Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rant: sub-.500 playoff teams

A lot of commentators have called for the NFL playoffs to revamp it seeding procedures in which the winner of a weak division is guaranteed a home playoff game despite having an inferior record against a top wild card. This season is an even greater anomaly. It is possible that the 12-4 New Orleans Saints will begin their quest for another Super Bowl on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, who could win their pathetic division with a 7-9 record. What the _____?
Most have suggested that the top 2 division champs should get 1st round byes then seeding for teams 3-6 should be based on record rather than place in the division. For example, an 11-5 team that finishes 2nd in its division would be seeded higher than a divison champ that finished 9-7 or 10-6. I would agree with this change but propose going even farther than that with the reforms. My plan calls for any team with a non-winning record to be declared ineligible for the playoffs even if they finish with the best (least bad) record in their division. A team must be at least 9-7 or I suppose 8-7-1 to qualify for the playoffs as a division champ. If such a team wins a division at 8-8 or worse, a more deserving 3rd wild card gets in provided that their record is better. The current playoff format has produced unfair anomolies in the past.
1985- Cleveland won their division at 8-8 and got in while John Elway and the Broncos were left home at 11-5, the same record as the eventual conference champs.
2008- New England got left at home at 11-5 while San Diego (8-8) hosted Indy (12-4) and won.
Let's take a look at other sports. I don't follow hockey and basketball very much but each league usually allows a couple of sub-.500 playoff teams every year. Most lose the first round but a few have gotten hot when it mattered. The worst example came in the 1990-91 NHL playoffs in which the Minnesota North Stars made the playoffs with a record of 27-39-14 then proceeded to upset 3 consecutive opponents before being beaten by Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals 4 games to 2. The NHL saw a team with a winning percentage barely above .400 come within just 2 games of a world championship. That would be like a 6-9-1 team that had no business in the playoffs at all playing in the Super Bowl and keeping the game competitive until the 4th quarter. Eventually, the league expanded and kept the number of playoff teams at 16 so we are unlikely to see a team that bad making the playoffs again. I don't know of any basketball team that made such an improbable playoff run. In football, we've seen two 10-6 Super Bowl champs, two 9-7 Super Bowl participants but no 8-8 team has advanced to a conference championship game. Baseball has had its problems with the playoff format as well. Prior to 1994, only 1 team per division qualified for the playoffs and we often saw 100-62 teams sitting at home while 88-74 teams would win the weaker division.
The worst World Series team remains the '73 Mets at 82-79 who took it to a 7th game before losing to Baltimore. Thus far, there have been no sub-.500 playoff teams in baseball but we've had other close calls. San Diego got in at 82-80 in '05 and the 2 worst World Series champs have been the '87 Twins at 85-77 (only 5th best in the AL) and the '06 Cardinals (83-78). It is entirely possible that we could see a sub-.500 playoff team in the future. Most likely, it would come from the 4 team AL West where in 1994, before the strike, Texas led the division at 52-62. On pace for a record of 74-88, they certainly could have gotten hot in October and won the whole thing. I'd hate to tell a 95 win 3rd place team in the AL East that they have to sit at home because a 79 win team won the AL West. Again, I propose that any non-winning team be disqualified from post-season play in favor of another wild card. I may even set the bar at 86 wins (10 over .500).
Bottom line, I can understand expanding the playoffs because more games mean more revenue and more entertainment for the fans but we need fairer systems that prevent mediocre teams from getting in while leaving good ones at home. Feel free to comment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Training 12/20-31

12/20- Modest improvement over yesterday's debacle. Started at a relaxed 8:00 pace then the effort increased while the pace steadily slowed. Each additional mile was almost exactly 10 seconds slower than the previous one. Finished at 5 miles in 41:42 (8:20 avg pace). Nasty reaction to 2nd pill in the afternoon. I think I'll try for 2.25 pills per day. This year can't end soon enough.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/21- Another modest improvement. Same workout as yesterday with nearly the same result. This time, I managed to hold the pace for 2 miles and my slow down was not as steep. Time was 40:50 (8:10 pace). I'm planning to order a blood test for my thyroid hormones. As a last resort, I may have to temporarily go on Synthroid to compensate for the Lithium that I have, and I mean have to take to avert feelings of over stimulation.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/22- Pretty weak tempo. 3 miles at Vestavia in 20:57 (6:59 pace). Splits were 6:45-7:00-7:12 so it was the usual steady decline. Not very long ago, I could do 10 miles at this pace. I have fallen very far since September but once again, it was a modest improvement.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=3.0

12/23-Planned rest day. Maybe a few days off will do me some good. I think I know the problem now. My blood sugar supplement contains an amino acid that I can't tolerate.

12/24-27- 4 more rest days and the rest did nothing for the abnormal soreness. I was probably worse on the 27th than the 23rd.

12/28- 2 miles in 14:45. Horrible performance. Added some new thyroid supplements to my formula and simply took too many. There is some hope that this stuff can work but I may have to tweak the formula. Again, started off pretty well with a 95 1st quarter then slowed with each step. Splits were 6:49-7:56 and had severe soreness in the calf and shins along with shortness of breath. 1 mile cooldown at glacial pace.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=3.0

12/29-1 mile at tempo effort but the Gamin malfunctioned again. Felt much better however despite some stubborn calf soreness.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=1.0

12/30- Junk run with Nick in Charlotte through downtown. Felt decent.
Grade:NG/0 credit/distance=2.0

12/31- Meineke Car Care Bowl. Morning workout on the 'mill and it was a horrible performance. 1.5 miles into in, the severe calf soreness began so I stopped, popped a pill then ran a half mile under 3. It would be nice to get off the thyroid supplements permanently but my hopes are not real high. Thankfully, this year is over.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
The year is over. Enough said.
Distance= 21.0/ GPA= 1.70

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Closing time for 2010. Bring on the new year.

With the marathon recovery this week and being out of town the next 2 weekends, there's not much more that I can accomplish this year. I will edit this on 12/31 but my total miles were 1669 and my average weekly GPA was 2.53. By comparison, I ran 1993 miles last year and finished with a 2.95 GPA. It goes without saying that I took a bit of a step backward after 3 straight years of dramatic improvement.
Here are the monthly highlights:
January: unofficial marathon PR

February: prolotherapy

March: ING half in a respectable 1:38:18 on a tough Atlanta course.

April: Unofficially under 70 for 10 miles but could not get it done on race day. Nightmare in Nashville lasted 1:42:28.

May: Won my first race ever and finished 5th in another despite slow times.

June: Returned to the track for a race for the first time since '99

July: Peachtree 10K in 42:27, a solid performance on that course, 2nd in AG at Twilight Retro.

August: Age group victory in a 5K, 3rd straight sub-20.

September: First and likely only 70 mile week, near miss at 5K PR.

October- best half mary of the year (1:34:47), injured knee in the process

November- comeback and buildup for Huntsville

December- Official marathon PR of 3:43:18 in Huntsville.

Overall, I was hampered by 2 injuries and of course chemical imbalances and instability. I am no longer dependent on taurine but the issue with Lithium is worse than ever. I fully expect an improvement on my next medical report but the question is: How much will my numbers improve with the new supplements?

3 PRs in 6 distances, 1 was unofficial and there were 2 near misses.
Here's the breakdown:
Sprints: Near miss in the 400 with a best of 61.8. Scored a 2 second PR in the mile (5:20). I don't race either distance so that's as close as I'll get to an official time. I was held back by a respiratory infection and extreme summer heat.

Mid-distance: Raced the 5K distance 5 times and scored 3 sub-20s with a best of 19:42. Unfortunately, chances for PRs were sabotaged by very warm and humid conditions. By my next attempt in late September, my health was in decline and had a near miss at 19:31.
I only raced one 10K, a decent effort at Peachtree, but set a strong unofficial PR of 41:14. My injury prevented me from competing in my goal race at this distance.

Long distance: Big disappointments here. The half marathon wasn't even close to last year's PR(short by almost 2 minutes at 1:34:47) but I was hampered by a knee injury in the last 5K. If not for that, it would have been much closer if not a baby PR. I scored an official PR in the Rocket City marathon (3:43:18) and an unofficial PR in a not even all out training run (3:35:32).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Training 12/13-19

12/13- 4 miles easy in 29:13 (7:18 pace) indoors with temps in the 20s. I only needed one day of rest after the marathon and I am pretty much back to my normal training routine. That's hard to believe. I'm still high from the race. The slight disappointment is gone now. When I get into my speed mode, the "new easy" will be 7:30 pace or under.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/14- Johnny's workout in sub-freezing conditions. Not very much fun but my fastest training since the injury. 4x600 in about 2:12 followed by a 2:55 800 for an overall pace per mile near 5:50. Felt a bit hyper on the lower dosage.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=3.0

12/15- Solid MLR run. A bit sluggish but overall, pretty strong. 8 miles in 62:03 (7:45 pace). Even splits (30:54-31:09). I know that tyrosine is not the answer. I'm hoping that maybe iodine or choline/inositol will stabilize my system. I'll send in my hair test after the 1st of the year, which will be 2 months on the new stuff. I should have a good idea by that point.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=8.0

12/16- It looks like I will be able to reduce my ADHS down to 2 by adding choline/inositol. Today's workout was a hard 6 miler on only one pill. Another half would have made a difference but the fact that I was able to run well today is encouraging. Time was 41:54 (6:59 pace). Goal of 40 flat was too ambitious. Splits were 6:33-6:54-7:10-7:09-7:15-6:53. I showed a lot of heart in that 6th mile. I still need to tweak things a bit but it looks like choline/inositol is a good call right now. I just want to be more stable. In Huntsville, 2 wasn't enough and 3 was too much. I CANNOT AND WILL NOT LIVE LIKE THAT! No doubt that it hurt my performance as well. I've got about 2 1/2 weeks until I send in my hair sample.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=6.0

12/17- Easy 4 in 31:08 (7:47 pace). A bit too fast for an easy run but I'll take it.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance-4.0

12/18- 12 miles in sleet and icy drizzle. I lived up to my name just by being out there today. I did pretty much what I planned but it was a struggle. Time was 1:40:54 (average pace was 8:25). Pretty decent through Mile 9 then the wheels came off and I trudged the last 2 in over 9 minutes each. Almost quit after 10 but kept slogging because I was so close. I need more pills. AARRGH! It looks like iodine may be more effective than choline. If I remain this unstable, there will be no PRs in 2011.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance-12.0

12/19- Attempted Trak Shak 8 and finished only 3 with a pedestrian time of 26:11. Nothing more to say that is not already obvious.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
I will call the doctor tomorrow and see if he has any other ideas. I can't wait for this year to be over. This is the first time since 2005 that I feel worse off than I was 12 months ago. If I don't get into balance in 2011, I'm afraid I never will.
Distance=40.0/ GPA= 25.5/10=2.55

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rocket City marathon report

Imagine being an NFL coach leading a team that opened the season with playoff aspirations then proceeded to fall on its face with a 2-8 start. 4 wins in the final 6 can restore some pride but it's hard to feel good about a 6-10 finish. That's just about how it felt. I began my training cycle with slim hopes of a BQ (3:10:59). After a great September, I started downhill with symptoms of burnout followed by a disappointing half marathon effort (1:34:47). I injured my knee in the process and then received my worst medical report since recovering from adrenal fatigue. My doctor started me on a new plan, which has been successful but not exactly a smooth process. All this came after I had previously believed myself to be healed. After recovering from the knee injury, I began a gradual buildup that would leave no room for a taper. Here's my weekly mileage since October: (20-26-0-0-0-11-31-37-30-47)= That's an average of just 20 miles per week over a 10 week period. You'd have to be pretty talented to run a respectable marathon under those circumstances.

