Tuesday, March 31, 2009

training Mar. 29- Apr. 4

3/29- comfortable 3 miler. Felt good. Untimed.
Grade: B+/1 credit/distance=3.0
3/30- Planned an easy 10. Felt good early, not so good later. Ended up putting forth tempo effort to run what I was able to do last month in "easy mode" Still, managed to avoid a really bad fade. Felt like giving up after 8 miles but I kept slogging to the finish. Time was 80:46 with splits of 40-flat/40:46 and a worst mile of 8:15. Average overall. I hope I don't have to pay for this effort later in the week. Again, I should be 100% by now and I am not. No way that I can run a 3:30 marathon now. I'd be hard pressed for a meager PR. Weight: down again to 145.
Grade: B-/2 credits/distance=10.0
3/31- Glad that March is over. Not a good month for me. It did end on a note of hope. Easy 6 in about 49-flat (watch died in Mile 2 and pace was steady around 8:10). Much easier than yesterday and actually felt fresher. Form was much smoother also. I loaded on SBF and cut my Lithium dosage. Perhaps that was the difference. I felt more like the CrazyJ of Jan-Feb. Cough has improved and I only coughed up phlegm one time today. Weight: 147.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0
4/1- 5 mile tempo run in 36:49. Good steady pace. A bit more tired than I should have been in mile 4-5 but I'll take it. Nearly even splits and plenty left at the end. This was approximately half mary race pace and I don't think it was too much of a stretch that I could have gone another 6 miles at that pace. Not quite back to Mercedes form but not far off either Very long and very easy tomorrow.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.5
4/2- 11 miles in 92:12 (8:23 pace). On the day after a tempo run, I'll take it. Fairly smooth and relaxed. Never slowed beyond 8:30 and I was not spent at the end. This was about a minute slower than half mary pace and I could have gone another 2 comfortably.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=11.0
4/3-drove to Atlanta. no running.
4/4- Hilly 5K race in 20:22. Long cooldown. Also hiked up Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia. More details in RR to come.
Grade:B+/3 credits/distance=4.5
Weekly summary: Rounding into form just as marathon training is ending. The next few weeks will be key. I fully expect to PR. The question is by how much? Weight is still 145 despite pigging out over the weekend and taking all the pills supposedly needed to slow down my racing metabolic rate. BTW- I don't gain when I don't run because my appetite diminishes.
Distance= 40.0/ GPA= 35.7/11 credits= 3.245 (5 week high)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Azalea Trail RR

 March has been a down month for me because I went down with a nasty respiratory infection. Within 3 days, I had enough energy to run but it was probably ill-advised to come back that soon. The past 3 weeks of training have been sub-par but I had been showing some improvement recently. Still, I feel that the antibiotics messed with my fragile body chemistry. My weight had dipped as low as 142, my lowest since 2002. I look and feel my best in the low-mid 150s. I regained about half of the weight but still had some traces of soreness in my legs, some coughing and my breathing became labored a little sooner than normal. I feel like I am operating at 95% and that's about how I performed today.

Pre-Race: Whenever I race out of town, it is usually an adventure (see Chicago half RR) and this one was no exception. First, my parents came in for the race. It was great to see them and it really meant a lot that they made the trip. I awoke around 3 AM to severe storms and tornado alerts. I got up for good just after 6 and followed my normal routine of a Powerbar and Powerade. I was not loose and limber but I expected a decent performance between a mid 42 and a 44. I had a PR of 42:43 on a moderately difficult Vulcan course last fall and this one was much flatter. I had a streak of 6 straight races in which I either set an all-time PR or a post-adrenal fatigue PR but I knew this was probably the end of the line. A PR would be tough since I was not 100% but I was conceding nothing. The plan was to go out around 7-flat or slightly under then if I felt good after 5K, I would let it rip. Well, I was informed that the race would be delayed by an hour and a half due to flooding so I went to the starting line anyway and socialized with a few others. I felt pretty well warming up and was ready to go. Then the worst thing happened; the South Alabama sun came out and began to dry out the flooded streets. Of course, the humidity would be tough and I would have to stop for water more often than usual.

