Tuesday, July 28, 2009

training 7/26-8/1

7/26-Drove to Destin today and stopped in Monty to run in the park for old times sake. Interesting workout. Just one day after a 16+ miler, I had barely a trace of soreness in my legs, which actually went away completely after I warmed up. Took off at 6:00 pace and came through the first mile in 6:20. Then, my breathing got labored and my pace slowed. Dogs were out in the park without a leash and cut in front of several runners (one of whom went down). I had to stop several times to avoid the same thing. I am not a fan of dogs and would have had a few choice words for the owner if I found him/her. I quit after 2 miles and would have been near 13 without the stops. Performance was fair overall. Stopped Serine and increased taurine.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=2.0
7/27- Waited until 7:45 AM to run (bad call on the Gulf coast). Solid start in the first half but hit the wall in Mile 4. Took several walk breaks and Gatorade breaks but did finish the last .7 back to the hotel at 10K race pace. Finished with a respectable moving time of 37:14 for 5 miles (7:27 pace) but that does not include the walk breaks. Feeling overstimulated. 1 extra taurine seemed to help but another yielded an immediate negative reaction that carried over to the next morning.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=5.0
7/28-Woke up feeling awful but got better as the day progressed. Drove back to "the Ham" in the rain and ended up running an estimated 3 miles at tempo effort indoors. Splits were 5:36-5:37-5:40-5:11 for an overall time of 22:04. Felt better in the evening and may be ready for a good workout tomorrow. Weight is +2 more to 152.2. Only 3 lbs more to gain.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0
7/29-Pathetic excuse for a workout today at the Trak Shak. 3.25 miles in a turtle pace of 8:30 and had to quit after that. One of my worst of the year. I did cut my taurine dosage but it wasn't enough. I'll cut it some more tomorrow. If this doesn't work soon, I'll go back to the Serine and take very little taurine, which means my adrenals remain overactive and potential for improvement is limited.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=3.5
7/30-20 laps at Hoover Rec Center to avoid light rain. Ran the same distance as Tuesday and finished over a minute faster. Still didn't have top form and pain in my shins and calves is a cause for concern. Splits were 5:10-5:17-5:25-4:59= 20:52. I think this was short of 3 miles by at least one lap, at most 2.5. In any event, an improvement over previous workouts but still a mediocre performance. Except for the sinus infection, this has been my worst week of '09.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0
7/31- 20 laps at Hoover Rec Center this time in 19:03 (4:47-4:48-4:51-4:36). Man, I wish it was always this easy to cut off this much time. Lower leg pain was still there but not as intense as before. I think it may be my new shoes and I will not be happy about that (they were expensive). This was the first time since Monday that I felt anything like myself. Went to Vestavia for some 800s after this and turned in a 3:17 and a 2:59. I'm ready to declare myself healthy again. Tomorrow will be an attempt at a long run.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=4.5
8/1- I am officially back. 11.5 today at an average pace of 8:05. I gave John and Cary a head start then caught up after 2 miles (7:49-7:33) then slowed to their pace (about 8:30) until Mile 9 then I started pushing it. I cranked out a 6:59 (mostly downhill) then finished the last 3/8 on the trail (relatively flat) @ 6:07 pace with closing speed of 5:16 (world class marathon pace).
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=11.5
Weekly Summary:
Distance= 32.5 GPA: 20/10 credits= 2.00
With the exception of the sinus infection, this is my worst week of 2009. I had been on a bit of a roll since my last 5K race. What happened? There was a pill that I thought that I no longer needed to take but I thought wrong. I went home Friday for lunch, took it and was noticeably better by the evening and almost normal the next day. This is not the first time something like this has happened and it probably will not be the last. Probably next time, something that I had been taking with good results will suddenly start hurting me because of changing chemistry. Let's hope that it doesn't happen on a race day. I've been quite lucky in that respect in the recent past. 2 weeks away from my next 5K, which will be an all-time PR attempt on a flat course in Memphis followed by a road trip to see my 43rd state.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Training 7/19-7/25

