waterfall scenery.  The only negative is the challenging logistics.  You have to fly into Manilla then take multiple flights from there to your destination.  This one will likely have to wait until after retirement but perhaps it could be combined with Hong Kong.

Kenya/Tanzania-Diani Beach, just outside of Mombasa, Kenya and Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania have perhaps the clearest waters and most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen on YouTube.  Though the resort areas are upscale and a good value for the money, there are poverty stricken areas nearby.  Mt. Kilimanjaro is just a few hours away but would require a flight because roads are in poor condition.  Yes, there is a growing marathon at the foothills of Kilimanjaro.  I could fly there, enjoy a quick safari prior to the race then take a short flight to Zanzibar and/or Kenya.  This trip will also likely have to wait until retirement.

Greece- I would definitely like to see the historical city of Athens and all of its ancient ruins.  The cliff side scenery with crystal blue water below is stunningly beautiful as well.  Of course, there is the original Athens marathon, which takes place in early November.

Japan- Entries to the Tokyo marathon are filled with a lottery system and the odds of getting in are very long.  Still, even if I don’t run, the vibrant city of Tokyo will be well worth a visit.  Mt. Fuji, with its snow-capped peaks is especially beautiful during cherry blossom season.

Hong Kong- I just saw that a flight from here to the Philippines is only 2 hours long so that could certainly be a combined trip.  Here, I would want to see Victoria Peak and Big Wave Bay as well as another extremely vibrant city.  The big race here is in January when it’s still relatively cool and dry.

Brazil- Rio De Janeiro is a beautiful city.  Must see attractions include Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer Statue, Copacabana and Ipanema.  I’d also enjoy the botanical gardens and some carne del sol at a popular restaurant in the central district.  The marathon course is mostly along the coast with palm trees as well as mountain and ocean views.  It’s in early June, which is a cooler and drier season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Chile/Argentina- Santiago looks to be a nice city between the beach and the mountains.  What I’d do here is fly into Santiago and maybe check out Valparaiso.  After the race, I’ll take a bus to Mendoza, Argentina during the day so I can ride through the stunning Andes Mountains.  Rather than a round trip bus ticket back to Santiago, I can take a night train to Buenos Aires, tour a bit then fly home from there.

South Africa- Cape Town is the destination here and there are 3 race options (February, April and September).  Must see attractions include Table Mountain, Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Long Street and the V&A Waterfront.  Other possibilities are Robbin Island (Nelson Mandela’s prison) and Muizenberg’s beach.  From Cape Town, I can get a cheap flight to Durban for warmer waters on the Indian Ocean side. 

Iceland- A race in June here affords me another opportunity to experience the midnight sun as this location is even further north than Anchorage, Alaska.  I could take a short boat ride to a neighboring island and cross the actual Arctic Circle.  I would see breathtaking landscapes such as black sand beaches, cliffs and waterfall in the Golden Circle.  I can swim in 95 degree geothermal pools at Blue Lagoon with snow-capped peaks in view.  

United Kingdom- This one is to get in touch with my roots as my paternal grandmother was born and raised near Glasgow, Scotland.  After the race, I can hop on the tube and ride down to London with a possible stop in Birmingham just for laughs.

Germany/Poland- This trip would cover 70% of my ancestry.  I would probably choose the April stand- alone half marathon then take a 2 hour train to Poznan, Poland.  Attractions include the Berlin Wall, GDR museum and a Holocaust memorial.

Israel- This ought to be on any Christian’s bucket list.  There is a marathon in both Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.  I would choose the latter.  Word on the street is that you need at least a week to do it justice.

