Monday, September 18, 2017

Training 918-9/24-Possible race

The race would be the St. Jude 5K at Railroad Park.  It will be a flat course so if I think I can get a post-35 PR (21:54), I'll do it especially if the weather is good.  If not, I'll skip it.  Of course, that will depend on how I do with the glycine and Vitamin E.

9/18- AM- Went with the 15-5 plan (1500 mg TMG and 500 glycine) with the usual 2000 MF.  I was out in a smooth 3:42 for the half mile (7:24 pace) then the pace fell off dramatically after that.  With significant effort, I was able to keep it in the low-8s the rest of the way and finished the session at 2 miles in 15:48 (7:54 pace).  Probably could have beaten the Mendoza line but it wasn't worth the effort.  Added a half mile cool.  I'll be back out this evening hopefully with Vitamin E.
Just like yesterday, a missed dose or a lowered dose will leave me significantly weakened and glycine will NOT help with that.  It will only prevent ill-effects from taking a benign but unnecessary pill.  Glycine every third day or Vitamin E.  There may be something else out there that I don't know about that can resolve the glycine induced sore muscles.

PM- Very important test and I passed with flying colors.  Opened with 1 Mile.  Began at the same pace as this morning but this time, I held it and finished in 7:24.  The difference was 500 extra TMG or half a pill.

Then, it was the moment of truth.  How would I respond to the Vitamin E.  Within a half mile, it was clear that I was running a faster pace with no additional effort.  Did the next 2 miles in 7:08 each then slipped to a 7:17 but rebounded bigly to finish in 6:52.  Last 4 miles were 28:25 (7:06 pace).  Overall time was 35:49 for 5 miles but that doesn't count because of the stop after Mile 1.  Added a half mile cool again.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=8.0
I can't say that Vitamin E was a miracle but I didn't expect one after the first dose.  It does appear that I am 15-20 seconds faster per mile at the same effort, which is indeed enough to be considered significant.  A celebration is premature.  Who knows what happens in a few more days?  I might continue to get better, plateau or experience a sudden relapse.  In order to run an official post-35 PR for 5K, I need to average a 7:04 for 3.1 miles.  Based on what I did today, I'd say I've got a shot at it now.  We'll see what happens later in the week.  Other factors that may play a role in glycine metabolism are Choline and NADH.
P.S- Day 10 without caffeine was a success.

9/19- Day 11.  Over halfway to 21, which is considered the length of time needed to "break a habit."
As usual, glycine produced significant muscle soreness. Today, I loaded with Vitamin E (4 pills vs 2 yesterday) and this time, it was downer.  Workout was 4 miles in 31:45 (7:56 pace) with a hard fade on the back half.  Tried choline after the workout and I got a quick and definite NO despite taking glycine in the morning.  However, an extra dose of glycine AFTER the choline DID mitigate much of the ill-effects.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=4.0
Reaction: There is still a chance that Vitamin E could be a game changer but I must keep the dose low.  Really not pleased by the bad reaction to choline.  That means any questionable pill must be taken WITH glycine at the same time to prevent sensitivity.  Quitting glycine for 2 days leading up to a race could be risky because sensitivity can flare up any time.

9/20- Day 12 was hard but I made it.  Glycine plus E plus B-5 all contributed to the muscle soreness.  I am beginning to think/hope that it could be a detox reaction and I may just need to go slow with this stuff.  Tomorrow, I won't take any then I'll start back on a very low dose.  Planned rest day.

9/21- Day 13.  AM- 1 mile jog on Wisteria just because I was up early and felt like it.  No time and no real complaints.  Leaning AGAINST the race on Saturday.  New Mexico is only 4 weeks away and I need to up the mileage.

PM- 4 miles on Lakeshore in 30:27 (7:37 pace) plus a cool.  Solid performance.  1st half-15:16, 2nd half-15:11.  Pleased with how I felt overall.  Could have gone a good deal faster or longer but I was still sore from yesterday's excess glycine.  I did not take any today and I know sensitivity can and will flare up if I stay off.  How about taking just a tiny bit every day and maybe build up from there?  That's my last best hope at this point.  Maybe, just maybe it will guard against the sensitivity without causing the sore muscles.  Still on track for a win this week.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.5

Monday, September 11, 2017

Training 9/11-9/17

9/11- On just the 3rd day off caffeine, I'm seeing BIG changes.  Whole Food C appears to be no longer tolerated, which was expected.  The same thing happened after the first blood donation.  I experienced a need for it, which was followed by a sudden intolerance.  Fortunately, glycine appears to be tolerated once again.  As for the workout, it wasn't pretty.  3 miles in an overall time of 26:04 (8:41 pace) but if you dig deeper, there are signs of hope.  The first mile was 9:20 and I slipped to the 10 minute range by the end of it.  After popping the glycine, I improved to an 8:36-8:08 with a last half mile in 3:56.  The explanation is caffeine inhibits the glycine receptors, causing the intolerance.

PM- Repeated the 3 mile at Gold's after the boss let us go home early.  I was worse after additional C but better after more glycine.  My time is down to 23:24 (7:48 pace) with a slight negative split.  Vitamin C will be cut out but in a few more days, assuming that the glycine remains tolerated, other pills won't even phase me. The rain isn't all that bad so far but the wind is beginning to pick up now.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=6.0

9/12- Hoped to do 5 at Gold's and settled for 3 with a time of 22:51 (7:37 pace).  MINUS 9 over yesterday which is better than nothing but I was hoping for a little better.  It's Day 4 now and the adrenal spike has not calmed down yet.  I still need mega ADHS and with the low dose, I'd really suck.  That should be resolved in 2-3 more days.  As for the glycine, it's still tolerated.  On the first attempt, it caused some minor muscle aches early but that MAY have been due to the caffeine.  We shall see.

I sure hope I'm done with caffeine for good now that I know the damage it's caused.  Cheating once a week won't hurt but 1 turns into 2, which turns into 4 then I'm right back where I started.  If I can make it 21 days, my odds improve tremendously.

Yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as feared.  Birmingham was right on the edge.  About an hour to the southeast and it would have been really ugly.  Georgia got hit harder and so did South Carolina.  The worst is over now but we won't see the sun for another 2 days.

PM- 5 miles in 37:24 (7:29 pace).  Solid performance.  Continued steady improvement BUT the muscle soreness does NOT feel natural.  It's probably the glycine.  If that's the case, it's either the precursor SHMT (which failed probably because of caffeine) or glycine every 3rd day.  Will continued abstinence from caffeine stop the sensitivity?  Possible but unlikely.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=8.0

9/13- AM- Day 5 and I have plateaued.  Overall time was a respectable 22:17 for 3 miles (7:26 pace) but I opened with a 3:22 first half mile.  Just like the first round with the glycine, it was unsustainable and I was forced to run the remainder at standard effort.  Last 2.5 were done in 18:55 (7:34 pace), which isn't bad but this is the first day that I did not improve.  That's it for today.
2 options:
-Take glycine every 3rd day
-Go with SHMT spray.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

9/14- Turned 37 years old today.  That number has been in my head for quite some time as the year of deliverance.  I'll know one way or the other very soon.

AM- Aimed to take a shot at a sub-6 Mile but knew warming up that it wasn't to be.  Just jogged around the parking lot 2 times instead for the equivalent distance.  Learned that the form of glycine isn't important.  Whether plain or with B-6, the effect is the same.  Without caffeine, it will indeed solve the sensitivity but it will also cause abnormal soreness especially in the calf and hamstring muscles.  With caffeine, it is not tolerated at all.  I am on Day 6 now and the adrenal spike will probably be all gone tomorrow.  I will try the SHMT spray as the precursor and hope for better results.  There could be another deficiency in play that is causing the reaction to glycine.  The smart money is on Vitamin E and I just ordered a bottle.

PM- 4 miles easy on Canterbury-Jemison.  Finished in 31:16 (7:49 pace).  Not bad for a hilly route.  Average performance.  Pace was pretty even but I did struggle on the hills.  All in all, it was a rather ordinary day for me.  Nothing great happened but nothing awful either.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

9/15- Interval testing and got good news and bad.  As expected, the adrenal spike has died down on Day 7.  Extra ADHS made little difference.  3x3 laps at Gold's with a Mile cool.
3 ADHS- 2:27 (7:21 pace)
6 ADHS- 2:24 (7:12 pace)
SHMT- 2:29 (7:27 pace)
  Looks fairly even but based on how I felt, it was obvious that SHMT slowed me down.  The abnormal soreness kicked in harder on the cool down.
No grade: distance=2.0
Glycine and its precursor (SHMT) will produce the same reaction.  I'll be free of sensitivity but have to deal with muscle aches unrelated to training.  If need be, it's a deal that I am willing to take but something else is in play that is holding me back and I intend to find it.

9/16- Hoping for a breakthrough on Day 8.  It did not happen but to my credit, I did not cave.  7 miles starting from O'Henry's.  Followed the usual script.  Began losing contact with the pack around 2 miles but fell off dramatically after 3.  Managed to fight my way through to salvage 7 miles in a time of 58:30 (8:21 pace).  I bet I could have muscled through another 6.1 and finished a half mary in about 1:54 but that's a full 10 minutes down on my post-35 PR so it's not nearly good enough.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=7.0
SHMT spray or glycine pills?  If I must, it will be the latter.  I'll probably be better tomorrow so I'll attempt to go 10.  Vitamin E will arrive possibly today, Monday at the latest.

PM- No running but did learn something.  Yasko recommended Grapefruit Seed Extract for high Benzoate.  I picked up a bottle at Whole Foods and it FAILED!  Same old stiff all over feeling as before the glycine.  SHMT did NOT protect against it.  BUT glycine actually helped later.  Vitamin E did NOT arrive so I have to wait until Monday.  That could be a game changer but if not, SHMT is OUT and so is the GSE.  It will have to be glycine every 3rd day or possibly micro doses every day.

9/17- AM- DISASTER.  2.5 miles on Lakeshore in 23:53 (9:33 pace).  Forgot to take B-12 this morning.  That's right!  ONE MISSED DOSE!  Added a half mile cool.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.0

PM- Gold's 3 in 21:54 (7:18 pace).  Very even splits and felt smooth but as usual, the glycine robbed me of my top gear.  What was responsible for the dramatic improvement in just a few short hours?  You guessed it.  Just one dose of B-12.  I can live with something like that but NOT the moving targets.  Again, my demands are HARDLY UNREASONABLE!
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
An improvement over the previous 3 weeks but still not good enough to win.  I'm 0-3 in the critical 8 week stretch so I've got to win the next 5 in a row to make the goal.  I have 3 options going forward:
- Cut the TMG to 1500 and take 500 glycine.
-Take 1000 glycine every 3rd day.
-Stay the course and hope Vitamin E is the game changer OR find another game changer.

If I don't do anything stupid such as a caffeine binge or trying another questionable pill to substitute for glycine, the status quo is something that I can accept but not happily.  Sore muscles and lack of access to top gear won't ruin my life but it's still annoying.
Distance=37.0/ GPA= 19.7/8= 2.46

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rant: National Division

The dictionary definition of the word tolerance is as follows: the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of OPINIONS or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. Speech that is peppered with ethnic or anti-gay slurs or espouses inherent racial superiority is most definitely hate speech.  Having a different opinion even if it is unpopular in certain circles does NOT constitute hate speech.  Antifa has been known to rip up and burn signs that simply say “FREE SPEECH.”  For example, I have never said that Muslims are bad.  I have said that some of the tenants of Islam are in dire need of reform.  There is a difference.  Particularly offensive are support for the death penalty for gays and apostates as well as failure to universally condemn terrorist attacks.  Is that hate speech?  Some would say so.  Who decides which speech is acceptable?  Antifa of course.  This is a common tactic among both fascists and communists.

