Monday, February 20, 2017

Training 2/20-2/26

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

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

Monday, February 13, 2017



Here's what I am up against:
-Upregulation of GNMT, which makes MTHFR worse
-Homozygous mutation on the dreaded MTHFR 677.
-Diet that is deficient in vegetables.
That's a triple whammy!

Obviously, I need to support my folate somehow and the form of it MUST be:
 5-Methyltetrahydrofolic acid
-It MUST be taken with either TMG or SAM-e.

The word folate is derived from foliage, which in dietary terms means green leafy vegetable.  Because of my genetics, even a diet rich in this area will not be enough.  Some type of supplementation is required.   Dr. Ben Lynch agrees.

How will this all play out?
It's still too early to tell but I see one outcome that is acceptable and one that is unacceptable.

-Dosage continues to trend down but eventually stabilizes between 1000-2000.  That's ACCEPTABLE!  It's highly unlikely that I will ever be able to get off MF because of my genetics.  I would certainly prefer to have some flexibility with the dosage such that I take one too many or too few pills, it won't hurt me too much if I'm a little off for a few days.  However, even if the magic number remains rigid at say 2,000 and must be taken every day, that is STILL ACCEPTABLE.

-The magic number goes up and down periodically with seemingly no explanation.  There is no stability and the dose that works one day may not work the next.  That is UNACCEPTABLE and I don't care how fast I can go when I have everything in sync.

Is there any way to create a 3rd outcome without the MF pills?
MAYBE.  I have a product in my cabinet called GREENS from It Works.  I tried it last night and found that the symptoms of excess MF came on hard.  This GREENS supplement is a powder form that is to be mixed with water or juice.  It is DENSE in nutrients and you could have to eat all veggies and still not match the greens in this supplement.  There is no dispute that more greens will help the MTHFR mutation.  Early signs indicate that the GREENS will reduce my dependence on the MF.
GREENS must be taken with TMG or SAM-e.

Will it be enough to get off those MF pills altogether?  That would be NICE!  It would mean that there is no pill in my cocktail that causes sensitivity.  I would consider that VICTORY once and for all.  Again, I have no doubt that I can get back to respectable times with steady training and anything beyond that is a bonus.

What to do?
For the time being, I will lay off the GREENS.  I don't know for sure if the negative reaction was due to excess folate, an ingredient in GREENS that I can't tolerate or a combination of both.  Only time and experiments will tell.  If I need 4000 MF without the GREENS, it seems unlikely that it will go down to ZERO with it.  If the magic number drops below 2000, it's worth a shot.

Ferritin re-test:
I am about 90% sure that it is methylation that is the smoking gun.  NOT Iron or Ferritin.  If the ferritin is below 150 and trending down, I will NOT bother with the liver flush.  Even if it's still high, I will postpone it until after NYC.  A Liver flush could alter my chemistry and I've got a bit of positive momentum going.

I was taking 4000  MF last week.  We shall see how much I need/tolerate at the end of this week.  It could be 3000 or up to 5000.  If the dose goes up again, I'll give the GREENS a shot in that case too.  It's also possible that the GREENS will reduce but not eliminate the need for MF pills.  If the GREENS reduce the sensitivity, it's a good thing.

Training 2/13-2/19

Lots of page views from France in recent weeks.  Just wanted to say Bonjour!  Drop me a line or comment.  I'd like to hear from my readers.

2/13- Lakeshore 2.5 in 21:38 (8:39 pace) plus a half mile cool.  Never did have a good pace and did not slow much further on the back half.  Too much MF.  Not a surprise that I struggled today.  There was a MAJOR discovery last night that merits a separate post.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/14- Same MF dose as yesterday with NO GREENS.  No better than yesterday if not slightly worse.  3 miles at Gold's in a time of 26:34 (8:51 pace).  PLUS 12 over an extra half mile so that's essentially the same.  Dose will be cut bigly tomorrow and IT BETTER NOT GO BACK UP!  Still not sure about the effects of the GREENS.  Dose likely needed to be cut with or without them.  Plan is intervals tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/15- AM- Intervals.  5x3 laps at Gold's.  Did not even try to run without MF and would have been over 10:00 if I did.  I started at 800 and increased it in increments of 400 until I got beyond the sweet spot.  Here are the results:
800- 2:52 (8:36 pace)
1200- 2:32 (7:36 pace) MINUS 60 because of ONE PILL!!!!
1600- 2:11 (6:33 pace) MINUS 63
2000- 1:56 (5:48 pace) MINUS 45
2400- 2:08 (6:24 pace) PLUS 36
  If I had gone up to 3600, the pace would have slipped over 8:00 and over 9:00 at 5000.
Most likely, the current sweet spot is somewhere between 1800 and 2000.  I was noticeably weaker on 2400 and needed an all out kick at the end to do as well as I did.  With the same effort, it would have been on par with 1600 if not slightly worse.
If the sweet spot stays constant or even goes down slightly, it's an acceptable outcome.  However, my gut tells me that it will go up and down and without further treatment, I'll never feel anywhere near my best.  Lynch's site seems to think that methylation causes increased cell division and thus my electrolytes have decreased by too much when I take more MF.  What I'd like to see happen is an improvement with every pill up to the sweet spot WITHOUT a sharp decline when I go beyond it.  Any chance of that happening?  He does sell a special drink mix to replenish electrolytes.  I'll give the GREENS a shot tomorrow but I really don't think they will have much impact.