Australia/New Zealand- I could race in either Melbourne or Sydney and I would want to explore the coast as well as Great Ocean Road.  New Zealand is a very beautiful country as well.  It would be tough logistically though and would require a lot of time off. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Training 2/19-2/25

2/19- Time to get serious now.  Trak Shak 8 mile loop in 66:25 (8:18 pace).  I'm okay with this one despite the slow pace.  I believe this is my longest run since November plus it is a very hilly route.  HR was the same as yesterday at 156.  Overall energy level is still not where it needs to be but every day without a relapse is a good one.  I'd expect a 5 miler would have been comparable to yesterday, maybe a hair better.  I'll take it little by little.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=8.0

2/20- Gold's 5 and my time is down to 37:35 (7:31 pace).  MINUS 14.  That's an improvement of 71 seconds overall in just 2 days in spite of a hilly 8 miler the day before.  I'll take it but I still don't feel a bit like the Crazy J of old.  Legs are heavy and sore constantly and am still low on energy.  Still, when the plan is working well, I usually DON'T see dramatic improvements from one day to the next.  It is only over the course of a few weeks that improvement becomes clearly evident.  HR came up by 3 to 159 while the cadence remained 176.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/21- Trak Shak 6.5 mile.  Out and back route to the trail section of Jemison so it was a moderately hilly route.  Finished in 51:17 (7:53 pace) and dialed back the effort a bit from yesterday.  HR finally hit 160 with a cadence of 178.  Tacked on a half mile cool.  Solid performance.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

2/22- Lakeshore 3 mile tempo on a BEAUTIFUL evening.  Finished in 21:36 (7:12 pace).  Not bad but still not feeling all that great.  Legs remain heavy and sore but I have jacked up the mileage.  Faded on the back half (10:35-11:01).  HR-161, Cadence-184.  I'm hoping to be under 36 for 5 miles by the end of next week, which means I'd have to average this same pace for 2 additional miles.  If I can do that, I've got a shot at a post-35 PR for 10K.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=3.0

2/23- Planned rest day.  I'm going to count this as a win if I can finish a decent long run this weekend.  I've got a couple small questions to answer.  As for the diet, I've not broken any major rules but I have been drinking some Gold Peak Green Tea.  It's made with real sugar and contains no forbidden preservatives and only minimal caffeine.  Still, I may be better off sticking to water.  Second, the glycine dose is currently at 6 g.  That could be the source of the sluggish feeling and I am considering reducing it to 4.  Does occasional cheating impact the dose?  We shall see.  Still, if I remain stable but mildly sluggish everyday, it is still an acceptable outcome.

2/24- Split decision.  I did get through my first double digit run of the year but it was ugly.  Finished 10 miles on a relatively flat route in 86:40 (8:40 pace).  A full 13.1 would have been around 1:55-1:56.  That is NOT acceptable.  Never did have a good pace and faded on the back half (42:10-44:30). HR dropped to 148 and Cadence was a slow 172. As for the questions to be answered.  4 glycine was clearly not enough and it was apparent before the run so I went with 5.  Felt considerably worse after sugar consumption later.  I won't suffer a full relapse as long as I don't make a habit of doing this but it most definitely is slowing me down.  WATER ONLY!

PM- Tacked on 2 more miles on Wisteria at junk pace just because I felt like it.  If I can manage 5 tomorrow, it will be a 40 mile week.
Grade:B-/2 credit/distance=12.0

2/25- Gold's 5 on a rainy day.  Improved to 36:51 (7:22 pace).  MINUS 9.  Solid performance.  I added some Pantothentic Acid (B-5) to help with the glycine conjugation and I felt a difference after taking it.  Will it improve my sugar tolerance?  That seems unlikely.  HR remains low at 149 with a fast cadence of 186.  Splits were 18:08-18:43 and really fell asleep in Mile 4 (7:44) but did rebound nicely at the end (7:17).  I figure a 10K would have taken me about 9:30-9:40 in additional time and bring me home in the low-mid 46s.  My current post-35 PR is 45:40 set last Spring in Miss'Sippy.  I might have a shot next weekend.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Win #1 on the year. I may face a PABA flare next week but hopefully not an adrenal spike.
Distance=40.0/ GPA=3.03
YTD- 209 miles.  Record- 1-6

Monday, February 12, 2018

Training 2/12-2/18

2/12- Hoping to run 5 miles today but had to settle for 3 in a time of 23:13 (7:44 pace).  MINUS 11 compared to yesterday.  Better than a plus but I was expecting faster.  Got off to a good start (11:15 at the half) then it was just barely under 8:00 pace the rest of the way.  Feeling more and more let down as the evening progresses.  This feels like the expected PABA flare but it came sooner than expected.  I will take it tonight and hope to be done with it.  If I don't overshoot the target by taking too much PABA, I ought to do okay tomorrow.