7/19- Woke up early and feeling good so I did my run in the morning, just 12 hours after race time. Lakeshore trail- first 6 miles easy (7:40s) then turned it up a notch with a 7:04 7th mile. Finished at 53:07 (7:35 pace). A little fast for a planned easy day but I felt so good that I couldn't help it.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0
7/20- 5 miles in 38:39 (7:44 pace). Ran half the workout in Heardmont Park (site of the 1st race of my comeback) and half at Oak Mtn. HS track. A bit of soreness in the groin area but I don't think it is a major concern. Felt pretty good overall. 2 quality days ahead.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0
7/21-Solid but not outstanding speed session. 5x800 with 400 jog in between. 4 out of 5 were under 2:40 with a best of 2:32 then finished with a respectable 67 in the quarter for dessert but felt like I could have coaxed a 65. Still pleased. I want to take another shot at 59.9 next month and would like to take a shot at 2:20 for the 800.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=4.5
7/22-Good run at the Trak Shak. Garmin showed 5.9 miles @ 7:16 pace. That's BQ marathon pace so I like it. I forgot to restart the watch and it was probably more like 6.5 @ 7:20. Still good on a hilly course. Interesting workout. Kept up with the faster group for 3 miles (7:34-7:10-6:46) then ran the 4th mile in driving rain. Faded a bit on the final hill but got back to low 7 pace at the end and hit a pace of 4:20 on the downhill finish. 1 mile cooldown at the end.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=7.5
7/23-Veteran's Park 4 mile in 31:23 (7:51 pace). On an easy day, McMillan says that someone training for a BQ should do easy runs at 7:45-8:15 so I will go no faster than 7:45 even at lower mileage. If I feel good enough to do 5 @ 7:30 on an easy day, I'll go longer.
As for today's run, very even pace (6 laps all between 7:48-7:54 pace). Felt pretty well during the run but a bit sore after.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.5
7/24- Took 3 tries to find a track that was open then finally ended up at Mountain Brook for 8x300 with just a 1 min. R. and a 400 for dessert. Hoped to run the 300s in 54 and finish with a 65 400. I knew that I would suck after I struggled through a mile warm up in 7:45. First set was very poor (60-62-62-61) then came back a bit in the 2nd set (59-60-58-53). That's an average of just under 60 or about 5:20 pace but for short intervals, I should be under 5:00. Came back with a respectable 69 on the final quarter. Overall performance was marginal.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=3.0
7/25-Good long run. Scott, John and Cary ran 6 before we started so the early pace was too slow. Picked it up at the end and probably averaged close to 8 for the 2nd half. Finished at 16.25 @ 8:18 pace with hills so I'll take it. That's about a 3:38 pace for a full mary. Ran with a fuel belt but still stopped to drink at regular intervals and had to stop for traffic a few times. Those last 3 miles hurt and it tells me that my lower mileage training is fine for a half but not a full. That's an entirely different beast. Still managed a 6:50 pace for last 3/8 mile.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=16.5
Weekly Summary:
If my body chemistry is in balance, I will run well almost every week. If not, I will suck every time. It's as simple as that. I like the distance this week but will likely have to cut back next week since I'll be at the coast (Destin, Florida).
Distance= 43.0 GPA=34.6/11=3.145

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Twilight Retro 5K race report

