Monday, September 26, 2011

Training 9/26-10/2 (race week)

9/26- Planned rest day. I am hoping to be fresh for my final attempt of the year at 5:15. In yet another massive shift, I am taking mega doses of Thym-Adren. In time, I hope to gradually cut it down. I could try going back to choline/inositol but it's too close to race day. Assuming the weather is good, tomorrow's time trial will be my last shot of 2011 win, lose or draw.

9/27- I had the good weather, fresh legs and a smart pace but I failed because my dosage was off. The plan was to try a Mile time trial but if I got to 800 and realized I wasn't going to break 5:19, I would quit and turn the workout into a downward ladder. I knew that I wasn't going to make it as soon as I entered the backstretch the first time. I hit the first 200 in 39 then faded to a 43 for the next 2 200s and finished with a 42 for a 2:47 1st 800. Obviously, I wasn't going to make it. The remainder of the workout was also mediocre. 600 in 2:10, 400 in 79, 200 in 38. The grade will be based on what my Mile would have been if I finished it. I figure that it would have been between 5:40-5:45, which is a grade of 70-75. Not a disaster but mediocre at best. I did not take enough Thym-Adren. Of course, I am upset but this is better than needing manganese or thyroid pills. I've got 3 days to fix this. I don't consider this a real effort so I may or may not try this again.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance= 3.0

9/28- Increased the Thym-Adren dosage and was very pleased with the result. Trak Shak 5 with Lee (the Caucasian Kenyan) with an impressive moving time of 31:54 (6:23 pace) and a course PR. Unfortunately, it cannot count as an actual PR because I had to stop several times for traffic. I hit the 3 mile split around 18:50 so if you put me out on a track, I believe I would have had a good shot at 19:12 today. Much faster than I planned but I really needed a confidence boost for Saturday. I'll be plenty fresh too. Just a junk run tomorrow morning and a complete rest for 48 hours and I should be good to go. Tacked on a Mile warm and cool to make up for yesterday's shortfall. Passed 1,550 miles on the year.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=7.0

9/29- AM run at the gym. Had to cut it short to make it to work on time. Finished a 2.5 mile light progression in 18:08 (7:15 pace) with splits of 7:35-7:17-3:16. This won't hurt me on Saturday. I'll have 48 hours to rest and the mileage has been very low. I took the mega dose of Thym-Adren early in the day and was pleased with the result. I needed to test how I felt on that dose because that's what I'll take race morning. That's why I made this one a semi-quality day instead of a junk run as planned. I expect to be ready to roll on Saturday but do not expect a PR. I predict a 1:33-1:34.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=2.5

9/30- I feel ready to go and could have raced today. Hotel strides is all I did. A cool front has passed through so the weather should be great tomorrow (50s and clear). Expectations are rising a bit. Maybe a 1:31-1:32 is realistic after all. Dare I say, PR? After the first 3 quarters, I am at 1,559 miles on the year. At this pace, I'll finish at 2,079 miles, which is a big PR.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=0.5

10/1- Montgomery half marathon in 1:31:32 PR. 3rd in age group
Grade:A/4 credits/distance=14.0

10/2- I tried some ADHS this morning and had an immediate negative reaction. With or without sugar, I cannot take anything that contains Lithium. My thyroid could still be sub-optimal but as long as I can take the Thym-Adren, I'll be fine. The workout was a naked 2 mile recovery jog at Veteran's Park on a beautiful day. Abnormally sore and this would have been a "C" or worse but it's pass/fail today. I should be in the clear tomorrow. No worries.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
I've PR'd at 4 distances this year but this is the first time that I've done significant damage to a PR. I've still got time to get some more. I'm proud of my restraint in allowing the mileage to stay below 30 in a race week. That's fine. I'm still well ahead of pace for 2,000. I've got some big weeks ahead and now is the time to get hot. Can I finally break out of the good week/bad week pattern? I've not had consequtive weeks over 3.0 since late June.
Distance= 29.0/ GPA= 29.3/8=3.66

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Revised Revised Race plans

Once I recover from the prolotherapy, I hope that I will be able to hit the training hard.
Here's where I stand as far as each distance:

400- no serious attempts until I devote more time to this distance. Because of the groin soreness, I have been uneasy about doing hard core speed work.

Mile- I got one adult PR this year and I want to take one more shot at 5:15 when fully fresh and with smarter pacing. This next time trial will be my last one of the year regardless of whether the result is a win, loss or draw.