I took the entire day off work on Friday with the plan to arrive in Huntsville early in the afternoon. On the way up, I decided to take the backroads up AL-79 and US-231, which led directly into Huntsville rather than take I-65 then pick up 565. I stopped at a country diner for lunch, which was a basic meat and 3. I arrived just after 1 PM at the Holiday Inn, the host hotel, right on the starting line. The expo was small but had pretty much everything you would want. I scored a great deal on new running shorts for just $10. Dinner was a porterhouse steak at Longhorn's then my buddy Nick and I went back to hotel and just relaxed until 10 PM. The weather looked a bit iffy with a chance of a few showers during the race with temps in the 40s and windy. In the end, it got nasty the following day but the race itself was fairly comfortable. Mostly cloudy skies, low 40s at the start and near 50 at the finish. I went with a black long sleeve tech shirt, a cap and shorts.

If anything, I was actually a bit too warm in the later stages but the wind was a bit of a nuisance. If/when I break 3:30 (sub-8 pace), I plan to retire from marathons and focus on the shorter distances. Johnny says that he wonders why speed guys even bother with marathons at all. I am clearly out of my element at this distance even when I'm in great shape but I'd wager that I have more raw 400 meter speed (61.2 s) than many sub-3 hour marathoners. I've proven that I can handle the distance in a one-time effort but when it comes to training properly, I am too vulnerable to injuries. Sub 3:30 would not happen today.

A goal: 3:35 PR/ B goal: 3:43:22 (Fargo '09 time) /C goal: sub-4/ D goal: FINISH

Race day:
Powerbar, banana and some Gatorade after waking up at 6 AM. I actually slept fairly well. I did have a morning SNAFU when I turned on my Garmin and found to my horror that it cut off immediately. It's either broken (again) or I turned it on accidently the previous day. Fortunately, there were timers calling out splits at every mile marker so I wasn't completely blind but it always helps mentally to know exactly how close you are to the Mile markers at all times.
Gently rolling throughout. It had a mix of a few flat area and plenty of mild ups and downs. Fortunately, none of the climbs were severe and only a few would even be described as moderate. Good course for a fast time.
I lined up according to my expected time and just followed the group. I felt pretty good warming up but when I started, of course it felt easy but not effortless as I had hoped. The first mile was very crowded and the timer called out my first split at 8:33 (gun time). The next Mile was 8:04. Too fast. Slow down fool. I've heard that for every second you're out too fast in the first half, you can expect to lose at least 2 on the back half. From here, I would try to settle into an 8:15 pace, which would bring me home near 3:35. It was still too early to tell what kind of day it would be but I often know within 3 miles if it's going to be a disaster. Today would not be a disaster. If it still feels easy at Mile 16, then I know that it's my day. At 5 miles, I had settled into a steady pace and resolved not to keep up with others on the course but run my own race. I was around 41 minutes for 5 miles. Roughly miles 8-13 are my favorite part of the marathon. You've settled into your groove but it's still early enough in the race that it still feels fairly easy. We turned out of a residential area on onto a highway with relatively flat terrain but a mountain view in the distance. The pace still felt easy but again it was not the effortless feeling of having my "A" stuff. The PR was slipping away but my splits were about on par with what I ran at Fargo last May. I wanted to be at Mile 10 at 82:30 and got there at 82:55 (clock time) so I figure that I was right around 8:15 pace. Miles 11-14 were quite enjoyable despite the wind and I chatted a bit with a female going for a BQ. My clock time at the half was 1:48:15 so figure that I was just under 1:48 and would need a slight negative split for a PR. Unlikely but I might have a shot at a 3:40 and at least beat my Fargo time. Just after Mile 14, which I passed in 1:55:xx, I began to feel my first bit of discomfort, 2 miles ahead of schedule. I would have to back off now if I was to finish respectably. Doubts began to creep in and by Mile 16, I was pretty much in my "I don't care anymore. Just finish." mode. Not looking good but to my credit, I ran smartly in the next 4 miles. I was able to do some basic math in my head. Barring a disaster, which I defined as 10:00 pace, I would still finish under 4. Soon, the "barring disaster" time fell below 3:50 but more importantly, finishing was now a reasonable goal. The 3:40 group passed me just before Mile 19 but I was able to keep them in sight for at least another mile. In Fargo, I was not passed until Mile 22 but the group was blowing by me a full minute per mile faster. The dreaded 20 Mile marker came at 2:47 and change. At this point, I was hurting of course but I still had a little something left. Based on how I felt, I estimated my finish time to be somewhere between 3:41 and 3:47. Could I beat the Fargo time? It's going to be close. Show some heart here. I turned it up a notch and would pass about 5 runners in the next half mile but as I rounded the next corner, I felt the wall. I still managed to keep the pace respectable at least through Mile 22. When they called out the splits at each Mile marker, it seemed as if my "B" goal was well within my reach. I passed many runners between 20-22 but from 22 to the end, I was merely keeping up with others who were running. I was still gaining places because many people were either walking or trudging so slowly that they'd almost be better off walking. For the third time in as many marathons, I would run the entire way except for water stops. I do not know my splits for Mile 24 and 25 but I'm sure that it was ugly. I was in survival mode here but still had just a tiny bit left in the tank to let it loose in the last 1.2. One mile to go and the clock time was an even 3:35. I was almost a full mile slower than my time trial on the first of the year. I needed a 3:43:22 to beat my Fargo time and figured that it took about 30 seconds to cross the starting line so all I needed was an 8:50 and that seemed well within my reach. Clearly my pace had increased but with no Garmin, I didn't know how fast I was going. There was no split time at Mile 26 and I rounded the final corner to the homestretch. I was not close enough to catch my nearest competitor so believing that I had it in the bag, I posted a respectable finishing kick but I did not go nuts in the last 200 yards. My gun time was 3:43:35 so I would have to wait until the results were posted to confirm that I had done it. The margin was closer than I expected but I made it with 4 seconds to spare. Final time was 3:43:18!
Note: That 3:35 that I mentioned earlier carries an asterisk because it was a training run and the time does not include water stops so I guess you can say that I scored an official PR. It was by a mere 4 seconds but an official PR nonetheless.
I got my medal, finishers hat and space blanket. An official asked me if I was okay whether or not I could walk back. I assured him that I was okay and asked if I looked bad to him. He responded that considering what I had just done, I didn't look too bad to him. Good. This was probably the most comfortable that I felt after my 3 marathons. I limped up to my room. Man, I was sure glad that I had a room nearby because I have a tendency to get chilly and shiver from cold especially after long distances. I hit the bed just for a minute and it was only then that the real pain took over. Cramps in the calf and IT bands were severe and I could barely move a few feet to grab my recovery drink. I was limping badly for the rest of the day but by the next morning, I was feeling much better.

Congrats to Nick on finishing his first marathon in 4:23:30. Way to go buddy!

For the future:
As much as it hurts, it is the right thing to give up the dream of a BQ. It would literally take an act of God for me to achieve that type of fitness while staying injury free. As planned, I will retire from marathons once I break 3:30, which I believe that I could have done last Fall when I ran the 1:32:57 half. My next marathon possibility is the Snickers Energy Bar in Albany, GA and I will run only if I feel that I have a better than 50/50 chance of breaking 3:30. I may run a local 10 Miler in January but my next race will likely be the Mercedes half here in B'ham. Once the weather warms this Spring, I will hit the speed work HARD!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

training 12/6-12/12 (marathon race week)

12/6- Planned rest day

12/7- Cut my dosage to 2.5 with tremendous results. 5 miles at BQ pace (36:14), 7:15 average, which felt easy so I ran another half mile at a hard but measured effort and turned in a 3:02 for an overall time of 39:16 for 5.5 miles. I'm still not sold on this yet. I had an afternoon low just before my 2nd pill and the good feeling is beginning to slip away as I write this. I'm sticking with 2.5 but I may have to time when I take the pills almost perfectly in order to run my best race on Saturday.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

12/8- Planned to run 6@7:30 pace but I started too fast and cut it short rather than risk pushing too hard on a meaningless training run 3 days before race day. Finished with 5 miles in 36:32 (7:19 pace). 1st 2 miles were 7:15 then hung on for about 7:20 the last 3. It did not feel easy like yesterday but still a decent performance. Interestingly, there was no early afternoon low and if anything, I was a tad sluggish, not overstimulated. If I have to cut it to 2 ADHS, that would be okay but I definitely need at least that much. PLEASE stay stable through race day!
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/9- Planned rest day

12/10- Hotel strides
Grade:NG/0 credit/distance=0.5

12/11- Rocket City Marathon in 3:43:18.
Grade:B-/4 credits/distance=26.5

12/12- Planned rest day

Weekly summary:
Performed in line with expectations and can't be too upset given the circumstances.
Distance=38.0/ GPA= 17.5/6= 2.92

Monday, December 6, 2010

2011 race plans

Dec 11- Huntsville full
Dec 18- free
Dec 25- out of town for Christmas with my parents
Jan 1- in Charlotte, NC for Clemson's bowl game.
2011 preliminary race schedule:
Much less upbeat heading into this year than 12 months ago but I've still got some interesting options. The First Light half in Mobile on 1/8 is out. That's just too much travel. If I am to race that weekend, it will be local. I'll be in semi-marathon mode this winter but will keep it sensible. I hope to average about 50 MPW with easy runs around 8:00. Of course, as my medical report goes, so goes my running. I'll send in the sample in mid-January and should know by the first of February. Each race will be a PR attempt if I run.
1/8- Red Nose Run 10 Mile in Birmingham- questionable
1/30- 3M half in Austin, TX- doubtful
2/13- Mercedes half- Birmingham- in barring injury
2/26- Scenic city half- Chattanooga, TN- one or the other
3/5- Snickers Energy Bar full- Albany, GA-one or the other
After this time, I will cut the mileage to 40 and hit the speed work HARD. I want that 59.9/5:15 now and the window is closing as I get older.
3/12- Silver Comet 10K- Atlanta, GA- out if I run the full, probable if not
4/3- Talladega half- Talladega, AL- doubtful
4/17- Chickamauga Chase near Chattanooga or Statue 2 Statue in Birmingham- both are 15K
4/23- Crescent City 10K in New Orleans- if I don't PR at Silver Comet, this is probable.
5/28- Couer d'Alene half in Idaho- In but that's just for fun.
Again, once I break 3:30 in the full, I will retire from that distance. Whether or not I run Snickers depends on the shape I am in and my medical condition.
I welcome comments from anyone who has run these events before.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Training 11/29-12/5