Until about 2 decades ago, most people viewed political opponents as well-intentioned but misguided.  Nowadays, they are treated as “the enemy” and must be stopped and silenced.  There was a poll during Obama’s first term in which Democrats were about evenly split about whether Islamic terrorism or the Tea Party movement was the “greater threat to America.”  I went to college during the first half of the Bush-43 administration and I thought those were some politically divisive times.  It’s 10 times worse now.  What really makes me sad is to see old college buddies who used to be politically moderate that have now gone off the deep end into radicalism.  Surveys show that liberals are 2-3x more likely to cut off a friendship over politics than conservatives.  It is nearly impossible to have a rational dialogue with those on the far left so I will no longer attempt it.  The Unfollow link has become quite useful to me on Facebook. 

Who is to blame for the national division?  Part of the blame lies with partisan politicians who are unwilling to make compromises for the good of the country.  Take a look at the Immigration Issue.  The far right is unwilling to accept anything less than mass deportations while the far left insists on blanket amnesty with no additional border security.  Congress has been unwilling to meet in the middle to solve the problem so it is no surprise that their approval rating hovers around 14%.  My position is for border security such that future illegal immigration is shut down cold by any humane means necessary.  While I don’t favor a path to citizenship without going home and through the same legal process as others, I do believe otherwise law abiding folks should be shielded from deportation, especially DACA children. On the other hand, Democrats won’t support Kate’s Law, which imposes tough prison sentences for felons who re-enter after deportation because it does not address “comprehensive reform”.  That is unconscionable. Would my plan pass Congress?  Probably not.  It’s way too strict for the far left but not strong enough for hard liners on the right.

More than anything else, I blame the media.  A bit of a leftward tilt was detectable among the mainstream media back in the 1990s but now, they don’t even pretend to be objective.  93% of their stories about Trump are negative.  His words were completely misrepresented in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville.  The media ignored his criticism of the “evil” of racism and calls for love, respect and unity regardless of skin color and political views and instead focused on the 3 words “on many sides.”  Headlines read that Trump was actually supportive of Neo-Nazis, which is a blatant falsehood.  The term Nazi should NEVER be used to describe political opponents because it is disrespectful to Jews and dishonors the few remaining American heroes who fought in WW2.  Yes, I am aware that some right wing extremists in the Tea Party compared Obama to Hitler.  You better believe that I spoke out against that as well.

 As a result of so much negative coverage, many of Trump’s supporters have become so fed up that they will automatically defend him even when his words or actions really should be criticized. To be fair, I will admit that Fox News has drifted further right in recent years and talk radio has been dominated by conservatives for many years.  Add to that is the explosion of right and left bloggers and You Tube channels and it is very difficult to find news that is fair and objective.  As a result, both sides exist in an echo chamber and rarely even hear much less consider opposing points of view.

Clinton called half of Trump supporters “deplorable” and irredeemably bigoted while turning a blind eye to hateful views on left side of the spectrum.  I've heard calls for white genocide from left wing militants.  Condemnation of that garbage does NOT mean that I am somehow siding with Neo-Nazis.  Both the far left and the alt right are composed of despicable groups of people.  I live in Alabama so take this from me:  The vast majority of Southern conservatives in 2017 are NOT racist and would quickly condemn hate from the extreme right.  False accusations of bigotry are hurtful and divisive.   IMHO, the Left’s failure to condemn its own violence and hate is another factor in the national division.

 I would NEVER respond to a case of prejudice and discrimination with an assertion that “some blacks are racist too.”  That would be hurtful and insensitive. For my African-American readers, let me assure you that I share your outrage if you’ve faced prejudice and stand with you in fighting those attitudes and actions.  However, I do have a BIG problem with those who say that only whites and conservatives can be racist while insisting that the far left is free of bigotry and believes in “human rights for all.”  That’s simply not true and should be met with a strong response.  In my experience, there is nothing more triggering to liberals than exposing hateful attitudes on their side of the spectrum.  I believe that failure to condemn groups like Antifa and the Black Panthers will amplify the voices of actual bigots on the far right, resulting in more division as well as silence from fair minded individuals on both sides who are often afraid to stir up controversy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the far left will not be satisfied with anything less than a violent revolution to overthrow the whole system.  They seem to think that once that’s done and their ilk takes power, it will be a socialist utopia free of oppression.  Sorry, that’s a fantasy!  We’ve seen what happens in history.  It’s called Communism and it’s led to death camps everywhere it’s been tried.  The Soviet Union was so bad that after Lenin died, Stalin and Trotsky fought to become his successor.  The Stalinists emerged victorious and unleashed a great purge of Trotsky supporters.  That’s right, dissidents even among their own ranks will not be tolerated.  This ideology is every bit as dangerous as actual fascism.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer Road Trips

It was an interesting summer when it came to travel.  Not including the epic road trip, I captured some pretty nice images mostly within a few hours of home.  Let's start there.
Travel about 2.5 hours northeast on I-59 and you're in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Here's the view from Lookout Mountain.


Travel 3 hours north on I-65 and you'll get to Music City


View from Nashville hotel

A bit further away and too far for a day trip but here's a view of Cincinnati from across the river in northern Kentucky.  The culture shifts dramatically once you cross the river into Cincy.

Cincy seen from Kentucky

Another 4-5 hours away is Pittsburgh, which offers stunning views of downtown and its 3 rivers from nearby Mt. Washington.


West Virginia hills

Back closer to home, there is the Grand Canyon of Georgia just outside of Columbus.

I also took 2 days in Santa Rosa Beach, FLA just outside of Destin.

Finally, the closest one to home is Noccalula Falls just about an hour away in Gadsden.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Training 9/4-9/10

I've written last week off as a loss.  I ran only 9 miles and all but 1 session was horrible.  I needed Whole Food C and did not have access to it when I was out of town so I took the weekend off.

