Monday, June 18, 2018

Training 6/18-6/24- NO EXCUSES

6/18- AM-3 miles in 23:45 (7:55 pace).  This was done on Day 1 so my time is much faster than usual at this stage.  It's usually closer to 9 minute pace.  I credit the Tyrosine + C.  Most likely, there is a good reason why I was sensitive to larger doses of Sarcosine.  It suppressed adrenaline production.  Tyrosine + C solves that.  MAYBE, I won't have to sacrifice speed for stability.

Later on I found that not only am I intolerant to caffeine, I can't drink anything sugared (not even a bottle of Powerade) so that will likely set me back a bit.  A couple sips on a long run?  Probably okay.  I will try 4 scoops of Sarcosine again tonight in hopes that the Tyrosine+C will allow for more tolerance.  I just want to be comparable to today.  In the long run, I will go with the lowest effective dose.  Unless I get additional benefit from 4, I'll stick with 2 scoops because it appears to be effective in combating the sensitivity.  All pills are tolerated now so there will be no excuses going forward.  WATER ONLY TO DRINK!

6/19- AM- 1 mile test run on Wisteria.  Finished in 8:04.  I'll consider this mostly good news.  Yes, the 4 scoops left me weakened but the tyrosine mitigated MOST of the ill-effects.  On level ground at Gold's, I bet I'm in the 24s for 3 miles and this is Day 1 again.  2 scoops it is!  I've got a couple other things I would like to try:  Ascorbic acid vs Whole Food C.  Okay, I know the latter option is better for me but if the AA helps with adrenaline production, I might go with it temporarily.  I will give Liver Beef another shot after my Upper Midwest trip.  Blood donation will also be done at a later date.  I might be out again this evening for another short run.

6/20- Day 2.  AM- 3 miles at Gold's in 25:46 (8:35 pace).  Not good at all.  True, Day 2 is often worse than Day 1 but what is troubling is that I am NOT getting better as the day progresses.  In fact, I actually feel more out of whack this afternoon.  It seems as if the tyrosine helps when I am on caffeine but HURTS when I am off and complete the worst of the detox.  BIZARRE!  I'm going back off that stuff but will stick with 2 scoops of Sarcosine.  Perhaps it doesn't affect adrenaline after all?

It crossed my mind that the fructose malabsorption has flared up again.  That's possible but it seems unlikely because caffeinated drinks without high fructose corn syrup have also caused a bad reaction.  I may try a product for it but expect it to be a non-factor.  There may be a couple tweaks that I will try but basically, I plan to stick to this formula for better or worse.
It has been confirmed that Tyrosine is BAD.  I'll pitch that stuff but will likely struggle for the next few days as it clears my system.  Ironically, caffeine would probably make me feel better now but I have made it through Day 2.

6/21-AM- Day 3.  Morning was awful as I struggled through a 1 mile junk run on Wisteria.  Tyrosine has yet to fully clear.  All I can do is wait.

PM- Today, I did feel better as the day progressed.  3 miles in 23:25 (7:48 pace).  MINUS 47.  I believe this is the best I've done since I decided to go with the 2 scoops for better or worse.  There is still room for much improvement but eventually, I will level off.  Made it through Day 3 and it should get easier from here on out.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sarcosine and Glycine Conjugation

I am virtually certain that impaired glycine conjugation is the cause of my sensitivity issues and have tried the following products to combat the problem:

TMG (Trimethyl Glycine)
Plain Glycine
Sarcosine (Monomethyl glycine)
DMG (Dimethyl Glycine)

The first product that I tried was TMG and after much trial and error, I found that it must be taken with methyl folate to be effective.  If either one was taken alone or without the other, it would leave me worse off than if I had taken neither of them.  Although it did allow me to tolerate a few other supplements that I could not take before, I remained baffled by the severe negative reactions to certain pills such as Whole Food C. 

Plain glycine appeared to be a miracle at first.  It completely eliminated the sensitivity.  Then, in what I described as the Ultimate in Cruelty, I became sensitive to the glycine.  This sensitivity later evolved into a complete intolerance.  To make matters worse, by this time, some form of glycine was necessary for me to function.  Simply not taking it or the problem pills was not an option.

Sarcosine also appeared to be nothing short of miraculous early but once again, I became sensitive to it.  Fortunately, after 2.5 months, I can still tolerate at least 1 scoop (1 gram).  The problem is that one scoop is not quite enough to eliminate the sensitivity.  I am not interested in reducing the sensitivity to a manageable level.  I will not tolerate ANY negative reaction to something as healthy as Whole Food C and I suspect that other must take pills are now giving me problems if I don’t take Sarcosine.  For these reasons, I’ve decided to go with 2 scoops for better or worse. 