5K- I want this one so bad and I've waited so long for it so I'm willing to take multiple shots at 19:12 even if I have to sacrifice some weekly mileage.

10K- One more shot this year and right now, I'm less than 50/50 on doing it. The race is the Senior Bowl 10K in Mobile on the first week of November. If I am really in the groove, I have no problem doing a lot of racing because I won't take a good stretch for granted. There's no guarantee that I'll be in shape to challenge sub-40 next year or ever again.

Half- I'm a go for Monty on 10/1 and have already signed up. Not expecting anything great.
Now, the change in plans. Initially, I verbally committed to Louisville 2 weeks later. That's out now. It's a flat course but I suspect that the organization will be very poor. The previous website is no longer up and I had to click on 3 links just to get some info on the location of the start and host hotel. The information was still dated 2010. There are a lot of good choices in Louisville such as the KY Derby and Big Hit Home Run race so why not race in Louisville in an event the makes reference to something that made the city famous?
The alternatives are Cincinnati on 10/22 or Columbus on 10/16. I would have preferred Cincy but Nick could not get off work the day before so we're doing Columbus. It' the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Half (I like the sound of that). Based on what I've seen on the Columbus website, it appears to be a first class event with a fast course.
November is also up in the air. I'm still leaning towards White River in Arkansas but I could change my mind in favor of Norfolk, VA. Norfolk is on Veteran's Day weekend and I may be able to do it without missing work.

Full- The mileage will begin to increase by mid-October. I should be ready to at least beat my soft PR by Mercedes 2012.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Training 9/19-9/25

9/19- Easy run indoors to recover from yesterday. Mediocre performance. I hoped to run 7 today but I was done after 5. Time was 38:55 (7:47 pace). That's acceptable for an easy run but I was not pleased at all with how I felt. Each mile was slower than the previous one. 1st half was a solid 19:04 then slowed to 19:51. Groin soreness is so bad that the pain has spread to my abdomen and it hurts when I sneeze or cough. Again, it does seem that the pain diminishes or intensifies depending on the pills I take but I cannot put up with this anymore. I need a shot of prolo and probably will need another in about 4 months unless I can get in balance. If I don't do prolotherapy, I would probably end up with a degenerative condition. I'll call Dr. Johnson tomorrow and if he doesn't have any appointments this week, I'll have to go with Dr. Shuman. I am back to a low dose of Thym-Adren and that's what I need long-term.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=5.0

9/20- Improvement. Progression run indoors on a rainy day. Overall time was 50:54 for 7 miles (7:16 pace). Felt great after the first 4 in 30:05 and anticipated no trouble going well under 7 in the final 3 but struggled a bit (7:00-7:04-6:45). It seems daunting to run 13.1 miles at the pace I was doing in the final 3. May not be able to take Thym-Adren, which would be a major defeat. I've stuck to the no soda pledge but I have had a few sweet teas and if I have to drink nothing but water, so be it. Solid performance overall. Good news, I got lucky with the prolotherapy appointment. Dr. Johnson is available tomorrow at 2 PM and I get to have a needle stuck in my groin. Yay! If I run tomorrow morning, I may only miss one day of training.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=7.5

9/21- Nightmare! I felt awful in the morning and needed thyroid caps. It is painfully obvious that I can't take Thym-Adren regularly at this stage. I've actually felt best recently on nothing so that's what I'll do for a least a week or so. I plan a thyroid test soon and hope it's normal. If not, I'm in a 2 front war that can't be won. If it is normal, I know it's a blood sugar issue and I have to be even more strict with my diet. I'll have to cut out beer and sweet tea in addition to soda. The only good news is that the prolo was not as painful as before.
The workout was only 2.5 miles in a time of 19:55 (7:58 pace) running nearly all out. The only reason this is not an F is that I managed to keep the pace even.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.5

9/22- Planned rest day to recover from the prolo. Felt good on no pills but I know it's highly unlikely that I can get away with that for very long. Terrible stomach cramps at night. Healing reaction?

