Sunday, January 24, 2010

Super Bowl preview

1-1 on the week and I remain at .500 for the playoffs. My hat is off to the Jets for a tremendous end to their season. It's too early to make picks for next season but they could very well dethrone New England in the AFC East. They'll be a Super Bowl contender next season.
I thought MIN was the better team than NO and I stil feel that way. It was another gutsy performance by Favre but it's hard to overcome 5 turnovers. Will Favre come back next year and will the team be as strong? The answer to the second question is "I doubt it." Green Bay will be tough to beat in that division.
I have vague memories of the Redskins/Broncos Super Bowl (1987 season) but the first one that I remember clearly was the next year's classic (Montana's drive to beat Cincy). Since then, we've seen some great Super Bowls, some forgettable games and some blowouts. Between now and then, I'll try to think of the 5 best since 1987 and the 5 worst. I remember some of the games better than others but almost every year, I remember what I did that day and where I went to watch the game. This year will probably be a low key event and probably a trip to a friend's place.
As for this year, I think that it will be a good game. I like the matchup of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as both had outstanding seasons. We are back to what we thought we would see after Week 13 when both teams were undefeated. This is the first time in a long time that both number one seeds made it in the same season. I will pick the Colts to win but will say that the Saints have about a 1 in 3 chance of pulling off the upset. I expect that the point spread will be Indy by about 3-4 points. As for my personal preference, I don't particularly like either team but will root mildly for the Saints mostly because they've never won before. Brees has been a strong player for several years and I'd rather see him win his first than Manning win his second.
Prediction: Colts 28 Saints 24.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

training 1/23-1/31

1/23- I would have arrived in Austin today if I were not injured. As it is, I still took a road trip today. 59N up to Chattanooga, US-72W to Huntsville, 65S to the Ham. If I could not live in Birmingham, Alabama, my next choice would be Chattanooga, Tennessee. The downtown area in Chattanooga is surprisingly flat, especially close to the Tennessee river. There's a half marathon in this city that takes place in late Feb-early March. I might do it next year. Huntsville is a smaller city than I expected but I think I would enjoy living there as well. On the injury front, I had zero pain today walking around so when I got home, I decided to try a small test on the 'mill. I started out at 4.0 mph (15:00 pace) and had no pain so I gradually bumped up the pace. I felt my first trace of pain (maybe 1.5 out of 10) at just over 6.5 mph (9:00 pace). I shut it down shortly thereafter and felt no pain on the walk back to my apartment. My total distance amounted to about a 1/2 mile so this does not count as a workout. I will not attempt to run again until next weekend but I think I will be healed by then. This injury does not appear to be as serious as I initially feared. I will upgrade Mercedes from doubtful to questionable but will downgrade the race from a marathon PR attempt to a 1/2 mary fun run. Atlanta has been upgraded from questionable to probable. 2 weeks off will not kill my fitness and if I can get some semi-quality workouts, I might still run a halfway decent time. Tomorrow is a football day and yes, there will be commentary about those games.
Grade: Non-Pass/0 credit/distance=0.5

1/24- Felt awful most of the day. I'm not even running and I have tarsal tunnel and plantar fasciitis flare ups! WTH? That does it. I'm switching from Lithium to SBF to target the thyroid instead of the adrenals. In the end, it looks like I will rotate the two each month. Lithium worked like a charm in Nov-Dec. Taking SBF for too long could cause inflammation. If I had gone to Austin injury free, I may have sucked.

1/25- I've only taken 7 days off so far but it seems like a lot longer. I admit that I am addicted to running. It's a chemical imbalance (dopamine level has crashed) and I have a history of a deficiency in that area so the best way for me to feel better is to run again. I tried taking some leftover Sam-e, an OTC antidepressant, and it helped the first day but overstimulated my thyroid thereafter. Today is my first full day on the SBF so we'll see how that works. 7 days off doesn't make a significant dent in fitness but the steep drop off comes starting around 10 days off. 1 mile progressive jog on the 'mill. Time was 9:52 and felt a rise in dopamine. Minmal pain during the run and none after. I may not be ready yet but I'm not far off unless I do something stupid like a hard run.
Grade: Pass/0 credit/distance=1.0

1/26- Planned rest day. When I woke up, the AT was not painful but it just didn't feel "right" and did not feel the same as the healthy one. Perhaps, it is scar tissue breaking up. I must be very cautious. I may attempt the Trak Shak 3 tomorrow but will stop if it hurts at all.