Early signs indicate that YES, the sensitivity is completely gone and so is the depression.  However, my tolerance to methyl glycine appears to be limited and thus, it may slow me down if I exceed 1 gram.  I’ve said it over and over again that I am more than willing to sacrifice some speed for stability and freedom from depression and sensitivity.  Now, this trade opportunity could become a reality.  Yes, I will keep my word and gladly accept it. 

Any ideas why this is happening:
First, the reason why I can tolerate at least 1 gram of Sarcosine (Methyl glycine) but not plain glycine is likely the same reason why many people (myself included) cannot tolerate folic acid but need methyl folate instead.  There is a genetic mutation in play. 

As far as the TMG vs Sarcosine, I don’t fully understand the difference but I do know that if everything is working properly, the TMG will eventually be converted to Sarcosine but it requires at least 2 additional steps in the conversion process to produce glycine.  If certain enzymes are defective, something could go wrong.  The Sarcosine is a direct pathway and it appears to perform all the necessary functions as TMG.  Consider this analogy. I want to get a flight to Philadelphia next Spring for the Delmarva road trip.  I can do it directly so why risk problems with connections by stopping in Chicago and/or Charlotte? 

My tolerance to methyl glycine is limited at least for the time being.  TMG counts toward my limit but it’s not effective in combating sensitivity to Whole Food C.  Let’s suppose that my limit is 1500 and I take 1000 Sarcosine and 1000 TMG as I have been doing.  1000+1000 puts me over the top but I only get benefit from the 1000 Sarcosine so TMG is useless now.  I only took DMG for 1 day but got a similar reaction to the TMG.  Perhaps taking the Mono-Methyl together with the Tri-methyl somehow confuses my system?  It’s a thought but either way, both the DMG and TMG go in the trash.  Same with the plain glycine.  In that case however, because Sarcosine is effective in regulating glycine concentrations, plain glycine becomes a non-factor.  It’s a harmless placebo but I want to clear some space in my cabinet. 

Caffeine is a methyl donor and I’ve observed multiple instances in which I ran significantly WORSE after taking caffeine.  This seems to be especially true when I go over 1 scoop of Sarcosine.  That stuff has GOT to go and hopefully, this is the last time I will say that.  I will not even allow a cheat day once a week.  If I slip up once, just get back up immediately. 

Bottom line:
It is probable that 2 scoops of Sarcosine is the minimum effective dosage in combating the sensitivity.  It might be more than I can handle and thus cause me to slow down.  It’s a price that I am more than willing to pay.  Cutting out the caffeine and the TMG MIGHT VERY WELL increase the tolerance to Sarcosine.  If that’s true, I’ve got it WON!  Either way, I expect the final resolution will come by the end of the month though the effect on my running speed may not be known for sure until the Fall.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Training 6/11-6/17

6/11- VERY interesting yet again.  Regarding the options from last week, #1 and #5 are clearly winners and could potentially be game changers.  #2 may be helpful.  #3,4 probably won't make much difference and will not give me the long-term answer.  Opened with a 7:41 mile and likely would have been comparable to yesterday's morning session over 3 miles.  This was done on 2.5 scoops yesterday plus DMG so it was encouraging to see an improvement from the 9:17 on Wisteria yesterday evening.  Figure it was probably the equivalent of 3 scoops but WITHOUT TMG.

Took a TMG like usual and the reaction was immediately negative.  I knew it before I started but stuck it out and finished in 8:52,  Cheated on caffeine to confirm that it would make it worse.  It did.  Did not even attempt an evening session.

More to come in a separate post but TMG stands for Trimethyl glycine.  It resolved the sensitivity to MF as well as a few other things but not the Whole Food C.  Only the Sarcosine resolved that.  Sarcosine is mono-methyl glycine.  I don't fully understand the difference but do know that Sarcosine is MUCH more effective is solving the sensitivity.  The only problem is that I am sensitive to Sarcosine.  I thought that perhaps cutting out the TMG (Tri-Methyl) would increase the tolerance to Sarcosine (Mono-Methyl).  Looks like I may be right.

Regarding the other options, if I take the C at night, yes some of it will clear by the morning and I'll do a little better than if I take in in the morning but I should NOT have any kind of reaction to it.  Again, this is a supposedly healthy WHOLE FOOD C, which I need to balance Copper and Iron.  I'm not satisfied with minimizing a reaction.  I will NOT TOLERATE ANY REACTION!   I know 1 scoop of Sarcosine (Mono-methyl glycine) isn't enough and I'm not sure that 1.5 will be enough either.  I bet that I need 2.  Cutting out Tri-methyl glycine appears to allow me to tolerate the 2 that I need.  That could be the FINAL VICTORY!  As for the DMG, as y'all may have guessed, it stands for Di-Methyl glycine.  Will it be as effective as Sarcosine?  Can it be taken with Sarcosine?  We shall see.  I want to try this option but if it fails, Sarcosine WITHOUT TMG shows promise.