9/23- AM-Pathetic excuse for a workout on a muddy Veteran's Park trail. Covered 2.5 miles at a pace over 9. I did not feel good when I woke up and 1/2 thyroid pill made things worse. That sucked for today but it may be a sign that the thyroid is normal. The groin was hurting as well but it's been less than 2 days since the shots. I will try again this afternoon and order a thyroid test. The test will be done before Monty but I won't know the results. Expectations are pretty low for next Saturday but it's not my goal race.
Grade:Failure/0 credits/distance=2.5

PM- Improvement. Easy 3 in 22:54 (7:38 pace). Felt fine at this pace and could have gone longer but I wanted to stay sharp for tomorrow's long run. Whether or not I could have pushed the pace is another question. 2nd day with little-no sugar at all.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.5

9/24- Sandwich run with the Gnomes. Unsure of overall pace because my Garmin did not work for the first 5 minutes. 1st 4 miles were just under 8 pace then I hit the gas with Brad and Eric and turned in 3.5 miles near 7:10 pace. After that, I cut the run short and finished the last 2 at easy pace (7:50s) but I was fading near the end. Still a decent performance overall. Felt a bit overstimulated near the end because I did not take any pills. That suggest that the thyroid could very well be normal which means that it is the blood sugar that caused such instability. I'm still doing the thyroid test.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=10.0

PM- Crashed after the run and took a nap. Tried 2 Thym-Adren and it wasn't enough so I took another and felt better. Workout was a low key 3 miler at the Shak. Several stops but I did find a groove just under 7:30 pace for a while. Went to Auburn in the evening and this time I rooted for them to beat Florida Atlantic, which they did 30-14. Enjoyed the game but did not get back to the Ham until midnight.
Grade:Pass/0 credits/distance=3.0

9/25- Lakeshore 6 at a moderate effort with a pick up in the last quarter mile. I needed 3 Thym-Adren and still felt a bit overstimulated. Pretty strong run overall. Final time was 43:55 (7:19 pace) with a final quarter mile at 5:35 pace. I need Thym-Adren or something similar to slow down my extreme fast oxidation and I'm hoping that the little-no sugar diet will allow me to tolerate it.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
I have not had back to back weeks above 3.0 since late June. I really thought I had a chance to do it this week but I failed. Still, I see 2 positives out of it. I hit 40 miles on the week despite the prolotherapy, which barely had any impact on my training at all. I only need 33 MPW for the rest of the year to hit 2,000. My hope of getting in balance has been renewed. I'll have to stick on the Thym-Adren but with little-no sugar in my diet, I may actually be able to tolerate it long-term. I've still got time to get hot before the year is over.
Distance=40.0/GPA= 22.3/8= 2.79

Monday, September 12, 2011

Training 9/12-9/18

9/12- Mountain Brook Mile in 5:19.3 (fastest time since '99). Splits were 76-82-83-78. I thought my legs were dead with 200 to go but found just enough strength to beat my adult PR. The margin was less than one second but it counts. There is room for improvement as well. That 76 first lap doesn't look too bad but the first 200 was 35. I followed that up with 41s in the next 5 200s then rallied for 2 39s in the last lap. If I had gone out smarter (38), maybe I could have held 40s through the middle and then came home in 76. That would have brought me home in 5:14, which beats my goal. My energy level was similar to Pittsburgh. I had very good stuff but not quite tip top form. Maybe the quickie progression took a little out of me and could have been a few ticks faster if fully fresh. There's no subjectivity in a Mile time trial. I missed my goal by 4 seconds (1 tick per lap) so that's a 96 on the day.
Grade:A/3 credits/distance=3.0

Rant: There was a group of 3 older people walking dogs in the inside lanes before I started. I politely told them that they cannot have dogs on the track and to please move to the far outside lanes. They actually got offended and even asked me "What authority do you have?" and that I should get over any bad feelings about dogs. I don't care if you have a dog but you better make sure that it doesn't try to chase me or both of us could get hurt. Eventually they did move to the outside and there was no further confrontation. I think the problem was that since they were in their 50s or so, they didn't want to take an order from a soon to be 31 year old "kid."

