Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Training is overrated!

Some people on RWOL joke about this statement when it comes to racing long distance. In my case, there is a lot of truth to that statement. The last 3 months of training have been horrid. The truth hurts. Here are my mileage totals since August in reverse order:
17.5, 27.0, 50.o, 45.5, 10.0, 35.0, 45.0, 23.0, 30.0, 30.0, 20.0
That's an 11 week average of 30.3.
I wanted to average at least 45-50 during this period in preparation for a November half marathon. No way that I should expect to be in PR shape right? Wrong.
Trak Shak 5 today in a moving time of 33:14 on a gently rolling course. That beats my previous PR of 33:36 set in May, which was done just after marathon training. I was not exactly fresh either. Two days ago, I did a hard 5K tempo near race pace. I've done 17.5 miles in the past 3 days at an average pace of 7:30 (that's near half marathon race pace). Am I surprised? Not really. The greatest determinant to how I perform in my runs is not the volume and quality of my training but the degree of chemical imbalances in my body.
Back in college and grad school, due to injuries and lack of time to train, there were years in which I only averaged 10-15 MPW. I could still run a 5K around 21 on a good day and was sometimes faster in all out time trials. When I am far enough out of balance to produce symptoms, I will not even come close to a 21:00 5K even if I trained at 60 MPW on a consistent basis. A 10K would be really ugly and anything longer than that? I'd have to walk/jog to the finish.
Now, is it too much to ask for me to have a few months of solid training that is relatively free from setbacks and interruptions? Every time I hit a good stretch, I am hopeful that I've got this disease beat once and for all. Then, a few days later, I hit the wall after 2-3 miles. This time, let's just say that I am cautiously optimistic. With solid training at even 50 MPW, I expect that by the winter, I will be well under 3:30 in the marathon and improve my PRs significantly in the shorter distances. I know it's wrong to compare myself to others and I should just continue to focus on doing the best I can with my own life but I sometimes get dejected when I see other bloggers consistently post 70+ mile weeks and they consider it a downer if they don't hit 80!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

training 10/25/31

10/25- Hoover 7 in 54:51 (7:50 pace). Significant improvement over yesterday but still well off form. Started out with a solid 7:40-7:45 pace despite elevated pulse and heart rate (no chromium today) then faded in the 2nd half. By the end of the run, I had faded to an 8:15 pace but closed with a respectable 1:47 final lap. Double the distance at a faster pace
Grade:C/1 credit/distance= 7.0

10/26- Short tempo under a time crunch. Lakeshore 3.1 with a moving time of 19:37 (6:19 pace). No, that's not a typo! Splits were 6:16-6:12-6:31-38. Just :24 short of a PR but this would have carried an asterisk. I did have to stop several times at intersections for traffic but I think I would have gone sub-20 without stopping. This was a hard but not all out run. I held back just a hair. Felt strong with only a trace of stiffness most of the day. 2 words: 'BOUT TIME!
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=3.5

10/27-A little bit of joint inflammation and a little of the "wired/tired" feeling but considering that I nearly put forth race effort yesterday, I don't feel too bad. No more SBF and maybe a cautious taurine re-introduction. I'll see how I feel tomorrow morning. Skipped Johnny's speed because I went too hard yesterday. 3rd day off the chromium. Instead, I opted for Lakeshore again. Result: 7 miles @ 7:42. Too fast but I never felt uncomfortable. Groin was sore but the rest of me is pleasantly tired. Slightly off form but still good overall. HARD tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

10/28-Last Trak Shak run in daylight. None of my training partners showed but that's okay. I doubt that any of them would have wanted to run with me today. 5 Mile route in a moving time of 33:14 (6:39 pace). Splits were 6:31-6:31-6:51-6:46-6:33. That's a 22 second improvement over my previous PR. I did have to stop a few times for traffic but there will be no asterisk today. I'll just add a 10 second penalty and let it go in the books as a 33:24 (PR). As I've said in my post, I'm not terribly surprised. I've said time after time that I have the talent to run some pretty fast times when healthy. As of now, I'm still skipping the 5K this weekend. I'll be better served by running long. I hope to take another shot at the 5K PR later on. The Vulcan 10K is likely to be a go. If I can maintain the pace that I ran today for an additional 1.2, I would clock a time of 41:30 (a PR by a full minute). I think that's doable running with competition and with fresh legs even if the course is a little harder.
Grade:A+/2 credits/distance=5.0

