Monday, January 23, 2017

Running Safety Issues

Darkness:
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.

Weather:
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).

Hydration:
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

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
Update:
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
Reaction:
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

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Options to Clear Ferritin

As of now, the only thing tested that is known to be abnormal is Ferritin.  Though it is still technically within the lab's normal range, knowledgeable practitioners will tell you that they like to see it between 20-50.  Mine has tested between 168-248 and was last measured at 204.  If I can get it under 100, it's still higher than optimal but probably not bad enough to produce significant symptoms.

 What's the cause of it?
There is one key methylation supplement called Folinic+ (formerly known as Methyl Mate) from Yasko that contains a small amount of Lactoferrin.  Though unconfirmed, I have a strong feeling that this is the culprit.  I currently take only 1 of those suckers per day and it must be taken with Methyl Folate or else.  At that dose, it won't hurt me from day to day.  In fact, each dose will raise my level only by a small fraction if my theory is correct.  Still, if it goes up by even 0.25 points per day, the 204 becomes nearly 300 by the end of the year which is bordering on dangerously high.  If the product is reformulated to take out the Lactoferrin, it would be great but I don't see it happening.

How to Clear it:
IP-6-  The is the easiest route to take and I am 90% sure that it will indeed reduce the Ferritin.  However, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is NOT going to be tolerated on an every day basis even at lowered doses while abstinent from caffeine.  For most patients, the risk of a reaction to IP-6 is low but I am not like most patients as my readers well know.  What could be causing this reaction?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I thought it could be Zinc but my last blood test proved otherwise.
I could try increasing my ratio of Zinc/Copper intake but that also seems unlikely.

Substitute product- I could try to find a substitute product that supports the same part of the methylation pathway that does not contain Lactoferrin.  Sam-e won't work and it seems unlikely that Ultimate B will work so most likely, scratch that option.  I could ask Yasko about it but that also seems unlikely.

Stop Methylation Support- This is really looking like a viable option now.  I tried a couple days without it and got by okay.  The need for Zinc/Copper and the adrenal support arose before the need for methylation.  If I stop both the MF and MM, I save money and there is a good chance that without any Lactoferrin in my cocktail, my Ferritin will eventually come down without IP-6.  Still, the fact that I am homo on the MTHFR mutation suggests that I need at least some methylation support.   Perhaps I can get by with occasional use while also tolerating IP-6 maybe a couple times per week.  That would be a delicate balancing act but I've been through worse.

I am due for another Ferritin test in 2 weeks and predict a reading in the 150-175 range.  If it drops under 20, that's also BAD.  I will experience fatigue and symptoms of anemia.  That's why it's important to test at regular intervals.  I think it's very unlikely that it will drop below 100 so quickly but let's suppose that it does.  Am I confident that this is the smoking gun and a near normal reading will result in significantly increased energy?  No.  I'm afraid there is a 50/50 chance that when the Ferritin does come down, I will feel no better and have to look elsewhere for that elusive smoking gun that is a lab value WAY over the top.

Radical Options:
This is assuming that IP-6 is not tolerated even occasionally and I need a methylation product that contains Lactoferrin.  Given that scenario, I don't see a pathway to reduce Ferritin with supplements.

Liver flush- This is the same epsom salt, olive oil and grapefruit juice cleanse that was successful back in 2014.  It did remove copper, which had been stuck in my liver but I'm unsure of its effect on Iron and Ferritin.  If it does release Ferritin, then assuming that my number is still high, it will flood the serum and tissues with Iron and I'll end up back on Curcumin temporarily to reduce the serum Iron.  It's also possible that it won't affect Ferritin at all in which case, I have to go more radical.

Blood donation- Last resort as I've said.  It will lower Ferritin but it will also lower other critical minerals.

Somehow some way, I WILL get the Ferritin down below 100 but again, I am not sure that I will feel better when I do.

If I don't feel better, I will make a brief attempt to find the smoking gun through another Coach or Functional MD.  If that doesn't work then I'm afraid I'm screwed.  I suppose it's possible that a 6-8 week period of inactivity could hit the reset button and allow for a gradual comeback but that also seems unlikely.

I definitely need another HTMA (hair test) through ARL to see if my oxidation rate has moved closer to balance.  Also, I want to try the Genova Comprehensive Profile to get a number in writing for sulfates.