9/4- 2 miles on Wisteria after a long drive with detours.  Finished in 17:30 (8:45 pace) with splits of 8:10-9:20.  It appears that the ULTIMATE IN CRUELTY may have become a reality.  Glycine is needed to solve the sensitivity issues but I cannot tolerate it.  Any other options?  Yes.  Another precursor, aggressive probiotic use and/or phospho serine.  I won't give up until I am defeated and that's not until 7 weeks from now but it sure is not looking good.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0

UPDATE: I looked at some of my old tests from last year.  Benzoate was indeed tested. Yes, it was high and bad enough to be flagged but it was not in the stratosphere.  It's possible that there is another way besides glycine to lower the Benzoate, which is still quite likely to be the smoking gun.  I still believe it is possible but unlikely that when Iron is regulated, Benzoate will go down on its own.

9/5- First day back off the glycine.  Dipped under the Mendoza line.  3 miles in 23:30 (7:50 pace).  Still very sore but a sub-8 pace was manageable.  Still no other sensitivity issues but that could kick in bigly within 2-3 more days.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

9/6- Defeat seems inevitable now.  1 Mile in 9:25 and the culprit was the SHMT spray (glycine precursor).  Interestingly, the bottle says that it is for "Iron related bacterial issues" so there is still a chance that Iron regulation will solve this mess.  That leaves me with the phospho serine, aggressive probiotic use and lowered Ferritin from blood donation as the only other ways to reduce the Benzoate.  I will hope against hope that the sensitivity does not flare up if I continue to do the right things and if it does, perhaps occasional glycine will do the trick.  Again, I will not give up until I am beaten and that's not for another 6.5 weeks.

PM- Another 1 mile at Vestavia on a beautiful evening.  Did the first 400 in 2:07 then popped extra MF hoping to counteract the glycine.  It was a non-factor.  Next lap was 2:08 then jogged the next 2 at glacial pace.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=2.0

9/7- AM- 3 miles at Gold's in 25:26 (8:29 pace).  Started off at 8:10ish then slipped to the 8:40 range.

PM- Another 3 miles this time from the Trak Shak on a beautiful evening.  Managed to dip under the Mendoza line with a time of 23:39 (7:53 pace).  This is par for the course on the day after a collapse.  Still not sensitive to anything else besides the glycine and its precursors but that could change within the next 2 days.  Passed 1000 miles on the year.  I've fallen behind 1500 pace but I still have a chance to come back.
Grade:C-/2 credit/distance=6.0

9/8- Planned rest day.

9/9-AM- COMPLETE DISASTER!  The sensitivity has returned and the glycine is not tolerated.  Abstinence from caffeine is my only chance now.  1 mile out and back in around 11 minutes.

PM- Another mile this time at Vestavia track and improved to 8:48 with an even pace.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0

9/10- AM- Lakeshore 2.5 in 21:10 (8:28 pace).  Baby steps forward.  The only thing I'm doing differently is caffeine abstinence.  Adrenal spike hit hard yesterday and will slowly die down over the next 5-7 days.

PM- Another 2.5 mile this time at Vestavia track.  Improved to 19:13 (7:41 pace).  That's a good time for a 5K but not a 4K.  Full kilometer behind my peak but improving rapidly.  I'll try glycine again in a few days and it's quite possible that it will be tolerated.  Weather today is sunny and 80 with a mild 10 mph breeze.  Tomorrow will be 60 and rainy with a sustained 30 mph wind.  Well Beavis, it's gonna suck!
Grade:C/2 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
3rd straight bad loss.  Next week is a must win but I think I have a good chance to deliver.
Distance= 20.0/ GPA= 10.7/8 = 1.34

Monday, August 28, 2017

Goals for next 8 weeks and beyond

Once again, I believe the formula is set.  The plain glycine has arrived and I'm going with it.  It is quite possible that the B-6 was responsible for the sore muscle though I have learned that caffeine does indeed mess with glycine receptors.  It is possible that B-6 and SHMT would be tolerated if I was not on caffeine at the time of the experiments but I'm not going back down that road.  Plain glycine it is along with methylation, adrenal support, Magnesium and probiotics.  In theory, THAT SHOULD DO IT.

There are several pills that could not be tolerated before taking glycine that appear to be okay now: Whole Food C, Zinc, Manganese and Calcium.  None of them will be part of my long-term formula but it’s good to know that if a need arises in the future, it’s an option.  I have not tried Curcumin, IP-6 or Liver Beef but I would not be surprised if they would also be tolerated now thanks to the glycine.  That’s also good to know if my blood work does not turn out as I hope.   Like I’ve said, even if a pill takes my chemistry in the wrong direction, there is NO REASON why I should have an extreme reaction to a micro dosage. 

I have learned that Glutathione must be cut out.  It is a NO with or without caffeine.  That’s okay.  It was an optional pill anyway and glycine is indeed involved in glutathione production.  Stand alone B-6 and SHMT are also NO!  I am troubled by the fact that glycine did NOT protect against these intolerances but then again, all 3 are involved in the glycine conjugation pathway.  It could be a case of overload or detox.  I feared that glycine was the culprit, which would be the ULTIMATE IN CRUELTY but found this morning to my relief that it was glutathione.

As for the sensitivity, a little bit of it is actually a good thing because it lets you know that you are off track.  What I’d like to see happen is to have to fight for 8:00 pace despite running at 7:30 effort, find and cut out the culprit then be back to normal within a couple days.  In that case, I could still muscle my way through a long run despite hurting and even a half marathon race would not end in disaster but I’d be far enough off form to know something needs to change.  Normally, symptoms are a lagging indicator of unbalanced chemistry.  That is, a pill takes you in the wrong direction yet you feel the same in spite of it.  You get tested and find something significantly out of balance THEN the corresponding symptoms show up several weeks later and it takes time to get the numbers back in line and longer for the symptoms to fade.  That’s why running is so important.  I can feel when something is off much sooner than a sedentary person who won’t notice a 5-10% energy loss.