I am still trying to tweak my formula to take the optimal amount of taurine to finally slow down my adrenal gland. On my last quality workout on Wednesday, I was awful but Saturday night, I was sensational on a pleasant Alabama evening (temps in the low 80s with relatively low humidity).
I still felt "a little off" when I woke up but after a mid afternoon nap, I was ready to roll.
Most of my friends from the Birmingham Track Club were there and it was great to see all of them.
Downhill start then relatively flat for the next 2+ miles. Mile 2.5 to 3.0 was gradually uphill so I expected to slow down here. My goal was 19:30 or about 6:15 pace so the plan was to bank time early and go out near 6, stay on target and be at 12:15 at 2 miles then push the hill hard and expect my kick to be strong as usual.
Race: Good start downhill. I tend to start too fast in the shorter distances but today's early pace was near perfect. I was out at 1:24 in the first quarter mile but considering the downhill start, I kept my effort even. Every time I looked at my GPS, I was in the 5:50s until late in the first mile. At the halfway point, I was unofficially under 9:30 on pace for a PR and a sub 19. I was chasing a guy for most of the second mile who appeared to be about my age. Lactic acid was building but I managed to keep a respectable pace (around 6:20) I finally caught him just after the second mile marker and continued driving toward the line. Finally, we got to the hill and my effort was good. I knew that sub-19 had slipped away but I thought I had 19:30 in the bag. Perhaps, I unconsciously let up just a tad. In any event, only one man passed me going up the hill. When we passed the 3rd mile marker, I was not pleased with how much my pace had slowed but I came back strong with my finishing kick and caught a fading runner just before the finish line. My time was 19:27, second best time ever and a 21 second improvement over my previous best of the year. Fastest time since '98 and just 14 seconds away from a PR.
5:58 (downhill start)
6:14 (relatively flat)
6:39 (uphill)
:36 for last .11 (5:33 pace)
19:27- very pleased with that time. I think I've got a shot at breaking 19 this Fall.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

training (7/12-7/18) race week

7/12- 5 miles easy at Hoover. Good start but wilted in the heat and humidity in the later stages. Stopped for water twice. Seemed to get even more humid as the evening progressed. Finished with a moving time of 38:19 (7:40 pace) excluding the 2 water stops. That's a decent time for an easy day but I'm basing my performance on how I felt, which was average at best. Splits were 18:56/19:23 with a mild pick up at the end. Not spent but more tired that I should have been.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0
7/13- Veteran's Park 4 in 31:44 (7:56 pace). This was meant to be an easy day and I didn't push it too hard. Temp was only 85 but the humidity was rough. A little bit of abnormal muscle soreness and wasn't feeling the best. I'm reducing the taurine before things get worse. I hope I don't develop an extreme sensitivity to it again.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0
7/14- Went to bed last night feeling lethargic so I skipped a dose of taurine then I woke up the next morning feeling overstimulated. That's right, I went from one extreme to the other in just 9 hours. I can't take this anymore. Good news is that I got back on track by the afternoon.
6x400 in 74 (4:56 pace) then a final 600 in 1:44 (4:38 pace). I was on pace for a 2:19 800 and I think that's about where I am when fresh. Can I run a 2:15? If I can go sub-60 in the quarter, probably I can. As of now, the 800 and 2 Mile are the distances that I run the least often.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance= 4.0
7/15- Trak Shak "workout." Started off pretty well (4 mile mark under 31) then hit the wall and I actually walked most of the 2nd half. When I tried to run after a long walk break, I could barely run a 10:00 pace. My last half mile was a pitiful 5:13 (10:26 pace) and that pace required effort. Overall, my distance was 6.5 miles in about 55 minutes. Did not finish the workout so that's an automatic F. I get a plus for a decent 1st half. Need more taurine and I am disgusted!
Grade:F+/2 credits/distance=6.5
7/16- Just a short test after taking extra taurine. Trying to settle between 2,000-3,000 mg. Ran 6 laps in Hoover Rec. Center at tempo pace then stretched and ran 2 laps hard. Ran the first 6 in 5:50 then the final 2 in 1:28 for an overall time of 7:18. They say that the track is 200 meters but it's clearly longer. I estimate 240 meters, which means my pace was 6:28/4:53. Much improved over yesterday. What made the difference? You guessed it. Less than one fricken pill. This should not hurt my performance on Saturday and I feel better knowing that I am back on the right track.
Grade: B/1 credit/distance=1.5
7/17- Planned rest day. Weight is up to an even 150 for the first time all year and that's a good sign. I only need to gain 5 more to hit my target range.
7/18- Breakthrough. Twilight Retro 5K in 19:27 (#2 all time) (fastest time since '98)
Grade:A/4 credits/distance=4.0
Weekly summary:
Very low mileage this week due to the mini taper and screwy health issues. I want to make up for it with a 40+ next week. This week was very bad before the race but I've bounced back. How long can I stay in the groove? Who knows? As for my racing future, I think I will race in the Elvis 5K in Memphis next month then beat my soft 10K PR and build up for a fall half.
Distance= 25.0/ GPA= 31.3/11 credits= 2.85