The gun went off and I was out quickly. In 5Ks and 10Ks, I tend to go out too fast but go out too slow in half marathons. I was on pace for a 6:30 mile so I wisely backed off a tad. I was feeling well after Mile 1 and decided that the PR attempt was on. I picked up the pace and began moving up several positions. Mile 2 was slightly downhill and it would be my fastest mile of the race. By the third mile, I was losing my battle with lactic acid buildup and the course turned slightly uphill here. I passed 5K around 21:20, which was still on pace for a PR but I would need an even split to do it and I knew that it was not going to happen. My pace slowed another 10 seconds on my next mile and with a PR out of reach, part of me felt like punting. No, I didn't quit and continued running the best I could. The skies were now clear and I was drenched in sweat due to the humidity. Man, I'm glad this was only a 10K. I expected my 5th and 6th miles to be really ugly but I managed to hold on to the pace. I passed 5 miles right around 35-flat so I knew that I would probably come in under 44 and come away with my third best time ever. In the last mile, I chatted a bit with a female with whom I had seen several times on the course. At last, I rounded the final corner and began driving toward the finish line. As is often the case, nobody passed me in the last 200 and I was able to pick off a few runners before I hit the line despite it not being one of my faster finishing kicks.
Final Stats: Gun time: 43:49, Chip time: 43:42- #3 all time, :59 away from PR (7:02 pace per mile).
Age group: 23rd out of 181- 87th percentile.
6:56/6:56(on target)
6:42/13:38(slightly downhill, PR pace)
7:01/20:39 (beaten and worn out)
7:13/27:52 (really struggling here, this could get ugly)
7:11/35:03 (slight downhill, pleasantly surprised that I'm holding on)
7:08/42:11 (ditto despite slight uphill)
1:31/43:42 (6:18 pace for last .23) heard cheer from parents.

 I was hurting at the finish but I had felt worse in previous races. I could have done a little better with overcast conditions and a more conservative early pace but overall, this was not too bad at all. I came within 10 seconds per mile of a PR, which is within normal variability of performance so I am not disappointed. Even a low-44 would have been acceptable but if I was much over 45, that would indicate that something was obviously wrong. I'm due for another medical report soon and I'm curious to see what effect the infection had. My next race is the Fargo marathon in North Dakota. My current PR for that distance is fairly soft so I expect to beat it.

Yes, I know I'm in obvious pain here but the guy behind me doesn't look any better. This should tell you something about the humidity.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

training Mar. 22-28 (race week)

3/22- planned rest day. I did have enough energy to run by chose not to because I am tapering.
3/23- elective rest day. Hoping to give my sore lungs a rest from running. I would not be doing much running anyway so this should not hurt me very much. Still can't get rid of cough.
3/24- Light but satisfying and interesting workout. I planned to go 2.5-3 at tempo pace and saw that I was under 4 for the first kilometer (sub-20 pace for 5K) so I stopped after the first mile after a 4th lap in a fairly comfortable 78 for an overall time of 6:05 (best time of '09). I know that time isn't much to be proud of but a new year best still feels good. I walked a lap then ran an untimed 2 mile at a comfortable pace (I'm guessing it was low-mid 7 pace). Tomorrow's workout will be much more serious. Still coughing up phlegm and had a rather scary afternoon low. Perked up after drinking Red Bull ( I am either sleep deprived or low on GABA). Weight is steady at 146.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0
3/25- Still coughing up phlegm, milder afternoon low between 1-3. Maybe my lunch just didn't agree with me. I was fine by 5:30 and ready to go. I did gain another half pound so I'm edging my way back up toward 150. Workout was a 5 mile time trial, which I use as an estimate of my capability for a 10K race. Finished in 34:37- #3 all time and :19 shy of a PR (I consider 35-flat to be above average). I went for a PR from the get go and just didn't quite have enough.
Stats: 6:48-6:54-6:58-7:05-6:51= 34:37. 1st half-17:10, 2nd half 17:27- not bad there. Form got a bit sloppy, groin and hamstring are tender, body felt a bit too loose (hyper). Good job overall. Very easy tomorrow, rest Friday. I will not concede a PR on Saturday.
Grade:A-/3 credits/distance=5.5
3/26- 2 miles ASAP (as slowly as possible). Time was embarrassing and didn't feel well at all. I really didn't expect much though and was not disappointed.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0
3/27- drove to Mobile, no running but feeling better.
3/28- Azalea Trail 10K in 43:42, details in race report.
Grade:B/4 credits/distance=7.5
Weekly summary: Not a bad week overall. Low mileage but very high intensity. That changes from this point until marathon race day. I thought that I'd be fully recovered by now but I'm stuck at about 95% efficiency. Again, I would rather be stuck at 2008 levels and be consistent than wild ups and downs with an occasional excellent time such as the Mercedes half.
Distance= 18.0/ GPA= 27.1/9 credits= 3.011 (highest in 4 weeks)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