6/12- Unplanned rest day.  DMG is NOT the answer but I'm okay with that.  Did not take any form of methylated glycine last night (no Sarcosine, DMG or TMG) and woke up feeling like crap.  As expected, the Whole Food C made things worse.  DMG alone made it only marginally better.  Adding Sarcosine may have actually made it worse.  I know that TMG+ Sarcosine is a NEGATIVE.  It appears that the same is true for the DMG+ Sarcosine.

It's got to be Sarcosine MINUS TMG MINUS DMG.  In short, it's Sarcosine or BUST and I truly believe that one way or the other, I will get a resolution by the end of the month.

6/13- Overdose yesterday on Sarcosine and paid the price today.  That's okay.  1 mile in 8:49 then confirmed that caffeine is still bad when off TMG. Treated the next mile as a cool down.   Detox starts tomorrow.  The worst of it should hit on Friday evening with the way I've timed it.

6/14- Day 1 on the detox.  HARD mode with NO sugar and NO caffeine.  Struggled as expected in the morning.  2 miles in 19:48 (9:54 pace).  Fairly even splits.

PM- Began feeling noticeably better as the day progressed.  3 miles at Gold's today and my time was down to 25:54 (8:38 pace)  MINUS 76 with an extra mile.  Very encouraging rate of improvement.  The goal is to be consistently below 20:15 for this distance, which is the equivalent of a 21-flat 5K.  I need to improve the pace by 1:53/mile to achieve that.  If that sounds insurmountable, I hacked off 1:16 per mile in just 10 hours.  Sure wish it was this easy to improve on a 7:30 pace.  I'm going with this plan for better or worse!  Traditionally, Day 2 is the hardest of the detox.  Perhaps it won't be so bad this time because I was only on the stuff for 4 days.

6/15- Day 2 is often worse than Day 1 but I got through it unscathed.  In fact, I actually improved upon yesterday's performance.  3 miles in 24:25 (8:08 pace).  MINUS 30.  Before today, I was 1:53 per mile short of the target.  I am now within 83 seconds.  Splits were 8:10-8:16-7:59

6/16- Slipped up today but that's okay.  Just get back on track tomorrow.  BTC run.  My route was basically the reverse Trak Shak 5 with a couple of different side streets.  Finished in 41:21 (8:16 pace).  In terms of pace, it was PLUS 8 versus yesterday but I still say it was an improvement because it was 2 extra miles in tough conditions.  Temps were in the low-mid 70s with sunny skies and nearly 100% humidity.  That's going to be the norm for the next 9-10 weeks but now is perhaps the worst because of the early sunrise and I'm just not used to it yet.  Even at this pace, I was among the leaders at the BTC group.  If I get faster, I need to find people who match my pace.
I suspect that glycine has been suppressing my adrenaline production, which certainly slows me down.  Tyrosine can fix that.  Again, stability for speed is a trade that I am more than willing to make but I may not have to do it.  We shall see.  Extra taurine+ phosphoserine made me more sluggish and sleepy, which is why I cheated today.  I may take a step backward tomorrow but that's okay.

6/17- Paid the price for yesterday but got some good news.  It was a junk run at Vestavia and the hated better with or without test.  Opened with an 8:54 and it took a 4th quarter rally to get under 9.  Then I popped a Tyrosine + C hoping to see significant improvement.  I was expected to see 8:30ish but surprised myself with a 7:50 (MINUS 64).  That's YUGE!  I bet the glycine was indeed suppressing adrenaline.  Now, I see a real chance at becoming competitive again IF I can stay clean on the diet.  NO SUGARED DRINKS AND NO ALCOHOL!

-19 miles on the week

Monday, June 4, 2018

Training 6/4-6/10- DETOX

6/4- Hilly 2 mile junk run.  Untimed but I've seen enough to know that I still should not take more than 1 scoop of Sarcosine.  I'd probably be better off going down to a half scoop and I'm curious to know how long I can go without it.  If I stop it permanently, there is little doubt that the sensitivity will return with a vengeance.  Another product review is forthcoming.

6/5- Unplanned rest day.  How long can I go without Sarcosine?  The answer is about 30 hours.  The sensitivity kicked in BIGLY this morning and I doubled up today.  You can guess how that feels.  Back in Birmingham and back in my routine now.  Hard not to cheat when I am out of town.  Let's hope for sustained improvement for the next 30 days.

6/6- 1 mile junk run on Wisteria.  Time is too embarrassing to reveal.  Once again, I am not depressed about this.  My reaction is not much more than shrugged shoulders. I am back on Day 1 tomorrow.  As expected, I cheated back home and cheated again when I got back.

6/7- AM- 2 miles at Gold's in 18:40 (9:20 pace).  Better than yesterday and finished with a strong negative split.  (9:35-9:05).  I'll be back out this evening.