PM- Canterbury 3.5 mile loop with barely enough daylight after work.  Finished in 27:32 (7:52 pace) which is not half bad on a hilly route.  On 2000, I would have cruised it at 7:30 pace.  On 4000, the pace would have been over 9.  As it is on 2400, I'll take it.
Grade:C+/2 credit/distance=5.5

2/16- AM- Trial and error with GREENS.  It was immediately apparent that MF was still needed.  Started on 1600 and did 6 laps in a weak 5:14 (7:51 pace) then 6 more on 2000 and improved only marginally to 5:03 (7:35 pace) then tacked on a 1.5 lap cool.  The verdict on the GREENS is NAY.  It seems that the sensitivity was reduced but I was MUCH weaker on every dose and it did NOT seem to change the sweet spot.  Heart was not into this one and I will likely take the evening off.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=1.5
I will re-order Yasko's All in One and give Lynch's MTHFRade a shot.

PM- No running but I did try Niacin and it may be an option to reduce the effects of too much methylation.  I had no immediate effects but an intense flushing sensation that lasted about 2 hours kicked in about 15-20 minutes after taking the pill.  Overall, I felt better initially but the dose was too high and it increased my need for MF.  It altered the sweet spot and I'm unsure if it would have done anything about the sensitivity.  VERDICT:  Small dose is probably okay but large dose is a BIG NO NO!  Tomorrow, I will try PABA.

2/17- PABA could be a winner. I thought it had a chance because it is a "folic acid precursor".  When taking Yasko's Ultimate B, I was poor all around but the MF seemed to make little difference one way or the other.  That tells me there's a key ingredient in there that is bad for me but another one that reduces the sensitivity.  I figured PABA was the most likely answer.
Workout began with 1200 MF and no PABA:
1200w/no PABA- 2:35.0 (7:45 pace).  Struggled as expected but likely could have gone sub-8 for 3 miles with an all out effort.
1200 w/PABA-1:53.3 (5:40 pace) No radical shift in mood but legs had POWER.
2000 w/PABA- 1:49.7 (5:29 pace).  BOOM!
2800 w/PABA- 1:53.1 (5:39 pace).  Not quite as strong as the previous interval but a WHOLE lot better than 2 days earlier when I went beyond the sweet spot.  I'll bet I could have done sub-6 pace at 3600 as well.
Not much left after that so I just jogged 6 more laps to get to 2 miles.
This is EXACTLY what I was looking for.  PABA did not alter the sweet spot but DID SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE MY SENSITIVITY.  Too soon to get my hopes up but I see a chance of success with this formula.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=2.0

2/18- Downer.  Slept in and ran solo rather than the group run in a chilly rain.  It cleared up later and I was out on Lakeshore for an attempted long run.  I probably could have finished 10 but the back half would have been EXTREMELY ugly.  Quit after 4 miles in 31:51 (7:58 pace) with splits of 15:04-16:47.  This will do for an easy day.  I'm betting that my PABA dose must be limited.  I loaded last night and this morning.  I'll try again tomorrow.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0

2/19- Took only 1 PABA pill today and it was a disaster.  Did a 1 mile junk run on Wisteria just to hit a round number on the week.  It was untimed but I'd be surprised if it was much below 12 minutes.  PABA was most definitely the culprit.  That's right.  The same stuff that looked like a miracle on Friday turned out to be disastrous on Sunday.  Nothing new for me and it's why I don't get my hopes up without a good medical report.  I will definitely lay off it for a couple days then try it again at a lower dose.  Yasko's All In One does contain a minuscule amount but it's likely not enough to make an impact one way or the other.  Most B-complex pills contain PABA at a 50-100 mg dosage so that's what I'll try next week.   NYC is only 4 weeks away so time to get well is running short.

PM- Tacked on another mile just because I was bored.  Clocked a 9:42 on Wisteria.  Tomorrow, I am going with just a trace of PABA.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
What a roller coaster but then again, what else is new?
Distance=21.0/ GPA= 14.3/8= 1.79
YTD: 172 miles.  0-6 with a 1.54 GPA

Friday, February 10, 2017

Generation Y or Z

About a year ago, I did a post about the differences between late Gen. Xers (me) and early Millennials.  The consensus among most demographers is that the cutoff is either 1981 or 1982.  I'd personally set the exact cutoff midway through 1982 between the Class of 2000 and the Class of 2001.  There is a gray area from roughly '79-'83 in which I would not dispute whatever you claim to be.  For reasons I have discussed in the previous post, I was born in '80 and graduated HS in 1999 and consider myself Gen. X all the way.  Those born in '85 or later had clearly different life experiences than I and certainly cannot be classified in the same group as those born in the late '60s or early '70s.