Mercedes is looking doubtful.
NYC is still a GO.
After that, who knows?

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 MLB Hall of Fame ballot

First I am going to list the holdovers from last year:
-Fred McGriff-YES
-Mike Mussina-YES
-Jeff Bagwell-YES
-Billy Wagner-YES
-Trevor Hoffman- Lean Yes
-Jeff Kent-Lean Yes
-Tim Raines-Lean No
-Curt Schilling- Lean No
-Gary Sheffield- NO
-Sammy Sosa-NO
-Barry Bonds-NO
-Roger Clemens-NO
-Edgar Martinez-NO
-Larry Walker-NO
-Lee Smith-NO

There are 4 new faces that are worthy of discussion:
-Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez

First, I've got to address the steroid question:
I am willing to give suspected steroid users (Bagwell, Piazza) the benefit of the doubt but when it comes to confirmed users or cases in which there is strong evidence, I will vote NO every time.
Bonds and Clemens have legitimate cases because they were on a Hall of Fame track before they started juicing but I'm firm on NO CHEATERS.  If you catch a student cheating on an exam, you give him an F even if he would have aced it without cheating.
Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, Manny Ramirez and Sheffield- all Disqualified.

Ivan Rodriguez- I vote NO here as well but concede he has a case.  He never tested positive but he was visibly smaller and his numbers nose-dived after testing began.  Jose Canseco named him as a user and he was right about all of those and even correctly named the steroid that Palmeiro used.

Let's look at Relief Pitchers next:
-I am not overly impressed by a pitcher who racks up a ton of saves over a long career in which he was never dominant.  A pitcher gets credit for a save for holding a 3 run lead in the 9th inning.  He could give up 2 runs on 4 hits but does not lose a game. Big deal!  What does impress me is a career ERA under 2.50 and a WHIP close to 1.00

Here's where the 3 stand in those areas:
Lee Smith- Retired as the all-time save leader with 478 but finished his career with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.256 WHIP mostly in the pre-steroid era.  Not dominant enough.

Billy Wagner- I feel very strongly about his candidacy.  He finished with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.998 WHIP while striking out nearly one-third of all batters he faced and did so in a much tougher era for pitchers.  That's the definition of a lights out closer.  His numbers are comparable to Mariano Rivera, whom I fully expect to be a first ballot no-brainer.   The only knock on Wagner is that he only pitched 903 innings with 422 saves.  While I'd like to see more 4-6 out saves, Wagner's role was a 9th inning shut down closer and he was among the best of all time in that role.

Trevor Hoffman- He was a bit of a compiler who racked up 601 career saves but was more dominant than Lee Smith.  Hoffman finished with a 2.87 ERA in the steroid era with a WHIP of 1.056 over nearly 1100 innings.  Wagner is more deserving but I think Hoffman is worthy.  If either his ERA or his WHIP ticks up by a tenth of a point, my vote changes despite the save total.

When it comes to starting pitchers and position players, there are 2 ways to get in:
1) Extreme dominance over a 5-7 year period.  He's short of the magic milestones such as 3,000 hits or 500 home runs but finishes with very strong lifetime numbers in BA/OBP/SLUGGING.
2) Sustained strong performance over 16-20 years.  He may never be considered a superstar but when it's all said and done, he has the magic numbers.
IMHO, BOTH cases are worthy of induction.

Larry Walker and Edgar Martinez- Both had relatively short careers and thus fell well short of the magic milestones.  IIRC, both had less than 8,000 plate appearances.  To got in under that scenario, I need to see at least 5 monster years.  I'm talking a .330 BA and/or 45 home runs and a top 5 MVP every year.  Neither player was nearly that dominant.  NO on both.

Fred McGriff- The strike in '94-'95 cost him 500 HRs and 2500 hits.  Though he was overshadowed by players such as McGwire and Giambi at his position, they were dirty.  The only 2 1B of his era that were legitimately better were Bagwell and Frank Thomas.  He had 10 seasons of 30+ HR and 5 top 10 MVP seasons.  Add to that, he was great in the postseason.  He should be in but sadly, I don't see it happening.  My vote is YES.