9/13- MLR for the first time since Spring. Lakeshore 10 in 77:23 (7:44 pace). This is the workout that I enjoy the least because it just takes too long. There are a few puzzling developments. The groin is quite sore and I'll need another shot of prolotherapy (UGH). I've done well in sticking to my diet and it seems as if I'm having some healing reactions such as flushing toxins out. It feels weird at times but I am hopeful. There is no way that cutting out soda can hurt me in any way. It can only help me. I took one manganese this morning and had a mild negative reaction but I don't think it hurt my run in the evening. As for the workout, I was out too fast and allowed my pace to slow at the end but Miles 2-9 were pretty even, all in the 7:40s. Pretty solid but not stellar.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=10.0

9/14- Turned 31 years old today. Not a great day overall. Sore groin and coming down with a cold. I was sneezing uncontrollably at times. I wasn't expecting much in my run today but did surprisingly well. Trak Shak 5 in 32:58 (6:36 pace) with Lee at tempo effort. Long cool down. Warm conditions but not too humid. I took no pills today either. Perhaps the sore groin came as a result of taking excess Thym-Adren. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. If I'm less sore, I may not need prolo after all. I know I need Thym-Adren but if I can get by at a lower dosage, I suppose that's good. Please no more chromium or manganese at least not regularly. 7th day off soda.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=6.5

9/15- Planned rest day. I feel good enough to run today but I really have not had an easy day since 9/8. Smart call. I'll have to run in the morning tomorrow because I'm heading for South Carolina after work for the game. The groin soreness is still there but has diminished considerably. I'll probably run Monty without prolo and go from there.

9/16- AM- Indoor 5 mile at moderate effort in 35:55 (7:11 pace). I took a reduced dosage of Thym-Adren yesterday and it has become clear that it is the source of the abnormal soreness in my groin and hamstrings. This is NOT good news. I know that even without soda, I still need something to control my extreme fast oxidation and do not know where else to turn right now. I may have to take manganese temporarily and yes, prolo is still an option but it can wait. I probably will not do much differently until Monty and I feel good about running Cincy instead of Louisville because I may benefit from a 3 week gap. Decent performance in the workout. I would have run out of steam after about 8 miles at that pace but the Tym-Adren hasn't fully cleared and I still have a bit of a head cold. It was okay to run this workout fast because it's in between 2 rest days
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.5

PM- hit the road after work and stopped at Nick's in Atlanta.

9/17- No running today. Clemson 38 Auburn 24. Good game. Enjoyed the day at Clemson and had a good BBQ dinner back in Atlanta. Overall emotions were mostly positive but I could not help but think that much of my college experience was stolen from me because of adrenal fatigue. I never had that fun, carefree lifestyle even when I didn't have exams. I needed manganese today. Not good.

9/18- Because the weather was forecasted to turn warm, I opted to stay in Atlanta and do my long run on the Silver Comet trail. Very good performance. I covered 14.4 miles in 1:47:03 (7:26 pace). First half was slightly uphill in 54:18, then back slightly down in 52:45. Plan was to run the first 13 at an even effort then put out tempo effort in the final 1.4. Fastest mile was 7:17, slowest was 7:40. Most of the 1st 7 were in the 7:30s and the next 6 were 7:20s. Mile 14 was 7:07 and the final .4 was at 6:43 pace. I was hoping to have a bit more left but still pretty strong overall. I hit the sub-7:30 pace on my longest run in 6 months. The groin is still sore and I can't shake it but the news on that front is mixed. The soreness intensifies when I take the wrong pills so I know that it is related to the chemical imbalances, not improper training. As long as I remain unbalanced, I will probably need prolotherapy 2-3 times every year. That sucks.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=15.0

Weekly summary:
Strong week overall. I am much more stable. Too much Thym-Adren or manganese does hurt but the reaction is not as extreme. I don't feel horrible if I miss a dose or take 1 too many. I hit the mileage target despite only 5 days, one of which was Mile time trial. I also was successful in my long run and tempo.
Distance=40.0/ GPA= 36.4/10= 3.64

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revised racing schedule

Despite setting PRs in the 5K and 10K, I am disappointed in my performances this summer. Overall, I feel that the progress that I have made since the end of 2009 is minimal. Only in the 10K have I achieved a significant level of progress. As my body chemistry goes, so does my running. I am cautiously hopeful that a complete stop of soda consumption will result in significant gains. I feel dumb that I never really made that connection before but then again, I had a lot of other factors at work (thyroid, tooth, injuries, etc).
Originally, I had planned a build up in mileage up to the 50s in preparation for a full marathon in Arkansas the week before Thanksgiving. After some consideration, I have determined that there is not sufficient time to really give it my best effort plus there are some logistical issues that could complicate things after the race. I have too many races planned and other things that I want to do which will prevent me from focus purely on building mileage. I already had to cut one planned long run short this past weekend.
Here's how it looks:
9/18- I will be in Clemson for a football game and may not be able to do the long run
10/1- Monty half
10/16- Louisville half
11/5- possible 10 K in Mobile
11/20- White River half
December-early January- no races
Jan- 3 M Austin half
Feb- Mercedes full
As you can see, there is no way that I can do enough long runs to come anywhere near my capability if I am to run the full at White River (ARK). Moreover, I still feel that I have unfinished business at the shorter stuff. I'm putting the 400 on the backburner until next Spring because I want to devote more specific attention to it at that time. A fast time is still possible now but as the weather turns cooler, times in the sprints will suffer.

