Monday, February 28, 2011

Training 2/28-3/6

2/28- Solid start to the week. Tornado watch outside so I opted for a crowded indoor run. 7.5 miles in 58:23 (7:47 pace). Even pace after a fast 1st mile. Took lots of chromium and it was effective in knocking out the abnormal soreness. No complaints.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.5

3/1- Johnny's workout. 400-800-1200-1200-800-400 with generous rest periods. Quite a bit of soreness in my legs but got through the workout unharmed. Times were 84-2:52-4:27-4:26-2:54-71. That's an overall pace of 5:45. Good job. Normally, I strive to run every interval just under 6-pace then burn the last one around 70. Today, I would not have been able do the 1200s on time without the extra rest. I need more and more chromium so I may try to reduce the ADHS from 8 to 7. We'll see how that works out. I'll see if I have a tempo in me tomorrow then I get a rest on Thursday. I think I'll wait on the Mile until next week. I predict my sprint times would be around 64/5:30 now.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.0

3/2- The chromium deficiency has been more bothersome than the ADHS dependency of late. Of course, if I can somehow reduce the ADHS, I won't need as much chromium. Man, it would be great to be able to quit them both or at least not feel awful if I miss one day. I had to pop a chromium before the workout today but timed it perfectly. Trak Shak 5 in 32:48 (6:34 pace). 4th time under 33 and 2nd best time on that course. Mile 4 sucked as usual but I bounced back at the end. Most impressive of all was that this run did not leave me exhausted. I finished the day with a 2.5 mile cool down at 8:20 pace, which is almost in the acceptable range for an easy run. This is a 10K pace of 40:51 and I wasn't even fresh. I did have to stop several times for traffic but believe that I had a 33 flat in me if I went continuous.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=7.5

3/3- Perfect weather outside and it's going to be nasty for the next 2 days so I chose to postpone my rest day. Lakeshore 7 with Adam and Jason in 52:49 (7:33 pace). That's well over the speed limit but I was not about to wimp out on the group. Felt strong the whole way and ran very even splits. Cool down at the end. Took 7 ADHS and 3 chromium today. I will try to cut the ADHS down to 6 tomorrow and hopefully will only need 2 chromium.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=8.0

3/4- Rest day that was well deserved. This time I stuck to my word. I'm trying to get through the day on 6 ADHS pills and feel slightly uncomfortable. As expected, fewer ADHS means I need less chromium. I have only needed 2 of those pills instead of 3. We'll see how I feel tomorrow morning. If I feel bad when I wake up or suck in my workout, 6 still won't cut it. I had an extremely bizarre dream last night but in this case, you do not want to know the details.

3/5- Felt progressively worse as the evening progressed last night so I have to declare that 6/2 will not work. I'll send in my lab test next week and we'll see what it says. I remain chemically unstable. ARRGH! Weather was bad so I chose to postpone my long run until tomorrow. Easy indoor 7 in 55:19 (7:54 pace). Very unsettling that the adjustment did not work and I still did not feel the best after the pills kicked in but did manage an average performance.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=7.5

3/6- Winter has made one last gasp (I hope). Temp was around 40 today with a sub-freezing wind chill and this was in the afternoon. Very good run despite the change in temperature. Trak Shak 3 + Trak Shak/Lakeshore route. Total distance was 14 miles in a time of 1:46:25 (7:36 pace) with a last mile in 6:52. That's 3:19 marathon pace. Again, I broke the speed limit but I have a rest day scheduled along with a slack week ahead so I should be fine. 1/2 mile cool down to hit the mileage target.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=14.5

Weekly summary:
Excellent week overall. I don't think I've ever had 3 solid A's in one week. It's still unsettling that I remain chemically unstable. What I'm doing now is a winning formula for now but I'm not real confident that it's the long-term answer. The lab test will be mailed next week. Upcoming is a Mile time trial and a 10K PR attempt in a very low mileage week.
Distance=50.0/ GPA=32.4/9= 3.60

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Scenic City Half Marathon RR