1/27- Not a very good day overall. I woke up with an anxiety attack so I took some taurine and it helped. I did attempt the Trak Shak 3 and there was a very small crowd despite relatively nice weather (upper 40s, clear light winds). I shut it down after 2.5 in 19:47 (7:55 pace). I was not in terrible pain but just didn't feel right. My first run after a lay off usually sucks so I might be better tomorrow. If not, it's another week off and no chance at a decent time at Mercedes. My status for that race remains questionable. Weight: 152.2, just 2.8 below my goal.
Grade:Pass/1 credit/distance=2.75

1/28- No need to try to run. I am in a little pain today and am out for another week. Yesterday may have ultimately delayed my return but I wanted to try. If I am back to full strength in time for Mercedes, I will have lost too much fitness to run a decent time.
Grade: Non-Pass/0 credit/distance=0.25

1/29-Depressing rainy day.

1/30-Depressing cold day

1/31- Still afraid to run.

Weekly summary:
Not much more to say than is not already evident. Maybe I can run next week. If not, I'll be a spectator for my hometown race. Next week, I get an F for not running.
Distance=4.50/GPA: N/A

Thursday, January 21, 2010

injury update

Today will be my 4th day of forced rest. The pain when walking has diminished somewhat but I am a long way from even attempting an easy run. I was holding out hope for a miracle recovery but it's not happening and I have officially cancelled my plans to go to Texas this weekend. My weekly mileage since Christmas was 55, 45 and 60 (an average of 53.3 per week). I averaged 38.2 in 2009 but my median mileage was around 42 and had several weeks over 50 so I did boost my mileage and intensity but it's not like I was a complete moron about it. I read an article last night that hyperthyroid conditions can put one at increased risk for tendon injuries. That confirms what I pretty much knew already. The frustrating thing is that I religiously followed my supplement program but did not see any real results. My only hope is that mega doses of Lithium will do the trick. Again, the Lithium that I take is a dietary supplement derived from vegetable culture, not the drug intended for bipolar patients. If I was in balance, I feel that I could run 80 miles a week, clock a sub-18 5K and a sub-3 marathon. I have no aspirations of reaching that level but is 60 MPW and a 3:10 marathon on a downhill course (3:15 for non-asterisk) too much to ask? Sadly, yes it is. All I had to do was avoid injury for another 2 weeks then the risk would have diminished considerably. I would taper for the Mercedes full, which would have been followed by a week-10 days of rest before hitting it hard again. Man, it seems as if everytime I get upbeat for any length of time, I get knocked down. As much as the timing sucks, it actually could have been worse. All those 2-4 day flare ups that I experienced in the last 3 years most likely prevented an overuse injury from occurring sooner. When I was living in Montgomery, my job sucked, I had very few friends and running was the one thing that kept up my spirits. An injury in 2008 or '09 would really have been a crushing blow.
I have read a few horror stories of some runners who have battled achilles issues for years. That frightens me but I must believe that those cases are very rare and in most instances, the athlete tried to run through the injury for a long time. My self diagnosis is non-insertional achilles tendinosis. The pain is localized a few inches above heel near the bottom of the calf muscle. Most runners, I repeat, most runners with this condition recover fully. Half recover in one month or less but the worst cases could take up to 6 months and in a few instances, leave the athlete limited to being a recreational runner. I have been in that situation before. Back in 2001, on my final attempt to make the team in college, I went down with chronic tarsal tunnel syndrome. I was told that my running days could be over and over the next few years, I never ran more than 4 days or 20 miles per week. I've been through much worse so I fully expect to beat this as well.
The best solution is to rest and forget about the Spring racing season altogether. The good thing about road racing is that if you miss and event one year, it will almost certainly be run the next year. My buddy Nick is coming to Birmingham for the Mercedes half and it looks like I will be a spectator. I am really not looking forward to that. Two supplements that may help are manganese, which is important to building strong tendons and lysine, which is involved in collagen formation. My manganese level was in the low-normal range but supplementing can overstimulate the adrenals so it's best to stay away from that stuff. Lysine could be worth a try but is unlikely to be a miracle. I found a site about eccentric calf stretching on stairs and will devote a few minutes a day to this before and after work. I am sure that I will not need surgery but if it does develop into a chronic condition, I am aware of an alternative treatment called prolotherapy, which is a series of injections into the tendon that often results in strengthening of both the affected tendon and surrounding muscles. That will be the last resort if all else fails.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Officially sidelined

