Monday, January 31, 2011

Training 1/31-2/6

1/31- Lakeshore 10 in 78:18 (7:50 pace). First run in the new Brooks Ravenna shoes and they felt good. I was a bit tired before the workout but once I got started, I was fine. Even pace and wasn't spent at the end. First half was 39:12, second half 39:06. Groin was a bit sore. Not happy about that. Have I overextended myself? I have done 34 miles in 3 days all at sub-8 pace. Hopefully, that will not be an issue once I back off a bit.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.0

2/1- Nasty weather today so I stayed in and ran an easy 6 indoors. Time was 47:55 (7:59 pace). Average performance. Faded a bit towards the end. (23:48/24:07). Weight is down to 156, which is still in the range but I've lost 5 pounds this past month. It could be better blood sugar.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.5

2/2- Dreamed about getting de-friended by all but 36 Facebook friends. Sub freezing wind chill and a sudden drop in temperature. With a race in less than 2 weeks, I chose to stay indoors today and it was a good call. In taper mode now, I breezed through an easy 5 in 38:33 (7:43 pace). That's 2 ticks above the speed limit for an easy run. Obviously, I could have gone farther and certainly would have in normal training. I could have done this one at 7:30 pace with little effort and actually slowed a bit at the end to keep the overall pace above 7:40.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/3- Freezing rain and a good day for a planned rest. It won't be much better tomorrow. Why is it that extreme summer heat is so often followed by extreme winter cold?

2/4- Rainy and cold again so I stayed inside. 5K time trial in 20:17(6:30 pace). Slightly disappointed about this one. I really thought I was ready to go sub-20. I was at an even 10 after the first half then hung on for a 10:17 2nd half. Splits were 6:20-6:36-6:42-39. Best time of the year and a 28 second improvement over last time. That's the reason why this was not a "C." I clearly felt as if I was not operating at 100%. I'm 50 tough seconds short of my comeback PR and 64 away from my all-time mark. Sub-1:40 at Mercedes looks like a good bet but a course PR of 1:36:16 appears to be a long shot. I was in sub-20 shape just after the race 2 years ago. I'll be okay with a 1:37-1:38 effort.
Grade:B-/3 credits/distance=4.5

2/5- Snow flurries and a 10-15 mph wind out there today but I was outside this time. Early weather forecast looks okay for race day (30s but sunny) so I have to be prepared for those temps. 9 miles in 69:36 (7:44 pace). Trak Shak/Lakeshore route, which is mostly flat. Pretty solid performance. I think the chromium helped but I didn't feel my best out there. Slowed down in Mile 5-8 but that was partly by design after a too fast start and I had plenty left at the end.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=9.0

2/6- Crashed yesterday evening after a 2nd chromium pill. That's good. It doesn't look like I'll need it every day. Dreamed that I was back in college and got caught with a marijuana pipe. I've never tried pot so add another to the bizarre category. Today was sunny with temps in the 50s, which is what it should be this time of year. Modified tempo/predictor workout today. Trak Shak 6.5 in 48:34 (7:28 pace). I figure that if I can do this on a very hilly route when I'm not fresh, I can maintain it for twice the distance on race day. This projects to about 1:38 flat, which I've said all along would be pretty solid. Pleased with this one overall but the only downer was that I didn't have much left at the end. Passed Mile 6 in 45:11, then managed only 3:23 with a downhill in the last 800.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=6.5

Weekly summary:
I did pretty much what I planned this week. Hit the mileage target while staying strong in the last week of training before race day. Very good consistency but the dramatic improvement of the previous weeks has leveled off. Is this as good as it gets? My next medical report will shed some light on that question. The sample will be mailed in about a month.
Distance=41.5/GPA=31.2/10=3.12 (4th straight improvement)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Training 1/24-1/30