10/29-After going 95-100% 2 out of the last 3 days, I expected to struggle today but I DID NOT! I had a bit or groin soreness and minor stomach cramps but other than that, I had plenty of energy. Workout was Lakeshore 7.5 starting and ending at Brookwood. I started out a calm 7:40 pace then my Garmin got low on batteries. I clicked it back on at the end to find that I was still below 8:00. I'll estimate somewhere in the 7:50s overall.
Grade: B+/1 credit/distance=7.5

10/30-Veteran's Park 4, probably the last day of the year that I will be able to run shirtless. Time was 31:44 (7:56 pace). A little tired but I have every right to be. Good news is that the groin soreness has diminished. This was intended to be a recovery day and I still turned in a sub-8 with a pretty even pace. I could have done 7:30 with relative ease but this was supposed to be slow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.5

10/31-Long as planned in damp conditions. Plan was to go 13 at 8:00 pace then 2-3 at half marathon pace. Hit 13 on target- 1:43:34 despite faltering a bit towards the end. After that however, I didn't have much left. Only ran 2 in 15:26 (7:43) and most of that came on the first and last quarter. Finished with 15 in an even 1:59 (7:56 pace). My best LR is 18 @ 7:50. This was a step behind but still quite solid with no rest days during the week. Warm down at snail's pace to hit weekly mileage target.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=15.5

Weekly summary:
Ran all 7 days. Nothing less than a C. Every run averaged less than 8:00 pace. They call me Crazy Justin for a reason. I need to slow down if I want to maintain this mileage. Next week is race week so I'll try to get decent mileage but it will be less intense. Again, there is a line between craziness and stupidity. Oh yeah, it's about freakin' time that I am running well!
Distance=50.0/ GPA= 35.1/10= 3.51 (highest since May)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Angry again

Since about mid-summer, it's been one thing after another.
May, most of June and the first half of July were quite good but it's been downhill since then. Yes, there have been 2 highlights. That Elvis 5K in 19:37 on a rolling course would have threatened my PR if it had been flat. Also, I completed my clean sweep of post-adrenal fatigue PRs in 2009 from 400 to marathon with a 42:30 10K in September. Both of those races were done in the midst of my chromium roller coaster. I eventually learned that zinc inhibits chromium absorption and I have since solved it (I think). Before that, I had to deal with the "wired and tired" feeling that was corrected by taurine. I think I've solved that one too but there were a lot of bumps along the way.
In the past month, two more issues have sprung up and what is most irritating is that neither should have happened.
If I had my tooth pulled like I would have preferred 2.5 years ago, I never would have had the nasty tooth pain that required antibiotic use. I never should have been prescribed anything as strong as Clindamycin, which I have learned is one of the worst regarding post-antibiotic diarrhea. I lost 4 days of training from the toothache and a few more during the course of antibiotic treatment (that stuff throws the adrenals out of whack) and just when I thought I was turning the corner by hitting 50 miles, I have been knocked out of commission by diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Yes, I finally bit the bullet and went to the doctor today because I was afraid that I may have a colon infection. A urine and blood test proved that I did not. I just have to clear my system which means I basically cannot eat. I am only allowed clear liquids and chicken broth so it goes without saying that I am not feeling very strong. I had to do something. It got to the point in which I was going 2-3 times at night plus 6-8 times during the day. It goes without saying that there will no be significant running this week. I wanted to race at least twice, maybe 3 times in November and I really needed October to be a good month. As it is, no 5K on 10/31, maybe not anything in November either. I do expect to be ready for a December half and a February full. It's really a shame. I would have had a shot at my 5K PR and could have smashed my 10K and gotten my sub 1:35:30 half marathon, which would mean that I am halfway to Boston. I think the latter is still possible in December. To put this in perspective, I was more concerned about my general health and the test proved that I have nothing serious to worry about.