Bad news. On this, my second day of rest, the muscle soreness has diminished but the pain in my achilles tendon has not improved and it remains slightly swollen.
This pretty much puts the kibosh on my Spring racing season. Based on what I have read and what's going on, it's looking like I will be out for 4-8 weeks so here's what it means.
Austin- out
Mercedes- doubtful
Atlanta- questionable
Nashville- probable
It's unlikely that I will be even close to PR shape even in Nashville which is 3 months away. I am not in any rush to come back. I will rest as long as necessary to make sure that I am 100% healed. For those of you who did not read my last novel of a post, here's a brief explanation of what went wrong:
I had some significant tightness in my calf due to imbalances and other treatments that did not work and the 13 mile progression run on Sunday simply put too much stress on my Achilles tendon. A 2.5 mile cool down proved to be a very bad call. I blame my unbalanced body chemistry, not my training regimen. I have no real regrets about training for a 3:10 BQ marathon. I had to try. I knew the risks and felt that I was ready. I have failed but at least I know that I gave it an honest effort.
In the future:
Until further notice, I am through with marathons. I will stick with 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and any other distance in between. You can finish a marathon on 35-40 MPW which I did in 2008 in Eugene (time was 3:56) but you will not get optimal results unless you train at 60+. That type of mileage is very time consuming and presents a high risk of injury. I can handle the 26.2 mile distance a couple of times a year. As hard as it is to race that distance, it is actually the easy part. 95% of marathon starters make it to the finish line. You are more likely to fail to make it to the starting line just because the training is so grueling especially if you are seeking optimal results. In a half marathon, you can get good results on 45-50 MPW. In fact, I believe that 50 MPW is all that I need to meet my goal of a sub-1:30 half, sub-40 10K and a sub-19 5K so that's where the focus will be in the future. I will not say that I will never run a marathon again. A clean bill of health could change everything that I just wrote. In 2014, I will be 34 years old, which is younger than Geb when he set the world record and the BQ standard will relax to a 3:15, which is 11 seconds per mile slower than a 3:10. Maybe I will be in balance by then.

