Another non-improvement from last year. I finished almost 30 seconds short of my post-high school PR and a full minute from my all time PR. My buddy Nick came in from Atlanta that evening and I had some last minute stuff to take care of before he arrived. I woke up automatically around 5:30 and my legs felt stiff as a board from not taking any chromium the day before. I ended up going with the full strength chromium and a half of manganese. It turned out to be too much. The morning was uneventful and we were out the door in plenty of time after some light food and fluids. The race was held in downtown Birmingham, Ala-dam-bama and I figured it would be about as flat of a course as you would find in the area. I was probably right about that. No steep hills. Just a few mild inclines that might slow you down a tad. I'd rate this course as a 3 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of difficulty.
Organization was very poor. We had to sign up first then the bib numbers were not even ready so we had to go back to the car and stow our Gatorade then come back to get the bib. To make a long story short, we had to wait in line twice finally finished the process with only 15 minutes to go until race time. As I warmed up, I could tell that I was just a little off form and probably should have gone without the manganese and/or lower strength chromium. THIS IS WHY I NEED A SECOND OPINION ON MY MEDICAL REPORT. Taking one pill (or less) should NOT make a difference between a PR and a debacle. My health is unacceptable and I will not tolerate this any longer.
In regards to today's performance, it was not a debacle, but average at best. If I did not take anything, it would have been disasterous. I did not have a working GPS, so I followed Dave from behind to get a good feel for the pace. I was shooting for around 6:10 for the first mile. About half mile into in, my breathing was already labored. Dave was pulling ahead of me and it was not long until he was out of my sight. I finally hit the mile mark in 6:20. Okay, I'm still on pace for a sub-20 but I was certainly not feeling it. We came up the bridge and followed it with a downhill. By this point, I was running my top speed and struggling to keep up with my 1st mile pace. About halfway through, I was feeling the lactic acid buildup and I knew that this was not my day. Temps were in the low 80s with hot sun and no shade so I'm sure that sapped my strength as well. Fortunately, this part of the course was relatively flat and straight. I hit the 2 mile mark in 12:53 for a weak 6:33 2nd mile. A runner was gaining on me and passed me with about a half mile to go. I thought that if I could stay with him, I could outkick him at the end and although there would be no PR, a monster finishing kick could still bring me home under 20. It was not to be. I knew that I would not catch him and would be over 20. Also, the home stretch was up a slight incline so my finishing kick was relatively weak. Unoffically, I was either fifth or sixth overall, which says more about the weakness of the field than my performance. Unofficially, I came in at 20:14, worse than last's year best time and barely faster than my April 5K on a much tougher course. No runner's high at the end, just abnormally stiff legs. As I've said on my medical report, I have made almost no improvement in the last 6 months. If I don't do something about this hyperthyroid/adrenals, this is as good as it is going to get. This is unsatisfactory. If I can't get faster because I have reached my limit as far as my level of talent, that's fine. If my efforts continue being sabotaged by chemical imbalances, I feel that much of life's blessings (not just running) are being stolen from me. I'm taking it back. It belongs to me!
Official results: According to the website, I was 4th overall with a time of 20:14.6. Perhaps the man who passed me towards the end was a bandit. In any event, even a 5th place finish out of 200+ runners is not so bad. I was told by at least 2 people that I was too hard on myself and I will go on record and say that they are right. Unofficial Splits: 6:20-6:33-6:36-45. No ghastly fade despite hurting.