Normal vs optimal lab test results:  Of course, you should shoot for optimal.  For example, Magnesium RBC should be 6.0-6.5 but few patients can reach those levels.  Mine have tested consistently between 5.6-5.9 so it is sub-optimal but certainly not bad enough to produce significant symptoms.  As long as it’s over 5.4 (90%), it’s not a significant problem.  Below 4.8 (80%), you do have a significant need though you are still within the “normal” range.  Below 4.2 (70%), you are on the edge of being flagged and you do have a critical need.  What if you have a critical need but cannot tolerate the supplement?  I’ve been there but hopefully with the glycine, it will never happen again.  Most of my other labs are similar, not quite optimal but not nearly bad enough to stand out as the smoking gun.  If tested 2 years ago, I would have seen the following:

Extreme high sulfates- corrected with B-12+ molybdenum.
Methylation block- corrected with MF+TMG
High Benzoate- corrected with glycine.

I may run a local 5K in September and I want to take a shot at the sub-6:00 Mile on my 37th birthday but the main goal is the Duke City half marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico which is 8 weeks away.  Because of the travel upcoming and the failed Glutathione, it will be tough to win this week but I really want to go 5-3 or better over the next 8 weeks.  I’ll get my blood tested in about 6-7 weeks and I want to see a Ferritin under 100 but won’t panic if it’s a little higher than that.  I DO want a significant decrease from my baseline test and a 40 point drop as a bare minimum.  Again, if it’s higher than expected, IP-6 could be an option.   My race goal is a sub-1:43:15, which would be not only a post-35 PR but my fastest time since 2014 and the equivalent a sub-1:40 at sea level.

As for my future, how do I stay motivated knowing that realistically I have set my last personal record?  At age 37, I’m facing a headwind of about 6 seconds per mile.  That’s not insurmountable but I’ve lost fitness over the past 2.5 years as well and it will take time and training to get it back.  I’d have to run the equivalent of a sub-18:50/sub-39/sub-1:27 to PR again.  My best chance would be in the marathon but that would require 50 MPW.  Will I be motivated to train like that again?  It would depend on how well I progress.  If I plateau around a 1:40 half, I’ll be satisfied and stay in the 30-35 range.  If I can get down around 1:36 again, yes I’ll be motivated to see if I can at least come close to my old self.

Many older runners have taken to trail running or ultra-marathons.  Neither one interests me.  Others have broadened their horizons by getting into triathlons and/or duathlons.  Those are possible down the road but an Ironman is highly unlikely.  As of now, the 50 State project will be enough to keep me going for at least another 5-6 years.  New Mexico will be State #32 and I hope to get at least 4 more in 2018 all in different parts of the country.  Then, I hope to go international once a year until I hit every inhabited continent.  I intend to run as long as my body allows.  Participation rates in races remain high through the 50-54 age group then attrition rates become significant with each older age group.  I think if healthy, I can realistically hope for 20 more years of decent running.  Maybe 25 if I am lucky.  That’s not a huge amount of time so I want to make it count.  The dating aspect is another wrinkle that could come up.  I know several runners who fell off a cliff after getting married and either slowed significantly or stopped competing altogether.  Since a healthy lifestyle and support of my cause are non-negotiable issues, it’s very unlikely that will happen to me but I could see myself falling back a notch or so as priorities shift.  I expect it will be well worth the price.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Training 8/21-8/27

8/21- Quickie.  1 mile in 8:00 and was fading fast (2:33-2:40-2:47) so I just quit.  The culprit is extra B-6, which is read is required for glycine to be effective.  Well, it doesn't work for me and I suppose that because my current glycine supp contains B-6, it's possible that the soreness was not from the glycine at all.  I'm going to try the SHMT this afternoon but if it doesn't work, plain glycine it is.  This is my one freebie and I will consider this a rest day.

PM- Tried SHMT and it is too early to tell.  I just have to wait until the B-6 clears.  Disappointed that the glycine did NOT stop this intolerance.  Birmingham got about a 90% solar eclipse today.  The sunlight was a little bit dimmer for about an hour and it felt about 10 degrees cooler but it was still daylight and you needed special glasses to see the sun.

8/22- Determined to finish 3 miles no matter how ugly it got and man, it sure did suck.  Finished it in 28:58 (9:39 pace) and could not hold 10 minute pace at the end.  It appears that SHMT is going to be a NO.  It's got to be plain glycine.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.0

PM- SHMT is officially a NO.  Extra drops made things noticeably worse.  I will order plain glycine.  It will take time to clear that stuff out.

8/23-AM. 2 miles in 16:30 (8:15 pace).  Not pretty but this was a full 2 minutes faster than yesterday's split.

PM- Lakeshore 4 in 30:28 (7:37 pace).  Pretty solid.  Felt decent most of the way.  Faded just a tad at the end but finished pretty strong.  Clearance should be complete tomorrow.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance= 6.0

8/24- Detoxed from a STUPID caffeine binge yesterday.  Felt awful most of the day and really should have stayed home but did improve by the evening and managed a junk run on Wisteria.  2 miles untimed but I know it was very slow.  2nd half did feel somewhat better.  No freebie this time.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0

Piece of good news:
In addition to Zinc, Manganese and Vitamin C being tolerated thanks to the glycine, Calcium is also tolerated whereas it was NOT before.  Still, I'm going to avoid it but it's comforting to know if a future test reveals a need for it.  Strange that glycine did NOT protect against intolerance to B-6 and SHMT.  This could be due to the fact that both are part of the all important glycine conjugation pathway.  I still think it is possible, however unlikely, that it could clear when the Iron regulation improves.