Monday, January 18, 2010

medical report and injury scare

I'll start with the good news:
Up until yesterday, I felt like I was making fine progress and was much better off than I was 6 months ago at the time of my last medical report.
-4 out of the 6 ratios are within the normal range. Tissue sodium fell from an off the scale reading of 89 down to 51 (ideal is 25-30). Tissue potassium fell from 20-15 and is now in the normal (not ideal) range.
-Despite the fact that I stopped supplementing with zinc, manganese and chromium, none of those values changed significantly. Zn and Mn actually rose slightly (only Mn is normal).
-Tissue copper rose from 1.2 to 1.6 and is now within the normal range.
-The adrenal fatigue ratio (Na/K) is 3.4 (normal is 2.5-4.0) so I can't get much better in that all important area. That one is most important.
The two ratios that are outside of the normal range are very bad. They are also 2 of the 3 most important ratios and have to do with thyroid and adrenal function. Both are significantly overactive to the point in which it is causing significant energy loss and poor connective tissue healing, which has left me vulnerable to injury. Neither ratio improved significantly since the last test. The adrenal hormone ratio, which is different from adrenal fatigue got slightly better while the thyroid got worse so figure it's a wash overall.
The only thing I can do is increase my Lithium dosage but even that may not be enough.
The injury scare:
My achilles tendon is very sore. It actually hurts to walk and it is a little bit swollen in a localized area. Some of my readers will tell me that I was asking for injury all along with my intense training, which included pushing too hard on easy days. Part of me agrees and part of me disagrees. My response is that with few exceptions, my easy runs were in the 7:45-8:00 range, which is at the fast end but still in the range prescribed for someone with my 5K time according to the McMillan calculator. Second, the intensity of the runs seemed to be within my capacity. Third, since the McMillan calculator is designed for 70-80 MPW athletes and I am only running 50-60, it's okay to be a little fast. Runners who train at 80+ should be slower.
I have managed to avoid a running related overuse injury for the first 3 years of my comeback. In fact, outside of a couple of freak sprained ankles, I had not had a running related injury since 2001 and even that one was directly related to my hyperthyroid condition.
Here's what did go wrong:
First, as stated in the medical report, my body is out of balance and I truly thought that my thyroid and adrenal hormone ratios would be better so I was more vulnerable to injury than I realized. Second, the fact that I had tried a couple of new approaches this past week that didn't work caused even more stiffness and further stressed my connective tissues. Bottom line, if I was in balance, these workouts would be a breeze. Third, when my tarsal tunnel flared up a bit, I ran through it thinking that the new approaches to treatment would solve it as it had in the past. Fourth, when I first felt the achilles pain during my cool down, I did not stop immediately. That was very stupid.
Where to go from here:
I do have some localized pain but my entire body is sore, especially the calves and groin area. When I bend down to touch my toes, I can't get much more than halfway between the bottom of my knee and my shoe top. Stretching my groin actually causes my lower abdominal muscles to hurt. Therefore, I am still holding on to hope that 2-3 days off will do the trick. If I had localized pain while the rest of my body felt great, then I would know that I am really injured, not just extremely sore. The more time that passes without improvement, the bleaker the situation becomes. That said, even if by some miracle, my AT heals and I am able to run well by the end of the week, my dream of a 3:10 BQ in 2010 ends here. Aside from not stopping immediately during yesterday's cool down jog, there's not a lot I regret. The one thing that I will change is the 3-4 mile recovery jogs at cool down pace will be replaced by a day of complete rest. I know that it will require 60 MPW to get into BQ shape and as of now, my body simply cannot handle it. In running as well as anything else in life, you never know what you are capable of unless you try your best. I had to try and I have failed. The only way that I will change my mind about a December BQ attempt is a medical report with everything in the normal range next time. That seems unlikely. When I turn 34 in 2014, I still believe I will be at my peak and the BQ standard will relax to 3:15 at which time, I might try again. Part of me wants to quit marathons altogether and just focus on the 5K-half marathon distances where it is possible to get good results on less than 50 MPW, presents less risk of injury and is not as time consuming.
Self-pity part:
Why did this have to happen now after my last hard week before my trip to Texas after which I would begin tapering for Mercedes? Couldn't this wait until the summer or at least after Mercedes? Of the 4 planned races, Austin was the one that I least wanted to miss with it being a blazing fast course and a chance to see a HS buddy. I wouldn't be too upset about missing Mercedes since I ran the half last year and already have an unofficial marathon PR this year. After Mercedes, I would have taken a week or two off then ran a half in Atlanta for fun on a tough course so it's not that big of a deal to miss that one either. In April, I've got Nashville and I feel good about being able to do that one.
All of that said, I have been through a lot worse than this so even if my worst fears about this injury are realized, I am confident that I will come back and PR again.

NFL playoffs 3rd and final

3-1 record this weekend, which evens me up at 4-4 overall. My Super Bowl pick didn't show up to play. For championship weekend:
Indy vs. NYJ- It's ironic. The only reason that the NYJ are in the playoffs at all let alone the AFC championship is the fact that Indy put in their scrubs in the 2nd half of the regular season game. What a cruel twist of fate it would be if that same team prevented Indy from making it to the Super Bowl! I'm rooting for New York but I don't see them winning. Both of Indy's playoff opponents had 9-7 regular season records. That may be the easiest path to the Super Bowl in history.
MIN vs. NO- If both teams show up to play, this one could be a classic. I picked MIN to represent the NFC on my first post and will stick with them.
I'm picking Indy to win it all and I expect that they will be favored. That said, both MIN and NO have about an equal chance of pulling off the upset. As for the NYJ, I've taken them lightly all the way and they've proven me wrong but another upset victory would be a huge long shot. Odds of a Super Bowl win are even longer.
Odds of winning:
Indy- 50%
MIN- 25 %
NO- 20 %
NYJ- 5%
Edit: As for personal preferences, I guess I'm rooting slightly for MIN over NO. I'm sour on Indy because of the way they finished the regular season. I don't have a problem with resting some of the starters but please, let the 2nd team play to win. Who knows, there could be a potential superstar on the bench and a time like that, rather than preseason when some of the competition will be bagging groceries in a few weeks, is the best time to evaluate the players. I feel that there are of lot of 2nd string players who have star potential that never get a real chance to play. If Bledsoe did not get hurt, Tom Brady may never have gotten a chance to start.
Why am I rooting for MIN over NO?
Even though I don't like how Favre flip flopped on retirement, I have a lot of respect for someone who has been written off countless times as too old and played through pain week in and week out for so long. Also, Adrian Peterson had to overcome a lot of injuries in college and seems to have a great attiitude. Lastly, I didn't have the greatest experience on a visit to the city of New Orleans. I almost got robbed on Bourbon Street by a man well known to police and was lucky that an officer was on the scene.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rant: cheating among athletes