1/24- Victory! I am now convinced that the new stuff is working. Again, I needed 8 pills and I felt awful in the morning until they kicked in. By the evening, I was ready. 5K in 20:45 (6:39 pace). Splits were 6:32-6:44-6:46-43. Actually felt relaxed on the cool down as well. At last, I am within 30 seconds/mile of a PR at a major distance but I've still got a LONG way to go. I was a full lap behind my all time PR of 19:13. Ordinarily, I'm displeased with anything over 20 but this is my best time of the year and a 70 second improvement over my previous time. My first race at this distance will be in late March and I expect to be in sub-20 shape by then. As planned, I will take a rest from time trials and focus on longer distances until my taper.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=5.0

1/25- Plan is on track. Strong MLR today. 10 miles in 79 flat (7:54 pace). Very even pace. 1st half: 39:32, 2nd half 39:28. I was only 7 seconds slower than my 13.1 time trial on Saturday and this pace felt MUCH easier. Heck, even if healthy, I would not push a MLR much harder than this. Only 5K longer and 16 seconds faster per mile and I've got my 1:40 and I wasn't even trying today. There is no grade inflation this time.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.0

1/26- 8 mile progression run. 1st 4 miles in 31:30 (7:53 pace), last 4 miles in 29:06 (7:16 pace) for an overall time of 60:36 (7:34). I wanted to get closer to 7:00 pace for those last 4 but as it is, it's still 1:35 half mary pace. My course PR is 7:21 pace for 13.1 and I think I've got a shot at it fresh especially if I continue to improve steadily. Best news is that I didn't feel terrible this morning after not taking a pill for 7 hours. 1/2 mile cool down in honor of Ochocinco.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=8.5

1/27- I must be overtraining because the bizarre dreams have started again. Last night, I dreamed that I got caught with my pants down at work in my cubicle (I was wearing a nice shirt and underpants.) Risky decision to run today but came away unharmed. 3 straight semi-quality days are just too much. Because of my imbalances, my connective tissues don't heal as well, which leaves me more vulnerable to injury. The workout was an easy 5 at Vestavia with a time of 41:27 (8:18 pace). I ran today so I could rest tomorrow, be fresh for my long run and still have a shot at 50+ on the week. The slow time was due solely to natural fatigue. My body feels tired and worn out.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.5

1/28- Body demanded a rest day and I obeyed.

1/29- Lakeshore 15 in 1:56:33 (7:46 pace). Strong performance. Felt comfortable all the way and I had a lot left at the end. 1st 5: 39:18, middle 5: 39:14, last 5: 38:01 with a final mile in 6:55 (1:30 half mary pace) and that last mile was slightly uphill. Again, I have shown noticeable improvement over the past 7 days. I was only 1 tick faster but this run was 2 miles longer and included a few small hills. Most telling of all was that it was not an all out effort. Last week was. Final 13.1 was approx. 1:41:45, which would have been a best time of the year. I think around 1:37 or 1:38 would be a solid effort at Mercedes. Course PR is 1:36:16 and I would be thrilled to beat that one but not upset if I fall a little short.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=15.0

1/30- Trak Shak 8 in 60 degree weather. Spring is still a month away but we got our first taste this weekend. Total distance was 8.17 with an pretty even 7:52 average pace on a hilly route. I rate my performance as average. Not much of a struggle but far from effortless. I've run faster than this on the day after a 20 miler. Paid tribute to Ochocinco again.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=8.5

Weekly summary:
Getting better every week. This one was my best since before the knee injury and the first time that I have topped 50 miles since September. GPA has improved for the 3rd straight week and this was my first one over 3.0 since November. I've still got a long way to go. The final outcome on the medical front will probably not become evident until early summer.
Distance=52.5/GPA= 30.6/10= 3.06