training Mar. 15-21

3/15- Attempt #2 at a 20 miler. Improvement over yesterday, which I attribute to not taking any chromium. Still failed to finish the workout but did manage to nearly double the distance at a faster pace. Since I finished 70% of the workout with a decent time overall, that will be my grade.
Splits: 8:00-8:02-8:00 (cruising)-8:10 (feeling some effort, backed off a tad)-8:08 (good) -8:12-8:04(feeling strong)-8:09-8:07-8:08 (1st half in 81-flat, PR pace)-8:14-8:12 (still feeling pretty well)-8:21(beginning to unravel)-8:54(stick a fork in me, last 1/2 mile was over 9:00 pace)
Overall time was 1:54:41 (8:12 pace). Not all that bad but it was NOT normal for me to die that suddenly. I was feeling pretty well then I just ran out of energy and literally could not go on.
Grade:C-/2 credits/distance=14.0
3/16- Easy 5 in 39:53. Steady pace and more energy than yesterday. Weight: 144, up 1.5 lbs. Abnormal soreness in hamstrings, manganese didn't help and may have made things worse. I need a day off tomorrow. Last month, I would have been breezed through this workout. Headed for below 2.5 GPA for the 4th time in 6 weeks. This sucks. I should hit 40 miles+
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.5
3/17- rested. Soreness hasn't gone away but I'm still running tomorrow. I thought that I would be almost fully recovered by now and I'm starting to worry.
3/18-Finally beginning to feel somewhat like my old self. 8x600 with 2 min. rest. 1st 7 were all between 2:07-2:09 then burned #8 in a solid 1:57. Pace per mile was around 5:40 overall. Lungs are still tight and hurt when I breathe deeply but my legs are starting to come back. Weight is up to 146 after loading on Lithium and an eating binge last night.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=4.0
3/19-Easy 6 in 47:30. Even pace. Every mile was below 8:00 and despite yesterday's hard effort, my legs responded well. Little abnormal soreness. I did hit the time target but this was not my best stuff. Lungs actually felt worse than yesterday. Overall, a baby step in the right direction. Weight remains at 146. I know that I can gain by loading on Lithium and parathyroid substance so that's what I'll do. I'll take a few days off early next week in hopes that my lung function will improve but I will attempt a 20 in 2 days.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.5
3/20- rest day. body feels tired and weak,
3/21- Attempt #3 at a 20 miler. This one was a success. Finished it in 2:47:16 (8:22 pace).
1st half in 82:04, 2nd half in 85:12. All except mile #18 were below 8:40. Last lap in 1:50 shows that I still had some left but not enough to last another 10K at that pace. I'm probably in about 3:50 marathon shape right now. This was 2 minutes down on my best at this distance but that's only 6 seconds per mile. Above average performance.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=20.0
Weekly summary: Still below 3.0 for the 4th time in 6 weeks but I'm finally beginning to feel better (at least I was over 2.5). Hopefully I can build on this and do fairly well in my race next week. I do like the distance this week.
Distance=50.0/ GPA: 21.3/8 credits= 2.663