Monday, July 6, 2009

training 7/5-7/11

7/5-Enjoyed the day with my parents despite not feeling well for much of the day. It was a planned rest day anyway.
7/6- Mountain Brook 400 in 61.88 (4:07 pace) solo (fastest time since '99). Warming up, I knew it was unlikely to happen but I gave it my best shot. I am now less than 2 seconds away or <1/2 second per 100. Splits were approx. 14-30-46-61. Really need to push the midsection. Must be under 30 at 200 and not much over 45.0 at 300. Still felt too loose in the last 100 and could not accelerate like I should have. Overall, it was clearly an improvement over last time but still not enough. I still believe that a 59.99 is within my current capability but I may need close competition and/or "A+" stuff. I will try again in a few weeks. Friday will be a Mile time trial. My best of the decade is a 5:25 in 2004 and I fully expect to beat that. Can I break 5:20? It will be tough going solo. Finished the workout with a 3 mile in 23:16 (7:45 pace) as a cool down. Final 200 in 39 fast and controlled then a 200 m slow jog and shut it down for the day.
Grade:B+/3 credits/distance=4.0
7/7-Johnny's speed session. I was a tad off form due to lack of Serine (I did take Taurine) and/or yesterday's time trial took something out of me. Mile warm in 7:15, quarter mile worth of strides then the real workout. 800-800-800-1200-400. 800s were 2:41-2:42, even with Dave but I got slaughtered in the 1200 (4:22) then came back with a solid but not stellar 69 final quarter. Overall pace was 5:27 for 2.5 miles worth of intervals so that's not bad. 400 m jog in between reps and a 1/2 mile warm down for a good total on the day.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.5
7/8- Trak Shak run. Shorter and faster today. I don't know the exact distance or pace because I ran a bit different course. Tried to run with the fast group again and got massacred again. I felt good overall and part of me wished that I ran the full 8 miles. Took taurine and serine today and the real test will be Friday's Mile.
-Learned that a coworker's husband has "really ugly toes" and "ugly feet"
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0
7/9- I feel good enough to do a few easy miles but I'm resting as planned. I want to be 100% ready for my assault on 5:20 in the Mile and I want a good long 10+ run on Saturday.
7/10- Mountain Brook Mile time trial- 5:22.03. (78-82-84-78). Fastest time since '99. An improvement of 4.5 seconds from last time. I'll take it even though I didn't quite make my goal. I ran a 5:25 in 2004 while on Adrenal Boost and I have beaten that time without it! Yes! I am now 8 seconds faster than last year. If you multiply that by 3.1, you get 25 for a 5K which would be a 19:33 and the race is a week from tomorrow. Taurine seems to be working. I was not at all keyed up before this and if anything, I may have been too relaxed. Pleased with my splits: 1st half in 2:40, 2nd in 2:42 (probably 2:41+ change). I've upgraded my lifetime goal to 5:15 and I am just over 6 seconds from it or 1.51 per lap and I ran it solo. I think that if I had Dave on my tail or slightly ahead of me with 200 to go, I could have done it today. Very tired at the end of it and managed to coax a 6 lap cool down jog.
Grade:A-/3 credits/distance=3.0
7/11- Long with Scott and John. 1st 9 were quite easy (around 8:30) then Scott wore me out with a 7:04 pace in the last 1.5. I was struggling a bit but I did stay with him. Took a break to drink water and Gatorade then did 4 solo in Mountain Brook with a faster 2nd half. This run began less than 12 hours after finishing my Mile. I'm sore esp. in the calf but I've got 36 hours to recover and tomorrow will be easy.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=14.5
Weekly summary: Again, relatively low mileage but it was almost all quality. That's going to be the theme for next month as well. 2 post- adrenal fatigue PRs in a single week. That's pretty good. All A's and B's too. I hope I can stay in the groove. I'm racing next weekend.
Distance= 34.0/ GPA= 35.7/11= 3.245