Now where does the Millennial generation end and Gen. Z begin?
I believe that as with X-Y, there will be a gray area in the middle, probably between 1997 and 2001.  I initially said the Millennials end in 2000 but in light of recent events, I'd move it up to 1999.  2006 saw the erosion of support for Bush 43's neo-conservatism and the beginning of YouTube and Facebook.  If you are old enough to remember before then, I'd say you are a Millennial.  If not, I'd put you in Gen. Z, which may be re-named later.

Let's look at potentially different life experiences starting with a middle Millennial born in 1990:
-No memory of life without the Internet and Windows 95 came out in kindergarten.
-Old enough to remember the Dial Up era and life without Smart phones.
-Access to Facebook and YouTube as teenagers.
-Remember Clinton's impeachment and the election of Bush-43 with some clarity.
-11 years old (5th-6th grade) on 9/11 and 13 at the start of the Iraq war.
-Came of age during the Great Recession and election of Barack Obama. Tend to be liberal.

How about a Later Millennial born in 1995: Minor differences but clearly same generation.
-Not even alive before Internet became widely available and no memory of Dial Ups.
-Old enough to remember life without Smart phones but had access as teenagers.
-About 10 years old when Facebook and YouTube became popular.
-No memory of the Clinton administration or the 2000 election
-Barely old enough to remember 9/11 but had no idea of its impact at the time.
-13 years old with only a modicum of political knowledge at the time of Obama's election but came of age during his second term.  Likely liberal but maybe not as much as the previous group.

Gray area and cutoff point- 1997-2001:  Why I set the cutoff at '98 or '99.
-Digital Natives and completely at ease with technology
-Little-No memory of life without Smart Phones if born after 1999
-Facebook and YouTube have been around as long as they can remember if born after 1999.
-Not old enough to remember 9/11 but if born before 1999, may have faint memories of the 2004 election and Bush-43's policies having some popular appeal.
-Between 7-11 years old at the time of the Great Recession and Obama's election so old enough to remember but not old enough to understand it.
Those born in 1999 will turn 18 and enter college during a Trump administration.
-Early surveys show a conservative resurgence among early Gen. Z though that could change down the road.  I recently saw an interesting video that suggested that conservatism was now the counter-culture and thus more attractive in light of excessive political correctness.

Born after 2001:  Most definitely NOT Millennial.
-Not even alive on 9/11
-Little-no memory of Bush-43
-15 or younger when Trump was elected.
-No memory of life without Smart Phones or social media.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Training 2/6-2/12

2/6- Started on 1000 mcg of MF and it wasn't enough.  Not a huge surprise but it appears that my need for MF is ticking upward again.  It was another interval session.  4x800.
2200-4:13- MUCH WEAKER.
  Today, the sweet spot was probably around 1600, which was a disaster yesterday.  If I am to be wrong on the dose, it's better to be LOW.
Grade:D+/1 credit/Distance=2.0

2/7- Wanted to do 4x800 again but had to settle for 3 due to time constraints.  Opened with 1600 which was yesterday's sweet spot and was beyond awful but got progressively better with more pills.
1600-5:09 (10:18 pace)
2000-4:41 (9:22 pace) MINUS 56
2400- skipped
2800-3:59 (7:58 pace) MINUS 84 (42/pill)

PM-Non-Stop 3 miler in 23:55 (7:58 pace) running nearly all out plus a half mile cool.  Even pace all the way but never could get the pace much below 8 no matter what I did.  Jacked up my dose to 4000 before I started and it may have been a bit too much.  Today's sweet spot was likely either 3200 or 3600 or somewhere in between.  Tried SOD when I got home.  That stuff is supposed to be good at preventing MF side effects.  I felt a marginal benefit but it's not a game changer.
Grade:C-/1 credit/Distance=5.0

2/8- I spoke too soon on the SOD.  It was a disaster today.  MF appears to be tolerated at the full dose however.  1 mile in 10:30.  It will probably take a couple days to get this latest poison out of my system.  I sure hope I can ride this formula until Spring when I'll have a good idea how things will play out.  Let's hope the Ferritin re-test does not complicate things further.
Distance=1.0- Considered a rest day.