8/25- Mountain Brook-Canterbury 4 miler.  On a hilly route, I managed a 33:28 (8:22 pace) without much effort.  Forgettable workout but it was an improvement over yesterday.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=4.0

8/26- AM- FAILED long run.  Disappointed but not surprised.  I was horrible the week after blood donation last time as well.  It just takes time for things to level out after losing so much in the way of minerals.  2 miles in 19:50 (9:55 pace) and I knew it early so there was no walk of shame.

PM- Better after yogurt and probiotics.  Vestavia Mile in 8:13 with a negative split.
Grade:F+/2 credit/distance=3.0

8/27- Ugly 3 miler on Lakeshore.  Finished in 26:38 (8:53 pace).  No energy or power.

PM- Another 3 mile this time at Vestavia.  Improved to 23:42 (7:54 pace).  Splits were nearly dead even.  Beat the Mendoza line.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
This one hurts but given the state of flux after the blood donation, the failed SHMT experiment and the STUPID caffeine binge, it should not be a surprise.  All I can do is try to regroup next week
Distance= 25.0/ GPA=10.7 /8= 1.34
YTD: 979 miles.  8-24 with a 2.15 GPA

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rant: Fascism and Communism

These 2 terms have been thrown out far too frequently to describe political opponents.  Please allow me to educate y'all on the true philosophy of both abhorrent ideologies. There are plenty of similarities in how they turned out in practice.  First, both are usually totalitarian dictatorships in which any political dissidents can be imprisoned or executed so don't dare speak out against the government.  Both are highly militaristic in which neighboring countries are often invaded or threatened with conquest. Think North Korea.

Let's start with fascism.  This term has been used with increasing frequency to describe Trump supporters as well as pretty much anyone right of center politically.  What do actual fascists believe?
-Glorification of the State above the individual
-Collusion of big business and government.  Very difficult for small businesses.
-Rigid class structure with institutionalized racism and discrimination
-Eugenic and possibly genocidal with restrictions on interactions with other races and socioeconomic classes
-Open discrimination against women in the workforce
-Churches allowed but closely monitored, no tolerance for dissent or alternative lifestyles.

I am a Southern conservative and I am DISGUSTED by all of these bullet points.  I am proud to say that my maternal grandfather fought against actual Nazis in World War 2 and I have a trace of Jewish ancestry myself so it REALLY bothers me when mainstream conservatives such as myself are called these names.

As I've said in other political posts, I believe strongly in racial equality as well as prosecution of anyone who discriminates in the job and housing market.  I support immigration from all corners of the globe as well as integration into society but it must be done LEGALLY with proper vetting.  I favor freedom to worship God as you see fit or not worship at all.  I could go on and on but let's suffice it to say that I disagree with pretty much all that fascism stands for.

Now that's look at Communism:
-Claims to be stateless and classless but in reality, party leaders are VERY wealthy and military aggression as well as death camps have come out everywhere Communism has been tried.
-If you speak out against the government and demand free elections- Remember Tienanmen Square in China. Criticize Kim Jong Un in North Korea and you're dead.
-State is officially atheist and open religious activity is not permitted.
-Does guarantee a job for able bodied people but all business and means of production are owned by the government.  You often cannot choose your occupation or where you'd like to live.  International travel is either not permitted or heavily restricted.
-No private property permitted and no chance to become wealthy.  Typically, you live in a planned community similar to an apartment high rise with government officials watching your every move.  If you skip work without a valid reason, you won't be fired.  You could be imprisoned instead.
-In theory, there is racial equality but given what I've heard from groups like Antifa and the New Black Panther party, I believe there would be open discrimination against whites if their ilk came into power.

Most millennials grew up after the Cold War so they don't remember the Soviet Union.  Many claim to have a favorable view of socialism and even communism but if they knew what it's really like to live under such a regime, they might think differently.

Now let's shift gears to the violence in Charlottesville.  Trump condemned the march before it started, which drew criticism from actual white supremacists like David Duke.  After the attack, Trump condemned "the egregious display of hate and bigotry on many sides" and stated that it has no place in contemporary America then called for unity and to "love and respect" each other.  I don't see anything wrong with that statement yet all I saw in the news was that Trump "failed to condemn" white nationalists.  Two words: FAKE NEWS.

What generated the controversy was the 3 words "on many sides" meaning that he had the guts to criticize the left-wing loons such as Antifa, the radical elements of BLM and other violent anarcho-Communist groups.  For the record, I think that the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, actual fascists and white nationalists are  despicable groups of people and I condemn them in the strongest terms that words can express.  However, I also condemn groups like Antifa, whose members often assault Trump supporters as well as the radical elements of Black Lives Matter, which chant for dead cops and throw rocks at traffic from overpasses onto the Interstate.  I condemn anyone who throws out terms like "fascist and racist" and riot to suppress the free speech rights of anyone with a different opinion. If their ilk ever gained political power, we would see death camps just like Communist countries under Stalin and Mao.  Are these groups on the same level as Neo-Nazis and white supremacists?  I will leave that for my readers to decide but before you criticize me or Trump for these words, please watch the following videos of the "alt-left" in action.

New Black Panthers
Black Lives Matter
Antifa Riot
Attacks on Trump Supporters

Another problem that I have with the far-left is their tolerance for hate and bigotry in name of cultural relativism.  If a Christian fundamentalist called for killing gay people, executing apostates and stoning women for adultery, progressives would scream FASCIST and rightly so.  However, when radical Islamists spew the same thing, they often go silent or even attack the critics.  If a Southern Republican called for segregation, everyone would scream RACIST and rightly so but when extremists from BLM want the same thing, they go silent as well. Almost every mainstream conservative will condemn hate and bigotry from the far-right.  I have not heard many mainstream liberals condemn the alt-left.  Here's what I think of you and your ilk:

You are not a liberal.  You are a regressive leftist who is more interested in political correctness and multiculturalism than advancement of human rights.  If you do not stand up against radical Islam, you are not anti-fascist either.