Okay, so Mark McGwire "came clean" and admitted what we already knew. He used steroids when he played baseball. You could say that he doesn't deserve to be slammed by the media because he is otherwise a law abiding citizen. A murderer or a rapist may not even make the news and yes his wrongs are infinitely worse than someone who simply cheats in professional sports and doesn't harm anyone thus we should not so hard on him. That's certainly a valid point but it's the price you pay for living in celeb obsessed culture. As for McGwire, I will not attack him too hard personally but I do want to address an attitude that I find disturbing not just among athletes caught cheating but society as a whole.
As a quick clarification, some people say steroids were not banned by MLB at the time. That's not true. Commissioner Fay Vincent imposed a ban on steroid use way back in 1991. It was simply not enforced for more than a decade.
My problem is with people who may apologize then proceed to make excuses for their bad behavior or simply say "I made a mistake." First, a mistake is a one time indiscretion not a lifestyle pattern over a period of a whole decade. My father told me a story of someone in the Army who got busted for something and he told the Sergeant: "Sir, I done wrong. I know I done wrong and I can't undo the wrong that I done." Aside from the poor grammar, an attitude like that will earn my respect. For the record, he received no punishment from the Sergeant. McGwire says that he used steroids primarily to recover more quickly from injuries and that he had good years in which he did not use at all. He also said that he didn't feel like he was cheating and could have hit 70 home runs clean. It's a lame excuse and I don't buy it. I believe that he used for most of his career and the times in which he was clean were the exception rather than the rule. McGwire played through 2001 and claimed that he stopped steroids after 1999 yet he looked just as big back in'01 as when he broke the record in 1998 and it was not until he retired that his body shape changed so drastically. Some of them say that they didn't know that what they took was steroids. If you buy that, I've got some beachfront property in North Dakota that I will sell you at a discount price. I've taken some powerful supplements (all legal) and in many cases, felt the effects within hours. These anabolic steroids are MUCH more powerful than anything I have taken. Don't insult my intelligence by saying that you didn't know or didn't gain any benefit from it especially being athletes so well in tuned with their bodies.
If an athlete had simply that yes, he used steroids and the reason was to gain the edge on the competition, make more money and more fame then admitted that he was terribly wrong and nothing excuses it. That's a respectable answer yet nobody will come out and say that. McGwire is not going to make the Hall of Fame and nor will anyone else linked to steroid use. Let's say that a teacher catches a student cheating. Does he or she say that the student would have passed without cheating and give him/her a "C" No, the cheater gets an "F," a zero to be exact. That's how many home runs these cheaters have honestly.
Track and field athletes are not much better. I once read an anonymous survey of 2 questions. 1.) Would you take steroids if there was an absolute guarantee that you would never be caught? 2.) If taking a pill would guarantee that you would win every competition for 5 years then kill you soon after that period, would you do it?
Sadly, a significant percentage answered yes to both of those questions.
As for #1, that really underscores just how little integrity is valued and the moral bankruptcy in our society. As for #2, it saddens me more than anyone else. 5 years out of 80 is only 1/16 of your life and for someone to have priorities that far out of whack is almost incomprehensible. I am a Christian and try to focus on an eternal perspective. I am not going to minimize the here and now but to take it to that extreme blows my mind and I cannot even think of the right words to explain just wrong it is to essentially kill yourself in order to cheat to victory. Sickening! That's all I've got to say.

Monday, January 11, 2010

training 1/11-1/17

1/11- Lakeshore 9 in 69:02 (7:40 pace). I got heckled today. The quote was something to the effect of "have you ever heard of a car?" Wow. I never heard that one before! That's a bit on the fast side but I don't think it'll hurt me. Started too fast (7:18 1st mile) then settled down. This was nearly effortless. Thanks to increased taurine, my inflammation has diminished. It's a very fine line. More taurine on top of this would have resulted in more inflammation. My medical report has arrived and will be mailed by the end of the week.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=9.0