11/29- Easy indoor 5 miler in 38:27 (7:41 pace). This is the type of pace that felt easy when I was in the groove in September and it felt easy today as well. That's really a good sign especially after my long run the previous day was only fair. Of course, my body has not taken the cumulative effects of high mileage. I have not topped 40 in more than 2 months so I still should be fresh. I hope to look back on this and see today as when I turned the corner. 3 ADHS in divided doses evenly spread throughout the day is the winning formula right now. If I take 2 at once or go more than 12 hours without a pill, I'll be hurting. My best hope is that I will be less dependent when my numbers are better according to the medical report.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

11/30- Another easy 5 indoors because it was nasty outside. This one was a bit too fast. Time was 37:53 (7:35 pace). I felt comfortable during the run but was hurting a bit afterwards. Pretty strong performance overall.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/1- Tempo. Trak Shak 5 in 40 degree weather. It will likely be colder in Huntsville but as long as there is little wind, it will be fine. Moving time was 34:10 (6:50 pace). I must be especially cautious in the dark when it comes to traffic. Another runner told me that I was "over the speed limit." LOL. I've never heard that one before. Solid performance. Must be under 34 for an A in a tempo run. Plan is to go longer and slower tomorrow.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=5.0

12/2- Easy 7 plus cool down. Very smooth and relaxing run. Time was 55:23 (7:55 pace) with almost no effort. I get a rest day tomorrow then it's time to tackle that 20 miler.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.5

12/3- Planned rest day.

12/4- Obligatory 20 mile run in 2:47:47 (8:24 pace). That's a 3:40 marathon pace. Started out at 8;30 pace as planned. Very even pace. In fact, I hit the 16 mile mark in exactly 2:16 flat. I was hoping to have a bit more left in the final 4 but still managed a 31:47 (7:57 pace). I would rate my performance as average. I will not try for a PR in Huntsville (8:12 pace) and will play it safe and start out at 8:30 pace. If I can hold it, I will beat my time from Fargo last Spring.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=20.0

12/5- Surprisingly fresh in a recovery jog. I did not take any ADHS in the morning and felt good until noon but late in the run, I was beginning to feel some ill-effects. Still, I was able to do what I planned. 4.5 at EZ pace and I didn't even time it.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.5

Weekly summary:
Clearly my best week since the injury and now is a good time for a breakthrough. I may try to tinker my dosage a bit. 3 seems to be a bit too much. 2 wasn't enough in the past. I may go with 2.5 this week. I definitely need it and my medical report confirmed it. I'll send in another hair test in about 6 weeks and hope to see at least somewhat better numbers. As for Huntsville, I plan to go out conservatively then gradually increase the pace depending on how I feel.
Distance=47.0/ GPA= 26.1/8= 3.26

Monday, November 22, 2010

training 11/22-28

11/22- Felt hypo in the morning but got better as the day progressed. Workout was a 5 mile tempo on Lakeshore in 65 degree weather (evening in late Nov). Time was a solid 36:29 at a reasonable tempo effort. Splits: 7:44-7:17-7:16-7:18-6:54. Solid performance. Took 4 ADHS alone. If that's going to be all that I need, I feel pretty good about that. I still need Paramin for blood sugar but it's no big deal if I miss a few doses. Now, I really want to get to the point where I can miss a few doses of ADHS without an extreme reaction. Based on my medical report, I am a LONG way from freedom from imbalances but I can live with that. What I CANNOT live with is being chemically unstable!
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.0

11/23- Strong. Probably my best run since the injury. 7 miles in 49:17 (7:03 pace). Pace was no slower than 7:11. 1st half was 24:27, 2nd half: 24:50. A bit of groin soreness but overall, my legs felt light and the effort was strong. Probably good for a low 34 5 miler today. The old Crazy J is back. I'll need 2 more good long runs and it's still too soon to predict a time in Huntsville. 4 ADHS and NOTHING ELSE. Yes!
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=7.5

11/24- travel day, no running

11/25- Thanksgiving Day, no running

11/26- 3 miles on the trail in 22:20 (7:27 pace). Miserable run. 34 degrees with a 15 mph wind. Did not feel my best on 4 ADHS. Time to cut it to 3 and possibly add tyrosine. Not good but the change in routine likely played a role as well.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

11/27- travel day

11/28- Long run as planned. Woke up feeling hyper after not taking ADHS for almost 48 hours so I took 2 and it took me too far in the opposite direction. What else is new? Overall, it was not a disaster. I wanted to quit after 4 miles but after a sharp slowdown in pace, I managed to stay in the 8:30 range for the next 10 miles then closed with a 7:55. Overall time was 2:04:44 (8:19 pace). I passed 13.1 in 1:49:xx and felt fairly comfortable. I think that 3:40 is a moderate goal for Huntsville considering the shape I'm in when I am in balance. 1st 5 miles: 40:16, middle 5 miles: 42:27, last 5 miles: 42:01. Performance was fair overall.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=15.0

Weekly summary:
Will 3 ADHS work for me? If I feel good on race day, I'll finish Huntsville in a respectable time. If not, I won't. Simple as that. 2 weeks to go and 1 more long run.
Distance= 30.5/ GPA= 20/7= 2.86

Monday, November 15, 2010

training 11/15-21

11/15- Indoor 5 miler on a rainy day. Time of 34:46 (6:57 pace). Anything under 35 is acceptable. I went with iodine alone today and that's what I'm sticking with until further notice. More than 2 minutes down on my PR but a solid 43 seconds better than last week. 30 out of those 43 ticks came in the 2nd half. Splits were 6:45-6:52-7:04-7:09-6:56. 1st half: 17:08, 2nd half: 17:38.
Who knows? I may have to go back on Lithium again before too long. If I can tolerate ADHS, that will be helpful to get in balance but iodine is what gives me the symptom relief.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.5

11/16- Planned rest day. It was windy with occasional rain anyway. The weather should clear tomorrow. Felt hyper today after taking iodine alone. Again, what worked yesterday did not work today. I HATE BEING CHEMICALLY UNSTABLE! I'm going back to ADHS.

11/17- Only took 1 ADHS in the morning and I felt good early in the day but the energy was fading by the evening and I was feeling hyperthyroid by the end of the day. I must bump it up to 2 and possibly take SBF. It's a good sign that I can tolerate ADHS again, which is what my doctor suggested that I take. I should see some improvement in my numbers by January. The workout was the Trak Shak 5 in 37:04 (7:25 pace). Moderate effort and even pace for first 3 miles. Faded in Mile 4 but made up for it in Mile 5.
Weight is up to 160, which is the highest it has been in 4 years. That's the upper end of the range so I don't want to gain any more (never thought I'd say that). The cause is likely the thyroid instability and blood sugar issues. NO more soda and alcohol usage must be rare.
As for Huntsville, the principle goal is to finish but if I can turn the corner in the next 3 weeks and feel that I can PR, I'll certainly try. I'll predict a time in the upper 3:40s. If by some miracle, I can crack the 3:30 barrier, I will happily retire from marathons.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=5.0

11/18- Woke up feeling very hyperthyroid so I went with 2 ADHS and it worked well. The question is: What happens if I take 3 or 4? If that does not take me to hypo symptoms and if I could go without it for a day, I declare myself chemically stable! Yes! Workout was an indoor 6 at 45:27 (7:35 pace) plus a final 1/2 mile in 3:18 (10K race pace). Overall workout was 6.5 @ and even 7:30 pace plus a cool down. Solid performance.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.0

11/19- Easy 3.5. Started slow (8:10 first mile) then slowly picked up the pace and finished in 27:56 for a 7:59 average pace. Didn't feel my best but not bad enough for it to be a concern.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance-3.5

11/20- Terrible performance. Needed 12 hours of sleep then went from hyper to hypo because I took SBF in addition to ADHS. I remain chemically unstable with more loud screams of frustration. Workout was supposed to be 15 miles. I ended up quitting after 4 in 32:44 with splits of 7:56-8:06-8:07-8:35. I mentally checked out after 3 miles. My only hope is more ADHS to stabilize.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/21- Mildly better than yesterday and that is faint praise. Pace was decent through 8 miles then slogged an 8:21 and then an 8:40 then quit after Mile 10 with a time of 81:35 (8:10 pace). I rested for a few minutes then ran a mile all out, which was a pathetic 7:59 followed by a cool down at a glacial pace. I probably need more ADHS. 3 or 4? Do I need tyrosine or iodine? SBF ain't gonna work and neither will taurine. 3 weeks until Huntsville and I am not ready.
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=12.0

Weekly summary:
"You're doing better because you've got a stable job and you're living where you want to be." Bull^#@^! I cannot take this chemical instability any longer!
Distance= 37.0/ GPA= 15.3/8= 1.91

Monday, November 8, 2010

training 11/8-11/14

11/8- Indoor 5 mile in 35:29 (7:06 pace). Still 3 minutes down on my PR and felt hyperthyroid but this is the best I've felt since the injury. Good start but could not hold pace after 1.5 miles. Splits were 6:47-7:00-7:11-7:16-7:15. 1st half: 17:21, 2nd half: 18:08. New thyroid supplements have arrived and I'll start on them tomorrow. Hope is still alive.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=5.0

11/9- Johnny's workout for the first time in a while. Great to see him again. 3x1200. Times were 4:50-4:46-4:43. Knee was a bit tender so I skipped #4 but I was told that I "was not limping at all." Overall pace was 6:22, which is the fastest I've gone since the injury. As for the body's response to the new supplements, I tolerated them and that's a good sign. It may take a while for it to fully work and I'm comfortable with that. Wild swings that I had in the past would make me feel uneasy. In peak condition, I would have run these 1200s in 4:15 or under. I experienced the stiffness of hypo and the breathlessness of hyper, which is pretty much what the medical report showed. Is this where the healing begins?
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=3.5

11/10- Planned rest day. Can't rush back or risk another injury.