PM- 4 miles on Lakeshore and my time is down to 33:57 (8:29 pace).  MINUS 51 over double the distance versus the morning session.  I sure wish it was this easy to improve at 7:30 pace.  Again, I finished with a solid negative split.  1st half- 17:10, 2nd half- 16:47 with a last mile in 8:12.  This is only the first day clean.  20 to go I hope.

6/8- SEVERE DETOX REACTION!  At least, that's what I hope it is.  I did take a Phospho-Serine but I don't think it was the problem.  I felt no worse after taking it.  The 2nd day is often the toughest but I can't recall a day this bad before.  I am in the HARD mode in which I don't allow anything other than water so that might explain it.  As it is, I probably should have stayed home from work because all I felt like doing was napping.  I forced myself to do 1 mile at Gold's.  Time was over 10 minutes, possibly over 11 minutes.  I didn't even want to know.

6/9- AM-Did what I planned to do at the BTC.  3 miles with an early cut off in 27:33 (9:11 pace) with relatively even splits.  Not even close to acceptable but it was a big improvement over yesterday.  When the detox reaction fades, there are 2 questions that will be answered:
1) Will I be able to tolerate more Sarcosine?
2) Will I remain sensitive without Sarcosine if I am off sugar?
1- I am betting on a YES.  I'll up it slowly to 2 then 3-4 scoops and this time, I expect to see improvement with a higher dose.  It is likely that although mega doses will be tolerated, I will not see additional benefit beyond 2 scoops.  Maybe just maybe, I'll get back to competitive shape.

2- I am also betting on a YES there.  I've been off sugar before and for an extended period in 2012 and yes, I was still sensitive.  I've cheated far too often in this regard over the last several years but without Sarcosine, I really don't believe it would have been appreciably better if I was always clean.

PM- Another 3 mile at around 2PM this time at Gold's.  Time is down to 24:47 (8:16 pace) MINUS 55.  This time, I faded a bit on the back half.  I bet that I could have been under the Mendoza line if I had waited until evening.  Day 3 is complete.  After Day 7, I will try to up the Sarcosine dosage.  The Phospho-Serine was probably not a factor.  The detox is working so far.

6/10- AM- 3 miles on Lakeshore in 24:21 (8:07 pace).  Added a full mile cool at a glacial pace.  Splits were pretty even but I was strugg-a-ling in mile 3 and would have slowed if I kept going.  This was done in steamy conditions.  It rained last night then the sun came out in the morning so it was pretty rough but I still feel like I should have been better than this.  Why the problem?  I'm betting that it was because I took glycine and C this morning.  Without Sarcosine, it would have been over 30:00.  1 scoop got me down to the 24s.  2 scoops- better?  We shall see.

This really does feel like a glycine/Sarcosine issue because I am somewhat depressed now.   With enough Sarcosine, I am NOT depressed no matter how poorly I perform.  The answer to Question #2 is a DEFINITE YES!  This makes me feel a lot better.  If my diet had been better, IT WOULD NOT HAVE PREVENTED MY DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE!  Sarcosine is the only thing that could have made a difference.  I will try to up the dose ahead of schedule.  I'm on Day 4 now and staying strong.

PM- VERY INTERESTING!  Extra Whole Food C made things noticeably WORSE.  This proves that while a single scoop of Sarcosine will certainly help, it's not enough to resolve ALL of the symptoms of the enzyme defects.  Then as I feared, an extra scoop of Sarcosine knocked out all the issues with the Whole Food C.  Even mega doses did NOT phase me.  BUT, I had the same old issues with the extra Sarcosine and ended up worse overall at least in terms of running shape.  Once again, my overall mood was slightly BETTER.  Did a junk mile on Wisteria to confirm and indeed I was right.  Time was 9:17.  Something must be done.

SOMEHOW SOME WAY I MUST INCREASE MY TOLERANCE TO SARCOSINE OR FIND A SUBSTITUTE PRODUCT THAT DOES NOT CAUSE BAD REACTIONS.  I will explore several avenues.  I will make a separate post for this but here are some ideas:
1) Cut out TMG
2) Switch from Sarcosine to DMG or take some combination.
3) Take the C only occasionally in the evening.
4) 1 Sarcosine plus a pinch more.
5) Continue with the sugar restrictions and hope tolerance improves with time.
I'll explain later why each option could possibly work.
My current situation is NOT acceptable.
- 21 miles on the week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Heartland Road Trip Idea

Two separate trips to a small geographical area hit the wallet hard so I prefer to double up on the races if possible.  Given my current fitness level, I do not believe that I can finish 2 half marathons on back to back days in less than 2 hours each.  Even if I could, I really prefer not to subject myself to that kind of torture.  I need at least 2 full days off to deliver a semi-respectable performance.  While the short turnaround time certainly didn’t help me in Massachusetts, it was not the cause of my doom.  The culprits were the viral infection and too many adrenal suppressant pills.  The latter should not be an issue going forward with the modulator.  Thanks to several race series such as Mainly Marathons, which offer weekday races, some doubles are more manageable than a Saturday-Sunday combo. 