Mike Mussina- 250 wins will probably be the new 300 for pitchers of today's game.  Mussina finished with 270 and a .638 winning percentage.  The knock on him is that he's a bit of a compiler who did not have the high peak of complete dominance and his ERA is a bit high at 3.68.  That's still 23% better than league average in the steroid era.  To me, he was a consistent workhorse pitcher who compares well with Jim Palmer and should be rewarded for a sustained high level of performance. If Jack Morris nearly got in with inferior numbers, Mussina should make it eventually.  YES.

Jeff Bagwell-  I was on the fence about his case for several years but I've come around this time.  With no proof of steroid use, I've got to say innocent until proven guilty.  Fell short of 500 home runs but his career ended a couple years early due to injury.  He really shines with a .408 OBP and a .540 slugging.  YES with reservations.

Curt Schilling- He's generated controversy with his political stances and even though I usually agree with him, it's not a factor in my vote.  He's got the high peak but only really had 4-5 HOF caliber seasons and only 10 times in his career made 25 or more starts.  As a result, his win total is low at 216.  To me, he fell just a bit short.  One or two more HOF seasons or more durability and thus close to 250 wins and my vote changes.  Kevin Brown had remarkably similar numbers and was one and done. Where Schilling does bolster his case is his postseason record of 11-2.  For that reason, I could change my mind down the road.

Tim Raines- He's expected to get in in this, his last year of eligibility.  I won't be too upset if he does but I feel others are more deserving.  Raines was on a Hall of Fame track early in his career but his numbers tailed off considerably after his age 27 season.  Like Schilling, he had only 5 HOF caliber seasons and I'd like to see 7. If not, he needs 3,000 hits.  Raines was able to hang on for a long career but was a platoon player in his last 4 years.  In the end, he fell well short of 3,000 but did draw a lot of walks. He finished with a career OPS of .810.  Even with his stolen bases, I just don't think that's quite good enough for the HOF.  Close but no cigar.  If Raines does get in, Kenny Lofton, who was one and done has a case based on comparable offensive number and superior defensive skills.  

Jeff Kent- Without a doubt, Kent is one of the best offensive 2B ever and his numbers are superior to HOFer Ryne Sandberg.  At least by reputation however, Kent's defense was average at best.  Still, 377 HRs and an even .500 lifetime slugging percentage is phenomenal for a middle infielder.  Kent was a late bloomer who really didn't become a star until he turned 30 but did not drop off after steroid testing began.  YES with reservations but unlikely to get in.

Jorge Posada- Fine career and played a key role in his team's WS wins as a Yankee but his career overall falls short of HOF standards and it's really not that close.  I do hope he beats the threshold to stay on the ballot for at least another year.

Vlad Guerrero- Another player with a relatively short career but he really was dominant.  His numbers are very comparable to Bagwell and is widely believed to have been clean.  Finished with a .318 lifetime BA and a .553 slugging.  That is outstanding.  YES without reservations.  I predict that he'll get in eventually but probably not on the first ballot.

Any changes to the rules?
I support the 75% threshold and consider myself a moderately tough voter.  For first year players, the only reform I would suggest is a 2nd question as to whether or not their candidacy merits discussion.  Though I would vote NO on I-Rod and Posada, if you told me that they deserve enshrinement, I would respect your opinion.  Most one and done players end up with 0-1% of the vote and are not even close to being qualified.  You need 5% to stay on the ballot and with a crowded field, that can be tough for fringe candidates.  My proposal is a 2nd question for the NO players such as Is his case worth consideration?  If they meet a certain threshold there, they stay on for 2 more years.  While I don't believe players such as Kenny Lofton and Carlos Delgado are HOFers, they both deserved better than one and done.

Next year, I want to see Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in on the 1st ballot.







Monday, January 9, 2017

Training 1/9-1/15

1/9- Junk run.  2 miles in a time over 20.  IP-6 ill-effects were worse than yesterday but fortunately, I believe there is an explanation.  I've read that caffeine messes with IP receptors.  A glimmer of hope is still alive.  I am prepared for a tough withdrawal tomorrow or Wednesday. What if Ferritin drops below 100 but I'm still not improving?
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=2.0

1/10- Spain Park 3 miler on a pleasant 50 degree evening.  Stuck with IP-6 and abstained from caffeine.  Did better than expected.  I wasn't sure I would break the Mendoza line but I finished in 22:56 (7:39 pace).  Splits were 7:33-7:44-7:39 but had little left at the end.  No real withdrawal symptoms but Day 2 has historically been tougher.  I can expect to be back in the 21s tomorrow or the next day but hope to go longer.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

-IP-6 is still tolerated as long as I stay off caffeine and when motivated, I can do it.  I'll get Ferritin re-tested at the end of the month and I think I can expect a significant improvement.  Will it be accompanied by improved performance or at least more consistency?  We shall see.