11/11- Veteran's Day run on Lakeshore. In mid-November, I ran without a shirt in 75 degree weather. Workout was 6.5 miles on the trail. I aimed for about 8:15 pace and felt too sluggish. The SBF won't work for me. I have to stick with the ADHS and possibly Thym-Adren. To my credit, I stuck it out and finished my longest run in more than a month. Time was 56:26 (8:41 pace). 1st half: 28 flat, 2nd half 28:26. Miles #4 and 5 were both over 9 but showed some life at the end with an 8:34 6th mile and a 4:00 last half as the SBF was working its way out. I've already topped last week's total in mileage.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.5

11/12- Good enough to run today but took an elective rest as a precaution. Thym-Adren won't work either. It's ADHS for sure and I may need thyroid glandular support for a short time.

11/13- BAD! ADHS ain't gonna work because it contains Lithium. SCREAMS OF FRUSTRATION! Tried 2 raw thyroid glandulars and felt pretty good for about 30 minutes then overshot the balance point. Hit 2.5 miles in a solid 18:15 then faded to 19:02 for 2nd 2.5 then hit the wall and quit. Next .25 was over 9 minute pace. MORE SCREAMS OF FRUSTRATION! I'll try one tomorrow then go back to tyrosine.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

11/14- Went with iodine and one tyrosine with no glandulars. Pretty good call. Tyrosine likely did more harm than good and I did feel a bit hyper. At any rate, I did what I meant to do yesterday. 10 miles at moderate effort. Time was 77:58 with an even pace (38:54/39:04). I slowed down in Mile 7 and had to push pretty hard to stay on pace. Still out of whack and not good by any stretch but still a nice improvement.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=10.0
Weekly summary:
I nearly tripled my distance from last week and my build up training plan is on track. That's good but my body is still clearly way out of whack and I am still angry.

Monday, November 1, 2010

training 11/1-11/7

11/1- Vestavia Mile in 7:26.8. I could not go much faster even if I wanted to but the good news was that my knee held up. It felt about the same as Saturday when I ran a 1/4 mile and Sunday when I ran a 1/2. I could feel the pain and it was holding me back but it was relatively mild and did not worsen during the run. I have my prolo appointment tomorrow afternoon and will need a few days to recover from the injections but I am optimistic about my prognosis. Still no medical report yet and in that case, I am hoping for the worst. Next run will not be until Friday at the earliest. Not that this means anything but my first half was 3:49 and 2nd half was 3:37.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=1.0

11/2- Prolo appointment. Planned rest day.

11/3- Pain from the injection peaked around lunchtime and has started to die down. Running is still out of the question today. Maybe I can go super easy tomorrow. Medical report came in and I was hoping for the worst and got it. The problem was that the news was bad on 3 fronts, not just 1. Blood sugar is bad, which was not a shock. I'm not trending diabetic yet but I am in the hypoglycemic range. Thyroid and adrenals are in overdrive yet I get stiff and sluggish when I take Lithium almost as if I am hypo. The critical Na/K ratio, which I expected to be very high, is near normal. The doc has suggested that I switch to an herbal supplement to balance it out. This is my last hope to get in balance.

11/4- 2 miles. Just over 2 days after prolo, I could stand to run again. That's encouraging. My Garmin died after a half mile in 3:59 so figure that my time was around 16. Again, I could not go much faster but my knee held up okay. I'll try to do a little better tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.0

11/5- 5K at tempo effort. Time was 22:32 with an even pace (7:17-7:10-7:14) + 50. 1st half was 11:15, 2nd half was 11:17. That's still a distressing 3+ minutes from a PR but MUCH better than my previous runs since the injury. I felt somewhat like myself and the new supplements should arrive by tomorrow.
Grade:C-/2 credits/distance=3.5

11/6- If healthy, I would have gone to Mobile for a shot at a sub-40 10K. As it is, I had to settle for a Veteran's Park 4 miler at EZ pace but not EZ effort. Time was 31:48 (7:57 pace). I wasn't putting out tempo effort but it felt harder than a normal run at this pace. An all out out effort would have been around 30 flat. This is the first time since the injury that I trained on hills and my knee held up well. The new supplements did not arrive today so I'll have to wait until Monday. Tomorrow will be longer and slower. Fair performance.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/7- Terrible performance. 5 hour energy will not work for me. Not a big surprise but I was curious how I would respond to it and really didn't expect it to be this bad. I'm stressed out. I don't know what to do if this new stuff doesn't work. It does contain ingredients that I could not tolerate in the past. The run was a half mile at Vestavia and I quit.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=0.5

Weekly summary:
This is not good. Even out of shape, this does not feel right.
Distance=11.0/ GPA= 7.4/6= 1.23

Friday, October 22, 2010


It is now 4 days post-prolo and I am about 30% better than before the treatment. I no longer have a visible limp and can go down the stairs normally if a bit gingerly. That's well behind where I had hoped to be at this stage. I know that I can't run until the left knee feels the same as the non-injured right one. It's still a bit stiff when I walk and it hurts a bit to straighten it out. I initially thought that it was PFS (Runner's knee) but after some additional research, it is clear that the problem is quadriceps tendinitis. The tendon that attaches the lower part of the quads to the top of my knee is damaged. A website says that the average recovery time is 4-6 weeks and I feel that my case was more severe. Prolo will likely ultimately speed the healing process but Huntsville is looking like it will be downgraded from questionable to doubtful. It's now been 2 weeks and I am feeling the ill-effects of not running. I can feel that my dopamine is falling and I am beginning to get some muscle stiffness as well as low-grade depression. I sent in my hair sample and am hoping for the worst. The medical report will likely reveal what I can and cannot do as a runner in the future. Even before this injury, I had grown weary from the volume of marathon training and said that Boston would likely be my last one. Now, it is becoming increasingly clear that my dream of qualifying is dead. The race sold out within 8 hours of opening and now the BAA is likely to make the standards even tougher. I may need a 3:05 or even a 3:00 to qualify in the 30-34 age group and no worse than a 3:10 at 35-39. Very few people are capable of these times and I am pretty sure that I am not one of them.
I've considered quitting marathons altogether but have decided against it. However, my all out marathon training cycles are over. Odds are what will happen is that I will sign up for a half and plan on running it up until the last week of training but I reserve the right to switch to the full if my training goes exceptionally well. All I want is a sub-3:30 or less than 8 minute pace and when I do that, I swear that I'm done with marathons. I ran a 3:35 while dependent on pills so I have no reason to believe that I can't go 5 1/2 minutes faster when free. Also, I may be softening my marathon goal a great deal but my goals at the shorter distances remain the same.
400- 59.9
Mile: 5:15
5K: 19:12
10K- 40:00
Half- 1:30:00
2011 will be my first full year of freedom so let's go after those times.
If I am to quit marathons, I want it to be on MY terms, not dictated by any type of imbalance!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prolotherapy (injury update 3)

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster this past week. At first, I thought the extreme soreness was due to another chemical imbalance. My knee was killing me after the Chicago half in 2008 but it turned out to be nothing more than a chromium/manganese deficiency. That would have been really hurtful. After having been free from the pills for more than a month and have that taken away from me yet again is very distressing. However, as the week progressed, it was becoming increasingly clear that this issue was NOT due to a thyroid/adrenal issue. I am still very interested in seeing the results of the hair test as I suspect that the report will show moderate-severe tendencies toward inflammation. I declare that I am still free from dependence on pills. If I have to take a supplement to keep my inflammation in check and keep my blood sugar in balance, I'm fine with that so long as I don't crash if I miss a day or two or crash because I took 1 too many pills. I do not see that happening again. Praise God. When people were critical of me for placing too much emphasis on my running, I responded by stating that I would be willing to trade my talent in this area for freedom from dependence on pills. I stand by that statement today.
The pain is extremely localized at the top of my left kneecap. I had bad tendinitis as a teenager but back then, the pain was all below the knee cap and had spread to the side and the bursa (just below the knee area). This is a totally different injury. I am still walking with a limp but it is not too noticeable and I have to take my stairs one leg at a time or it would feel like my knee would give way. Even after the appointment, I am still unsure of the nature of the injury. Is it a tendon or a cartilage issue? Was it due to overuse or simply a freak issue such as a sprain by taking a bad step? I do know that the injury likely occurred in the 11th mile of the race. I simply did not feel it because I was so locked into the PR attempt that appeared as if it would come down to the last .1 mile. I completed the remaining 2.5-3 miles on an injury, which explains why my last 5K sucked so bad.
So, I woke up around 8:30 on Sunday morning then took a shower and headed to church. While I was there, my heart told me not to give up the dream of a BQ just yet but my brain tells a different story. As of now the plan is to try again at the age of 34 and stick to 5Ks, 10Ks and halves for the next 3 years. I fooled around online for a bit then hit the road to Atlanta. Nick and I had dinner together and watched some football. From Nick's place, it was about a 20 minute drive up to Marietta and I was fortunate to get an early appointment. Upon examination, the doc seemed to think that it may not be an overuse injury at all but just a nasty sprain. Because the pain was localized, he was optimistic about my prognosis but unsure if one treatment would do the trick. If not, I have my Nashville appointment in 2 weeks. The injection itself was not as bad as expected but the post injection pain was extreme as expected. I'll take it one day at a time. The pain will begin to subside by tomorrow evening and my first attempt to run could be as early as Thursday. Of course, I'll have to ease into it slowly but 10 days off will not kill my fitness and there is still hope for a good time in Huntsville.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Injury update- Part 2

I have not attempted to run since Monday and today, Friday was the worst that the knee has ever felt. For the first time, I am walking with a noticeable limp. This may actually be good news in the long run because my only explanation is that the pain is partially due to the supplements I took in a attempt to fix it. As of today, I will go back to taking nothing and thankfully, I don't have to worry about panic attacks or a severe thyroid/adrenal reaction. All I can do is wait for the results of the medical report and hope for the worst (that's right, I said worst). With a severe indicator of inflammation, I have detected the root cause of the pain. If it's mild-moderate, it's nothing more than an overuse injury.
Good news, I called Atlanta (Marietta to be exact) and guess what, the prolotherapy doctor is able to squeeze me in on Monday morning. I told him that's "fantastic." If the results are as dramatic as with the Achilles injury, I could be back running by the end of next week. I'll have more than a month to get ready for Huntsville. Though I'd just be happy to participate, my current PR is soft and even if I'm not in the best shape, I think I could still run 3:30 with balanced chemistry (I ran 3:35 unbalanced in a time trial). Regardless of how this all plays out, I will plan on not running any more marathons for 4 more years until I turn 34 and my BQ time goes up to 3:15. I reserve the right to change my mind if things go extremely well and I feel that I am talented enough to run a 3:10 on 50 MPW. Possible but highly unlikely. I enjoy the shorter stuff more anyway and it is less time consuming. I still find a half marathon to be plenty challenging.
The pain from this prolotherapy treatment will likely be excruciating. The inflammatory or "healing reaction" is more intense if the patient is in greater pain prior to the treatment. I could be limping badly for 2 more days but that should clear within 5. There is a possibility that the treatment will help but not fully relieve the pain. If that happens, I must wait until 11/2 for my Nashville appointment. I still might be able to run Huntsville but can forget about a decent time.
Stay tuned for another update next week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Injury update