Let's end this post on a more positive note with a quote from Nelson Mandela:
"Nobody is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, background or religion.  They must learn to hate but also can be taught to love.  Love comes more naturally from the human heart than its opposite."  Amen brother.  I will call out hate and bigotry whenever I see it no matter what the source.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Training 8/14-8/20

The volume and intensity will be light this week.  The 2nd blood donation appointment will be scheduled for Thursday and I cannot risk flunking the screening because I trained too hard in the days leading up to it.  I will skip the long run on Saturday because I will probably be too weak.  If the weather looks good, I will go to the coast instead.  Still, there is much to learn this week.  How long can I go without glycine before I begin reacting to Whole Food C?  Should I order Yasko's SHMT drops?

I'll get re-tested in mid-October and depending on how my numbers look and how I respond to the 2nd donation, I may or not donate in December.  From 2018 on, it will be only twice a year for maintenance.

8/14- Gold's 3 mile in 23:32 (7:51 pace) with a slight negative split.  A little slower than I'd like but no cause for alarm.  Whole Food C was well tolerated after 2 days off glycine.  I am going through a sugar detox and the first few days are always a little rough.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

8/15- BAFA day.  This will probably be my hardest session of the week.  Still doing well without the glycine and it's looking increasingly likely that I can get by with occasional use.  5 miles in 36:45 (7:21 pace).  Effort was moderate.  Very smooth and relaxed early but the back half required more effort to hold the pace.  Good job overall.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

8/16- Well, 3 days off glycine is the limit.  I felt good this morning but it was downhill by lunchtime.  Fortunately, I knew it before I started the run on Lakeshore.  Did a half mile in 4:03 running pretty hard then popped a glycine and improved to 15:12 for the next 2 miles (7:36 pace) for an overall time of 19:15 for 2.5 then added a mile cool.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.5

The glycine pill definitely helped but 1 pill was not a night and day difference.  Popped 2 more after the workout and felt noticeably better.  It could be 3 pills (1500 mg) every 3rd day that will do the trick but if the SHMT is effective, I'd rather take a couple drops every day and be okay if I miss one every now and then.  I will order the SHMT but if I have to go with the glycine every 3rd day, I'm okay with it.  Blood donation is tomorrow.

8/17- Planned rest day for blood donation.  Maybe this isn't the best time to do this but if I want an accurate lab value before my race in New Mexico, it's got to be done now.  I will report back later on how it went but I expect it to go without a hitch.

PM- Indeed the donation did go without a hitch.  I'm still planning to skip the long run this weekend in favor of a trip to the coast.  There is a 40% chance of rain but that's to be expected this time of year.  On the glycine front, my legs were sore today so that tells me 2 key things:  Yes, I can get away with not taking glycine for a couple days BUT when I do have to take it again, the soreness kicks in soon afterwards.  If the SHMT does not work out, it's not the end of the world but I sure hope it does.  I'd much rather take a few drops every morning than have to time when I take glycine to deliver optimal performance.

I got into it today with somebody on Facebook who insisted that patients who improve after getting their chemistry in line is "all in the head."  He wasn't a troll either.  He honestly believes it.  That's why I've got to win this war.  Stop watches don't lie.  You cannot say that improved athletic performance is all in my head.

8/18- 2 miles in 14:24 (7:12 pace).  No complaints.  Short but satisfying.  Felt okay but cannot risk anything hard only 24 hours after losing a pint of blood.  Last time, I had frequent urination, diarrhea and stomach cramps the following day.  Not really feeling much effects this time.  Maybe a little weak but nothing severe.  Now, my system will make new blood, which will pull the stored Iron out of organs thus lowering my levels.  At least, that's how I understand it.  Leaving for the coast now.  May manage a junk run tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=2.0

8/19- Stopped at Jackson Lake in Florala.  Did a 15 minute out and back run after a relaxing day in the water.  Very small waves but it was still good for me to soak in the mineral rich ocean water after the blood donation.  Don't know the exact distance but no complaints about how I felt.  Back half was a hair faster thanks to a late push.  Turned around just across the Florida border so I ran in 2 states.  Pretty cool.  Not as humid as I feared.  Maybe we're getting some relief.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=2.0

8/20- I had a chance to win with a strong performance today but could not deliver.  Got a late start then wilted in the heat after a good first half.  Planned on 4 but settled for 3 on Lakeshore in 23:48 (7:57 pace) and needed a late push to stay below the Mendoza line.  Added a mile cool down.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=4.0

Weekly summary:
Not disappointed in this at all.  I knew it would be very difficult to win with the blood donation and the glycine experiments.  Back to work next week.  Overall GPA has ticked up again and I hope to finish above 2.50.
Distance= 20.0/ GPA= 16.4/6= 2.73
YTD: 952 miles.  8-24 with a 2.18 GPA

Monday, August 7, 2017

Training 8/7-8/13

8/7- AM- Gold's 5 in 37:19 (7:28 pace).  Went out at 7:00 pace for the first half mile but realized that I could not hold it.  Too much to ask given my recent quality sessions.  Let off the gas and just cruised the rest of it at 7:32 pace and felt quite comfortable in doing so.  Legs are a bit sore but the rest of me is fine.  Glycine continues to work well though when I re-order, I hope to find one without B-6 as a co-factor.  Strong overall and that's it for today.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

8/8-AM- Another Gold's 5 and this time, I did go for it.  Ran a perfect first half but faded hard in the last 2 miles and finished in 35:46 (7:09 pace).  2nd best time since turning 35 and I can't expect to PR every time out.  This was well within the 5% margin of error but something felt a little off after a minor tweak to my formula.

I was very stiff yesterday afternoon after an extra glycine and I could tell it wasn't natural.  Extra methyl folate seemed to help.  B5 and NAC were non-factors.  It would be the ULTIMATE IN CRUELTY for me to discover the key to solve the sensitivity yet be unable to tolerate the pill itself.  That seemed possible with the tolerance going down but hope is still alive.  TMG plus glycine must be kept in a 1:1 ratio with MF for optimal results but it won't kill me if I'm a little off.  Today, I went with 2,000 MF and 1,000 TMG and 1,000 glycine.  I may need to up the dosage to 3,000.