Sunday, March 8, 2009

training March 8th-14th

3/8- 4 miles in 30:20 (15:06-15:14). Solid improvement over yesterday. Lungs still felt a bit tight but I wasn't coughing as much. I should be in PR shape soon. 10K time right now would be in the 47s or less than a minute/mile from a PR. Not half bad.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=4.0
3/9- 6 miles in 44:56 (7:29 pace). Opened with 2 strong 7:20 splits then it got hard. Still breathing very heavily and coughing afterward. Still an improvement over yesterday but not the improvement that I had hoped for. There may be some residual crud in my system for several weeks, which means that my string of PR races may be over. I would be high 46 right now in a 10 K race. That needs to come down more than 4 minutes in less than 3 weeks.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=6.0
3/10- Easy 7.5 miler. Time was 59:30. Average pace was 8:00 until the final lap, which I ran in 90 seconds. Showed some surprising life there but still slowed down in the middle to as slow as 8:07. Breathing was improved but pace was slower. Lungs are raw from coughing so much and there is blood in my phlegm. No doubt that the antibiotics have thrown my system for a loop. I've lost 6 pounds since this ordeal and still have to force myself to eat. Lenient grading on a planned easy day. If this was a quality workout, I probably would have had my "C" stuff.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.5
3/11- short interval workout, first one of the year and my body didn't like it very much. 8x200 in about 36 seconds. I was going as fast as I could but my legs just were not used to that speed and would not move. My fastest one was my last, which was run in 32. In my first running life, I could do this workout in close to 30 seconds and do my last in about 27-28. Only good news was that my body was not tired at the end of it and it didn't feel like a very hard workout. I probably could have done 12 instead of 8. Only 1 antibiotic pill remaining. Yes!
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=2.5
3/12- In between easy and tempo 5 miler with a fast finish. Overall time was 38-flat and never slowed beyond 7:45 pace. Final quarter was a fast and controlled 90 seconds. I am probably in shape to run about a mid-36 in a 5 mile, which translates to a sub-46 10K. If I can get back under 45, it would still be a decent effort and I have another 2 weeks to prepare.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0
3/13-planned rest day.
3/14- planned a 20 miler and was out of gas after 7. Ended up at 7.5 miles in about 64 minutes and my last half mile was over 9 minute pace and slowing rapidly so I called it quits. This is clearly a thyroid/adrenal issue. Did the antibiotics throw me off? Maybe. How long before I regain the form I had at Mercedes? I don't know. Weight is down to 143, which is the lowest it has been since 2002 when I was on thyroid medication. No more chromium until further notice.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=7.5
Weekly summary: Pretty depressing week overall after being upbeat last week in spite of the circumstances. I've got a race to run in 2 weeks and as of now, since it's only a 10K, I will finish but my time will suck.
Distance=32.5/ Weekly GPA: 18.3/9 credits=2.033

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My latest doctor's office visit

Anyone who reads my blog or has seen my website knows that I don't have much faith in mainstream medicine. I do believe that most doctors do genuinely care for their patients so I don't mean to offend anyone who is a doctor that happens to read this but this experience does not change my view and they did not exactly follow the oath of "do no harm."
For the first time in 2 years, I had to miss work due to a virus or bacterial infection. Without a doubt, my immune system has greatly improved in the last few years. When I went to undergrad up in West Virginia, I used to get sinus infections every winter and it was too bad because the first two years, despite significant hyperthyroidism, I was getting close to competitive shape and was ready to run in the next track meet. Yes, more balanced chemistry has surely helped my immune system but I do feel that I am better suited for a warm climate, which is one of the reasons why I choose to live in the Deep South.
Why did I get sick this time? It was well into the 60s last Saturday afternoon then 12 hours later, there was snow on the ground and a strong wind. I did go to church and out to lunch and was probably outside a grand total of 5 minutes but feel that I would have been sick even if I stayed in all day. Plus, it's the heart of flu season and it seems that more people got it than managed to avoid it. On an unrelated note, I read that sudden changes in weather exacerbate unbalanced oxidation rates (hypers get more hyper, hypos get more hypo). That does limit your ability to fight off infections.
So, my workouts weren't great but I was slogging my way through them then after taking a hot shower on Wednesday night in an attempt to get more phlegm out of my system, my temperature shot up. It went as high as 103 so I drank some water and turned down the thermostat and by morning, I was down to 100 (my temperature normally runs in the low 98s). I was so weak that I couldn't do anything on Thursday and didn't get up until it was almost evening. On Friday, I still had a low grade fever but at least I could actually make it to the doctor's office. I don't have a primary care physician and haven't been to a mainstream doctor in 2 years so I had to go to the next town to an office that accepts walk-ins. I don't know of any quick natural fixes for a bacterial infection so I had no other choice.
After a 2 hour wait and a $30 copay, the doctor finally came in to see me. I told him that my sinuses were killing me and during the examination, I could not take a deep breath without coughing. He concluded that it was indeed a bacterial sinus infection as I suspected and gave me an antibiotic that is also used to treat bronchitis. Good call there and thank you for that. The nurse asked me if I was willing to take a shot and I said "sure if it'll help me feel better faster".
Now, on to the bizarre. The shot was done in the butt and the drug was called Deca Durabolin. I have heard of it before since I follow track and field and although the nurse didn't know much about it, I knew that it was an anabolic steroid. Yes, I took it and there will be no denials from me. I now have used steroids! To anyone offended by this, I assure you that it is a one time thing and done for a legitamite medical purpose, not to enhance my performance. For the record, it will be out of my system by my next race. In addition to the antibiotic, he prescribed a cough syrup. It did have a warning that it may cause drowsiness. Can't be too bad right? I started feeling weird after my 2nd dose and of course, I did not take more than the suggested dose. I took it upon myself to do some research on it. I found out that the cough medicine was actually a narcotic and a derivative of codeine. Again, I was in obvious pain at the doctor's office and I'm sure that he really did intend to help me but I didn't need anything even close to that strength. It it were ten times stronger (which is a lot of course), it was be classified as a form of morphine. Now, that is scary. Side effects can include heavy drowsiness, brain fog and loss of awareness. Imagine trying to go to work on that stuff. Yes, there is potential for addiction if it is misused. I'll pass on that stuff and stick to the good old fashion Robitussin. The antibiotic looks to be pretty safe. There is a caution about taking it if you have electrolyte imbalances, which I do. My calcium and magnesium are low while sodium and potassium are high. That's the nature of fast oxidation. However, since I will only be on it for 7 days, I don't have any concerns about its safety for me. Yes, I am beginning to feel better. It's too soon to say how much this will impact my training but I expect to be a "go" for my 10K in 3 weeks and a "go" for my marathon in 9 weeks.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