Nebraska and Iowa are 2 neighboring states that I need and Mainly Marathons offers a Thursday (6/7) race in Iowa.  Guess what?  There is a Nebraska race the previous weekend (6/2).  Of course, it's too late to do it this year but I'd say there is a good chance that the scheduling will be similar next year.  The timing would be perfect.
Here is what I would do hypothetically:

5/31- Fly into Chicago and immediately hit the road.  It's over 9 hours into the race location in Hastings, Nebraska (about an hour west of Lincoln) so I'll divide it up and spend the night in Des Moines, Iowa.  My one previous visit to the state involved a stop at a Subway restaurant just across the border so by the "strict standards" I really can't say I've "been there."  A night in Des Moines with a possible stop at the Capitol will definitely shore up Iowa even before the race.  

6/1- Relatively easy drive into Hastings, Nebraska.  Pick up race packet and just relax

6/2- Race day in Nebraska (state #39).  Head back east.  I'll stop in Lincoln and spend the night in Omaha.  I'd imagine there will be something to do there.  My previous Nebraska visit involved a trip to a grocery store and about 15 minutes of driving through corn fields.  Again, even if I fail on race day, this would meet the strict standards for an official visit.

6/3- Drive to Chicago (7 hours).  Since I'll arrive on a Sunday night, there should not be much traffic getting into town.  I'll just check in and do a quick walking tour.

6/4-6/5- 2 days to tour Chicago.  A few things I'd like to see are the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, Sears and/or John Hancock Tower and Rush Street.

6/6- Leave Chicago and drive less than 3 hours to the race location in Clinton, Iowa.

6/7- Race in Iowa then head back to Chicago and catch an afternoon or evening flight back.  The Mainly Marathons series are mostly trail races and usually 6-8 loops through a park.  It may not be the most exciting course but any sanctioned race that allows for a manageable double?  I'll take it.  It's Iowa so it won't be too hilly either.

If all goes according to planned, this would take me up to the 40 mark and the projected completion will be November 2022 in Hawaii.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Delmarva Road Trip Plan

Yes, I am planning a trip nearly a year in advance.  This race was the backup option for this Spring but New England fit my schedule better with the manageable Wednesday-Sunday double.  Anyway, the planned race is in the town of Salisbury, Maryland on the 2nd weekend of April.  That should fit my work schedule well because it is difficult to get audit appointments near the end of tax season.    I actually lived in Salisbury for a few months between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college back in 2000 and landed a summer job at K-Mart.  I can't believe that was 18 years ago.  Man, has it really been that long?  I've only been back once since then and that was about 15 years ago.

Here's the plan:
Day 1- Fly from Birmingham to Philadelphia.  To my knowledge, there is indeed a direct flight option.  It's about 2.5-3 hours south to Salisbury but I'll make a few detours.  I could cross into New Jersey for a few miles just because I can.  Knowing me, I'm sure that I will.  I'll probably stop in Delaware's capital city of Dover as well.  I will explore Salisbury a bit and I'm sure there are plenty of new buildings and am really not sure how much I will remember.  I know the K-Mart is no longer there, which is too bad. 

Day 2- Race in Salisbury (state #38) then drive maybe 45 minutes to Ocean City.  I'd like to have lunch at a place called JR Ribs if it's still open.  Of course, it will be way too cold for a swim but I'd enjoy a walk on that boardwalk as I spent many happy hours on that beach.  From there, I'll head south to Virginia's Eastern shore with a possible stop in Chincoteague, where I also spent quite a bit of time.  I'd classify southern Delaware and Maryland's eastern shore as "semi-southern" but once you cross into Virginia, you are most definitely in the South.  This part of the state is very rural but there could be some hidden gems such as a nice independent restaurant.  At any rate, I expect to hit the Chesapeake Tunnel by early evening and I'll stay in Virginia Beach for the night.

Day 3- Again, I want to walk on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.  Maybe, I'll do a junk run if I feel up to it.  This was the first family vacation that I remember with any clarity but have not been back in 30 years.  I expect to remember little to nothing.  From there, I'll head northwest and stop in Richmond.  I was there about 15 years ago and definitely want to drive Monument Avenue, which is a site of one of the largest 10Ks in the country.  From Richmond, I will deliberately avoid the Beltway by taking 301 across the Bay.  I'll explore the Chesapeake region of Maryland for a bit and stay there for the night.

Day 4- Finish exploring the Chesapeake Bay then head back up to Philly.  I won't do any touring there this time around.  That can wait until the New Jersey/Delaware race combo.  I'll probably get a cheap motel near the airport and catch a flight back the next morning.