2/9- AM- 2 miles in 18:28 (9:14 pace) with even splits.  MINUS 76 over twice the distance from yesterday.  I'll take it.  I'll shoot for 4 miles this evening.  I'm back on 5000 MF

PM- 4 miles at Gold's in 33:08 (8:17 pace).  MINUS 57 over twice the distance.  Negative split with a last mile in 7:51.  I've decided to stick with this formula for better or worse at least until NYC even if the Ferritin re-test is bad.
Grade:C-/1 credit/Distance=6.0

2/10- 3 miles in 22:18 (7:26 pace).  Did the last 3 @ 8:13 yesterday so I will consider this a MINUS 47.  Pace hovered just over 7:30 most of the way but a strong start and finish got me in under the barrier.  By early next week, I think I can expect to be sub-21 at this distance.  Tomorrow will be another long run attempt.
Grade:C+/1 credit/Distance=3.0

2/11- Lakeshore 10 in 85-flat (8:30 pace).  Determined to finish a double digit run no matter how ugly it got.  It certainly wasn't pretty but for my longest run since October, I'll take it.  1st half: 41:40, 2nd half: 43:20 so I faded but did not collapse and showed some life at the end too.  3 of my last 4 half marathons have been 1:54-1:56.  Today, I think I would have been good for a 1:52:xx so only slightly better.  Good call on the no-go for Mercedes.  There are t'storms in the forecast anyway so it may not even go off as scheduled.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=10.0

2/12- 5 miles in 38:35 (7:43 pace).  Not half bad especially on tired legs.  I believe I could have beaten yesterday's time for 10 despite not being fresh.  I did lower my MF dosage just a tad and felt an uptick in energy.  It may be trending down again.  That's okay but I do NOT want to have to go back up next week.  Mercedes went off as planned but it was humid and uncomfortable especially for the full marathoners.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Probably my best overall week so far this year.  I am now 5 weeks out from NYC.  If I can train normally and avoid the relapses, I've got a shot at a respectable showing.
Distance= 32.0/ GPA= 14.6/7= 2.08
YTD: 151 miles.  0-5 with a 1.50 GPA

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Current Plan of Attack

Regarding the Options to Clear Ferritin Post, I believe I have found the winner:
Find a Substitute Methylation Product That Does Not Contain Lactoferrin or any other questionable ingredients.

-I've got it with TMG (tri-methyl glycine).  Sam-e could potentially work as well but it's very expensive.  In order for it to work, I need to take A LOT MORE Methylfolate but it does appear that I do NOT need an exact ratio as I previously feared.  I do need to take a specific form of it however (5-Methyl Tetrahydrofolic acid).  Also, an increase in B-12 (hydroxy or adenosyl) is necessary.  I will stay on ADHS and Magnesium (not Calcium nor D) for adrenal balance plus probiotics, which seems to prevent buildup of taurine and ammonia.  I will cut out a few unnecessary supplements.  I see this formula as a PLAUSIBLE path to balance and within about a month, I ought to have a good idea one way or the other.

Why is all of this necessary?
Sadly, genetics are the reason.  I have an upregulation of the GNMT enzyme (glycine methyl transferase), which means that glycine based products such as TMG will indeed solve the sensitivity to supplements but WORSEN the flu like malaise that has dogged me for so long.  Fortunately, folate is an effective inhibitor of this enzyme.  However, I cannot process it effectively because I have the dreaded MTHFR 677 mutation.  That's why I need the special version of methyl folate in large amounts.  Excess folate can deplete B-12 and because of my MTRR and MTR mutations, I have great need for B-12.  Again, certain forms of B-12 will work while others make things worse.  Because I have COMT mutations, I cannot tolerate methyl B-12.  Instead, I need hydroxy or adenosyl.  

Future Testing:
1. HTMA to assess adrenal and thyroid function:
I'm going to wait on this one for a while.  It's common to see adrenals go through the roof when a long standing problem is solved.  It will take at least another couple months for that to stabilize.  If that part remains extremely overactive, increasing the Mag+ADHS should help.

2. Full Iron Panel:
Again, I will wait on this one until I am a few months removed from taking any Lactoferrin or Liver containing products.  With time, Ferritin should come down on its own.  If the Ferritin remains high, a Liver flush remains an option.  As of now, I remain intolerance to Curcumin and Apple Cider Vinegar so that's strong evidence that my serum Iron is no longer high and may actually be low now.  The biggest benefit to reducing my serum Iron should be better adrenal balance and less need for ADHS.

3. Methylation Pathway Analysis with Yasko:
This test costs $500 so once again, I will wait on it until I've been on the TMG for a while.  Once I am, I expect it will show that it's at least under control.  As of now, I believe the methylation is more likely to be the smoking gun than the Ferritin or Iron.  If it's still bad after a few months, Yasko may come up with a better suggestion.  Possible but unlikely.

4. Genova Comprehensive Profile:
I'll get a re-assessment of my candida status here but I am primarily interested in sulfates.  If I do indeed have an excess,  I am pretty much convinced it is due to a wasting issue.  How to correct that?  I'd have to go through another Functional MD, which I'd really prefer not to do.  Tests have ruled out deficiencies in Zinc and Vitamin D.  I suppose it's possible that the methylation block is the source.