Nearly a week after my race, the extreme soreness in my knee has not diminished one bit. In fact, I think it has actually gotten worse. The pain is sharp and constant. It is most intense after starting walking as well as bending and straightening my leg. I am walking with a bit of a limp and going up and down stairs is sheer agony. My diagnosis is patellofemoral syndrome or "Runner's knee." I have tried various pills that I took for the thyroid/adrenal situation. The stuff that slows my thyroid stiffens my legs and causes fatigue. The stimulants did not have much of an impact at all. This tells me that my glandular activity is still in relative balance and may actually be a little on the slow side but probably near normal. That's the only good news. There is the possibility that I am dealing with an extreme aldosterone/cortisol imbalance, represented by a severe elevation of sodium relative to potassium on the hair test. In layman's terms, that means that I am vulnerable to a number of inflammatory conditions. That may explain why my performances were still fairly good up until the injury despite feeling more sore than normal after relatively moderate training. For the record, most of my recent medical reports revealed potential for mild-moderate inflammation as referenced by a somewhat elevated Na/K ratio.
Today, I tried loading with zinc, which is known to lower sodium and raise potassium. The groin and leg pain has diminished somewhat but the knee pain has not. I'm not giving up on it yet but I do not have a good feeling. I can also try a B-complex with choline and inositol. I had called Nashville and politely requested that my appointment be moved up if at all possible but did not receive a return call, which was not a surprise. There are 2 other prolotherapy doctors in Georgia, one in Macon (3 hrs) and another in the Atlanta area (2.5 hours). I will call both of them tomorrow to see if they have any appointments next week or early in the following week. I can't take this pain any longer. The good news is that prolotherapy has been very successful for knee injuries even with ligament/cartilage damage so I'm not ruling out participating in Huntsville just yet.
Here's an article on the subject:

If the link doesn't work, just google "Runner's knee" "prolotherapy"
My future as a runner:
The last 2 times I trained all out for a marathon, I ended up sidelined but the first one may not have occurred if I had been wearing proper orthotics. I am seriously considering retirement from marathons altogether just because of the injury risk. It seems that 50-55 miles/wk is just about my sustainable limit. Maybe I can safely jack it up to near 60 for 1 week per month provided that I keep my paces slow enough but the increase would be offset by an occasional race or a down week because of other commitments. Realistically, my average safe volume for a 15 week training program would be 48-50 MPW. What kind of time can I expect with that training? I "might could" crack 3:20 but 3:10 or even 3:15 is out the question. With no hope of a BQ, is it worth the risk of major injury to train all out for a marathon? I say no. The race itself is actually comparatively easy. Heck, I have decided on a whim to do run 26.2 mile training runs and finished safely each time.
If I am to do another one, it will likely be a spur of the moment decision such as an upgrade from the half to the full at the expo without a major time goal. Much of my future depends on the results of the medical report. If it comes back that I had severe inflammation, I can fix that by staying on top of my chemistry and will be less vulnerable to injury in the future. If that's the case, I may try again in another year or 2 but another injury would become "strike 3." If my inflammation level is mild-moderate, that means that the damage was due to overuse and simple "wear and tear." If that's the case, I am simply not cut out for advanced marathon training and my dream of a qualifying for Boston dies here. Sad but true. I won't know for another 3-4 weeks. Regardless of how this shakes out, I had planned to cut the mileage drastically in the Spring of 2011 to focus on my strength, which is hard speed training geared toward middle distance runners. I want those PRs now because within a few years, I will be too old to improve at distances shorter than 5K.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Injured again

10/11- Fortunately, I had the day off work for Columbus Day. I needed it and may have called in sick if not for the state holiday. Survived a 1.5 mile recovery jog. In the last 3 weeks, I have had extreme soreness in my shins and groin. Now, it's my left knee that is killing me. I was limping pretty badly early but did feel like I got warmed up a bit later. My pace was in the 9s. 2 days after a half, there is no way that I should be this sore. Something is clearly wrong. It feels like a mineral deficiency but taking chromium and manganese was not a quick fix. There are 2 other options that I can try but in any event, I'm doing another diagnostic test to see where I am regarding my chemistry. Yes, I am angry.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=1.5

Now, 3 days after the race, I still have pain when walking and going up and down the stairs is torture. I have no choice but to shut it down indefinitely. Yes, I am sore all over and believe that there is something wrong with my body chemistry. I started going downhill after my failure to PR in the 5K on 9/25. I've had a few good workouts since then but come to think of it, I really have not been the same since. What went wrong? Just like last injury, I do not regret trying for the fast marathon but my body failed me again. Until I am balanced, there will be no more marathons in my future. Odds are, the chemical imbalances caused poor connective tissue healing, leaving me vulnerable to injury. Because my right groin was sore, I likely compensated with my left leg and thus put too much strain on my knee. What hurts the most is that I had every reason to believe that I was in balance in September. Whenever I am intentionally misled, I have been known to react harshly so you can guess how I feel now.
What can I do? I am stiff all over and stretching may benefit me a little bit. I tried Lithium and taurine earlier and it made things worse. I tried targeting the neurotransmitters earlier and that too made things worse. I tried adrenal glandulars and chromium/manganese and I did not feel much of an impact. I'm not sure what to make of that. In any event, I have cut off my hair sample and will mail it to the lab as soon as the test kit arrives. That should give me some answers. The best case scenario is that my chemistry has reversed itself to slow oxidation, in which case, the solution is simple and there is still a chance that I will once again be free from pills in the near future. The worst case scenario is that the adrenal fatigue has returned. That means that I am out for the year and will have to rebuild gradually. I suppose that no significant imbalances would be worse yet because it would leave no explanation as to why I feel so bad but I highly doubt that I will see that.
I also called Nashville again and politely requested that they call me if they get a cancellation within the next 3 weeks. I am hopeful that since the knee is an acute problem, one visit will be all that I need. The groin has been a chronic problem so it's no surprise that it has taken multiple visits.
Racing plans:
Mobile 10K- out
Monty 5K- questionable only because it's a fun run
Huntsville- questionable also. I won't do it unless I'm feeling well. I've still got 2 months to go and after the prolotherapy, I'll likely know. At this point, I don't much care about my time and if I had not already signed up, I would scratch it. I may just quit marathon altogether.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Run for Life half report

After I was freed from dependence on Lithium, I put in the best 4 weeks of training of my life, averaging 63 miles/wk with virtually all of it under 8:00 pace in an effort to get into 3:10 marathon shape by December. Unfortunately, it proved to be too much at this time. Again, I'm not at all disappointed about not qualifying. I expected to fall a bit short this year. What is upsetting is that my body quit on me abruptly after such a great start to the cycle. I began feeling the effects of over training and tweaked an old groin injury. There are no prolotherapy appointment for 4 weeks so I would have no choice but to go into the race at less than 100%. My confidence was pretty low up until a strong Trak Shak run on Wednesday in which I ran 4 miles at 6:45 pace then a 5th mile in 6:08 for an overall time of 33:11. I had not topped 30 miles in 3 weeks but before that I was in the midst of my best training ever so I would indeed go for at least a baby PR (1:32:57), set last December at Baton Rouge.

Fairly smooth ride. I stopped in Bessemer on the way to renew my car tag and driver's license. That will save me from taking time off work. Lunch was a Pizza Hut buffet just across the MS border and dinner was a 16 oz. Ribeye at Logan's. The race would be located in the suburbs of Jackson, "Miss'sippy", Madison to be exact and I found the area to be much more congested than I expected. After a quick packet pickup, it took quite a while to drive 4 miles down the road to my cheap motel (Red Roof Inn- just $50). This would be my first MS race experience. I have no desire to race in all 50 states but for the record, I have now done at least a 5K in the following states: PA,WV,SC,GA,FL,AL,MS,LA,TN,IL,OR,ND. That's 12 down and there will be more to come. I could see racing in 25 before it's over. Race morning went without a hitch as I arrived in plenty of time and parked at a Wal-Mart just across the street from the starting line.

Course and race:
The RD said that it's a new course that is "flat and fast with a few moderate hills." Okay. Which is it? Flat and fast or moderately hilly? I did not drive the course because I wanted some relaxation time but the nearby area seemed to be gently rolling. That's fine with me. A few small rollers allow you to use different muscles and may allow for times to be just as fast or even slightly faster than a pancake flat course. It turned out that each of the first 6 miles had at least one fairly significant hill. They weren't too serious, maybe about a 1/4 mile long each and not terribly steep with enough downhill to recover. Still, as to be expected, the RD's definition of flat and fast is not the same as mine. I was out well with a comfortable and measured effort. I would not say that it felt easy but I was only working moderately hard in the early-middle miles. One area of concern was that the mile markers appeared to be consistently long by .01 or .02. Unless there were some shorter miles later on, my Garmin would measure the course to be about a tenth of mile too long. Now, I know the Garmin can be a little off in an urban setting because the tall buildings can affect the reception but in a rural area, it should be accurate and always has been close in the past. Anyway, the plan was to run an even pace around 7-7:05 all the way. I executed the plan quite well. Here are the splits with the Garmin pace in parenthesis:

1- 7:05 (7:01) downhill start, uphill end
2- 6:58 (6:54) more down than up
3- 7:05 (6:58) feel strong, running with a group of 3
4- 6:57 (6:57) finally an accurate mile
5- 7:13 (6:55) this one was 1.04 miles. Something is not right.
6- 7:04 (6:59). Almost halfway there. Even with a long course, I'm still on target for a low-mid 1:32 and feel like I can hold on.

I was worried about running in no-mans land for this race but that didn't happen here. We left one behind but picked up another, the eventual winner of the Master's division. I would trade places with him several times and we said a few words of encouragement. We turned out of a residential development around mile 6 and headed onto a highway. Fortunately, traffic was light early in the morning and the runners had a full lane to ourselves. Here, the terrain was a bit flatter. Instead of rolling hills, it was a mild incline that although noticeable at times, did not significantly slow the pace. We turned around just after the 8 Mile marker. Less than 5 miles to go now. I still feel good and am still on track for a small PR. In Mile 9 and 10, my pace did slow just a tad but I still felt relatively comfortable and resolved not to push it until I had 5K to go.

7-7:00 (7:00). Perfect.
8-9-14:18 (7:05). Missed a mile marker. Slowing a tad.
10- 7:11 (7:11). 70:52 at the 10 mile marker. I need a 22:05 last 5K for a PR. Just hold this pace for 3 more miles then kick home and you'll make it just barely.