Not an epic trip but still could be fun. 

Training 5/28-6/3

5/28- Day off work for Memorial Day so I was able to get a long run in today.  Finished 10 miles in 84:13 (8:25 pace).  Fine with this one.  Felt quite comfortable all the way and dipped under 8 for the last mile without going nuts down the homestretch.  I think I could do 1:47-1:48 for a half mary right now on a fairly flat course if racing all out.  This goal is to be consistently below 1:40.  Keep chipping away and workouts like this will do the job.

5/29- Very slow 3 miler.  Probably just tired from yesterday.  Slowed with every step and the overall pace was over 9.

5/30- Improvement over yesterday but still not real good.  5 miles in 44:44 (8:57 pace).  I must confess that I binged on caffeine last weekend and have paid the price.  STUPID!  At least I know I'm not bulletproof in this area even on Sarcosine.  Lesson learned hopefully for the last time.  It might take a week for it to get regulated but at least I'm getting decent mileage.

5/31- 2 mile junk run.  It has been confirmed that caffeine is the culprit and I am back to Day 1.  A pair of 5 milers this weekend will take me up to 30 on the week.  If it's Sarcosine (which I doubt), I'm done for.  PLEASE, no more excuses going forward.

6/1- Planned rest day.  Should start feeling better soon.  This is only Day 2.

6/2- Day 3.  Improving as expected.  5 miles in 40:56 (8:11 pace) on Jefferson trail.  Faded on the back half but that's understandable.  The trail is sloped such that the back half is mostly uphill plus conditions were quite humid outside.

6/3- Day 4.  I've had a little alcohol this weekend but no caffeine binge.  Same route as yesterday and I improved to a 39:36 (7:56 pace). MINUS 15.  Did better in holding the pace as well.  Still not too pleased with this one.  I have a feeling that the Sarcosine will need to be cut further.  Down to a half a scoop.  Again, there is a chance that more will be tolerated in the future.

-30 miles on the week.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Epic New England Trip Report

5/15- I got a smokin' deal on a direct flight from Atlanta to Boston for just $152 round trip so I decided to fly from there instead of Birmingham.  I had no issues on this flight but a bit of a SNAFU at the rental car pickup.  Payless would not take my debit card so I was sent to Enterprise, who accepted it only after I provided proof of a flight out of Boston.  Fortunately, I got the car and hit the road to Springfield, Vermont, the site of my first of 2 half marathons this week.  I took I-90 out of Boston then some country roads once I got outside the metro area.  It was mostly gently rolling terrain with heavy tree cover though it was merely early Spring up there.  Lunch was in Concord, Mass at a nice independent pizza place.  I also passed through a section of New Hampshire with a quick stop in the town of Keene before arriving at my destination just before dinner.  I made sure I knew where to find the race start then had a rather mediocre steak for dinner.

5/16- With a race start at 6 AM, I needed to be up at 4:30 and out the door by 5AM.  The day dawned foggy with temps in the mid-50s, which is actually very good weather for distance running. The race is one of the more unique events that I have done.  It was part of a 6 day series called the New England Challenge, which consisted of 6 races on 6 consecutive days.  Many runners were simply looking to complete the challenge and did not care about their time.  I could have won overall if I had been in top shape but even as it was, I still finished 3rd and could have been 2nd if I raced all out.

Vermont course

The race was run on a 4 loop course of 3.27 miles per loop.  It was mostly a gravel trail with a long steady incline along with a corresponding decline plus a grassy section with a couple absurdly steep hills.  Fortunately, those climbs were short but no matter what the pace, it will beat up your legs.  I found a good rhythm on relatively flat and downhill sections but struggled on the grass.  Overall, however, the pace was pretty steady in the 8:30 range for each of the first 3 loops.  I simply wanted to break 2 hours and save it for Sunday in Massachusetts but my split at 3/4 was 84:xx, on pace for a 1:52.  I intentionally backed off on the 4th loop and allowed myself to be passed by the 2nd place finisher.  I took my time on the water stop and walked the steep sections.  Pride got the best of me at the end however and I posted a respectable last half mile to finish in 1:54:18.  I was fine with that and actually wished that I had taken it a bit slower.  Hopefully, it would not bite me after a 3 day rest.

I went back to my hotel, showered up and was out the door just after 9:00 AM.  From there, it was I-91 South to New Haven, CT.  Even with a lunch stop, I arrived by 12:30 and caught a Metro North train to NYC at Grand Central.  My room was just 10 blocks away so I just checked in and hit the subway towards Coney Island in Brooklyn.  Of course, it was way too cold for a swim but it was still pretty cool to walk on that boardwalk and see those iconic amusement rides.  Dinner was a tasty Nathan's hot dog and a slice of pizza.  Next, it was a walking tour of Soho and the Lower East side followed by a drink at the famous 230 5th rooftop bar, which offered perhaps the best free views of the NYC skyline.  Unfortunately, it was too foggy to see the top of the Empire State building but it was still a lot of fun.