Hope is still alive.  I may not get a resolution in writing by the Spring as I predicted but it's a good bet that I'll know one way or the other whether the plan is working by then.
I realize this will be like Greek to most of my readers but it's more for my reference at this point.

Training 1/30-2/5

I am hoping to jack up the mileage up to the 40-45 range.  The formula should be set.

1/30- This should be the last day that I'll have the improper form of folate in my system.  As expected, I was awful.  Covered only 2 miles in 19:31 (9:45 pace).  Got a few pieces of good news however.  The Methyl Mate was a non-factor again and I pitched that bottle.  Extra TMG left me feeling marginally better and so did Sam-e.  If TMG fails, there is another option.  Got home and pretty much crashed out to bed.

1/31- AM- 3 miles in 26:23 (8:48 pace).  MINUS 57 over an extra mile.  Probably looking at a slow climb out of this latest hole.  I plan on being back out this evening.  It's of utmost importance to stay on the 5-Methyl Folate.  Without it, the intolerance to both TMG and Sam-e will kick back in with a VENGEANCE!  I may have to cut the dosage however.

PM- Lakeshore 5 on a beautiful clear 60 degree evening.  Finished in 41:57 (8:23 pace), which is just a tick under the Mendoza line for this distance.  MINUS 25 over an extra 2 miles so the climb out of the hole is steady.  Tomorrow will be important.  The plan is to keep the MF dose high and I will follow it as long I as I continue to improve.  If I take a step backward, the dose will be cut.  Again, MF is critical because it allows me to tolerate TMG.  I figure the minimum dose is at least 1000 mcg and 400 definitely WON'T cut it.
Distance=8.0 (112 on the month)

2/1- More problems.  Now, I have a viral infection.  Fortunately, it appears to be just a cold contained to my head but my throat is killing me.  I did attempt to run but quit after slow jogging just 1 mile.  Even with a virus, I should have been better than that.  I will cut the MF bigly tomorrow.  This will be considered my rest day.

2/2- The sore throat is better but the sneezing, runny nose and CHILLS have kicked in hard.  I may have a small fever.  I think it's viral and I just need to let it run its course.  Again, I slow jogged a mile and was marginally better thanks to reducing the MF.  I cut it from 4000 to 3000 and I probably need to go lower.
-No grading this week.  It's my freebie for the first half.

2/3- Forced rest day.  This sickness is worse than I initially thought.  I've got the dry cough today along with chills, headaches and an upset stomach.  This is clearly not just a common cold.  It's probably a sinus infection if not a touch of the flu.  I did go to work today but did very little.  I still think it's viral but if I'm not getting better by early next week, I must see a doctor.

On the methylation front, I made an important discovery.  I can take as much TMG or Sam-e as I want but my MF must be limited to about 1500 mcg.  However, glutathione appears to allow for more tolerance of MF.  Wish I could test myself today but I better not.

2/4- 2 miles in 17:25 (8:42 pace) with intervals.  I started on 3000 MF and 1 TMG pill and as expected, I was beyond awful.  3 laps at Gold's took 3:12 (9:36 pace).  Popped another TMG and got marginally better with a 6:14 over the next 6 laps (9:21 pace).  Then, I popped a glutathione pill and improved to a 7:59 over a full mile.
The sensitivity to MF is brutal.  Without it or if I took just a trace, I will be AWFUL.  The sweet spot is likely between 1200 and 1600 mcg.   I would not be surprised if it's 1400 with 1200 being clearly too low and 1600 being clearly too high.  That's right.  Once again, one pill will flip me from one extreme to the other.

TMG/Sam-e is well tolerated ONLY IF I take MF.  If I took mega doses of TMG, it would provide marginal benefit but does not offset the excess MF so I don't need a specific ratio as I have in the past.  Fortunately, it does appear that glutathione will mitigate at least some of the extreme sensitivity but does not give me a license to take mega doses.  I had best stay at 2000 or below.  SOD may also be beneficial.

2/5- The sinus infection is pretty much gone now.  I am still coughing and blowing out some residual crud but it's no longer uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the workout sucked again.  3 miles in 26:24 (8:48 pace).  Started off decent with an 11:31 first half then suddenly died and Mile 3 was over 10:30.  I went with 1600 MF today and it was too much even with the glutathione.  I'm cutting it to 1200 and ordering SOD.  I thought briefly about going back to Methyl Mate but NO.  I'll be just as intolerant to MF with that stuff.