Coming off the strong effort at Mercedes, I put in a 50 mile week (all at sub-8 pace) but followed it with a steep taper. I felt plenty fresh on race morning. One piece of bad news is that the chromium deficiency has reappeared. I will not alter my formula until the next medical report but this could halt my progress if I do not make some changes.
I left work at lunch time Friday and completed the smooth ride up I-59 to Chattanooga in about 2.5 hours. I checked into to the Days Inn and took the short walk to the Chattanooga Choo Choo to pick up my packet. This is one of my favorite cities and if I could not live in Birmingham, this would probably be my next choice. Dinner was a rather mediocre sirloin at a diner that was connected to the hotel. Oh well. It was probably worth it to avoid getting in the car again. The night before race morning was not very pleasant. I was awakened a few times by drunken idiots in the parking lot and dreamed that I missed the start of the race.
Chattanooga has a pretty flat downtown but there are massive hills nearby including Lookout Mountain where the view at the summit provides the opportunity to view 7 states. This course was basically out and back starting and finishing outside Finley Stadium, home of the UTC Mocks football team. Since much of the route was along the Tennessee River, I expected it to be mostly flat as advertised. I did see a course map and elevation chart and it looked pretty manageable. It appeared to have a long gradual climb in Mile 9 and a couple of shorter ones. The course covered very little of the flat downtown area. I suppose that's understandable since it's a relatively small event with a little over 1,000 runners. You can't shut down traffic for 3 hours for something like that. There were 4 tough sections spread throughout the course:
Mile 3: steep climb for about a 1/2 mile
Mile 9: double hill with no downhill recovery in between
If you can survive Mile 9 feeling okay, you're in pretty good shape but there were 2 more moderate hills about 1/4 mile long in Mile 11 and Mile 12. I rate this one as a notch tougher than Mercedes and another man agreed. Difficulty rating: 5/10.
Once the pills kicked in, I felt strong and ready to roll. The weather was sunny with temps around 35-40 at the start and near 45 at the finish. No real complaints there. I planned to be more aggressive in the early stages today (7-7:05 pace) and hope to hang on for a baby PR. I executed the plan to near perfection. The first 2 miles were gently rolling with a decent downhill near the end of Mile 2. I was not looking forward to running up that same hill in Mile 12. Then we hit the 1/2 mile hill in Mile 3. I was working hard here but fortunately, the last half mile went back down. We were now on a major highway with a lane closed for runners. I was beginning to lose contact with the lead pack but resolved to run my own race and a few of them would come back to me in the later stage. The Garmin was pretty accurate today so all recorded splits are Garmin pace:
6:57 (6:57) A little quick but nothing to worry about
7:01 (13:58) On pace for 1:31:xx
7:03 (21:01) up and down
Miles 4 through 8 were largely flat and fast and just after the Mile 6 marker, we turned onto a bike trail that included some bridges and beautiful views. I was working hard here but still remained fairly comfortable just like a long tempo. I would gain a few places in this stretch.
7:01 (28:02) good, stay close to 7 and you've got time in the bank
7:08(35:10) a little too slow, pick it up here.
6:56 (42:06) back on track
7:00 (49:06) smooth sailing on the flats
7:05 (56:11) I know what's upcoming.
According to the Garmin, I had passed 6.55 at almost exactly 46 flat but it looked as if this course would be measured around 13.2 so figure I was around 46:20 at the halfway point. Can I PR? It's going to be close and it could come down to a final sprint. The moment that I had been dreading had arrived. We turned off the trail and hit the uphill. At first, it did not seem so bad. Maybe it was 3/8 of a mile and fairly steep but manageable. I trudged past a fading runner and waited for the downhill but it did not come. It merely leveled off then there would be another climb that would not end until the end of the Mile. I thought my hopes for a PR were gone but I was pleasantly surprised by the respectable split. Can I make up the lost time of the downhill. I did not let it fly on the steep downhill. I merely used it to recover for there would be another bridge to negotiate. At Mile 10, I was just a few ticks behind my pace at Baton Rouge but I remembered that I struggled a bit in that last 5K down there. It was still possible to squeeze out that baby PR.
7:20 (63:31) uphill
6:55 (70:26) downhill
7:01 (77:27)
With 2.5 miles to go, we were now on the other side of the road that had taken us through the early stages. I survived the bridge climb and got a welcome 1/2 mile decline that felt much better than going uphill in Mile 3. I figured that the course would be measured between 13.18 and 13.20 so after some quick math in my head, I figured that I would need roughly 7:10s in the last 2 miles plus my usual strong finishing kick. If I could get through that last hill that I previously noted that I did not look forward to, my chances were good. I survived Mile 12 just on target and passed a man that appeared to be in my age group. Perhaps I had overtaken him for 3rd. One more mile to go and it appears to be mine to lose now. The next half mile would be a gentle decline but I would really have go all out since the finish was a slight incline. Coming around the final turn, it was clear that the course would be 13.2 (about 8 seconds difference from the 13.18 that I previously figured). My legs felt like lead but I gave everything I had left. With about 50 meters to go, it was finally clear that I would make it just in time.
7:09 (84:36) held up on the hill, mine to lose now
7:01 (91:37) pushing hard, need a strong kick
1:12 (1:32:49) 5:50 pace for .20, all out effort.
Gun time was 1:32:52 (7:05 pace). Watch time: 1:32:49 (7:02 for 13.20). 5th in age group.
In any event, this is my first PR of 2011 and an A grade on the day.
Final thought:
This course was 2 notches harder than Baton Rouge and I still squeaked out a PR. Given perfectly flat terrain, I would have been good for a 1:31 today. 1:30 or under will be tough but I'm conceding nothing if I can get everything to work out perfectly on a pancake flat course this Fall. Next up is the Silver Comet 10K on a flat and fast bike trail. It will be another PR attempt.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Training 2/21-2/27 (race week slack)

