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.

1 comment:

Preston said...

You are looking stronger on the Wednesday night TrakShak runs, just keep running and plugging at it.