2/13- 3 miles on a muddy Lakeshore trail.  It's staying light enough to begin evening runs in the daylight now.  This time I knew how to handle a PABA flare.  I took 300 last night, which was still probably a bit too much but none this morning.  I expected to take a small step back but managed a marginal improvement.  Finished with a time of 22:57 (7:39 pace).  MINUS 5.  Struggled a bit on the back half but did better than yesterday at holding the pace.  Here's hoping for steady improvement from now on.  NOW OR NEVER!
If I had taken no PABA, today would have been a disaster.  If I had taken the full 500, today would have been a disaster.

2/14- Once again, I hoped to run 5 but had to settle for 3 plus a mile cool.  Time was down to 22:45 (7:35 pace) MINUS 4.  Just like Monday, it's better than a plus but something still feels off.  Not sure what it is but it does NOT appear to be glycine related.  It could be that PABA hasn't fully cleared.  I'm not messing with anything questionable even if it was harmless in the past.

2/15- AM- Junk mile and feel worse.  No comments needed.

PM- Felt somewhat better as the day progressed but still took the evening off.  I spoke too soon yesterday.  It IS INDEED GLYCINE RELATED!  Fortunately, there is a probable explanation.  The dose seems to go up or down depending on the brand that I use.  Here's what I mean:

Country Life brand- Contains glycine plus synergistic B-6.  Tolerance will be limited to 2-3 grams/day and there will be a rather narrow window.  Taking 5g is disastrous.  Taking at least 2g will be necessary.  Not sure if I can go higher than 2g.  Even 3g could be too much.  It is possible that the B6 is the problem, not the glycine.  I can buy this one at Whole Foods.

NOW Foods brand- Contains pure glycine.  Here, I will need at least 5g or else at least for the time being.  However, the tolerance is unlimited.  I will feel no significant difference between 6g and 8g.  It seems unlikely that I am trending off glycine and would react badly to mega doses of this brand as well.

I've done everything right this week in terms of diet and avoiding questionable supps.  I'll try both formulas but if the results are comparable, I'll go with the NOW Foods.  Having an unlimited tolerance is highly preferable to a narrow window, which could shift.  The only negative is that the NOW brand must be ordered online.  I prefer to support local business and don't like to wait for my order, which could be out of stock.

2/16- AM- Hated interval workout but it taught me what I needed to know about the Country Life.
0 glycine- didn't even try
1g glycine- 2:58 (8:54 pace)
2g glycine- 2:35 (7:45 pace) MINUS 69
3g glycine- 2:40 (8:00 pace) PLUS 15

PM- 2 miles in 17:54 (8:57 pace).  I'm not doing myself any good by running when I feel this bad.
I was correct about the narrow window between 2-3 grams with Country Life.  The sweet spot is most probably 2.5 but the fact that I could not do better than a 7:45 pace on 2g is troubling.  That tells me that I really do need 5 g of glycine and B-6 is the problem.  At 3-4 g?  I'm still short on glycine but the B-6 intolerance over-rides that need.  I'm going with the NOW foods pure glycine, which should arrive by Saturday afternoon.  Next week, I start training with no excuses.

2/17- AM- Felt flat out awful this morning as if the B-6 intolerance in worsening.  Skipped the group run.

PM- Plain Glycine arrived around noon with the mail.  Popped 3 of those suckers and felt better immediately.  Did 3 miles on Lakeshore in 23:40 (7:53 pace).  MINUS 64.  Even pace but no access to higher gears.  HR 150.  Cadence- 176.  I don't expect to be all that great tomorrow either but come Monday, the toxic B-6 should be clear.  NO MORE EXCUSES!

2/18- Finally got through a 5 miler.  Time of 38:46 (7:45 pace) doesn't exactly set the world on fire but it is MINUS 8 over 2 extra miles.  I'll take that any day.  Still low on energy but I paced it well and got my HR up to 156 with a 178 cadence.  Took 5 g of glycine and feel that I may benefit by going up to 6 but any more than that will be a non-factor.

-22 miles on the week.
-YTD- 169 miles.  0-6 record.