1/11- Lakeshore 5 in 43:42 (8:44 pace).  Got through the planned workout but it was ugly.  Started off okay with a 20:22 first half then died (23:20) and was doing about 9:40 pace at the end.  Clearly a downer after yesterday and really not sure what to make of it.  I did have some Green Tea today, which has minimal caffeine (about 20 mg).  Could that be the problem?  I wouldn't think that such a small dose would cause a problem but I could be wrong.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=5.0

1/12- Spain Park 1 mile in 8:56.  Pace fell off after just a quarter mile and was doing 10 minute pace in the last lap.  It is becoming increasingly clear that IP-6 won't work even if I abstain from caffeine, which I did today.  It is possible but unlikely that a lowered dose or occasional use will work.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0
-Tried Sam-e afterwards and it was an INSTANT FAILURE so scratch that option.
-I could try Ultimate B or simply quit all methylation support and if that won't work, I must go radical.  Looking bleak now.

1/13- As expected, I was awful but it was because the Sam-e has yet to clear not the IP-6.  In fact, I was actually slightly better after I took LOW dose IP-6 with plenty of Zinc.
Totaled 3 miles around the lake at Veteran's Park and did not even time it.  I will attempt the long run tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

1/14- IP-6 is NOT going to work at least as a regular part of my cocktail.  I could try adding more zinc but that seems unlikely.  I'll either have to cut back on the Methyl Mate or go radical.  The BTC long run is actually tomorrow so I'm taking a planned rest day today.

1/15- I did attempt the BTC long run but had to drop out early.  Finished with 3 miles in 25:54 then added 2 more in 16:24 later in the day for an overall total of 5 miles in 42:10 (8:26 pace).  I am now 0 for 3 on long runs this year though I do have another chance tomorrow on MLK day.  I went with NEITHER methylation nor IP-6 today and it's still too soon to judge this.  In a half marathon race, I probably could have stuck it out and finished but it would have been well over 2 hours.  The Mendoza line for a half marathon is set at an even 2 hours.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=5.0

Distance= 19.0  GPA= 0.57
YTD- 0-2 with a 0.84 GPA.  42 miles.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Zinc RBC and Ferritin Test Results

Copper RBC- 0.73 (0.50-1.00)- NEAR PERFECT
Zinc RBC 1672 (822-1571) FLAGGED HIGH
Ferritin- 202- UP 8 (roughly 4%)
I’m SHOCKED and not in a good way.  I fully expected Zinc to be deficient and instead it’s elevated.  What to make of it?  I’m still not sure.  Why did I feel better when on the Zinc supplement?  That’s probably because it’s balanced with copper.  That does makes sense given that I cannot take Zinc as a stand-alone supplement.  Zinc and copper are direct antagonists of each other so thus it prevented the zinc/copper ratio from getting too far out of hand.  Also, zinc and copper balance may be important for Iron regulation.

Zinc and Iron are also direct antagonists of each other.  When Zinc is low, the deficiency is often corrected by clearing excess Iron instead of supplementing with Zinc, which can lower Copper.   It has been confirmed by Analytical Research Labs that excess Zinc is indeed associated with low serum Iron.  .  My serum Iron dropped from 176 (flagged high) to 119 (near optimal) on my last Iron panel.  It may very well be that I went too far with the clearing of serum Iron.  Let’s say that it’s dropped below 80.  That would be a serious deficiency.  I have recently become intolerant to Curcumin, which is known to lower Iron.  I initially thought that I could not tolerate Curcumin because of its sulfur content but it may be possible that sulfur is not the problem at all.  At least as of now, glutathione is still well tolerated and that stuff is very high in sulfur.  What to do about low Iron?  Probably simply stopping the Curcumin will allow it to rise naturally.  Curcumin will stay in my cabinet as it may still be necessary occasionally to prevent the Iron from getting too high again. 