2/21- Forced rest day. I should be sore after last week's workouts but this is extreme and abnormal. My whole body is sore so I don't believe that I am injured. The lower right hamstring is especially bad. I think that it is the choline/inositol that is the cause. The pain has gotten progressively worse even after my rest day. Now that the choline/inositol has failed me, I am not out of options but this could be a major defeat. If my other 2 options fail, I will have to take mega doses of ADHS along with an exact amount of chromium, which will keep my numbers stubbornly high and keep my goals just out of reach.

2/22- Cut out the choline/inositol and as expected, the soreness diminished as the day progressed. Workout was at Heardmont Park, the site of my first 5K after my comeback (24:55 in 11/06). Forgettable performance in laid back mode. 1 mile warm up in 7:40. 400 meter time trial in 69.22 (best time of the year). That beats my point of confidence barrier but it's 8 seconds off my comeback PR and 9.23 (37/mile) short of my goal. Recovery jog lap followed by another mile at easy pace (7:50) then a cool down through the park. Below average. Race is only 4 days away and I'm still hopeful.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/23- Back to my old self. The hamstring soreness is almost completely gone but the dependence on ADHS is right back to where it was. It won't be long until the chromium dependency reappears. I'll need to time that perfectly just like at Mercedes in order to do well on Saturday. Today's workout was the Trak Shak 5 in 37:33 (7:31 pace). Not quite a stroll in the park but still quite smooth and relaxed. I feel good.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/24- Normally, today would be a junk run or rest day but given what's going on, I needed a small test. Workout was at Mountain Brook. 1 lap at 10K pace then a 400 in 68.49 (best time of the year) but after that I was toast. I had little energy and no spring in my step even in the 400. That's a full 34 sec/mile off my goal. Just as I expected, the chromium dependency is back and the race is only 2 days away. Poor performance. If not for the best of the year, this would have been a "D." I should do some significant damage to my 5:53 Mile next week.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=2.0

2/25- Just a few strides. Packet pick up.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=0.5

2/26- Scenic City Half Marathon in 1:32:49 (PR)
Grade:A/4 credit/distance=14.5

2/27- Recovery jog at Vestavia. 3 miles in 25:30 (8:30 pace). I only timed it to make sure that I ran the full 12 laps. No complaints. I am appropriately sore.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
I'm proud of myself for showing restraint and not obsessing over the mile quota. With the exception of the race, this was not a very good week. The chromium issue could be a major thorn and there has got to be another solution. I am due for a follow up medical report in a week but won't get the results until after Silver Comet. As for now, I'm still basking in the glory of a new PR and what will hopefully be the first of many in 2011.
Distance=28.0/GPA= 26.1/8= 3.26 (5th straight 3.0+)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Training 2/14-2/20