Monday, October 19, 2009

training 10/18-24

10/18-One of the worst nights. I had to go almost every hour. Got the radical idea to cut out all supplements with vitamins and minerals because I just can't absorb them. I'm still taking amino acids, digestive enzymes and probiotics. Improved a bit as the day progressed and managed to do 4 on the 'mill. Pace was sub-8 with a gradual pick up. I did need to break away to squat but overall not too bad outside of that.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=4.0
10/19-Only had to go 3 times at work today. That's an improvement. I have ordered Digestanol. I believe that supplements will solve this issue. Hoover 5 at a comfortable pace. Untimed because Garmin died on me but the early pace was 7:20 and felt pretty easy. Again, I had to squat 3.5 miles into it but finished easily. Very pleasant surprise that I have been feeling this well in workouts but I am fresh because I didn't go long over the weekend.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0
10/20-Went to the doctor today. No colon infection but I am out of commission for a few days.
Started feeling weak with sore muscles partly because I can't eat and partly because I wasn't taking the supplements. I took one of each and barely kept it down but it did help.
10/21-Did not eat. Did not run. Only had to go twice, once when I woke up and once at work.
10/22- Ate a normal lunch and dinner. Only had to go when I woke up.
2 miles in 14:50 on the 'mill. A little stiff but not a concern. The best news is that I did not have to squat nor did I have any stomach cramps.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=2.0
10/23- needed chromium. Dang it! Thym-Adren has too much zinc so I need to reduce that dosage. Zinc stimulates the thyroid and chromium stimulates the adrenals and zinc inhibits chromium so I must either take both or neither. I hope the answer is neither. If it's both, I may feel decent but won't reach my potential. Workout was pretty good today. 3 mile tempo on Lakeshore in 20:51 (7:18-6:48-6:45). Those last 2 miles were at 10K pace. I think I could have gone sub-35 in a 5 M but I want to go long tomorrow and it's not good form to run a time trial the day before a long run.
Grade:B+/2 credits(barely)/distance=3.0
10/24- One step forward, two steps back. Diarrhea returned last night which may have been due to excess chromium. Performed poorly today probably also due to excess chromium (took 2 yesterday, only 1 today). I'm hoping to get it cleared out of my system for tomorrow so I can start fresh on the week. It was a crappy week in more ways than one. The workout: Hoover 3.5 in 27:51 (7:58 pace). 1st 3 miles were steadily paced at 7:54 then hit the wall AFTER A MEASLY 3 MILES!! and limped to a 4:10 last half mile before cramps and feelings of disgust caused me to quit. Oh yeah, I have the beginnings of another toothache. Please let it be just a cavity, not another root canal. Every time I pick myself up, I get knocked down again. I've been praised for a good attitude overall but patience runs out!
Grade:D-(lenient)/1 credit/distance=3.5
Weekly summary:
GPA is somewhat misleading because I only had one marginally challenging run. I'm more upset about the inability to run higher mileage. Crappy week in more ways than one.
Distance= 17.5/ GPA=16/6=2.67