1/12- Johnny's workout was not real pleasant with temps in the 30s. Fortunately, the wind died down after the first interval. The workout was 4x1200 alone (all old people, nobody could keep up with me, LOL). It was an average performance. It is becoming clear that 1500 mg of taurine is not quite enough. I need 2000. If this workout had taken place only a few hours later, I would have been awful. As it is, the stats were 4:28-4:32-4:29-4:26 for an average pace of 5:59 per mile. That's acceptable but clearly not my best stuff. I ran a 200 all out to finish the workout and managed only 35 seconds (I've done 30 at the end of workouts before). 1 mile cool down with Ann and Susan. I get an 80 on the day and that's somewhat generous.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=5.0

1/13- Trak Shak 5 immediately followed by Trak Shak 3. It was a lonely run but at least it was a bit warmer. I think I overdid the taurine a bit (tried 2500) which was a bit too much. It left me just a tad lethargic and depressed. I managed to finish in 62:26 (7:49 pace) with moderate effort. Pretty decent performance but I feel let down and when I took taurine before bed, it made me feel worse. I'll try to settle on 2000 mg. I think I've got a shot at 60 this week or at least the upper 50s. That' real good.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=8.0

1/14- Back down to 2000 mg. Felt pretty good today. Lakeshore 10 in 78:58 (7:54 pace). The first 9 were all near 8 then I hit the accelerator and ran the final mile at tempo effort and clocked a 7:12 (BQ pace). Solid but not outstanding. A good weekend will get me to 60. I was hoping that the medical report would be in the mail but it was not. I will call if I don't get it tomorrow but really don't want to wait until after the weekend.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.0

1/15- I did not realize until today that over the past 7 days (1/8-1/14), I ran 64 miles, which ties a 7 day mileage PR. If I had known that, I would have added a junk mile at the end of yesterday's run. Today is nothing more than a 4 mile recovery jog on the 'mill at garbage pace.
Medical report has arrived. There is little change in my thyroid/adrenal over-activity but some encouraging signs.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

1/16- I just haven't been feeling quite as good as I was in November-December. Today, every step was misery as I struggled through 8.5 at an average pace of 8:40 not including many stops. I just showed no life at all and it may have been a mistake to stay out there. Mild tarsal tunnel pain has flared up, possibly due to my unbalanced thyroid. I took just a tiny bit of chromium and 1 SBF after the medical report arrived. I'll know by the evening if the SBF is helping or hurting me. I have a chance at redemption tomorrow.
Edit: It's only afternoon and one SBF made me feel MUCH worse! I'll have to load on the Lithium and stay on the taurine to get my numbers in balance but I'm not sure that will do it.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=8.5

1/17- 13 mile progression run on mostly level ground. MUCH improved from yesterday. I did have to stop a lot to stretch. I could feel the pain in my foot but it wasn't horrible. In my last 4 miles, I was in the groove and turned in miles of 7:29-7:26-7:17-6:54. I will still rest tomorrow as planned as a precaution.
PM- garbage run on the 'mill. I just wanted my weekly distance to be a round number. This will not make any difference in my fitness. It was painful. Achilles tendon was sore.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=15.5
Weekly summary:
Well, I hit 60 on the week as I hoped. The problem is that it was too much running for me. Maybe I can handle a spike to the 60-65 range maybe once every 6 weeks but I know that I cannot maintain this mileage. The pain in my foot is starting to worry me. I will maintain my 50-55 miles/wk. Is that going to be enough to run a 3:10 BQ? In my current condition, it pains me to say that the answer is probably not. If I can't get the thyroid and adrenals in balance, I can't run a BQ. If I am in balance, I believe that I have sub-3 potential (I will not try for it. 3:10 is good enough for me). As for this week, I endured one minor flare up and one major flare up and still ran 60 miles and nearly made a 3.0. I am hurting now.
Distance=60.0/ GPA= 29.6/10=2.96