Mile- I want at least 2 more shots at this one. I've improved my PR by a whopping 1.8 seconds since the summer of '09 and I'm just 5 away from my goal. I am currently capable if I have my A+ stuff.

5K- I got a victory with an adult PR last weekend in Pittsburgh but it was not what I ultimately wanted. To beat an all-time PR at a distance that I raced regularly in high school would mean more to me than any other barrier with the exception of a BQ. In the last 2 years, I've gone sub-20 in 4 out of 6 races and have added 3 more under the barrier in solo time trials but I know that I am capable of better. I know my body and I know that despite the good result in Pittsburgh, I did not have my best stuff. A fast 5K will also give me confidence in the longer distances. No more races this year. If I am to get it done, it will have to be in a time trial. I did a 19:31 last year on the edge of a relapse and have run a solo 10K that by some calculators, projects to a 19:13 or below.

10K- This is where I've had the most success. I've lowered my PR by a solid 46 seconds in the last 12 months and could have done even better with fresh legs and competition. No more time trials at this distance for now. We'll see how the training goes. If I feel that I have a better than 50/50 chance of breaking 40, I will go to Mobile. If not, I'll run long.

Half- I've established myself as a consistent sub-1:35 man at this distance with 4 straight races below this barrier. Monty will most likely not be anything special and it's more for fun to see old friends. Louisville should be better since it's flatter and cooler. However, competition may be thin. If nothing else, I want to at least remove the asterisk from my PR that came from an inaccurate course measurement in Idaho. Arkansas will probably be a sub-1:30 attempt but my best chance will come on a blazing fast course in Texas.

Full- This is my softest PR by far. Even with insufficient mileage, I think that on a good day, I could run in the neighborhood of 3:30 right now. The mileage buildup will be gradual and I may not be running in the 50s consistently until November but that will be plenty of time to be ready in February. I've run the Mercedes half twice and had 2 great experiences. Why not try something new for my home race next year? Moreover, all those halves will leave me wanting to spice things up a bit. A BQ is highly unlikely but I should get a significant PR, maybe around 3:20 with steady training.

After Mercedes, I'll take a short break to recover then hit the 400 training hard. Lots of short intervals and very high intensity with mileage back down to the 30s. I'll be 31 next week and if I can't run that 59.9 in another year or two, I don't see it happening.

Edit: My 2nd half of the Fall will likely be in Cincinnati (10/22) instead of Louisville. I want to do another race with Nick and since he is a runnning the 13.1 Atlanta, he wants another week off. Probably a good call there. Cincy is a 7-7.5 hour drive, which is manageable. The course is fast and scenic and will likely be better organized and more competitive and Louisville. The KY Derby and Big Hit Home Run races should be better choices if I am to race in Louisville.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cutting out soda ... again

I deleted the post on dentists because I'm not sure that it's even relevant. In any event, I'm going to try to stay off soda completely. NO cheating. It seems as if I need more manganese when I drink more of that crap. I quit soda in '09 because I had to. Too much sugar along with antibiotic use was causing nightmarish GI issues. When I quit, not only did it solve that but the chromium issue also went away. It could have been a combination of many factors. I still believe that an oral infection could have played a role and I'm still not sure about the zinc interaction either. What happened after I quit soda? After a terrible late summer and early Fall, I got hot in November/December and smashed my PRs in the 10K, HM and added an unofficial marathon PR on the first day of 2010. 2 weeks later, I went down with an Achilles injury and lost much of my motivation to stick to my diet. In early March of 2010, the chromium dependency returned and has continued off and on since then. I really don't think that quitting soda will solve all my problems but it certainly cannot hurt.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Training 9/5-9/11

9/5- Manganese deficiency has flared up again. Started on an easy run and it started pouring rain immediately so I said "screw it" and quit. Heading south this afternoon and I'm taking the alternate route through OH, KY and middle TN. It's not as scenic but I should avoid much of the bad weather. I covered a meager mile and a half at a pace in the low 8s and I had to work a bit just to do that. Essentially a rest day. I may change this one to pass/fail grading.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=1.5