Medical report and explanation

I don't expect many of my readers to understand this post but here goes:
My current best times of the year are as follows:
400: 73.56/ Mile: 5:53.2/ 5K: 21:55/ 10K: 44:56/ Half mary: 1:42:12.
A lot of runners would take a look at those times and say: "That doesn't look so bad to me. I'd love to be able to run like that and I don't have any significant health problems." However, if you take a look at my PRs, you will see that I am well below my standards. I'm 30-45 seconds slower per mile across the board or roughly 15%. If a world class miler had the same chemical imbalances that I have, he would slow down from a 3:50 to around 4:20. That's still better than 99% of runners out there but in a world class race, he would finish dead last and more than a half lap behind the rest of the field. Obviously, the first reaction would be: "What's wrong?"
I need 8 pills of a particular supplement to control my symptoms and yes, that is the dosage that my doctor recommended based on my last report. I tried cutting back to 6 but Sunday's debacle in the last 3 miles told me clearly that 8 is necessary. Every morning, I wake up feeling exhausted with very stiff muscles and rest from running doesn't help. The reason is that I have just gone 7-8 hours without any pills while I was asleep. I pop 4 in the morning and before too long, I am feeling better then the cycle repeats itself.
Here are my results:
Adrenal fatigue ratio (also known as life/death ratio)- NORMAL! Right where it should be.
Blood sugar: Ideal is 6.67. Mine is 14.00. Anything below 3 or over 12 is considered to be trending diabetic. This value was worse than last time (11.5). MUST stay off sugars and take Ca/Mg supplement religiously even though nothing bad will happen if I miss a few days.
Thyroid: I showed the greatest improvement in this area as my ratio came up from 0.66 to 1.00. That's still 4 times faster than ideal.
Adrenal: I suppose scant improvement is better than none at all. This ratio improved from 43.50 to 40.00. Ideal ratio is 4.17 so instead of being 10.4 times faster, I'm now only 9.6 times faster. I suppose a football record of 2-14 is better than 1-15 but it's nothing to celebrate. This ratio is better to be a little high than low but my number is beyond extreme.
My goal:
I'm really not too worried about the blood sugar. I can fix that if I'm disciplined enough. I really didn't expect to see much improvement in either the thyroid or adrenals. It was pretty much what I expected given that I could not tolerate more than 2-3 pills during the time reflected in this report. The fact that I am now taking 8 will be reflected in my next report. Before the fleeting period of glory in which I didn't need anything for a month, my thyroid was consistently around 1.6 and my adrenal was around 15-16. If I can't break those barriers by the summer, it will be as good as it will get. I don't have to be free from pills to declare myself healthy but I need to be to the point in which if I miss a day or two, there will be no serious adverse effects.
My ratios don't have to be perfect but they've got to be no more than 1.5 or even 1.75 times the ideal value.
Current thyroid ratio is 1.00, Target is 2.67
Current adrenal ratio is 40, Target is 7.00
If I can get to those numbers, I can pretty much guarantee that I will beat all of my lifetime running goals. If not, I have no chance. Simple as that.
Being unbalanced will also hold me back at work and can harm my relationships with others. The latter is far more important to me than running.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Training 1/17-1/23

1/17- AM- Mini breakthrough. 10K time trial indoors in 44:56. Best time of the year and just 26 seconds from the point of confidence in my treatment plan. Actually felt somewhat like myself today but I've still got a ways to go. 1st half was 22:15, 2nd half was 22:41. I got lazy in Mile 4 but outside of that, the pace was fairly even. I am now within 5 minutes of my goal and 3:42 (36/mi) from my PR. Got my first runner's high in almost a month.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=7.0
PM- Trak Shak 5 outdoors in 39:38 (7:56 pace). That's fine for an easy day especially my 2nd run of the day. Slowed just a tad in the 2nd half but still pretty good overall.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