I was quite displeased by the continued rise in Ferritin and suspect Yasko’s Folinic + (formerly Methyl Mate) because it contains Lactoferrin.  I tried loading on the stuff this morning and sucked even worse than before taking it.  This stuff was once a life saver that corrected brutal sensitivity issues but it will now be tossed.  Can I get along without it now?  We shall see.  If not, I could try a substitute product such as low dose Sam-e.    Ideally, Ferritin should be around 50 but as long as you are under 100, it should not cause serious problems.  Mine is now twice that number.  Is it the smoking gun?  It still seems unlikely but I suppose it’s possible. 

Ferritin represents the amount of stored Iron in the Liver and it’s certainly possible to have loads of it stuck in there but not flowing out into the blood and tissues where it is needed.  I’ve gone back on a product called IP-6, which worked temporarily and did in fact reduce my ferritin level from a high of 248 down to 171.  I had to stop it because it was depleting Zinc but that’s no longer an issue.  If the IP-6 does not work, I must go radical.  It’s possible that the Liver flush that I did several times in 2014 will dump out the stored Iron into the blood and tissues and I may end up back on the Curcumin at least temporarily.  Let’s hope it does not come to that.  The last resort is blood donation.  According to Morley, it is almost guaranteed to lower ferritin but it will also lower other minerals including Iron, which I suspect to be low as it is. 

Further testing:
I’ve done all the suggested blood tests out there now and the only one that I am interested in repeating is the Iron panel and specifically Ferritin.  I’ll re-test the latter in about 3 weeks and if I don’t see a significant improvement, I will have to go radical.  The only urine test that interests me is the Genova Comprehensive Profile to re-assess Candida and to get a number in writing for Sulfates.  At this point, I’m not sure that will test high and if it does, it’s probably a wasting issue rather than an excess.  What to do to prevent wasting?  I don’t know.  Finally, there is the ARL Hair Test.  I’ve been an extreme fast oxidizer for several years but have thought several times (incorrectly) that I had flipped to slow.  It is very possible that my Iron excess was the cause of the fast oxidation and thus, now that it’s been reversed, I have flipped.  The fact that I am now intolerant to Calcium and D plus the 72 second improvement in pace immediately after taking the adrenal stimulant is pretty strong evidence of a flip.  Of course, the only way to know for sure is to send the hair sample. 

Resolution:
Earlier, I posted that I expect to get a final answer one way or the other within the first quarter of 2017.  That now seems unlikely.  I may be chasing balance at the end of the year as well.  I’ve already held on to hope much longer than I thought I could but that runs out eventually.  Once again, I’ve thought about retiring but will continue at least through NYC and probably the end of the year.  Let's say that I have to endure a 1-2 day blip every month.  I can deal with that.  If it happens on race day, it's bad luck but 93% of the time, I will have a decent day when it matters.  Nowadays, I relapse almost every week.  That is unacceptable.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Training 1/1-1/8

1/1- Decent start to 2017.  4 miles at Gold's in 30:12 (7:33 pace).  The 1st and 2nd halves were both 15:06 but slipped to 7:44 in Mile 3 before a nice rebound at the end.  I'd like to do 10 tomorrow but it will probably have to be indoors because it's supposed to rain all day.  I believe the formula is SET once again.  I do indeed need methylation support and low dose B-12 so that means Cal is out and the adrenal support must be ADHS rather than Thym-Adren.  I may tinker a bit with taurine, glutathione or TMG but I want to keep it stable.  All those should be tolerated now that I am taking Zinc.
Grade:B/ 1 credit/Distance=4.0

1/2- AM- Planned on 10 miles @ 8:20ish pace.  Fell off a cliff after just a quarter mile and just slow jogged the remainder of the mile.  Time was likely over 10 minutes.  The culprit was taurine.  It worked just fine yesterday but not so today.  More of the same in the new year.

PM- Extra zinc/copper made things a bit better but I was still not up for any quality stuff.  Did 3 miles at Gold's in 25:44 (8:35 pace) with relatively even splits on a nasty weather day.  Strangely, all the other sulfur containing pills seem to be well tolerated including glutathione.  However, I can't say that I would be surprised if several consecutive days on that stuff will trigger a relapse.  I will likely toss the taurine and opt for occasional use of the glutathione.  Another FAILED long run and Mercedes is only 6 weeks away.  NYC is 5 weeks after that.  I expect to get the Zinc and Copper RBC test results any day now and it will merit a separate post.
Grade:F+/2 credit/distance=4.0

1/3- Unplanned rest day.  I can no longer tolerate Curcumin.  Test results came back today and I was right about having a Zinc imbalance but it was HIGH not low.  Ferritin was up again while Copper was normal.  More to come later but I was NOT happy.  IP-6 appears to be okay again.