Grand Central

Coney Island

Rooftop Bar

5/17- It was back to Brooklyn the next morning for a quick tour of Prospect Park and some off the beaten path areas of Vincent Gambini's neck of the woods.  From there, it was a long subway ride to the Bronx but I was able to score tickets for a Yankee stadium tour and a Top of the Rock Observation.  I am not a Yankee fan but I do have respect for what is historically the most successful franchise in all of professional sports.  I got a view of the playing field as well as Monument Park along with uniform displays of legends such as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Jeter.

Rock 1
Rock 2

I had waited more than a year to see the top of Rockefeller in the daylight and it was well worth it.  Looking north, you see Central Park in full bloom with the lakes clearly visible.  Looking south, you get a close up of the Empire State building with the Freedom Tower in the distance.  Awesome.  My camera would not work on low battery so I stole these pics from the Internet but I promise y'all that I was there.  It was now 5:00 and I headed back to Grand Central to catch the train to Connecticut for the night.

Long Island Sound

5/18- Drive on Beach Road in New Haven.  Part of the route was right next to the sandy beaches of the Long Island Sound so I snapped a couple pictures.  I made another quick detour on the Connecticut/Rhode Island border but the next destination was Newport, Rhode Island with its cliffside ocean scenery against the rocky coast and nearby mansions.  Pictures really don't do it justice.  Right next to the Cliff Walk is a sandy beach that looked to have decent surf.  Of course, it was much too cold for a dip (Air temp around 60, water in the upper 50s).

Cliff Walk
Newport Beach

Soon, I was back in Massachusetts on my way up to Cape Cod.  Because tomorrow's weather looked iffy, I cut this part short so I could get to Boston earlier that afternoon.  I stopped at a beach in the town of Barnstable, walked around for a bit then got back on the road.  This proved to be a good call because the weather had cleared for the time being and temps were quite comfortable for a walking tour of Boylston Street.   I got some nice skyline views from the Prudential Tower and saw the finish line of the Boston marathon.

Cape Cod



5/19- I got an early start of my Freedom Trail tour because I wanted to beat the nasty weather that did indeed come in the afternoon.  Highlights here included the Massachusetts State House, Sam Adams' grave, statues of Paul Reveve and Ben Franklin as well as Old North Church and the site of the Boston massacre.  I did not see any museums because I was pressed for time but it was still cool to see those historical sites.  I had lunch with my friend Chase, whom I had connected with online several years on a health message board then it was back to the subway for the JFK library and a welcome stop indoors.  This presidential library covered his early life, election and administration with highlights of the space program, Civil Rights efforts and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It did not cover the assassination and conspiracy theories.  Overall, I probably would have approved of his job performance if I had been around.

Freedom Trail

Paul Revere

With Chase

5/20- Woke up this morning feeling completely wiped out despite a good night's sleep not to mention a nasty sinus headache probably from being out too long in the chilly rain yesterday.  I still had 13.1 miles to run and I knew that it would not be pretty.  The course started and ended at Horseneck Beach but the first 10 miles were fairly non-descript mostly through residential areas with gently rolling terrain but in the last 3 miles, the course turned on Beach Road and it was all along the ocean front with the sound and sights of waves breaking on rocky and sandy sections then turned through the sand dunes.  The scenery here was spectacular but unfortunately, I felt anything but that.  I managed to keep the pace semi-respectable through about 9.5 miles then I had to walk.  Once you reach that point, you can't come back.  It was a death march to the finish but once again, a finish is a finish and state #34 is in the books.  I may be back in Massachusetts down the road for a shot at redemption but that will come after I finish state #50.
Sand Dunes

Despite a bit of traffic, I got back to the Boston airport in plenty of time and enjoyed a seafood meal before the flight back to Atlanta.  The flight itself was fine but because of a maintenance issue on a plane at our assigned gate, we were stuck on the tarmac for nearly 2 hours.  It was about 11:00 by the time I got back to Birmingham but made it home safely and showed up for work the next day.

People that I met:
 I found that western CT sounds more like NYC while RI and east CT is more like Boston.  Traffic was a bit of an adventure in spots and I got somewhat rude service at the Vermont restaurant but overall, most people were nice.  Whenever I travel, there is always a good chance of a connection when I meet somebody from the South.  I got a nice compliment on my accent after asking for "10 on pump 5" in Connecticut.   I met a girl from Georgia at the NYC bar and a couple from Miss'Sippy in Boston but a nice surprise came at the Boston subway.  I connected with a very nice girl from South Africa, which has long been on my travel bucket list.  We had a nice conversation and she even gave me her phone number.  I hope that we will keep in contact and I would encourage everyone to seek out friendships with people from different backgrounds and cultures.  You will find that there is a lot more common ground that you might expect.