1/18- Johnny's workout. (1200-800-400) x 2. 1st set was 4:34-2:59-85= 8:58 2nd set was 4:37-3:01-73*=8:51. Finished 11 seconds under 6:00 pace (5:57 overall). Satisfied with my performance. A very good day would have been 4:15-2:45-75 (5:30 pace) so I was within 30 seconds. I can't expect to turn this around overnight but progress is becoming evident. I am close to the point of confidence now.
* Final 400 was 73.56- best time of the year. Under 70 fresh? That 6:20 mile is very soft and it's going down on Friday.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=5.0

1/19- Trak Shak 5 in 39:22 (7:53 pace). That's fine for an easy day. No real complaints about this workout. Just a little soreness in the right knee but nothing to worry about. Pretty much the same effort and pace as Monday's afternoon workout. Pretty comfortable all the way.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

1/20- Vestavia Mile in 5:53.2. Best time of the year and 1st sub-6 after age 30. I ran my first sub-6 back in 1994 at the age of 13 and every year with the exception of 2006 (adrenal fatigue), I have clocked at least one mile below that barrier. I hope I can still do it at 40. Still, not a very good day overall. I had to take an hour nap after work and felt the ill-effects of my condition on the backstretch of the 1st lap. This was an unsatisfactory performance and would be a "D" under the normal scale but since I improved by 27 seconds over last time (38 to go, 33 to tie 2010's time), I feel okay about this one. Splits were good: 89-90-90-84. Another 10 lap cool down which was difficult. Mileage this week should be at least 45.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=4.0

1/21- Planned rest day. Looking forward to the BTC party tonight. Good call on running the Mile yesterday. Today is windy and cold. Upper 30s with a wind chill around 25.

1/22- Slept in so I could run in more favorable conditions. It was still quite chilly. 30s at the start, 40 at the end but at least it was sunny with only light winds. 13.1 at Vestavia plus a cool down. My time is down to 1:42:12 (7:47 pace). Solid 4+ minute improvement but still over 9 minutes from my PR. Still, when the first trace of discomfort hit, I could not really push through it. I just had to settle into the pace. I was pleased with my splits:
7:34-7:45-7:47-7:44-7:54-7:58-7:57 (1st half was 51:09)
7:50-7:45-7:53-7:53-7:53-7:31-48 (2nd half was 51:03)
Race day is 3 weeks away and I've decided that I am a "go" and have a chance at a respectable showing. Chattanooga 2 weeks later should be a bit better.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=14.0

1/23- 7 miles at Brownell Lakeshore in 59:56 (8:34 pace). Poor performance and I am very disappointed in this one. I really didn't feel any ill-effects at all from yesterday. It was all about the pills. 6 ain't gonna cut it. I must go back up to 8. If I took more than 8, it probably would take me too far in the other direction. Again, I've got to do what I must. It's only been 3 weeks on this new formula. I was doing okay through Mile 4 (8:02 pace) then I hit the wall just like in a marathon and turned in pathetic miles of 8:42-9:39-9:27.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
Perhaps my best week overall since the knee injury in October. I will cool it on the time trials after beating just one of my point of confidence times. I will take a shot at the sub-21 5K tomorrow. Once again, despite the downer today, I am better off than I was a week ago. I want to hit 50 at least once before the taper and if I have to slow it down, that's okay.
Distance=47.0/GPA= 26.4/11= 2.40 (highest in 5 weeks)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Training 1/10-1/16

1/10- Snow day in Alabama. The gym was closed so I went to Vestavia to run my 10K. I waited until the afternoon when the temps were above freezing. The track was simply wet but the football field was solid ice. Temp was 34 with a 10-15 mph wind. I ran in cotton sweats because I had shorts underneath and had been planning to run at the gym. Obviously, not the best conditions so I'll cut myself a little slack. My time was a weak 49:51 (7:58 pace). Best time of the year and my first sub-50 but it was a near all out effort to run an "easy pace" when healthy. Even pace after the 1st 2 laps and a hard fought 1:46 last go round to secure that sub-50. The goal is not a sub-50. It's a sub-40.
Grade:D+/2 credits/distance=6.25