2/14- Lakeshore 5 in 39:47 (7:57 pace). For the day after a race, I really didn't care about the pace. I would have been fine with a 40+. Felt pretty smooth and relaxed overall despite some stiffness in the hamstring area.
This week must be hard because I've got another race coming up on 2/26. I talked to the doctor today and to make a long story short, I should trust my judgment. If I keep taking chromium, I'll run well but I believe my progress will eventually be stymied at 2009 levels. It's bad enough that I absolutely need ADHS to function and I certainly don't want to be dependent on anything else. I'm going with the choline/inositol in an attempt to reduce my dependence on ADHS. If only I could get a hold of the old formula that did not contain zinc! ARGH.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/15- Good MLR. I will NOT miss these when I shift into speed mode because they just take too long. It was almost 8 PM when I got dinner and arrived at home. Lakeshore 11.5 in 90-flat (7:50 pace). Faded a bit toward the end but still pretty solid overall. Best news is that I reduced ADHS from 8 to 6 by adding choline/inositol. That's still too much zinc. I need to cut it back to 4 at the most. Will I feel as strong on the choline/inositol as I did on the ADHS? Time will tell.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=11.5

Scenic City course:
Looks like Mile 9 is tough but pay attention to the scale on the map. It's only a 60 ft. climb over a mile (just over 1%). Get through 9 feeling good then let it loose.

2/16- Great news. The choline/inositol is working and I reduced my ADHS from 6 to 4 today. You might think that since I did so well at Mercedes, why mess with the formula? Simple. If I kept going like I was, I would need more and more chromium and it would get to the point in which 1 pill isn't enough but 2 pills are too much. I've been there before and IT SUCKS! Chromium also stimulates the adrenals, which would keep my numbers stubbornly high and thus my progress would be stymied. Workout was Trak Shak 5 at tempo pace. I was shooting for a sub-7 and clocked a 34:30 (6:54 pace). Good to run with Preston again. Faded in Mile 4 but bounced back nicely at the end. As for the grade, I was a little tough yesterday so I'll be a little lenient this time.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.0

2/17- Feel good enough to run today but I'm taking the planned rest day. Down to 2 ADHS and I think that's where I'll stay. I don't feel as bad when I wake up on the choline/inositol. I've got 3 races in the next 5 weeks:
2/26- Scenic City half mary
3/12- Silver Comet 10K
3/26- Rumpshaker 5K
I think I have a shot at a PR in all 3. I'm leaning towards Statue 2 Statue (local) over Crescent City (New Orleans) for my one and only April race.

2/18- Easy 6.5 on Lakeshore. Time was 51:08 (7:52 pace). Pretty even pace after a quick first mile. I went with no ADHS today and all choline/inositol. I was hoping for a breakthrough and it did not happen but I did manage an average performance. I still felt low on chromium but I've been bad about drinking soda this week and I think that has hurt me. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I need 22 miles this weekend to hit my target.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.5

2/19- 15 miles with the group. Route was Trak Shak 8 plus a 2 mile extension followed by the Trak Shak 5 loop so it was pretty hilly and it was getting warm at the end (65 and sunny). I'm not used to that. Legs went dead at 13 but managed to hang on for a 1:59:56, just barely squeaking out a sub-8. That's a pretty decent time on that route so I'll take it.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=15.0

2/20- Excess chromium knocked me out yesterday afternoon and it was not all gone today. Now that I am off the ADHS, I should not need it anymore. Soreness is still there so I had no tempo effort today. I backed off after 3 miles at "in between" pace. Trak Shak 7 in 54:19 (7:46 pace). Very sore.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
Survived a very challenging week. I'm afraid I may pay for this next Saturday so it will be little-nothing next week. I did do what I set out to do which was 50 miles all at sub-8 pace despite cutting it close a couple of times. This breaks the string of consecutive GPA improvements at 6 but it is my 4th straight week above 3.0. To do this in a week in which I adjusted my formula means a lot. Since I am adding more speed, this may be my last 50 mile week until Fall but I certainly will not be slacking. The quality of my workouts will be even higher.
Distance=50.0/GPA= 28.4/9= 3.16