Weekly summary:
Managed 17 miles this week, which brings my YTD up to 119.  Even if I experience a miracle turnaround next week, I am OUT for Mercedes.  That's just not enough training.
Another important point:
While there is no fever, chills or congestion associated with chemical imbalances, THE FATIGUE AND MALAISE IS JUST AS BAD as a touch of the flu!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Running Safety Issues

In the months of December and January the sunrise in Birmingham, Alabama is around 6:45 AM and the sunset takes place around 4:45 PM while civil twilight is roughly 6:30-5:00.  That means if you work 8-5 as I do, at least some of your training will have to be done in the dark.  For me, any solo running on relatively high traffic roads in the dark has always been a NO NO.  About 5 years ago, a local runner was hit by a car and killed on an early morning training run in Mountain Brook on one the roads that I train on a regular basis.  If you do insist on running alone or in a small group in the dark with traffic, PLEASE take the following precautions:

-Wear a reflective vest that can be purchased at any local running store such as Trak Shak or Fleet Feet
-Attach a blinking red light to your pants so you can be seen by cars in advance and carry a flashlight.
-Do NOT wear headphones.  You need to hear oncoming traffic.
-Do NOT chance it crossing the road when a car is approaching at a distance especially on a blind curve.  Waiting 15-30 seconds to cross won’t hurt your fitness.

As for me, I have joined Gold’s Gym which has a 1/9 mile running track and I use it quite often in the summer and winter.  High school tracks such as Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Pelham and Spain Park are almost always open during the winter.  Lakeshore Trail, which is a paved bike trail closed to motor vehicles, is another safe option in the dark.

Birmingham’s climate is not the best for runners but it’s not the worst either.  On average, we’ll get 2 days of measurable snow per year and only 5 days in which the high temp does not make it out of the 30s.  Some nights can be quite chilly but it normally warms into the mid-50s by afternoon.  I would prefer it if the group runs started at 7:00 AM during the winter but I recognize that some people have family commitments and thus must be back home early.  Here’s my clothing chart for the following temps: You need to dress for at least 15-20 degrees warmer when running.

-70F+-Shirtless or tank top
-50-70- Shorts
-40s-Long sleeve shirt with shorts and gloves
-30s-Long sleeves and pants
-Below 25- Need a hat and light running jacket
Below 15- Scarf and sweats

If it’s sunny with relatively calm winds, you can get by with less clothing.  I believe the coldest temp I’ve run in was about 15-20 degrees.  It’s very rarely much below 25 here even in the mornings.
Summer heat and humidity is a much bigger problem than winter cold.  A common rule of thumb is that if the air temp+ relative humidity exceeds 152, you need to back off.   To me, it is the dew point that is the most important factor in determining the comfort level on a particular day.  I’ve found that if the dew point is below 65 even on a 90 degree day, you can still push it pretty hard.  Approaching 70, you need to back off and your best bet for a quality session is intervals or a short tempo.  Once the dew point climbs over 75, at least for me, forget it.  I’ll stay inside or just tack on a few junk miles.  If you are training for a marathon during the summer, consider doing 2 medium long runs on Saturday and Sunday rather than the single long 18-20 miler at least a few times.   I recommend finishing your run before 8:30 AM or starting after 4:30 PM between June-August.  As for the dry heat out west, 95 and dry, I can do.  100 plus?  Not so much.

Morning or Evening:
During the summer, I prefer evenings.  Although the air temperature is warmer at 5PM than 5AM, it is a bit more comfortable when the humidity goes down.  If you can wait until after 6:30, it’s usually fairly pleasant outside when it gets closer to twilight even if the midday was very hot.  The only risk in the afternoon and evening is the possibility of pop up thunderstorms, which can be severe.  It is not uncommon for it to be nice in one part of town but stormy just a few miles down the road.  Check the hourly forecast before going out.  If there is a risk of storms, stay on the track or choose a short out and back route that can be repeated.  I’ve gotten soaked a few times by a sudden heavy rain.  Seek shelter if possible in cases of lightning.   I’ve raced in all sorts of conditions from snow, heavy rain/wind, sub-freezing cold and 100 degree heat.  My two least favorite conditions are a cold rain/wind and when the sun comes out after brief storm in the summer (80 degrees/100% humidity).

Some people have different needs than others.  I can usually get by in a 10K without drinking anything unless it is a very hot and humid day.  For distances 10 miles and above, I require electrolyte replacement.  Drinking water alone can be worse than nothing at all at long distances because of the risk of hyponatremia.   If I’m training for a marathon, a water and sports drink stop is taken at least every 5 miles.  Some can get away with less than that.  Others require more.  You’ll know your body with regular training.

Theft/Women’s Issues
Mountain Brook and Homewood are not high crime areas but I have heard reports of car break-ins on Lakeshore.  For this reason, I almost always carry my car keys on the run rather than leave them in the car.  Even SimpliSafe, a home security company has a mobile app for their wireless security system that notifies you via text if there’s an issue at home while you're out on a run.  I’ve been heckled countless times including once when a car got too close to me before yelling something and driving off.  I’ve never been physically attacked on a run and I’m sure those instances are very rare.  I do have a friend of a friend from Mobile who was a victim of rape.  Any precautions to take against that?  I know someone who carries mace or pepper spray.  Don’t go too far off the beaten path.  Choose a route that is popular with the local running community so that others can help if you are in trouble.  If I saw a person who is not dressed like a runner on several occasions hanging around the trail at dawn, I’d be inclined to take his picture and report him to the police.  Fortunately, that has never happened yet.  Avoid high crime areas on your routes and don’t carry anything of value with the possible exception of a cell phone. 