Training 5/21-5/27

5/21- Planned rest day.  Still awfully tired from the trip but I should be ready to roll again tomorrow.  It has been confirmed that Thym-Adren was the culprit.  I am not depressed today but my legs feel like steel beams with zero power and it got worse with each subsequent pill.  If I had simply taken 1-2 of those pills, I'd get nicked a bit but could still run.  At mega doses, significant problems are to be expected.  THIS was the reason for the debacle at Horseneck.  Otherwise, I still could have done okay even with the head cold and draining travel schedule.  I am switching back to ADHS.  This is the adrenal modulator so too much of that stuff won't hurt me.

5/22- Much better today thanks to the ADHS switch.  3 miles in 23:33 (7:51 pace).  Not bad at all.  I've really been under a lot of stress lately at work plus I am still recovering from the trip.  I'm fine with this one.  Yesterday, I would not have been able to run at all so thanks to the Sarcosine, I am able to rebound within 2-3 days instead of 5-7.  Looking for continued improvement tomorrow.

5/23- 3 miles again but my time is down to 22:09 (7:23 pace).  Best time since starting Sarcosine and it was a 15 second improvement over last week.  That's what needs to happen.  Just chip away a few seconds at a time and eventually I will get there.  Even pace with a nice finish.

5/24- 5 miles on Lakeshore in 40:31 (8:06 pace).  That's fine.  I like that number too.  I deliberately dialed down the effort today.  I should hit 30 miles this week with a decent long run.

5/25- Upped my Sarcosine to 3 scoops just to see what if anything would happen.  Just like the previous attempt, I had no issue with a depressed mood.  In fact, that part was actually BETTER than usual but there was very little energy or power in my run today.  Completed 4 miles in 33:44 (8:26 pace).  Even splits and never really felt tired but just could not pick up the pace.  Has it spiked my adrenals again?  Unlikely because Thym-Adren didn't seem to help.  I just have limited tolerance to Sarcosine.  2 scoops might be okay but I may not see any benefit beyond 1 so that's what I will go with for the time being.

5/26- Step backward but no concern yet.  Excess Sarcosine hasn't cleared yet and this was done in humid conditions on a hilly route.  Finished 4 miles from the Trak Shak in 35:16 (8:49 pace).  Hope to go long again tomorrow but it's no tragedy if I don't since I had 2 long runs last week.

PM- Tacked on a mile cool just so I can hit 30 with a 10 tomorrow.

5/27- Needed extra sleep and it was too hot and humid to start a long run at 8:00 so I hit the gym for another 3 mile test.  I am continuing to chip away.  Time today was down to 21:48 (7:16 pace).  Add about 45 seconds to this for a full 5K.  Struggled in the midsection but came back with a strong finish.  Last mile was a solid 7:04.  That's 21 seconds better than last time.  Even a 12 second improvement per week gets me below 20 within 2 months.  Getting under 21 won't be hard.  Under 20 will be tough but I've done it once in recent memory but couldn't be consistent.  With the Sarcosine, I will be consistent.  Under 19?  Not counting on it.

-23 miles on the week.  That's low but it was meant for recovery.  I am encouraged by my progress in the 3 mile time trials and I think I can expect a 21:30 next week.  I will try 2 scoops next week but expect to go with 1 until further notice.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Training 5/14-5/20 Double Race Week

5/14- 3 miles in 22:24 (7:28 pace).  Still very overstimulated but felt noticeably better overall today.  I've cut off 30/mile in just 3 days.  Of course, I cannot expect this rate of improvement to continue but for the last time, just chip away a few seconds per week and I'll get there pretty soon.  Hitting the road soon to catch a morning flight in Atlanta.

5/15- Planned rest day.  Drive from Boston to Vermont.

5/16- Maple Leaf half marathon in 1:54:17.  Fine with this one.  It was a trail race with more hills than expected.  Ran this one harder than I planned and hope it doesn't come back to bite me on Sunday.  State #33.  NYC tonight.

5/17- Planned rest day.  Mostly in NYC, night in New Haven, Connecticut.

5/18- Second planned rest day.  Drive through Rhode Island to Cape Cod, night in Boston.

5/19- Junk run on Hancock Street in Boston.  Only 1 mile but felt reasonably well and believe I could perform acceptably if the race were today instead of tomorrow.

5/20- DISASTER at Horseneck.  Woke up with a nasty sinus headache.  I was afraid of that after being outside on a chilly rainy afternoon the previous day.  I held it together for 9 miles then walked/slow jogged it home.  Time is too embarrassing to reveal.  A finish is a finish and it's #34.  I suspect that Thym-Adren needs to be reduced.  The adrenal spike has calmed down.  I knew that would happen eventually and it was just bad luck on race day.

-31 miles on the week.