Sunday, February 13, 2011

'11 Mercedes half marathon report

This is my home race and one of my favorite events. Two years ago, I had a major breakthrough with a 6 minute PR (1:36:16) and had hoped to be able to run the full marathon at a similar pace by now. It appeared that I was on my way last Fall but a knee injury and a mini-relapse on medical front set me back quite a bit. Only 6 weeks ago, I could barely muster a sub-27 5K in training but improvement has been steady since then. My average mileage over the previous 4 weeks was 42. That's a bit less than ideal but enough for a solid performance. I knew that I was not in shape to PR (1:32:57) but thought that a course PR was a strong possibility. The thought of going backwards in the last 2 years did not sit well with me.
I actually slept pretty well. I've done enough of these that it's not as big of deal now. As usual, I woke up feeling awful but there was no reason to panic. All I had to do was pop some pills just like every other morning and I'd be fine within an hour. It was a smooth morning with my normal PowerBar and fluids then I got to the starting area about 45 minutes early with plenty of time to get ready. I felt great warming up but did have to make a last minute bathroom stop and got to the starting area just in time. The temp was near freezing but at least it was sunny with no wind and I did not complain.
Not especially scenic but pretty fast overall and very well organized. It's a nice tour of Birmingham through downtown, UAB, Five Points and Highland Park before heading back into town for the finish. Miles 5, 7 and 8 were tough but if you can survive that and still feel reasonably well with 5 miles to go, you can really gun it. The remainder of the course has some nice downhill in Miles 9 and 10, a slight incline in Mile 11 but flat/gentle decline to the finish. My difficulty rating is 4 out of 10.
Thankfully, I found some open space quickly and said good luck to my friend Heather who was running the full. My early pace was faster than planned but I felt well enough so I kept the effort even and figured that I would slow down naturally. Again, the first 3 miles were relatively flat.
7:14 (7:14)
7:19 (14:33)
7:24 (21:57)
That's right about where I wanted to be at this point, just under 22 for the first 3 miles. In a half marathon, I divide it into 3 stages. The first 5K should feel easy. The middle 11K should be comfortably hard with effort similar to a long tempo run. Once you pass Mile 10, just grit your teeth and shift into survival mode. It doesn't feel like hitting the wall in a marathon but you'll be hurting nonetheless. Back to the race, my pace had slowed steadily but I still felt like I should at this stage so it was time to increase the effort. We passed through UAB's campus (U of AL @ B'ham for outsiders) and I remembered the building where I did some post graduate work. I got through the first tough mile still feeling good then we hit some nice downhill and I made the decision to conserve some energy here for there would be hills ahead in Highland Park. Just before we hit the next round of hills, I heard the Rocky theme playing. Perfect timing. Coach Johnny was out cheering for us at several points on the course and I assured him that I felt good. I made it though the toughest part of the course without my pace slowing to 7:30. If I really had my best stuff, I could nail 7 minute splits the rest of the way. The highest elevation came around 8.25 miles so from that point, it was time to drop the hammer and let it loose.
More splits:
7:07 (29:04) good tempo effort
7:26 (36:30) uphill
7:13 (43:13)
7:28 (51:11)
7:26 (58:37)
One strange thing was that the mile markers were consistently short. I ran the exact same course 2 years ago and it was measured at 13.18. Today, I was hitting the mile markers about .15 ahead of schedule. I kept thinking that there would be a long mile ahead that would even it out but it never came. By the end of the race, I was kicking myself for not starting my all out kick sooner. In any event, I let it fly on the downhill. 2 years ago, my friend Scott said that I blew by him at "world record pace" in this section. I don't think I ran the steep downhill quite as fast but I still passed a few. I turned in sub-7 splits in the next 2 miles but by the end of Mile 11, I was faltering a bit. I took an Energy Chew and it seemed to help quite a bit. One mile to go and it's time to show some heart. My pace got back under 7 and as I made the final turn, it appeared that I had a shot at a sub-1:34 but came up short by 2 seconds. I had begun my all out kick too late. If the instant pace was accurate, I was doing 4:30 pace when I crossed the line. That's near world record pace and yes, I caught 2 runners. When I finished, it felt like I left some time on that course but the pain kicked in shortly thereafter.
6:53 (65:30)
6:58 (72:28)
7:10 (79:38)
7:22 (87:00)
7:02 (1:34:02) final 1.03
Final thoughts:
When the Garmin measures the course short, I trust the course measurement. When it's long, I trust the Garmin. I highly doubt that the course was indeed short since it is certified and the exact same route for the past 3 years. You can probably knock about 3 seconds off the splits for each mile. I'm very pleased with my performance. My PR is only 65 seconds faster (just 5 ticks per mile) and run on an easier course. A perfectly flat course today may have yielded a baby PR. As it is, it's number 2 all time and my fastest time at this distance since 2009. I've got to believe that I have a good chance at 1:30 by the Fall.
Grade: A minus