1/11- Weather was not much better today and this time I chose not to subject myself to the conditions after finding that once again, the gym was closed. Instead, I opted for the 'mill. 2.5 at about 8:30 pace. Felt comfortable at that pace but discomfort came when I increased it to 8:15. I followed this with a pickup in the last .25 in which I could not hold 6 minute pace. I've had no noticeable improvement in the last 5 days and must do better tomorrow. I've been performing well below my standard for almost 4 weeks now. I have not been THIS BAD for THIS LONG since 2007.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=2.75

1/12- Another shot at the 10K time trial, this time indoors with temps in the 20s and a wind chill around 10. Much improved but I've still got a LONG way to go. Smashed my previous best time of the year with a 45:55 performance (7:20 pace). Almost 4 minutes better than last time but I need to chop off almost 6 minutes to hit my goal and 4:41 (45 sec/mile) to match my PR. Pretty even splits and I was pleased that my pace never went over 7:30 but I still felt like my top gear just wasn't there. Splits were 7:17-7:19-7:24-7:25-7:28-7:21-1:41.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=6.5

1/13- Easy 7 in 57:28 (8:13 pace) plus a cool down. Performance was fair. That pace is within the acceptable range for an easy day but I was not real pleased with how I felt. I was sluggish most of the way and could not hold 8:00 pace without a lot of strain. Last Fall, I could have cruised this one under 7:45. This pace should be effortless and it was far from it.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=7.5

1/14- Planned rest day. Again, not pleased with how I feel.

1/15- Lakeshore 13.11 course in 1:46:48 (8:08 pace) plus cool down. Best time of the year. That's a modest 2:10 improvement over the previous week or roughly 10 seconds per mile. The story is much the same as most of my runs this year. I was never uncomfortable during the run but no matter what I did, I could not pick up the pace. Once again, my top gear simply was not available. On the positive side, so far this year, there have been no wild ups and downs. I feel pretty much the same every day but it feels like I'm operating at 85% efficiency and I'm still unsure of the effectiveness my treatment. I did run a more even pace and my last mile in 7:50 was my fastest. I am still a distressing 14 minutes from a PR so I can't be happy about that. The grade is the same because I've toughened the standards since my recovery from the sinus infection and those standards will toughen further next week.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=14.0

1/16- Vestavia 400 in 77.12 (best time of the year). I felt about the same at the shorter distances. No top gear. I am a discouraging 15 seconds or a full minute per mile slower than my average. Struggled through an untimed 10 lap cool down to finish the week with a round number. I think I am close to 6 minute mile shape.
Grade:C-/2 credits/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
A little better than last week but that is faint praise. It's looking like I won't see any improvements from day to day but maybe from week to week, I will. I'm still not sold on these new supplements but I really don't have any alternatives. In order to be convinced, I've got to run the following times:
400 under 70, Mile in 5:45, 5K under 21, 10 K under 44:30, Half mary below 1:40. All of these times are about 30 sec/mile shy of my best and if I can't do that, this ain't working.
I am not even close at any of those 5 distances. 4 weeks until Mercedes and I remain questionable. If I can have fun at the race and think I can get near 1:40, I'll do it. Otherwise, not. My next option is Scenic City 2 weeks later in Chattanooga.
Distance=40.0/ GPA= 18.3/10= 1.83

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Training 1/1-1/9

1/1- Nothing has changed on New Years Day. Things have gone from bad to worse. At least I know that the thyroid supplements won't work. Can I quit them for good or will I need them again in a few weeks? The workout was one of my worst ever. Parking lot junk run in which I managed to set a new best time of the year at 2 separate distances. My first quarter mile was a blistering 2:12 as part of a sensational Mile in 9:37. No, I could not have gone much faster. One year ago today, I breezed through 26.2 in 3:35 then came back for more the next day.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

1/2- Hoping for modest improvement and got it today with a 5K pretty much all out. Time was 26:50 (8:35 pace) and set a new best of the year at the shorter distances along the way. 1st 400 was 1:54.8 and the first mile was 8:10. Can't say that I'm pleased but I showed improvement of more than a minute/mile and I'll take that any day. No thyroid caps. ADHS was the only thing I took. Also fighting a bit of a cold. Please let it be just a cold, not the flu or a respiratory infection.
Grade:D-/2 credits/distance=3.5

1/3- Unplanned rest day after feeling worse in the afternoon. The diagnosis is a bacterial sinus infection. What a way to start the new year!