The weather was in the upper 50s at the start but by the end, it was pushing 70. With bright sunshine, that can feel a little warm 13 miles into a race. I stopped twice for water and Gatorade. On a cold day, that's enough but today, I should have taken a little more. As planned, I started pushing with 5K to go and gained a few yards on the Master's leader but could not overtake him. Most of the 11th mile was slightly downhill so I needed a fast split here and was disappointed when I didn't get it. Whatever small hope for a PR still remained died when we turned off the highway to see a mile long hill. For those of you familiar with Birmingham, it was about on par with the hill by the Highland Park golf course and got steeper as we neared the top. To put that hill in the 12th mile is downright mean. One mile to go now and with my PR hopes dashed, I punted. My groin was feeling weak and probably altered my stride, my knees were aching and I decided that it was better to finish maybe 15 seconds slower than push too hard and end up in the medical tent. To add insult to injury, after a brief downhill, there was another nasty climb for about a half mile, which was even steeper than the previous one. C'mon man! I wanted to quit but I kept jogging and my instant pace was around 8:30. By the time we went downhill towards the finish, I was shot and was just going through the motions. To my credit, I did manage to finish pretty strong to secure a sub-1:35 finish.

11-7:15 (7:15) downhill, not good.
12-7:53 (7:48) this broke my will.
13-8:06 (7:53) don't care anymore.
.11- 41 (5:58 pace)pretty good finish.

Overall result: Official time: 1:34:47 (7:14 pace for 13.11)/ Garmin result: 7:09 pace for 13.27
Best time of the year and 2nd best all time. 12th overall, 3rd out of 31 in age group.

Final thoughts:
Not what I had hoped for but overall, not too bad. I've run many "pretty good" races in 2010 but am still waiting for the breakthrough. Everybody said that the course was long. Nobody measured the course shorter than 13.26 and the readings were consistent between 13.26-13.30. Since it was a new course this year, I choose to believe that it really was long. If the Garmin was accurate my pace was only 4 seconds slower than Baton Rouge. I only needed 7:35s for the last 2 miles to match my 7:05. Given level ground, I probably could have managed that. My grade is a B. As for the overall experience, I don't regret my choice to run this event but it is not among my favorite half marathons.

I clearly was not 100% and thus should feel even better about my performance. I should be sore but this is extreme and abnormal. I am even more sore than after my last full marathon. It feels very much like a mineral deficiency. I really do not want to go back on any pill but have reason to believe that a fairly simple adjustment to my diet will solve this issue. Let's hope that I am right. A sedentary person won't even notice a 5% energy loss but for an athlete, it's huge and likely made the difference between a 1:30 and a 1:34:xx.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Should I be upset?

3 months ago, I was beginning to come off the GABA/glutamine but was still dependent on Lithium and taurine every day to function at a high level. I should still be pleased with where I am but this development is very disappointing.
Last Monday, I struggled through an easy 10 after a day off and declared my quest to qualify for the Boston marathon to be over. I said that I was quite disappointed but I should clarify that statement. I am not at all disappointed about not qualifying. I expected to fall a little bit short this year. What is upsetting to me is that my body quit on me less than halfway through the training cycle. If I had completed the cycle with relatively minor hitches then got to the starting line in Huntsville but just did not have quite enough and finished around 3:15 or even 3:20, I would hold my head high. With a full year of healthy training next year, chances would look good for 2011. As it is, things went well for 4 weeks then I began to unravel quickly the following week just before a mini-taper was to begin for an important half marathon.
It started with calf pain and shin splints but during and after the easy 10, the pain shifted to the groin and hip area. I concluded that I was simply over trained and 3-5 days off should leave me fresh. I was ready to roll after 4 days. However, the pain in the hip/groin area started again early in my Saturday run and has not significantly diminished since.
To refresh the memory of my readers, I suffered a significant injury to this area when I was 19 and because of my imbalances, the connective tissues never properly healed and the pain would flare up from time to time and when my chemistry was out of whack, it was worse. I tried prolotherapy in the winter and early spring, which likely prevented a debilitating condition.
I still got some mild pain over the summer from time to time but only when I was slightly unbalanced and believed the treatment to be a success after only 2 rounds. Dr. Johnson said that although he thought 2 treatments would be sufficent, he may need to "touch it again." Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun to be examined for trigger points and stuck with a large needle in an area that is already painful but I really would have preferred to be done with this. Insurance doesn't cover me and the cost is in the neighborhood of $500 plus gas to drive 6 hours round trip.
I called the office to find that the hours are 9-5 Tuesday-Friday so I have to wait until 9:30 and then call to see if they can squeeze me in sometime in mid-late afternoon. If not, Wednesday morning will have to do. I need 3 days to fully recover from the injection and a race scheduled for Saturday so if I can't get an appointment by Wednesday, I'm better off putting it off until next week. I am NOT disabled. I ran 10 on Saturday with a fast finish then finished an 8 the next day. With a couple of rest days, I'm sure that I could finish 13.1 miles but if my groin/hip is not near 100%, any chance of a good time is out the window. I'm not stressing over this since it's completely out of my hands.
In retrospect, do I have any regrets? The only thing that I would have done differently was to run my easy workouts a bit slower. According to Daniels, to achieve optimal results in a marathon, one must train at 70+ MPW and for someone with my fitness level based on times at 5K-half mary, easy/long runs should be between 7:59-8:14. I averaged about 7:45 with a range of 7:37-8:00 but I did have rest days and super easy recovery jogs around 9:00 with mileage averaging 62.5 for 4 weeks. Even with balanced chemistry, I could not handle that. Odds are, my hip/groin never was 100% and even if I slowed down, I still may have over-strained it at that mileage. Can prolotherapy fix it now? Will I need additional treatments? I don't know.
Final declaration: When or if I qualify for Boston, it will be my last all out marathon training cycle if not my last marathon altogether. The training is just too time consuming not to mention exhausting and leaves you too vulnerable to injury. If I can't do it at 34, I may not try again for another decade.

training 10/4-10/10 (race week... maybe)

10/4- Tried some Lithium, which didn't work then tried some tyrosine and Vitamin C to kickstart the adrenals. The pills left me as stiff as a board with shortness of breath. Actually, this is a relief. I endured a rough 24-36 hours until it cleared my system but the peace of mind knowing that I am still free from those pills was worth it. The attempted workout was a downward ladder. Mile: 7:08, 800: 3:18, 400: 89. No typos. That was as fast as I could go unbalanced. The excess should clear by tomorrow.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0

10/5- AM workout before waiting to hear about from the doc. 3 mile tempo at Vestavia HS with a bathroom break. Time was 20:30 (6:50 pace) with a final lap in 93 seconds. Splits were 6:59-6:50-6:41. The poison had still not completely cleared my system but I was clearly better than I was just over 12 hours ago. No evening workout only because I have a race this week. Groin/hip was much better. The race is a "go" for Saturday. One irritation was that when the doctor finally called around 11 AM, the news was that there would be no prolotherapy appointments available for the next 4 weeks. This winter, I was able to get one in 2 days and there were numerous slots the next week as well. Something seems fishy there. Perhaps, he's busier in the Fall treating football injuries.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.0

10/6- Trak Shak 5. The plan was to run the first 4 at goal half mary pace (7:00) then sprint the last mile in less than 6 minutes. I quickly settled into 6:45 pace and felt fine. 1st 4 miles were very even (6:45-6:45-6:44-6:49) to hit the 4 mile mark in a strong 27:03. As planned, I had another gear for Mile 5. I could not manage sub-6 pace but turned in a solid 6:08, which is faster than my 5K PR pace. Final stats were an overall time of 33:11, which is an average pace of 6:38. That's comparable to my 10K PR pace of 6:36, which was run at an even pace. This is a huge confidence boost for race day. I may not PR but should run well. The groin was mildly tender and it's unlikely that it will be 100% until after prolotherapy. That could hurt me but it wasn't 100% in Baton Rouge last year either and I still smashed my PR.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=6.0

10/7- Scheduled rest day, feel pretty good. I'm going into the race with low-balled expectations but will not count myself out. Despite recent sub-par workouts, I am just 3 weeks removed from the best training of my life. I was doing great the week before Nashville but come race day, I was awful. In contrast, leading up to Mercedes '09, I was horrible but then proceeded to run a 6.5 minute PR so you never know.
Sub-1:30 is a pipe dream so I won't even list it here.
A goal: sub-7 pace (1:31:30) is a long shot
B goal:PR by even 1 second (7:05 pace) or 1:32:56
C goal: BQ pace for 13.1 (1:35:30)
D goal: beat my best time of the year (1:37:55) set on a tough Atlanta course after coming off the Achilles injury.
Anything less than that would be considered a failure though I do not give myself an "F" in a race unless I DNF it. I could limp to the line in over 2 hours and I get a D minus.

10/8- 1 mile worth of junk and a couple of strides.
Grade: Pass/ 0 credit/distance=1.0

10/9- Run for Life half in 1:34:47 (#2 all time), best time of the year.
Grade:B/4 credits/distance=14.0

10/10- Left knee is too sore for even a recovery jog. This is abnormal soreness and feels like a chromium/manganese deficiency. Can I fix it by adjusting my diet or do I need pills again?
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=0

Weekly summary:
Third straight week below 30 miles. If I can't get this turned around soon, not only will I not BQ, I won't even PR at Huntsville.
Distance=26.0/ GPA= 22.0/9= 2.44

Monday, September 27, 2010

training 9/27-10/3

9/27- Just my 3rd workout in the past 5 days and I still feel over trained. Workout was 10 miles in 79:56 (8:00 pace), about 2 minutes slower than my normal and it felt just as hard. My dream of a BQ ends here. I am quite disappointed. I should have known that the training earlier this month was unsustainable but I expected that a rest day would leave me refreshed. I would have thought that my paces would slow but if I can't handle 60 MPW over the long haul , I can't run a 3:10. I will take 4 days off then take it fairly easy leading up to my half mary. I can still salvage a good Fall racing season and maybe now that the mileage won't be as crucial, I can still get that 5K PR. The good news is that I am not injured but I am afraid of an adrenal fatigue relapse.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=10.0

9/28-10/1- Unplanned rest days.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=0

10/2- Slept for over 10 hours and still had some soreness in the groin area but overall not too bad. Plenty of energy. My Garmin was low on batteries so I had to run naked (running lingo for no watch). I do know that my first 4 miles were near 7:40 then just relaxed over the next 5. I took a rest to drink and walk for about 2 minutes then let it loose with a 5:55 mile with a final lap in 81 seconds. Good solid but not exhausting workout. The fear of a relapse has diminished.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=11.0

Monday, September 20, 2010

training 9/20-9/26 (sharp cut back)

Note: After seeing a lot of views of this post, I feel I owe my readers an explantion. My mileage had been in the 60s in preparation for a long shot attempt at a BQ. My body failed me because of a combination of over training and body chemistry that was rapidly becoming extremely unbalanced. This was my last good week before I melted down and ended up injured.