Sunday, January 10, 2010

NFL playoffs 2

1-3 on my predictions this week and I nearly was 0-4 (I did stick with Arizona at the last minute). I saw at least a portion of every game and saw some surprises. New England didn't show up at all and their run of success may be over. Cincy didn't look like a playoff team and I expect them to fall off in 2010. Dallas looked impressive and I feel that they have the best chance among the teams that played this weekend to make it to the Super Bowl.
Divisional Round: Again, don't put too much stock in these picks.
Balt at Indy- I'm rooting for Baltimore because of the way Indy finished the regular season but I feel the Colts are a superior team. Baltimore lost a lot of close games to playoff teams so expect this one to be competitive. Baltimore was 1-6 against playoff teams during the regular season. One upset wasn't a big surprise. Two upsets is asking too much for a 9-7 team.
New York at San Diego- I picked San Diego to win it all and I'm not changing it. I'll give NYJ credit for the way they've played in recent weeks but of the final 8, I still say that they are the least talented and least likely to win.
Dallas at Minnesota- Give me some time on this one. Dallas has been hot while MIN lost 3 straight before getting back on track in the last regular season game but it's hard to bet against Favre in the playoffs. I'm going with MIN now but I reserve the right to change it during the week. If Dallas can win this, I like their chances of making it.
Arizona at New Orleans- I'm rooting for Warner but if they couldn't stop GB's passing attack, it's hard to imagine them stopping Drew Brees. It's hard to bet against Warner in the playoffs too but I don't see him or anyone else duplicating what he just did. I'm going with the Saints.
The AFC is pretty well set between Indy and San Diego but in the NFC, every team has a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. If Arizona or Dallas can pull off the upset, both will be tough to beat in the NFC championship game.

Monday, January 4, 2010

NFL playoffs

20 years ago, Americans chose baseball over football as their favorite spectator sport. by a 2-1 margin. Now, the poll results have been completely reversed. I believe that a major reason is that because of the economics, every team has a legitimate chance to be a winner. 29 of the 32 teams made the playoffs at least once this decade and all 32 had at least one winning season. It is not uncommon for a last place team to win the division the next year. In baseball, almost half the teams come into Spring Training knowing that they have no chance to win.
Let's take a look at last year's division winners in the NFL:
AFC: Miami, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego
NFC: New York, Minnesota, Carolina, Arizona.
Only 3 of these teams repeated and the remaining 5 missed the playoffs altogether.
Here's what I predicted in 2009:
AFC: New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego (wild cards: Baltimore, Houston).
NFC: New York, Green Bay, Atlanta, Arizona (wild cards: New Orleans, Philly).
I thought Carolina, Miami and Tennessee would fall off this year and I was right on that but on others I was dead wrong.
I expected Favre to flop in Minnesota, picked Pittsburgh to repeat as champs. Cincy as this year's surprise team? I never saw that coming.
This year's playoffs:
In the AFC, I see San Diego and Indy clearly better than the remaining 4. I thought that New England had the best chance to pull off an upset and I still do even though they are banged up a bit. I see Baltimore as the next most dangerous team while I see little chance of Cincy and NYJ going anywhere. I'm picking San Diego to go all the way and I'm really pulling for them. Rivers is often overshadowed by other QBs but I think he's as good as any (he's also originally from Alabama) Indy essentially threw the last 2 games so I hope they lose the first round.
A rundown on the teams:
Indy- Peyton Manning leads a loaded team.
SD- riding a 10 game winning streak with momentum and tons of talent
New England- underdogs are a new role for them but never count out Brady
Cincy- upstart and under the radar but I don't think they're as talented.
Balt- tough schedule, proven to be competitive but I don't see them upsetting 3 in a row.
NYJ- rookie QB with more INTs than TD, going nowhere but keep an eye on them in 2010. They'll be a Super Bowl contender if Sanchez develops into a solid NFL QB.
The winner of the Balt/NE game has the best chance to do some damage.
My odds: NYJ: 50:1, Cincy, 20:1, Balt, 12:1, NE: 8:1, Indy: 3:1, SD: 5:2
Cincy over NYJ (yes, I saw the last game), NE over Balt
Indy over Cincy, SD over NE (upset a a real possibility)
SD over Indy (I would pick Indy over NE)
Every team here is dangerous and has a real shot at making it to the Super Bowl.
NO- lost 3 in a row but let us not forget the first 13 games.
MIN- faded toward the end of the season but got back on track. Favre has been written off too many times as washed up but don't count them out. You've got to admire how well he's played at his age (I'M A MAN, I'M 40!) If Adrian Peterson gets hot again, this team could blow away anyone.
DAL- finished this season strong but have a history of choking in the playoffs
AZ- My Christian brother Kurt Warner is the one that I am pulling for more than anyone and they've proven that they can get hot when it matters most.
GB- solid team all around, won 7 of 8 to finish the season and the one loss was by 1 point.
PHI- strong experienced that played through a tough schedule.
PHI: 12:1, DAL: 10:1, AZ: 10:1, GB: 9:1, NO: 7:2, MIN: 3:1
PHI over DAL (upset pick), AZ over GB- because of playoff experience NO over PHI, MIN over AZ/ If GB beats AZ, I'd pick them to upset NO but not MIN
MIN over NO
Super Bowl: SD over MIN.
For the record, I've made playoff predictions before and have been dead wrong so don't put too much stock in this. There will probably be more upsets that I predicted. In each of the last 4 years, at least one team that played in the wild card round made it to the Super Bowl.