1/4- 2 separate time trials and 2 more best times of the year. 1 Mile in 6:57.4 with a negative split (3:34/3:23) then I walked a lap and turned in a 400 in 89.6. Still hurting as a result of the sinus infection but the thyroid seems to be improving. Despite the improvement, the grade does not change much because I'm still a LONG way from my goals. I may try to get on the board in the 10K tomorrow.
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=1.5

1/5- Slow and steady climb out of the pit of despair. You can put a 10K time on the board for 2011 and this was my longest run since 12/18. I finished the distance in 50:48 (8:08 pace). Started out at sub-8 pace then faded after 4K. Hustled to finish the first 5K in 24:57 (best time of the year by nearly 2 minutes) then hung on for a 25:51 finish. This was not an all out effort but it was definitely in the tempo range and my pace was nearly a full minute per kilometer or 6 secs per 100 meters slower than my PR. Pleased with the improvement that I've shown in the last 4 days but I've still got a LONG way to go.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.5

1/6- 5K time trial. My time is down to 21:55. New best time of the year by 3 minutes and 2 seconds. Splits were 6:55-7:07-7:03-50. That's still 2.5 minutes shy of my best but I get a lenient grade because my improvement has been so great.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=3.5

1/7- Planned rest day but I have some news to share. I'm not getting my hopes up too high but this is a possible victory. Before I took the thyroid caps after Christmas, I was hyper-sensitive to the needed ADHS pills. 2 were not enough, 3 were too many. Now, I can take as many as I need and it's as if I can't get enough. Yesterday, I took 6 with good results. The doc says I may need up to 8 to get my numbers in balance. Despite the low grades, I feel pretty good about this week. Slow and steady improvement is the goal not the roller coaster of great days followed by terrible ones. I sent in my hair test yesterday and I expect only modest improvement. However, I do expect that my thyroid hormones are up to snuff. There is a chance that I could be balanced by the Spring. Again, the key word is a chance. Today was my last day on the Z-pak and so far, I've had minimal diarrhea. Is this shift in chemistry due to antibiotics? Will I have a post-antibiotic reaction?

1/8- Put it on the board for the half marathon. Finished the distance in 1:48:58 (8:18 pace). Not much difference in how I felt since Thursday so the grade remains the same. Started at 8:00 pace then slowed to the 8:30s in the 2nd half. Also set a new standard for 10K at 50:40, a scant 8 second improvement but it's better than nothing. The steady improvements must continue or I will become frustrated. Mercedes is only 5 weeks away and I'm 16 minutes off my PR.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=13.1

1/9- 1 Mile indoors (sub-freezing temps) in 6:20.85. Best time of the year by 35 seconds but I'm still 65 away from where I need to be. At least I am now within a minute of last year's time. Would have been a bit better if not for all those tight turns. Splits were 93-98-97-92. That 400 in 89.6 sure looks soft now but I want to wait and do it outside.
Grade:C/2 credits/distance=1.0

Weekly summary:
I'm certainly not pleased with my current condition but I've shown perhaps the greatest sustained improvement over a 9 day period that I ever had. Overall, I've regressed back to 2007 form but this time, there is real hope since I'm likely only fighting a single imbalance that may very well be easily treatable. The grading scale toughens again next week.
Distance=30.0/ GPA= 17.1/12= 1.43