9/20- Elective rest day. 2 days after 20 miler. I am tired but not exhausted. The flat local 5K has been postponed by the RD so I will opt for a time trial instead. I still think I have a chance at a PR. I ran 19:48 last winter solo and I know I'm in much better shape now. I need 19:13 for an all time PR and 19:27 for a comeback PR. A sub-19:13 would be the first time I've beaten a PR at a distance that I raced in high school.

9/21- Johnny's workout. 6x600 in 1:58 (1:55-2:00). Extended rest then a 400 in 68. Overall pace was 5:12/mile. Solid but unspectacular. Calf muscles are still sore despite the rest day and just didn't feel fresh. A bit of a concern. I must slow my easy runs.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=4.0

9/22- Trak Shak 5 in 32:28 (6:30 pace). Another course PR! Yes! That's 3:15 per 800 and I think that sub-3:11 per 800 translates to BQ shape. It's going to be close but I don't think I'm quite there yet. Still a bit of stiffness in the calf but plenty of energy today.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=6.0

9/23- Easy 5 in 39:39 (7:56 pace). Not tired at all from yesterday, felt quite strong. Deliberately took it easy and hope that it will be easy enough to perform at my best on Saturday. That 5 M time trial projects to a 3:10:59 on McMillan! Here's the link:
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

9/24- Rest day

9/25- Frustratingly close. Again! Legs were stiff from the get go and just didn't have my best stuff. Worked hard from the half mile on. Should not have felt much effort until the end of Mile 1. (6:15-6:19-6:16)+ 41= 19:31. Best time of the year. 4 short of last year, 18 away from my all time best in '98. Tied for #3 all time so I'm not terribly upset. Is this goal going to be just beyond my reach? I'm not declaring my quest for 3:10 to be over yet but it's not looking good.
Grade:B+/3 credits/distance=5.0

9/26- Pretty much a forced rest day. Calves and shins are still abnormally sore. Not pleased at all and I will penalize myself for this.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=0

Weekly summary:
Part of me thought my body was bulletproof after getting off the Lithium. Not so. 3 hard runs, 1 easy one and an unscheduled rest day. I will not declare my BQ quest over just yet but it looks like I'm just not ready to handle the training. For the first time in a month, I am disappointed in my week and am really showing signs of over training. I'll try to survive a week in the low 50s next then do little-nothing race week.
Distance=20.0/GPA= 27.6/9= 3.07

Monday, September 13, 2010

training 9/13-9/19

9/13- MLR on Lakeshore. 12 miles @ 7:44 pace. Strong as a bull. Really got in the groove in the last 3 miles. Felt like I could have gone at least 10 more at this pace. When I'm fresh, I will be flying. Felt a bit tired this morning but ready to go in the afternoon. I MUST cut out sugar and caffeine. It may give me a temporary hit of energy when I'm tired from over training but the crash will be worse. Going for 65 this week.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=12.0

9/14- First run as a 30 year old was a forgettable performance. Veteran's Park 5 miler in 39:56 (7:59 pace) and had to work for the sub-8. This was less than 12 hours after my last workout so I'm not disappointed. I had enough energy to run but my legs were trash.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.5

9/15- Trak Shak 8 in 57:04 (7:08 pace). Hard and hilly tempo effort. New course PR by quite a margin. Plenty of energy left at the end. Felt great. This would have been good for 6:50s on Lakeshore and I was far from fresh. I'm ready for the half mary now.
Grade:A+/2 credits/distance=8.5

9/16- Easy 7 @ 7:37 pace. Tried a fast finish at the end and just didn't have sub-6 speed at the end so I backed off. Felt a bit weak towards the end but still a solid run.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.5

9/17- Veteran's Park recovery jog untimed at glacial pace with zero effort. Just what I planned.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=5.5

9/18- Most bizarre dream ever: I saw a girl that I like but couldn't smile at her because I was growing hair on my teeth. I went to the dentist who prescribed marijuana to solve the problem and even showed me before and after pictures of other patients. I laughed so hard. I woke up with some soreness in the calf and wasn't sure if I could do this but resolved to give it a shot. Pace was steady in the upper 7:40s and felt my best between miles 8-12. Faded badly after Mile 16 but I think it was the heat that got to me. It was 80 degrees at the end with sunny skies but low humidity. Managed to keep pace below 8:00 through 17 and managed 8:15s for 18 and 19 then took an extended drink break and pulled off a 7:17 (BQ pace) for Mile 20. Overall time was 2:36:33. Pace per mile: 7:50. New PR for 20 mile by 9 sec/mile.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=20.0

9/19- Easy 6 in 45:48. Even pace for the first 5 then ran the last mile at BQ marathon pace because I could. Overall pace was 7:38. Strong. Cool down at the end.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5

Weekly summary:
Very good week. Need to slow down on my easy runs just like RWOL has suggested. 60 miles worth of runs at sub-8 pace. I like that. Next week is a sharp cut back. Unfortunately, my planned 5K may be canceled so I may have to go for it alone in a time trial.
Distance=65.5/ GPA= 33/9=3.67

Monday, September 6, 2010

training 9/6-9/12

9/6- Trak Shak 8 @ 7:55. That's probably the equivalent of mid-upper 7:40s on Lakeshore. Struggled early but go in the groove later on. Could have gone 10 but this is a cut back week. Probably will rest tomorrow and do a double on Wednesday.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=8.5

9/7- Well earned rest day. Body was completely exhausted by the evening.

9/8- AM- Progression run with group. Finished at 8 miles @ an average pace of 7:32 with the last 2 miles in 6:51 and 6:38 while going slightly uphill. Not as strong as last week but today, I ran away from the group and nobody could catch me. Would have been faster with a buddy.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=8.0
PM- Trak Shak 7 @ 7:40 pace. Slowed a bit at the end but that was by design. I didn't mean to run this one faster than 7:45-7:50 and I hope I don't pay for it tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.5

9/9- Easy 6 @ 7:53 pace followed by a 3 mile tempo @ 6:49 with a 6:37 last mile. Strong.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=9.5

9/10- Easy 5 on the 'mill @ 7:58 pace. Boring.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

9/11- Riverwalk run in Louisville. 6.5 miles progression style. Average pace just under 7:40 but the last 4 averaged 7:19 and dipped under 6:52 in the last mile (goal HM pace). Solid. Needed a nap in the afternoon.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

9/12- Lower mileage left me fresher than normal and it showed today. Finished 9 miles in 69:15 (7:42 pace). 1st half @ 7:37, 2nd half @ 7:47 and I actually tried to slow to 8:00 pace. Strong.
Left Louisville just before noon, should be back to the Ham before 6.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=9.5

Weekly summary:
Solid week. Nothing spectacular but this was actually a cutback week and I still hit 55 with all of it under 8:00 pace. I know I'm in better shape than Baton Rouge last year but by how much. I'm a little down on my chances at 3:10 simply because I may not have enough healthy training. The race is 3 months away and I only have 7-8 weeks of good training to go. I want to get over 60 next week and follow it with a sharp cut back for a 5K PR attempt.
Distance=55.0/GPA= 31.4/9= 3.49

Monday, August 30, 2010

training 8/30-9/5

8/30- Strong MLR. Lakeshore 12 in 93:49 (7:49 pace). Pretty even pace. 1st half in 46:41 (skewed by 7:30 start), 2nd half in 47:08. That's less than 5 sec/mile difference. Fought stomach cramps in the last mile and managed a 7:22. 1 mile cool down brings my 7 day total to 65, which is a new personal record for mileage.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=13.0

8/31-Elective rest day. Good call. I felt fine in the morning but come evening, I was zonked. Should be fine for tomorrow's double.

9/1- AM- Progression run with group. 5 miles @ 7:35 pace then the final 2.5@ 6:35 on a slight net uphill. Maybe not as strong as last week's progression but I wanted to save a little something for the evening. 1/2 mile cool.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=8.0
PM- Trak Shak 5 with a moving time of an incredible 32:59 (6:36 pace). 2nd best time ever on this course. I would not have broken 33 if not for a few stops but it was 85 degrees and sunny and I ran pretty hard in the morning. It'll go in the books as a strong tempo. Splits: 6:37-6:30-6:42-6:44-6:25. Unbelievable! I know I'll pay for this one tomorrow. A bit of soreness in my arch. Must wear my orthotics in my next few runs.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=6.0

9/2- Not as bad as I feared. Yes, my body is tired but I've felt worse. The only downer was that there was still a little discomfort in my feet. I think that the new training shoes simply won't work for me and I'll go back to Asics. I have a nasty blister on the back of my heel, which has altered my stride a bit and that could lead to injury.
Easy 6 in 46:24 (7:44 pace). Amazingly, I took off at 7:30 pace but wisely dialed it back and kept it pretty even from mile 2 onward.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

9/3- Super easy social run with Ryan and Chilton. I did a 1.5 mile warm @8:36 and that was the fastest part of the workout. Finished around 9:15-9:20 pace so that barely counts as a workout but it was by design to be fresh for my LR tomorrow. Foot was okay.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=7.0

9/4- Good long run. Overall time was 2:19:37 for 18 miles (7:45 pace). Very even splits as well.
1st 5 in 39:18, 2nd 5 in 39:06, 3rd 5 in 39:13. At that point, I was just a hair over 7:50 pace overall and made an attempt to run the last 3 at BQ pace. Result was 7:23-7:42(slight IT discomfort)-6:54 with the final .25 at sub-6 pace. This is my best time ever for this distance but I've still got a lot of work to do to get into BQ shape.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=18.0

9/5- AM-Easy 7 at Mountain Brook but it sure didn't feel easy. Overall pace was an acceptable 7:55 but I stopped several times to stretch. I was hurt by the sun, no water and an empty stomach. 1 mile cool at glacial pace to finish up. Refueled with brunch at Golden Corral and took a nap. 4 miles shy of 70 on the week. Do I try a recovery jog this evening?
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=8.0
PM- Easy 4 at Veteran's Park at an even 8 pace. I am really feeling the effects of over training now. Good thing next week is a cut back.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=4.0
Weekly summary:
When I started this blog, I said that I would never run 70 miles in a week. Now that the adrenal fatigue is no longer a factor, that's out the window. Still, this type of training is unsustainable over the long haul. My easy runs have slowed from 7:45 to 8:00 pace and the strain of over training is starting to show. I'm not in BQ shape yet and with 3 months to go, it still looks to be a long shot.
Race schedule for the Fall will be:
9/25- local 5K
10/9- half mary in Jackson, Miss'sippy
11/6- 10K in Mobile
11/20- 5K fun run in Monty, more to see old friends than race.
12/11 Rocket City Marathon
Distance= 70.0 (PR)/ GPA= 41.3/12= 3.44 (heavy load)