Friday, October 16, 2009

latest medical issue

I guess you could say that poor medical advice has left me hurting again. As I stated before, the antibiotics that were prescribed for a toothache. I recall seeing a warning that in some cases, persistent diarrhea could flare up weeks after discontinuing the drug. That's exactly what has happened. Again, as I said before the oral surgeon in this case saw how bad I looked and gave me the strongest stuff he had available and the highest dosage that can be prescribed. Looking back, I should not be surprised that I had a reaction. He was well-intentioned and did a good job with the tooth extraction but completely missed it with the prescription. First, the good news is that I am still relatively free from fatigue and am still able to do some running.
My symptoms are as follows:
-sudden and intense cramps in the abdominal area (6+ times a day)
-soft and loose stools, which sometimes contain mucous.
-when I do go, it's mostly gas, followed by one relatively small "squirt" in which hardly anything comes out.
-the pain is relieved after I go and then it happens again, often about 2 hours later.
I fit the description of irritable bowel syndrome almost to the letter.
Solution in mainstream medicine:
From what I've read, there is no cure but only hope that patients can treat and manage this condition. Doctors will usually give you some type of prescription and what might that be? I couldn't believe it. Often, the answer is anti-depressants! True, low serotonin levels can impact bowel movements so there is a chance that it could help some people, not me. Never mind that my serotonin level is normal according to my neurotransmitter test. Mainstream medicine rarely considers that test and almost never gives patients this test prior to deciding on the treatment for depression but that's another rant. As for the irritable bowel syndrome, each case is different and will require different solutions.
What was the cause for me?
Well, I had a few risk factors including a moderately elevated sodium/potassium ratio, which is associated with inflammation and may explain why I have had a persistent sore groin for several weeks that has worsened when I take the wrong pills, has not relieved by rest but feels no worse when running. I am also low in zinc, which is also a risk factor for IBS. Thirdly, the flora in my large intestine responsible for digestion have largely been killed by the antibiotics. I should not be surprised.
I have every confidence that I will emerge victorious without stepping foot in a doctor's office.
First, I must be extra careful about what I eat and drink. No sugared drinks, caffeine, alcohol or dairy products. I am loading on probiotics to restore the good bacteria in my digestive tract. I am increasing my calcium/magnesium supplement to make sure my blood sugar remains in control and maybe slow down my metabolic rate. Zinc supplementation to restore the balance of Na/K, which is associated with the ratio of aldosterone to cortisol. (Note: if you have a low Na/K ratio, zinc is one of the worst things you can take). I am hoping that will do the trick but there are risks and I am really not sure if it is the answer. Zinc does lower sodium and increase potassium, which I need but it also stimulates thyroid function (I don't need that) and can inhibit chromium absorption. I REALLY DON'T NEED to be chromium dependent again. Number one, I hated the extreme sensitivity to it and number two, it raises sodium and aldosterone, thus contributing to the inflammation that I am fighting. I will be cautious with the zinc and will try to avoid chromium at all costs.
If this is not enough, I do have a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan B is the addition of the amino acid glutamine (or it may be glutamate, I can't remember but I could find out). This amino acid reportedly helped with muscle soreness associated with overtraining and/or another supplement from Analytical Research Labs called Enzaid. Plan C is a product called Digesterol. It really seems to be good but it costs $160 and I prefer not to spend that kind of money but will do so if absolutely necessary.
Further comments:
I read that over half of patients with irritable bowel syndrome complain of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Again, like I have said, all of these unpleasant symptoms can be inter-related. Patients with adrenal fatigue (low Na/K ratio) are often deficent in hydrochloric acid. This situation frequently causes poor digestion. Of course, these patients also suffer from chronic fatigue and sore muscles. I have reversed my adrenal fatigue and have actually taken it too far in the opposite direction. A high Na/K is preferable to a low ratio but can cause other problems. Fortunately, fatigue and depression hasn't been there but this GI distress, sore groin and inflammation is no picnic either.
I was really in the groove around late Spring-early Summer but since the Elvis 5K two months ago, I have had only 1 week above a 3.0, which was a race week, and have routinuely lost 1-2 days of training per week due to flare ups and have toughed it out many days in which I was off form (B- and C days), which seem to be more often than my A-B workouts. Still, if I get lucky and have my "A" stuff on a race day, I'll do well (just like my last 10K) but not as well as I could if I was able to train normally. In this current condition, a Boston qualifier will be impossible. Again, if I was healthy and trained at 60 MPW for a whole year, I believe that yes I could run a 3:10 marathon but only because I have above average talent. Few people who have seen me run would disagree with that assessment. I am of the opinion that few people could achieve a BQ even with years of training. I know some people that have been running 50-60 MPW for several years and are not even close to a BQ and it is not due to lack of effort. I hope that this is the last time I say this: If I can't achieve my goals because of talent limitations, I can live with that. If my potential is stolen from me by consistent nagging injuries and illness, that's not okay!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

training 10/11-17

10/11- Recovery run at Vestavia. 4 miles at 8:15 pace plus a very slow cool down. That's fine for a recovery day, maybe even a hair on the fast side. Knee was sore but it didn't feel anything worse than it should after an 18 miler.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.5
10/12- BAAAAAUUHHD! I had the day off work for Columbus Day (state holiday) and most of the day was spent on errands and got little done. I went for an oil change and found out that I needed brake work, which cost me almost $300. Oh well, it could have been worse. Hoped to run an easy 10 but quit after it took me almost 9 minutes to run the first mile. I walked a lap then ran a 400 all out and barely broke 2:00. I am being LENIENT on the grade.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.5
10/13- Bad day continued through the night. Nasty GI issues and got little sleep. Legs were extremely sore and felt overstimulated so I tried some GABA and it helped. I showed up at Johnny's workout not expecting too much but did fairly well. 1200-4:13, 800-2:40, 800-2:41, 400-67, 400-80 (thought I was done after the 67), 400 jog in between, Mile cool down. A little off form but still felt more like myself today.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=4.0
10/14- Trak Shak 10 with a moving time of 77:38 (7:46 pace). Solid performance. Faded near the end but I had to be cautious with regard to my footing because it was getting dark. Also, I did not refuel at all and my stomach was burning. Still a little sore in the groin. I will try to stay off taurine completely until I get the "wired/tired" feeling. I really wanted the weekday long run to be Monday but my body failed me. Today was my punishment. and I didn't get home until 8 PM. Ouch. That's the price I pay to get in PR shape.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.0
10/15- Hoover Rec Center. Approx. 4 miles in 32:08 so that's an acceptable pace. Still sore in the groin area and bad GI issues. Average at best today.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=4.0
10/16- Had to squat 6 times at work and forced to cancel my weekend plans. 3 miles on the 'mill with a bathroom nearby at an easy pace with a mild pick up at the end. Actually felt decent during the run.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.0
10/17- Feeling even worse today. Soreness in the groin area has diminished but had stomach cramps all day and lost track of the number of times that I had to squat. Attempted to run but could not because of the cramps.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=0
Weekly summary:
This could ruin my Fall racing season but I'm more concerned about my general health at this time. The probiotic hasn't solved the issue yet but I've got plenty of other options.
Distance=27.0/ GPA=20.6/9= 2.29