1/4- AM- The hated trial and error interval workout.  4x800s
Basic Formula- 5:04- Intolerance to Curcumin clearly evident
Lactoferrin- 5:46- Again, this was a HALF mile.
IP-6- 4:49- Intended to lower Ferritin
Adrenal Stimulant-4:13- Have I flipped to slow oxidation?
More to come in a separate post.  Most likely, that's it for today as far as training.  Overall moving time was 19:52 for 2 miles (9:56 pace).
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0

PM- Began feeling a little better by the afternoon.  Decided to tack on 3 miles at Gold's in 24:52 (8:17 pace) with a negative split (12:32-12:20).  Tomorrow is my first full day off Lactoferrin and Curcumin.  Being off the latter won't hurt me.  The lactoferrin was merely an ingredient in a methylation supplement.  Can I get by without it?  I don't know.  If not, I'll have to find a substitute.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=3.0

1/5- NO GOOD.  Tried taking all methylation support except for the pill containing lactoferrin and it was disastrous.  Pace collapsed after just a third of a mile and called it quits after just 1 mile in 8:25.  Pace had slipped to over 9 by the end.  There are 3 solutions to the lactoferrin problem:
1) Cut out all methylation support
2) Find a substitute product that does not contain lactoferrin
3) Bite the bullet and stay on it but hope the IP-6 will offset it.
Leaning towards #3.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

PM- Felt better immediately after taking the Methyl Mate.  Re-learned the lesson that with Methyl folate and Methyl Mate, it has to be both or neither.  NOT one or the other.  At least the dose and ratio are flexible.  Last summer, I needed X amount of each or else.  I really believe that the IP-6 will more than compensate for the lactoferrin and a substitute product could be expensive and ineffective or possibly harmful.  As for the workout, I did 3 miles in 22:48 (7:36 pace).  MINUS 41/mile over yesterday.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0
What usually happens is that I continue to get better for a few more days and get down into the 21s,  I may even break the barrier but just when my hopes begin to rise, I get hammered by another crushing relapse.  Hate to say it but I expect it to happen again.

1/6- 3 miles in 21:48 (7:16 pace).  MINUS 20.  So far so good with the current plan.  I was 11-flat at the half then popped an adrenal stimulant (took only a few seconds) and improved to 10:48 over the back half.  Not a dramatic improvement so I'm sticking with the modulator.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.0
Getting into the 21s is no cause for celebration.  I'm still over 90 seconds (30/mile) away from a sub-21 5K, which is the low end of respectability in my book.  If I can break 21 (7:00 pace), I'd feel a little differently.

1/7- Unplanned rest day due to the weather.  We got ice/snow last night and the roads are still bad as of noon today.  I'm staying in.  Energy has taken a hit today.  It appears that I was too aggressive with the IP-6.  If I have to cut that out completely, I'm in big trouble.  Hopefully, I just need to reduce to dose.  Otherwise, few conservative options remain.

1/8- Another FAILED long run.  Pace fell off immediately but held it under 9 until the end of Mile 2 then collapsed to 10 minute pace.  Called it quits after 3 miles in 27:27 (9:09 pace).  IP-6 was likely the culprit.  Hopefully, a reduced dose will do the trick.  If not, it's a liver flush or blood donation.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Not much difference in the new year.
Distance= 23.0/ GPA= 9.9/9= 1.10

2016 Review

I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  This was not a good year.  While I had several significant victories on the medical front, I have yet to see a increase in energy or improved performance. This could change when I get the Zinc RBC results but the real smoking gun has yet to be found.  With that said, this was a better year for me than 2015 and this is the first time since 2012 in which I feel that I am better off than I was 12 months ago.  I raced only 4 times, only one of which was halfway decent but I did run 1305 miles (25 MPW), which was over 200 more than last year and I had many more successful long runs.   This could be a year that will be viewed as laying the groundwork for future success.  Let's take a look month by month.

January:
Began the year nearly hopeless.  I was deficient in Lithium and B-12 but could not tolerate it because of the ATP deficit.  The ATP started working early in the year and Lithium was soon tolerated as well but by the end of the month, ATP failed.