Monday, August 23, 2010

training 8/23-8/29

8/23- Indoor progression run. It was cool enough to run outside today but I wanted to compare yesterday with today under the exact same conditions. I have not taken Lithium since Saturday night and wanted a test today. I passed with flying colors. The plan was 6 miles at BQ pace then the next 2 at goal HM pace. I came through the first 6 just under 44 (7:20 pace) or 3 seconds down on BQ pace but I more than made up for it by kicking in the turbo with a 6:42 and 6:13. I finished this run with a last 2 miles that were just as fast as the last 2 miles of my 5K race. Surely, I am in PR shape for 5K. My slim BQ hopes are still alive.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=8.0

8/24-Johnny's workout. 4x200 in 36, 4x400 in 74. That's a little slower than last time but I wasn't as fresh today and I made up for it with my dessert. 1200 in 3:58.2 (78-84-76). That's a 5:17 mile pace. 5:15 fresh and rested? Got a shot at it now. Long warm and cool.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=6.0

8/25- Trak Shak 3 in 22:38 (7:33 pace). 3 minute water stop then Trak Shak 5 in 37:45 for an IDENTICAL 7:33 pace. Once again, it's too fast for an easy day but that pace will slow when I get the mileage up. I am encouraged that I could do it without much strain. We'll see if my body demands a rest tomorrow but I'd like to get a medium long run in at an EZ pace. Took some Lithium before bed to see the body's reaction and did get noticeably stiffer. I AM FREE.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=8.0

8/26- Easy 10 in 78:06 (7:49 pace). Started at 7:40 for the first 2 miles but after that it was pretty even. My mileage should be in the upper 50s this week if not 60. All 10 miles were sub-8. Pretty solid. My body has not really shown much sign of breaking down. The small amount of Lithium has probably cleared my system. I still feel good. Recovery day tomorrow.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.0

8/27- Opted for a recovery jog instead of a rest day. 6 miles just under 54 (9:00 pace) which is just what I wanted to do. Body does feel a bit beat up today. I need a good night's sleep with no bizarre dreams.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/28- Good long run. 11 miles on Lakeshore in 85-flat (7:44 pace) then about a 10-15 minute rest and another 5 at the gym in 37:57 (7:35 pace). It was getting warm and I was out of Gatorade so I didn't want to risk it in the heat. I should have started before 7 AM but I needed that extra hour of sleep. In another couple of weeks, that won't matter. Strong!
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=16.0

8/29- Easy 6 in 46:11 (7:42 pace). Slowed just a tad in the 2nd half but still solid overall.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
One of my best weeks on record. The paces could be unsustainable in the next few weeks but I feel pretty comfortable at this mileage. I can even take a rest day if I increase my LR and add a couple of miles to my MLR. As expected, I have seen a significant improvement after being off the pills. My slim BQ hopes are alive and may not remain slim for long.
Distance=60.0/ GPA= 3.58

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Choices for the Fall

First, a quick update on the medical front: I took 3 Lithium pills on Friday, which proved to be too many then I cut it down to 2 for Saturday and it still felt like it was too many. It's evening on Sunday and I've taken nothing today and my energy is progressively improving. I tried to quit last week but could not and I might try again this week. I think there is a chance that I could be free from any pills for the first time since 1998. What more could I want for my 30th birthday?
As far as the upcoming month, we'll see cooler and drier air coming into Alabama. YES! Afternoons may still be quite warm but less humid and we'll see cooler mornings, which means that I can do long runs outdoors again. As for racing in September, there's really not a whole lot on the radar. There is a race in Tupelo on my list in the future but I've ruled it out for this year. It's a 14.2 miler and I'd treat it as a training run in which I run the first 13 at BQ pace then run the last mile all out. If I can run the last mile in the low-6s, I'll know that I have a shot. Johnny usually directs an 8K on the 3rd Saturday and I feel that I should come out and support him. There is a 5K at the Bessemer airport on the 25th that I may consider. It'll certainly be flat but with a light turnout, there is a high probability of ending up in no-man's land in which I'm the only one finishing in the 19s or 20s. If my 5K PR ends up being a solo time trial, I would be okay with that but one way or another, I'll get it before the end of the year. I also want to take one more shot at my lifetime goals in the Mile and 400 and that will cut into my mileage since I'll need a rest day prior to the attempt and the day itself will be lower mileage. As for October and November, I've got a ton of options:
Oct 2-3: Montgomery half, Hueytown 5K (local), 13.1 Atlanta series
Oct 9-10: Run for Life half (Jackson, MS), Race for the Cure
Oct. 16-17- Murfreesboro half, Maple Leaf 5K (local) both are flat and fast
Oct. 23-24- Houston half
Oct. 30-31- Silver Comet half (Atlanta), Greenville half
Nov. 6-7- Vulcan 10K, Food World 10K (Mobile)
Nov. 13-14- Huntsville half, Chickamauga Battlefield half
Nov. 20-21- Turkey Burner 5K @ my old gym in Monty
After all that, I have my marathon in Huntsville on December 11th. Of course, I won't race every weekend but I will likely end up choosing 3 or 4 and odds are, all of which will be PR attempts. More racing means fewer miles and fewer long runs on the weekends. If I am to keep my slim BQ hopes alive, I really can't afford to race more than once a month. How much of a chance do I really have this year? That should be answered pretty soon. If I still have to take the Lithium and my medical report reveals continued hyperthyroidism, I have no chance at all. If I am free from any chemical imbalances, I have no doubt that my talent is sufficient to achieve a goal that is arguably the most sought after among amateur athletes. However, I expect that even if I am 100% healthy, I will still need to average close to 60 miles/wk if not more. I cannot afford many race weeks and mini-tapers in which my distance may not top 40. So the question is: Do I really ramp up the mileage and go for the BQ or do I race frequently and focus on steadily improving my current PRs? I set all time PRs or post-HS PRs at all 6 distances in both 2008 and 2009. As for 2010, I am halfway there with near misses at 400 and 5K. Setting PRs at every distance is a goal that is attainable with or without freedom from the Lithium though the half in 1:32:57 could be tough to beat. What's my answer to that question? I cannot say just yet. If I can successfully quit the Lithium and see an immediate and significant improvement in my training as a result of it, I just might go for the BQ. If I break 1:30 in October and have another 2 months to improve, I will certainly go for it. Otherwise, I will not. One of the best things about being a runner is that if you miss a race in a particular year, the event will almost certainly be held again the following year and that includes Boston. Barring an adjustment to the qualifying standards, it will get easier in time. At 33 years of age, I will need to run a 3:10 but at 34, it relaxes to a 3:15, then 3:20 at 39 and all the way to 3:30 at 44. Yes, I expect to slow down between 33-44 and who knows what life has in store but my capability surely will not slow by a full 20 minutes or 45 seconds per mile.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Are UABle 5K RR

Training and strategy:
Pretty strong overall. I topped 50 miles 2 weeks ago and set an unofficial PR in an indoor 10K time trial (41:14) this week and seemed primed for another PR this time. I had a new race strategy as well. In the past, I had aimed for around 6:00 for the first mile then tried to hang on. That's a little fast for a goal in the low 19s but not terribly so unless you look closer. I was usually out at 85 seconds for the first 1/4 mile, and most of that came in the first 200 (about 40 seconds). 85 seconds for a 1/4 mile projects to around 17:30 for a full 5K. That is WAY too fast. Yes, I got to the mile marker around 6-flat but by then, my pace at the mile marker itself had slipped to 6:15-6:20. Then, I could hang on and scrape out a couple of 6:3x miles and with a decent kick, finish in the 19:40s or 50s. Today, the plan was to go out no faster than 90 in the first 1/4 mile and shoot for 6:10-6:15 for the first mile. I just wanted to maintain it in the 2nd mile then make the last mile the fastest, just like my 10K time trial.
Race day:
On the medical front, I am trying to wean off the Lithium (I'm hyperthyroid not bi-polar) and had taken too much the day before. I could only hope that the excess would clear my system by race time. I woke up in the morning feeling pretty well but not my best and headed to Vestavia HS for some strides, which I ran fairly fast with relative ease so I decided to give it a shot.
The gun went off and I was holding back as planned then about 200 meters into the race, we hit a decent downhill for about a 100 which increased my pace significantly. Once again, I hit the 1/4 mile in 85 seconds but this time, it was probably appropriate. We then turned into a construction zone before hitting Lakeshore trail, my most common training ground. I was about 3:05 for the half mile so I had slowed enough and from here, it was pretty much all out to the line. I passed at least 2 before the end of the first mile (a near perfect 6:10) and traded places a couple of time with the female leader. Throughout the 2nd mile, which was mostly flat, my effort was hard but I still felt reasonably well and each time, I checked my Garmin, it showed that I was holding the pace pretty well. I passed another 2 guys and the female leader was well within my sights, maybe 5 seconds ahead at the most and I knew that I could out kick her if I stayed within that range. I completed the mile in 6:20 for a 12:30 split and just over 13 with a mile to go. Now, even a brutal fade to 6:50 would still bring me home under 20 but I wanted more this time. If I could simply repeat that 6:20 and kick home hard, I would have a shot at my post-HS PR of 19:27. Unfortunately, most of the next .6 or so was slightly uphill with one or two short downhills to break it up. We went up another small hill then turned off Lakeshore and headed up another small hill. That one broke me and by the time the course went back gently downhill, it was too late. My energy had been spent and the lead female was pulling away from me. I battled hard late in the 3rd mile but my legs were simply shot. Finally, I hit the marker in 19:05 for a disappointing 6:35 split. I would finish well under 20 and turned in a decent finishing kick. There is some question about my final time. According to the results, I was 19:28 but my watch showed 19:40. In any event, it is not a PR but it is my best time of the year and a top 5 performance all time. I congratulated the female winner and thanked the RD for putting on a good and enjoyable race. I finished 7th overall and 1st in my age group.
Final thought:
I ran that 19:27 just over a year ago and since then I've broken 20 in 4 out of my next 5 attempts but have not approached my PR. Today was another good try but once again, I fell short. Again, because of the Lithium issue, I felt like I was operating just a hair below peak efficiency but I'm not using that as an excuse. In my defense, the temp was near 80 with sunny skies and close to 90% humidity. If it had been 20 degrees cooler, I'll bet that I would have been 15-30 seconds faster and well within PR range. My coach agrees. I will definitely try again before the year is over and am leaning towards the Maple Leaf 5K, Hueytown, or a race at a small airport, which should be pancake flat. My grade on the day is a B+.