training March 1-7

3/1- Worst workout so far this year. Weight has dropped to 145. That's 10 pounds below my target. Didn't feel great early but managed a fairly relaxed 7:50 pace for the 1st 2 miles then it was time to stick a fork in me. I got nasty cramps so I decided to walk a lap and take a breather. Then, I tried to run again and I could not even sustain a 9 minute pace so I hung it up. Did not finish the planned 6 mile so I get an automatic F. Now, it feels like too much chromium. I stopped at the health foods store and picked up another bottle that is not as strong and hopefully I will not be as sensitive to it. Who knows? I could be back feeling great in 24 hours. It's okay for me to feel depressed because the chemical imbalances are not my fault. I don't want to get discouraged but I need to say these 2 words: This sucks!
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=3.0
3/2-Felt worse than yesterday so I left work early, skipped my workout and got extra sleep.
3/3- 6x1000 with a 2:30 R. (3:56-4:04) Average was 4:00. Nice improvement over Sunday's attempt at a workout but still far short of PR shape. To put it into perspective, in my 5,000 meter time trial, my pace per kilometer was between 3:57-3:58. Today, I could not even manage that with a rest in between. I'd guess that I would have been high 21 in a 5K today. In my defense, the viral infection has not completely cleared my system and I'm still tweaking the chromium issue. Hopefully, this is a start of a steady improvement.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=4.5
3/4-Minimal improvement over yesterday. Easy 5 miler in 39:56, fairly comfortable pace that stayed near 8:00 the whole time. Still quite stiff. I'll be lenient with the grade since it was a planned easy day but there is no way that I would have done any better than a 37 in a race. Last week, I ran 3 minutes faster with about the same effort.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.5
3/5- got sicker last night. slept through the day. Must go to the doctor tomorrow. I do have a fever. This must be a bacterial infection, not a virus.
3/6- bacterial sinus infection and possibly bronchitis. Details of doctor visit to come in another post. Feeling a bit better today but still in no condition to run.
3/7- Easy 2 miler to test myself out. Just having enough energy to run at all is a victory at this stage. Biggest complaint was that my lungs were tight and I was struggling to breath. Time was 15:54 with a fairly steady pace and did show a little bit of life in the last 200. No real ill-effects from the run except for a little bit of coughing for a few minutes afterward.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=2.0
Weekly summary: Not sure how I feel about this one. For once, my sub-par workouts had nothing to do with thyroid or adrenal issues. Heck, that long interval workout was pretty darn good under the circumstances. It's had little-no impact on the chemicals impacting my mood but in any event, it's my worst week since starting the blog. Hopefully, I can knock this infection out and be ready to go in Mobile in 3 weeks for a PR 10K.
Distance=15.0/ Weekly GPA=8.6/5 credits=1.720 (that's a flunk out, LOL)