February:
Not a good month for running but began what was my greatest travel year ever with a road trip to Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Began to add some B-12 by the end of the month.

March:
Finally topped 100 miles in a month and managed a couple decent long runs.  I began to require mega doses of B-12 and Lithium had to be stopped then re-started.

April:
Methylation block was obvious.  Many pills triggered an immediate negative reaction such that just a trace would cause my whole body to tighten up and both my mood and energy were shot for the rest of the day and into the next day.  Again, despite the constant adjustments, I managed decent mileage and set my sights on a May half marathon.

May:
Methylation block began to open up thanks to a product called Methyl Mate and my hair test showed that my B-12 had edged into the normal range.  Still very sensitive and required an exact cocktail on most days but got lucky with a good day in Kansas City (1:45 half)

June:
Forced off Lithium at an inopportune time just before a big race in Alaska but still enjoyed the trip immensely.

July:
Bombed at Peachtree but it seemed like I was really getting it all together this month.  I felt like I found THE cocktail and delivered my best run of the year which was a 20:48 solo 5K but it was short-lived.  Nice trip to the FLA Gulf Coast.

August and September:
Diagnosed with Iron Overload and the treatments produced more ups and downs

October:
GREAT trip to Lake Tahoe despite another mediocre race.  Looked toward oxalates in an effort to find the smoking gun but the OAT test proved that it was not the issue after all.

November:
Tried Vitamin D and Vitamin C with temporary success.  Had to skip Vulcan and Magic City.

December:
Attacking a probable Zinc deficiency, which I hope will also lower ferritin.  Cut out Cal and reduced B-12 and once again, I have reason to believe the formula is SET.  Improved tolerance to sulfur.

2017:
I really feel that I've done all I can and expect to get a resolution one way or the other within the first quarter of the year.  I don't expect to PR again but if I can avoid the relapses and train steadily at 40 MPW, I see no reason why I cannot get back under 20/42/1:34.  Hell, I'll settle for 21/45/1:40.  Thanks to improved Iron regulation, I am a bit more at peace about it and have less anger issues.  As I've said repeatedly, if you have a chemical imbalance, you WILL be depressed despite favorable external circumstances.  The only way to change that is to balance your chemistry, which can be very challenging if you have defective enzymes.  I am cautiously optimistic but a large part of me is expecting more of the same.

Preliminary Race Plans:
Mercedes Weekend- I definitely want to participate in something this year but may end up choosing the 5K.  I don't want to embarrass myself in a local race.

NYC Half- This one is on 3/19 and it's a definite.  I've already planned the trip and I'm really looking forward to it.

Summer- I'd like to do an epic road trip that includes Yellowstone, Glacier and the Canadian Rockies.  There will be 2 half marathons 7 days apart.  Other summer options include Seattle with a side trip to Vancouver and Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota.

Fall:
Too far off.  Depends on what kind of shape I am in.  Contenders include Detroit Free Press and a New England double.

Blog:
It's staying up but 2017 may be the last year that I do the training updates.  I'll keep posting travels, random rants and possibly more political commentary.  We shall see.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Training 12/26-12/31

12/26- Least favorite workout but I learned a lot.  Trial and error intervals.  6 laps at Gold's (2/3 mile) on various pills.  Began with my current formula.  I did take a little more B-12 which may or may not be a good thing.  I opened with an even 5:00 (7:30 pace) with splits of 2:29-2:31 though the back half caused increasing strain.  I figure a 3 miler would have been comfortably under the Mendoza line but likely not much better than 23:00, which is not acceptable.

On Chromium- Improved to 4:53 (7:20 pace) but my splits were 2:23-2:30.  After a faster start, I was no better over the last 4 laps and really did not feel much different.  VERDICT: Not a significant change and likely a non-factor overall.  I'll take it occasionally and finish the bottle but I'll be done with it after that.

On Taurine- Improved to 4:43 (7:04 pace) with splits of 2:19-2:24.  This IS a significant improvement.  Taurine is a sulfur containing amino acid that has at times been a life saver and at other times, an utter failure. Not very long ago, I would have had an immediate negative response to just a half a pill.   Long-term high level use is dangerous because of the CBS mutation but it could be a winner in the short-term.  I'll opt for occasional use after several consecutive days on it.