PM- Did up it to 3000 during the day and my legs stiffened up again.  It was another case in which a pace in the mid 7:20s felt comfortable but did not have the top gear.  Finished this one in 22:14 (7:25 pace) with dead even splits.  Added a cool down tribute to Ochocinco.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=8.5

I'm going to keep tweaking things until I hit it perfectly.  I know that the tolerable upper limit for TMG+ glycine is somewhere between 2000-3000.  If I go beyond that, I'll be stiff but able to do standard issue workouts without a problem.  I will struggle in a tempo however.  If I go with all TMG and cut out the glycine, the sensitivity will come back with a VENGEANCE!  What happens if I go with all glycine and no TMG?  We shall see.  It's possible that I need 2000 TMG and can get by with only 500 glycine.  At that dose, I may or may NOT stiffen up.  Another option is to go with SAM-e instead of TMG.  If I go that route, the glycine dose may not be a problem.

8/9- Low key affair today and I may not even count this as a workout.  It's a "C" grade that will stand only if I do not take a rest day.  Attempted to run on plain glycine instead of TMG and struggled, which was somewhat expected.  Called it after an 800 in 4:20 (8:40 pace) and I had to work just to keep it under 9 at the end.  Popped a TMG and was MUCH better.  Came through the next 2 miles in 15:18 (7:39 pace) and felt much more comfortable in doing so.  Overall time was 19:38 for 2.5 miles (7:51 pace).  Rather ho-hum but I learned quite a bit.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=2.5

TMG or SAM-e is required for the methylation cycle.  Specifically, I need something that will convert homocysteine to methionine.  Plain glycine won't do it.  Trimethylglycine (TMG) will.  However, TMG won't solve sensitivities to Zinc, C or the B-complex plus others that may flare up in the future.  Plain glycine will.  If I take too much glycine, whether in the plain form or as TMG, I will have sore leg muscles.  5-6 miles at 7:30 pace won't be a problem.  Serious tempos, intervals and races will be slower than in the past but that situation is still highly preferable to the sensitivity.  It would be an acceptable outcome though not the one I wanted.

I have 2 options.  The first is to take the 2000 TMG that I need for methylation and try to get by on only 500 of plain glycine.  Will the low dose be enough to stop the sensitivity?  Will it be low enough to prevent the sore muscles?  This is the one that I prefer because SAM-e is more expensive.
Option 2 is to switch from TMG to SAM-e, which I know to be effective in methylation.  If I take SAM-e instead of TMG (Trimethylglycine), my tolerance for plain glycine may be sufficient to prevent the sore muscles if a higher dose is required.  Call me Dr. J instead.

8/10- Went with option 1 and it ended in disappointment.  Pretty much a carbon copy of Monday's workout only 1 mile shorter and a pace slightly faster.  Passed half mile in a perfect 3:30 but knew I could not hold it with the achy legs.  Downshifted and ran the next 3.5 at standard effort, which was just south of 7:30 pace.  Overall time was 29:39 for 4 miles (7:25 pace).
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.0

If days like today become the norm, it's an acceptable outcome but of course, I'd like access to the top gears.  Tomorrow, I will try the SAM-e.  I thought of 2 more options: Occasional glycine use.  Not sure if that will do.  The sensitivity could come back if I stop it for just 1 day.  The 2nd is Yasko's SHMT drops.  The spray is a NO because it contains Lactoferrin, which seems to raise Ferritin.  The drops may not be effective but it does support the same energy pathway.

8/11- Split decision on a low key affair.  A lot of positives but the BIG negative is that SAM-e is not the right choice for methylation.  It was too stimulating.  Good news is that I took Zinc and Whole Food C WITHOUT glycine and neither seemed to be factor.  Workout was 2 miles in 15:11 (7:36 pace) with 2 stops.  Opened with a 7:35 mile on 1 SAM-e pill.  Then it was another mile on 2 SAM-e pills with a stop for glycine at halfway.  Though methylation improved after the 2nd pill, it was offset by the overstimulation.  Passed halfway in 3:48 and was only fractionally better on glycine but the sore muscles diminished today.
Grade: Pass/0 credit/distance=2.0

TMG is clearly the best choice for the methylation cycle.  How to manage the sensitivity and achieve optimal results?  Either occasional glycine (a few days on/few days off) or SHMT drops.  Even though the formula was off today, I surely could have slogged through 4-5 miles below the Mendoza line.  With glycine, the horrible days should be over, which is the most important outcome!

8/12- 10 miles from O'Henry's in 79:27 (7:57 pace).  Slightly slower than last week but conditions were VERY TOUGH out there today.  Got dropped by the fast group 3 miles in but held it together and rallied from behind to make the sub-8 overall.  In another week or 2, we should begin to see some relief from the humidity.  Barring disaster, I'm going to win for the 3rd time in 4 weeks.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.0

Mini Rant:
Someone in the group expressed "heartbreak" because his son only placed 7th in the Junior Olympic Nationals.  I made it once and finished near the back of the pack but just to get there was one of the greatest thrills of my life.

8/13- Easy 3 at Gold's in 22:20 (7:27 pace).  Solid performance.  Felt about the same as usual.  No glycine this morning and took Whole Food C without a problem.  Did take glycine last night so I don't know anything new yet.  If I can get by without it tomorrow and the next day, I might have something special.  SHMT drops remain an option.  It's a precursor to glycine just like TMG is a precursor to SAM-e and the former works better for me than the latter.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
3rd win in 4 weeks and I've pulled up to .500 for the 2nd half.  Nothing great all week but nothing less than "C" either.
Distance=35.0/ GPA= 3.20
YTD: 932 miles.  8-22 with a 2.16 GPA.