Training 1/23-1/29

1/23- 5 miles in 38:21 (7:40 pace).  Didn't feel quite as sharp as yesterday on half the dose of both MF and TMG.  I read that extra B12 can diminish the sensitivity to MF and that appears to be true.  Over the weekend, I was significantly weakened when the ratio was off.  Today, I barely noticed it.
Pace was even all the way then I got a boost with the extra MF and closed with a smooth 7:22.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

1/24- 3 miles at Spain Park in 23:18 (7:46 pace).  A little bit of a downer after yesterday.  Felt overstimulated but am hopeful that upping the ADHS will solve that.  It's common to see adrenals go through the roof after solving a long standing problem but it's only a temporary reaction.  Comfortably under the Mendoza line but had to work a little bit to keep the pace under 8 in the back half.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

1/25- 3 miles in 22:26 (7:29 pace).  Improvement over yesterday but still a little off and over-stimulated.  After the run, I tried Methyl Mate and it appeared to be a non-factor.  That means the Ferritin will likely go down with time once I am off any pills that contain Liver extract or Lactoferrin.  I'll still probably do the Liver flush detox down the road but not for a few weeks.  Calcium on the other hand remained a clear NO even though Na and K have likely shot up.  Curcumin is also a NO.
The new Methyl Folate has also arrived but it contains one questionable ingredient.
Grade:C+/2 credit/distance=3.5

1/26-Planned rest day.  The new form of Methylfolate is a NO.  It contains glycine and calcium.  The plain version should work.  I just wanted a stronger version so I won't have to take 10+ pills.

1/27- Back on track thanks to plain MF.  4 miles at Gold's in 29:36 (7:24 pace).  Even splits and much more comfortable than yesterday.  This was not an "A" only because I had to work a little bit to maintain the sub-7:30 pace near the end.  The Zinc/Copper balance appears to be a non-factor now so I took the last 2 pills and pitched the empty bottle.  The need/tolerance for MF may be trending down slightly while the need/tolerance for TMG may be heading upwards.  That's okay as long as it's not a night and day difference because of a single pill.  Tacked on a half mile cool.  Hoping to go long tomorrow.  Brave the cold and darkness on the group run or sleep in and run solo?  We'll see.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.5

1/28- 7 miles from the Trak Shak at dawn.  Finished in an ugly time of 64:42 (9:10 pace).  Granted, this was a hilly route but I should have been a lot better than this.  Never did get the pace much below 8:40 early but did not collapse late.  A half marathon today?  I could have finished but the time would have been in the 2:05 range.  I clearly took too much MF even though IT WAS THE SAME DOSE AS YESTERDAY!!! A 7 miler yesterday could have been done at 7:40ish pace so I was 90 seconds slower per mile.   I did begin feeling better after an extra TMG pill.  That means I may not need or even be able to the use the high strength MF that I recently ordered and if I am wrong on the ratio, it's better to take too much TMG.  Tomorrow, I will attempt to run the Mercedes course.

PM- Tacked on another mile on Wisteria.  Finished in 7:46 and felt better but still not real good.  This tells me that I'll be hurting at least to some degree if I take too much MF even with extra TMG.  An aggressive cut is on tap tomorrow.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=8.0

1/29- FAILED again.  Did not even attempt the group run because I knew I didn't have it.  All forms of methyl folate are NOT created equal.  The only one that will work for me is 5-Methyl Tetrahydrofolic acid.  Plain methyl folate is a NO.  Any other form is a NO.  It's gonna take a couple of days to get it out of my system.  I did attempt 2 workouts today but knew before I started that they would be junk.  Tomorrow should be better.
AM- 2 miles at Spain Park in 18:04 (9:02 pace)
PM- 3 miles at Gold's in 25:57 (8:39 pace) so I did show some improvement.
Grade:F+/2 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
I believe the formula is set once again and I'm going with it until further notice.
Distance= 29.0/ GPA= 15.1/8=1.89
YTD: 102 miles.  Record: 0-4- 1.37

Monday, January 16, 2017

Training 1/16-1/22

1/16- 3 miles from the Trak Shak in 27:15 (9:05 pace).  First half was sub-8 pace then DIED.  I tried a new probiotic yesterday that contains sulfate reducing bacteria.  I was MUCH worse after taking a 2nd one so if my sulfates are high, it is most definitely a wasting issue NOT an excess.  Once again, the methylation support had no impact one way or the other.