training 1/4-1/10

1/4- Quad issue has been downgraded from extreme soreness to moderate soreness. It was still necessary to rest today. I had been warned by the 3:20 group on RWOL to slow down so I didn't reveal my workouts on that forum. I got yelled at big time by the 3:10 group instead. No, I will not go as intense this week nor did I have any plans to do so.

1/5- Sub-freezing temps the past 2 days. It's a good time for a cutback week. My quad was still sore and part of me is thinking to rest until the soreness goes away completely. Because I feared that this was an injury, I decided to test it out on the 'mill at recovery jog pace and it was a success. The quad is no more sore now than it was when I started so if this were an injury, I would not be able to even do this. I may be able to handle an easy Trak Shak run tomorrow and if I'm pretty much recovered by the weekend, I'll be around 35-40 on the week.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=2.0

1/6- Trak Shak 5 @ 7:13 average pace. That's a good deal slower than my usual but that's acceptable all things considered. I ran my last 3 miles at 1/2 mary pace (7:05-7:06-7:04), can't get much more even than that. Soreness in my quads has diminished but the inflammation has worsened. My doctor suggested that I try a new product for it and it has not worked. Still, overall not too bad. I'm almost back from my monster weekend.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.0

1/7- Easy 6 indoors. My new Garmin 405 and foot pod still didn't work indoors so I don't know the exact time or distance but I felt fine. That Hoover Rec center is almost as bad as the dreadmill but since it was spitting freezing rain and 30 degrees w/ wind, I didn't have much of a choice. Got home just after AL/TEX game started. Roll Tide.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

1/8- AM- Easy 4 on the 'mill. Wind chill was in the single digits in Birmingham, Alabama!!?? I did not struggle at all but the persistent inflammation in the groin is a concern. I've got to do something about it. I'm still waiting on the medical report.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0
PM- Another easy 4 at Hoover Rec Center. That's about all that I can stand to do at that place. Even pace just above 8 but felt sluggish and stiff. I will try something else for the inflammation. My weight is up to 150.6, which is a good sign. Still no medical report. Wind chill again in the single digits so that's why I'm indoors. Runners have to run on the outside and walkers get the inside lane???!!!! The air seems stale there too so it's hard to breathe. When my membership expires in May, I will likely join the YMCA instead even if I have to pay a lot more.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=4.0

1/9- Trak Shak 13 in 1:41:13 (7:47 pace). I waited until the afternoon to run and the temp may have sneaked above 30, the start of a gradual warming trend. 'Bout time! The course was the first 6 of the 8 mile route then turned toward Lakeshore after I hit Mountain Brook Village then turned up Green Springs then ran the last half of the 5 mile route. It was a good course with a mix of flats, hills and mild inclines/declines. Started too fast early but settled into the 7:50s in the 2nd half (12 of 13 were under 8). This is roughly the pace that I want to run at Mercedes and I felt fine.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=13.0
Fun facts: It was warmer today in McMurdo, Antarctica than it was in Birmingham
It was warmer in Juneau, Alaska that it was in Orlando, Florida.
1/10- 11 miles in 87:42 (7:58 pace). Faded pretty badly in the last 4 miles but managed to hold sub-8 pace. Good pace for the first 7 and managed to finish pretty strong but 8-10 sucked. I just didn't have my best stuff today and part of me didn't want to be out there at all. I hope I'm not getting burned out. Temp was near 30 and sunny but there was a 15 mph wind so the wind chill was about 20.
Grade:C+/2 credits/ distance=11.0
Weekly summary:
This was a planned cutback week and I got about what I expected out of myself. Yes, last week was a bit too hard but I was surprised by some of the reactions to my workouts. My favorite was: "holy overtraining. Do you want to get injured? Then slow the eff down on your easy days." According to McMillian, I should run my easy workouts at 7:45-8:15 and that's what I did with the exception of one day, (5 in 7:20)All things considered, being a cutback week with freezing temps all week, not too bad overall.
Distance=45.0/ GPA= 28.7/10=2.87