Monday, February 7, 2011

Training 2/7-13 (race week)

2/7- Weather turned dreary and blustery again so I stayed indoors. We may get snow again on Thursday but Sunday still looks pretty good. Easy 5 in 38-flat (7:36 pace). At lower mileage, the new easy will be 7:30 pace. This one was a piece of cake. As effortless as a stroll in the park.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/8- Johnny's workout. A light speed workout. 4x400 in 79, 1 800 in 2:48 for an overall pace of 5:26. Fairly comfortable and measured effort the entire way. That's about half the intervals that I'd do in a normal training session but my pace was about the same. Nothing to brag about today but the primary focus of this week is to stay sharp for Sunday. My 2011 times in the 400 and Mile (73.5/5:53) will come down nicely on my next try.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/9- Trak Shak 5 in 37:24 (7:29 pace). Felt strong. This pace is a bit on the fast side but I had a reason for it. There was snow approaching from the west and I wanted to get through this one quickly. Battled a strong headwind in Mile 3 and 4 but I did beat the snow and made it home just in time. I am confident that I can hold this pace or faster for 13.1
I had almost 3 miles of daylight so Spring is not far off. We should see the first signs of it in 3-4 weeks and I sure am ready. Last year, it seemed as if we went directly from winter to summer and for that matter, summer to winter. Here's hoping for a nice Spring and Fall this year and not too much extreme summer heat.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

2/10- Planned rest day. Took some chromium as a precaution and should not need any more before race day.

2/11- Stress free part of the taper has ended. I felt the chromium deficiency symptoms today. My calves were as stiff as a board. I overloaded today with the expectation that it will clear by race time. Workout was a junk run with Chilton. 4 miles in 36:30 (9:08 pace). I really didn't care at all about the pace and did pretty much what I planned. I did do a mild pick up in the final quarter mile and got below 8:00 pace but I was working a bit to get there.
If only I can reduce the ADHS, I won't need chromium at all.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0

2/12- Junk run at Vestavia to make sure legs still work. Planned to run 600 at half mary pace then stride a 200. 1st 3 200s were 48-53-55 then finished with a 44. 2 lap cool down at a glacial pace. No reason to panic but I still don't feel my best. Of course, 2 years ago, I was awful in my last workout before race day then produced a 6 minute PR. I'll be going out conservative and then I'll go from there.
Grade: Pass/0 credit/distance=1.0

2/13- Mercedes half marathon in 1:34:02 (7:11 pace). Fastest time since '09.
Grade:A-/4 credits/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
Very good week overall despite the chromium hiccup. I've scheduled a consultation with my doctor to see if he has any other ideas. I am very close to PR shape and part of me wants to stay with this mode of training but the 59.9 is approaching now or never territory. I hope there will be an attempt at 1:30 this Fall and I've already got a pretty short list of options.
Distance=32.0/ GPA= 3.44 (5th straight improvement, highest since Sept)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another obstacle on the medical front