PM- Tacked on another mile on Wisteria just because I was bored.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=4.0
I expect Yasko's Ultimate B will arrive tomorrow.  It FAILED in the past but that was before I cleared the serum Iron.  Much has changed since then.  A lot of stuff that was necessary in the past (Calcium) is no longer tolerated.  Stuff that was not tolerated before (Glutathione) appears to be okay now.  Ultimate B supports the same pathway of the methylation cycle as the Methyl Mate but does NOT contain Lactoferrin.  Unfortunately, it does contain a couple other questionable ingredients.  It is becoming increasingly likely that I can get by with either no methylation support or only occasional use of it.  If that's true, I credit better Iron regulation as Morley predicted.  If I do okay with that strategy, I will postpone the radical solutions indefinitely.

1/17- Still weak from yesterday's trial with sulfate reducing bacteria.  Opened with a 7:46 mile and likely would have broken the Mendoza line with great effort.  Popped the Ultimate B and though I did not collapse, I was noticeably weaker.  Did the next half mile in 4:11 (8:22 pace).  PLUS 36.  That IS enough to be considered significant.  Tried methyl folate and produced an IDENTICAL 4:11 for an overall time of 16:08 (8:04 pace) for 2 miles.  MF was a non-factor.  Tacked on a mile cool.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0
The only remaining conservative option is to stop the Methyl Mate and thus cut off the supply of Lactoferrin.  Betaine could be another possible substitute that didn't work before but appears to be okay now.  I really believe I can get by without MM now.  Will the Ferritin go down on its own or will I merely prevent it from rising further?  The Liver flush is still being considered.

1/18- Unplanned rest day.  Stupidly took Apple Cider Vinegar this morning and it was an immediate failure. That's further evidence that I took the Iron detox too far.   Got some good news.  TMG (aka Betaine) (methylation substitute) is tolerated.  That means that I have no need to take any product that contains Lactoferrin and theoretically, I have a path to balance.  We'll see how it goes off the Lactoferrin before I go ahead with the Liver flush.  The theory is that I have too much Iron stored in my organs and not enough in my blood and tissues.  A flush could solve this imbalance.  Blood donation could be dangerous with low serum Iron so I'll hold off on that.  Serious training starts tomorrow.

What's the risk of stopping all methylation support?
Sensitivity could come back with a vengeance.  At times, 2 pills left me over-stimulated but 3 pushed me all the way to the other side of spectrum feeling lethargic and depressed.  I NEVER want to go through that again even if I can PR when I have it all in line.  As long as I can tolerate at least occasional TMG, I'll never have to deal with that scenario again.

1/19- Well, I spoke too soon about the TMG.  I CANNOT tolerate it after all.  Suffered through 4 miles at Gold's in a time of 36:24 (9:06 pace) and faded to the 10 minute range at the end.  I still believe I can get by without methylation or only occasional use.  Tomorrow, things turn around.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

1/20- Split decision today.
AM- Embarrassing.  Did not take any questionable pills this morning and was WORSE.  Quit after 1.5 miles in 14:30 (9:40 pace).  It was apparent that I needed Methyl Mate.  I thought TMG was a substitute that covered the same part of the methylation cycle.  NO IDEA!

PM- I was slightly better after taking Methyl Mate but I got the idea to take a LOAD of Methyl Folate and just a trace of TMG.  BINGO!  This is the best I've felt so far in 2017.  The plot has thickened.  Do I really need the Methyl Mate?  I'll find out tomorrow but I'm sticking with this basic formula.  The workout was 3 miles in 21:17 (7:06 pace).  Faded on the back half (10:15-11:02) but I've still got to be pleased with this.  Tacked on a half mile cool.
Grade:C/2 credit/distance=5.0

1/21- Officially a long run but it was actually long intervals with testing.
1st mile with mega MF(2400) plus MM- 8:52
Next 3 miles with 1/4 of TMG pill- 25:20 (8:27 pace)
Next 3 miles with 1/2 of TMG pill- 24:18 (8:06 pace)
Mile 8 on whole TMG pill- 8:50
  Overall moving time was 67:21 for 8 miles (8:25 pace).
Extra Methyl Mate was a non-factor.  Extra MF HELPED after going too far with the TMG.  If I did not take enough TMG, it would have hurt.  I may be back to ratios.  IP-6 left me a bit weakened but the reaction was NOT severe thanks to the TMG.
Grade:C+/2 credit/distance=8.0

1/22- More long intervals.  This time I started on a full TMG pill and added more MF after each interval.  Without any MF, it would have been over 9 for 1 mile.
2400- 2 miles in 15:56 (7:58 pace)
3600- 2 miles in 15:02 (7:31 pace)
4800- 2 miles in 14:02 (7:01 pace) with a 6:57 closer.
6000- 1 mile cool down.  Noticeably weaker.
Overall moving time was an even 45-flat for 6 miles (7:30 pace) and I've got to be pleased with that.
I've ordered stronger MF at a dosage of 2500 mcg per pill.  A full TMG pill plus 2 of the new MF ought to work well (for now).
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
The TMG plus MF is the most promising option I've had for a long time.
Distance= 31.0  GPA= 14.6/8= 1.83
YTD= 73 miles.
Record: 0-3 with a 1.17 GPA