On Cal/Mag- Felt like the clouds rolled in and my energy was knocked down several notches despite the fact that I took less than half a pill (50 mg each).  Cut it off after just 3 laps in 2:39 (7:57 pace) and fading so it likely would have been around 5:30 (8:15 pace) for 6 laps.  Again, this was ALL DUE TO A HALF A PILL!!  I thought that perhaps citrate was the problem but no, ALL CALCIUM NEEDS TO GO! Morley will be pleased. Tacked on 6 laps as a cool down to claim 3 miles.
Distance=3.0
-10 miles shy of 1300.  Maybe it will take 3 more sessions but I'll make it.

12/27- Went with NO pills today just to see what would happen.
NO adrenal support, NO methylation support, NO Zinc/Copper.
Felt about the same as usual (sluggish with low mood but no debilitating fatigue and depression) and performed accordingly.  It was the same 4 mile workout that I did 5 days earlier at Spain Park.  Finished this one in 30:57 (7:44 pace).  Splits were almost exactly the same and if I had tempo-ed the last mile instead of delaying my kick until the last lap, I could have repeated the 30:40 give or take about 5 seconds.

 Ordered the Zinc and Copper RBC tests but the turnaround time is 4-7 business days so that means that I won't know before the end of the year.  Oh well.  I want to see a significant deficiency in at least one of them and/or an unbalanced ratio.  I also hope to see a decrease in my Ferritin level, hopefully at least down to 160ish.  If I see that, I will remain on my current track.
Distance=4.0
Reaction:
This was a surprise.  On one hand, I am very pleased to see that I can get by without pills for at least a day or two.  Not very long ago, I could not break 9:00 for 1 Mile without pills.  On the other hand, I want the pills that I do take to be effective.

12/28- Another interesting day.  Woke up feeling a little rough then got MUCH WORSE IMMEDIATELY after taking sulfur containing pills but JUST AS QUICKLY got better after taking the Zinc/Copper.  Felt decent for most of the day but being off the adrenal support and methylation support seemed to catch up with me by late afternoon.

Did 3 miles at Gold's in 23:39 (7:53 pace).  I beat the Mendoza line but really struggled in the back half and had nothing left in the tank at the end.  Splits were 11:22-12:17.  I seemed to improve a bit afterward with methylation support but it wasn't a huge difference.  Tacked on another half mile cool and 1 more session will take me over 1300.
Distance=3.5
Reaction:
This is good news all around.  Without the pills, I can get by for a day or two but the pills are still necessary and effective.  It's a good bet that the zinc deficiency was the cause of the issues with sulfur and I really believe the test will show something wrong.  The B-12 may be reduced or eliminated temporarily in the future.  The Thym-Adren is the more effective adrenal treatment but it can't be taken with B-12.  On the other hand, B-12 may play a key role in producing bio-available iron.

12/29- 3 miles in 23:24 (7:48 pace).  Felt sluggish today but it would have been much worse if not for the adrenal support.  I am going to reduce if not eliminate the B-12 as I believe it is indirectly lowering my zinc levels.  This was better than yesterday because the pace was more even (11:38-11:46) and tacked on another half mile cool.  This takes me over 1300 miles on the year with 2 days to spare.  I've averaged 25 MPW in 2016.  After I cut the B-12, we shall see if I do better on Thym-Adren or ADHS.
Distance=3.5

12/30- Reduced the B-12 by half and improved to 21:31 for 3 miles (7:10 pace) this time at Spain Park.  Started and finished well but struggled a bit in the midsection.  MINUS 38 over yesterday.  I'm going to see what happens if I go off the B-12 completely but I may need it at least as part of a methylation combo.  I may need to go back on Cal when off the B-12 so the maze continues.  Still, I believe I am very close to a resolution one way or the other.
Distance=3.0

12/31- This ends only the 2nd year since 1994 that I failed to break 6 minutes for 1 mile during the calendar year.  I tried today without B-12 and it was not to be.  Came through 3 laps at Gold's in 2:08 (6:24 pace) then popped a Cal and was awful from there.  Just slow jogged the last 6 laps.  I'll confirm tomorrow but I believe that low dose B-12 is needed, which means both Cal and Thym-Adren are both going to be a NO.
Distance=1.0

-18 miles on the week.
-1305 on the year.