Friday, July 3, 2009

Reflections on the 1st half of 2009

The best thing that has happened so far this year is my new job in Birmingham. Everything is better here than it was in Montgomery.
Running wise, it's been up and down. It was a terrific first 2 months then I was derailed by a nasty bacterial infection in March then continued to fight thyroid/adrenal issues. I was most disappointed but not really surprised when my latest medical report showed almost no improvement over 6 months ago. As for the news on that front, I have gone back on the taurine in an effort to reduce one of my adrenal hormones (aldosterone), which was so high that it was actually off the scale. I have taken it before and had difficulty because it reduced my already low adrenaline level. Now, the my adrenaline is normal-high, that should be less of an issue. I did learn today that I cannot take mega doses of that stuff. How much is optimal for me? I don't know yet. Hopefully, I will be able to handle more than before. If I go overboard, I can negate the ill-effects with manganese, which raises both adrenaline and aldosterone. The formula will take some tweaking but I am still hopeful.
Overall, my weekly GPA has averaged just under 3.0 which means that my sub-par workouts happen more often than I would like. Still, I have improved on last year at every distance except for 10K while showing the greatest improvement in my half marathon (6 minutes) and marathon (13 minutes). I will admit that my half and marathon PRs were very soft coming into the year while the Mile, 5K and 10K were pretty strong. I have managed a meager 4 second improvement in my Mile and just 12 seconds in the 5K while remaining stuck in the high 19s-low 20s. I know that I am a better runner than this but until I get my body chemistry in balance, this is about as good as it will get. These times are roughly comparable (maybe slightly better) to what I ran when I was 16 years old as a high school sophomore. Very few people can match their teenage times as an adult and I am not far off despite the chemical imbalances. I think this proves that I was in the early stages of adrenal fatigue even then. In fact, my doctor feels that I was vulnerable from birth and I do not disagree. Why is it that some people can cope with working 60+ hours, raising a family and getting up before dawn to train for a marathon while others get burned out? The adrenal glands provide much of the answer. Despite a very strong training regime in high school, I was never much better than a mid-pack runner. My best event was the 800 where I was consistently under 2:15 as a senior, good enough to place in a dual meet but it won't get much respect in an invitational. I didn't have the endurance to do particularly well in th 5000 and didn't have quite enough raw speed to be competitive as a sprinter. My coach told me that if I trained properly in college and got stronger naturally as I got older, I could go as low as a 2:05 in the next 4 years but unfortunately, my health worsened and I never competed at the next level.
My biggest and most pleasant surprise this year has not been the half marathon or marathon but the quarter mile. I ran a 62.5 solo today when I only had my "B" stuff. I never thought that I would even get back under 65. I didn't run a 60 in high school until my junior year and I did have close competition. Breaking 60 now would mean more than it did then because so few adults are able to do this compared to teenagers. My raw speed is not far off from what it was 10 years ago and that is a rarity.
Looking ahead, I will continue to work on my speed in the summer months and hope to get a challenger in both the 400 and the Mile. Then, I will ramp up my mileage again for at least one half marathon, possibly 2. My next marathon is likely to be in 2010. What are my prospects for success? I've got the heart and the will to train. That has never been an issue. My success or failure to make my goals will depend on the severity of my chemical imbalances. Very few people are in perfect balance but let's say that my thyroid is 10% faster than ideal, it won't impact me significantly but the farther you are from balance the greater the incremental effect. 30%-40% makes a greater difference than 10%-20%. Back in high school, because I was consistently beaten by many runners who did not train nearly as hard, I concluded that I was marginally talented and I got the most of of my ability. I now know that I do have better than average running talent. How good can I be if in balance? I don't know yet but would very much like to find out.