Thursday, October 8, 2009

training 10/4-10/10

10/4-3 mile recovery run on still very stiff groin muscles. My recovery drink yesterday contained too much taurine and I paid the price of extreme soreness. I can take away a positive that I showed some life at the end and should be normal by tomorrow. Pace was near 8 indoors in Hoover (rain outside).
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0
10/5- Metro Fitness 10 in Monty in 78:50 (7:53 pace). A little on the quick side for a run at that distance but I never felt uncomfortable. 9 of 10 miles were below 8:00. Felt strong. Weight was 148, which remains 7 lbs. too light but I'm not going to worry about it. I've been over 150 a few times this year and always felt lousy. The weight issues will resolve when I am in balance.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.5
10/6- Wanted to do intervals but could not. Too much chromium. I knew this would happen eventually and it's good news in the long run but today sucked and tomorrow will likely be rough also. Started out at an "easy 7:40 pace" for the first half lap but at the end of 2 miles, my pace had fallen to 8:40 and was getting slower each lap. If I had continued, it would have been 10 minute+ pace so I hung it up. Because I was able to do essentially nothing today, my punishment is no rest day this week.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0
10/7-Metro Fitness 7 @ 8:25 pace on average. First mile was 8:07 then it got gradually worse until Mile 6 was a putrid 8:45 but I did come back with an 8:12 to finish followed by a cool down. I want my easy runs to be 7:45-8:15 (as per McMillian based on 5K time) so I wasn't too far off today. Improvement over yesterday but still quite sluggish.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=7.5
10/8-Glad to be back in "the Ham" and this week reinforced why I wanted to move here from Monty. Today's workout was what I had hoped to do on Tuesday and less. Long intervals at Vestavia with obstacles (band and football players). Hoped to run 6 but ended up at 5x1000 averaging 3:45 (even 6:00 pace)with a 3 min. R. Range was 3:42-3:51 with a hard fought 3:44 last kilometer to finish 5/6 of the planned workout on time. Not much left for dessert but I did manage a 74 last go round. Legs felt OK but lungs were burning. This was my 2nd day without chromium. What will happen tomorrow? I could have symptoms of deficiency. Average performance today. Could I have gone 5 straight kilometers averaging 4:00? I doubt it. My PR is 3:50 pace, which would have been out of the question today.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=4.5
10/9- Avoided rain and brutally humid conditions by doing an easy 4.5 at the Hoover Rec Center. Temp was 80+ with sun and rain. No thanks. Pace was near 8 and felt decent considering the hard workout yesterday. Can I hit 50 on the week?
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=4.5
10/10- Long run that started in mid-morning (rain early). Damp the entire time but never worse than a drizzle. I needed chromium and took 2 after I felt awful early. Dang it. I hope that I can taper off this stuff. The workout? 17.5 on rolling terrain @ an average moving pace pace of 8:14 (stopped several times to drink and wait for traffic). That's a 3:35 marathon pace but I was cooked (well) after 15.5 and those last 2 miles sucked something awful. Pace was pretty even through 15 but faded to near 9 after that. Add a 1/4 for warm up and cool down and I've hit the mileage target. Not an "A" but only one notch below.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=18.0
Weekly summary:
I'm partly satisfied with my week. I HATE that I am still so unstable with regards to the chromium. Some day, I will be free that stuff. If not for the "F," I could have hit close to 55 with a decent GPA. Oh well, it is what it is.
Distance=50.0 (YEAH!)/ GPA= 25.5/10=2.55 (same as last week, not pleased)