Again, not many people will understand this post but here goes:
As of my last medical report, my chromium level is a mere 34 % of the ideal value. Ouch! Chromium is important for insulin transport (I'm trending diabetic) and is also vital for proper muscle contraction and energy production. Obviously, if you're deficient in that mineral, it can hurt your athletic performance and I think it hurt me in my 5K time trial. It need not be ideal. Heck, even if it's around 60-70% of the ideal value, the ill-effects should be minimal but 34% is a big problem. To make matters worse, the magic pill for someone in my situation is a product called ADHS, which modulates thyroid and adrenal function. The product contains 2.5 mg of zinc per pill and I need 8 of them, which equals 20 mg. of zinc per day. The problem is that zinc inhibits chromium absorption! I can guarantee that my chromium level has fallen further since the last report. I can supplement with chromium but doing so will stimulate the adrenal glands, which are (as of last month) more than 9 times faster than ideal! That puts me in a no win situation. Ideally, the best case would be to reduce the ADHS or find something else. Well, I've tried everything else and the ADHS is the only thing that can help me. I've tried reducing the dosage figuring that if I can get down to 4 ADHS, I won't need chromium because I'm only getting half as much zinc. I tried 6 and it did not cut it.
The plan is to stick with the 8 ADHS and take as much chromium as I need to avoid symptoms of deficiency but as little as possible to avoid further stimulation of the adrenals.
I've got the heart and the talent to reach all of my goals and it sure sucks to be denied because of something like this. I can only hope that I will not need chromium every day and I can still get the Adrenal ratio down to my target. Can it be done? That answer will not be known for several months. I'm doing my best not to think about it. I've done all that I can to fix this and the outcome is in God's hands.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preview of Spring and Summer

Now that my preseason training is winding down, it's time to start thinking about possible upcoming events. All of this is Lord willing.
I've got 2 half marathons 2 weeks apart. I wish I had more of a gap but that's just the way the schedule was made. I would never attempt 2 full marathons 2 weeks apart but in a half, I can basically recover fully in a day or two so I expect to be good to go.
2/13- Birmingham Mercedes half. I signed up for the full last year but the Achilles injury took me out. No way that I'm missing my home race 2 years in a row.
2/26- Chattanooga Scenic City half. I've wanted to do this one for quite some time. Since the Snickers Energy Bar full is out (not in PR shape), this is in. Chattanooga is one of my favorite cities and if I could not live in Birmingham, this would be my next choice.
Both courses are rated "moderately difficult" so I don't expect a PR in either of them but with the way I am improving as of late, I can certainly expect my performance to be respectable. I predict 1:36-1:38 with a dream of 1:35 in both.
Shortly after Chattanooga, it will be Springtime in Alabama and the focus of my training will shift to speed work. I've run a 400 under 62 seconds solo 4 times in the last 2 years and I'm proud of that but I want that 59.9 this year. At the age of 30, that window is closing fast. If I can't do by 2012, it may become impossible thereafter. For the first time since high school, I will make short intervals a regular part of my training routine. I will continue with tempos and weekend long runs to stay in shape for the longer distances. I expect that my weekly mileage from March-May will be near 40, which may not be ideal for a half marathon but should be sufficient for a strong performance.
Spring race possibilities:
Silver Comet 10K on 3/12- I've all but decided to do this one with Nick in Atlanta. It is a PR course but will I be in PR shape in 6 weeks? I am unsure.
Rumpshaker 5K on 3/27- Possible PR course with good competition before the weather gets too warm. By this point, I may be burned out on racing every other weekend so this one remains is the "maybe" category.
In April, I will only run 1 race and my choice will be determined by the shape I am in at the time.
There's a big 10K on a pancake flat course in New Orleans but I won't travel 4.5 hours for a 10K unless I can expect a PR. If I'm not in the best shape, I'll run a local 15 K on a killer course as a fun run.
In May, my focus will be the Couer d'Alene half marathon (5/28) in Idaho as part of another goal, which is visiting all 50 states. This trip will complete the lower 48. I'm going even if I am injured and can't run. There is a good local 5K 2 weeks earlier which is a possibility.
Summer will be fairly laid back especially if we get extreme heat and humidity. 90 degree weather with high humidity is killer for long distances and can even hurt you in distances as short as the 400. That's why I want to get those fast times in the Spring.
There are 3 5Ks which could be a PR course if the weather is decent.
In the fall, I will be back up to 50 MPW and in half marathon mode. My decision for big races will be determined by my condition. I'm willing to travel up to 9 hours for a flat PR course but if I'm not in PR shape, I'll stay closer to home and race hilly courses for fun runs.
The final outcome on the medical front should be evident by late Spring-early Summer.