9/6- Spent the night just south of Louisville in the dry but soon after I hit the road in the morning, it started raining and never quit. I got back around 2 PM, rested a bit and hit the gym for an easy 8 in 62-flat (7:45 pace). I took a half of manganese and it helped but wasn't enough. In order to achieve a bit more stability, I'll have to take a small amount every day but I'm still not sure how much that is. I also don't know about the Stress Pak. I've been cheating badly on my diet especially when it comes to sugar consumption. I highly doubt that a change will solve everything but it can only help. As for the workout today, I would not have raced well but it was a pretty decent performance for an easy run. As the mileage increases, paces will slow. Easy runs will no longer be run at 7:30 pace but 7:45-8:00.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=8.5

9/7- Trak Shak 7 at tempo effort with Lee. Finished with a time of 50:45 (7:15 pace). Decent performance but I felt terrible most of the day. I took a record 3 manganese plus a chromium and could have used more. Just 3 days ago, I would have been HORRIBLE on this formula. What the _____? Dosage will rise and fall in a manner that is impossible to predict. Could it be related to the dental issue? I think the infection has been there several weeks before the pain began. That makes sense too. The low grade infection barely hurt at all and it was there for several months. Denty said that he'd call in antibiotics but they weren't there.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=7.0

9/8- After doing some research, I am now unsure if the chromium/manganese issue is related to the tooth. Back in '09, a root canal did not solve that issue and a tooth extraction did not immediately solve it either. Odds are, the relationship is indirect. The infection caused my adrenals to work harder which caused the extreme fast oxidation to override the chromium/manganese deficiency. I did quit drinking soda for 3 months which seemed to really help but eventually went back after in Achilles injury in early 2010.
Yesterday, I needed at least 3 manganese pills. Today, I took 1 and it made me sick. What the _____? Today was my first day off soda and that may explain why I could not tolerate it. The workout was a junk run. 2 miles at Veterans Park in 15:54 (7:57 pace) with an all out last mile in 7:46. I expect to be modestly better tomorrow but hope to show steady progress thereafter.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=2.0

9/9-AM- As expected, the improvement was modest but at this stage, I'll take it. 3 miles all out in a time of 22:56 (7:38 pace). Equivalent to a 5K in about 23:52 so that's 4.5 minutes off my PR set less than a week ago. Held the pace pretty well and had a little bit left at the end (7:37-7:47-7:32) but zero power in my entire body. Way too loose. 2nd day off soda and I'm starting to get a caffeine withdrawal headache. I can fix that with Exedrine if necessary. 1st day off manganese. I increased my distance by 50% over yesterday and my pace was nearly 20 seconds faster so I'll be lenient with the grade.

PM- Same 3 Mile run. Definitely improving. Time was down to 20:40 (6:53 pace) and that's equivalent of a 21:32 5K. Splits were 7:09-6:45-6:45. Man, I wish it was this easy to drop 2 minutes from my 5K time when I'm down in the 19s.
Grade:C/2 credit/distance=6.0

9/10- Naked run (no watch) with Gnomes. Garmin malfunction. I know the distance was just short of 10 miles and I know I threw down some 6:50s running on Lakeshore but I estimate that my time was either 73:xx or low 74. I don't feel that I'm all the way back and that's why I didn't run 15+ today. Too bad, the weather is really getting nice now. Most definitely, I am improving.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=10.0

9/11- Lakeshore 5 in 41:04 (8:13 pace). Poor performance overall but there's more to this than meets the eye. 1st half in a horrible 21:28 with absolutely nothing there. 2nd half was a respectable 19:36 with a fifth mile in a pretty solid 7:35. Felt a difference after I went to the bathrooom so that means some toxins were being flushed out during the run. Stress Pak will not work because for whatever reason I can no longer take any choline/inositol. It's either Thym-Adren or failure at this stage.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0
PM- Bonus run. Looking to build on improvement in the 2nd half of the morning run and did more than that. 2.5 mile quickie progression style indoors in a time of 17:22 (6:57 pace) with splits of 7:20-6:58-3:04. I also got some more toxins out of my system and I won't be too detailed but I actually felt pretty good after the run was over. I could be back to form by tomorrow and would like to do a time trial early in the week.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=3.0
10 years ago today, I was a junior in college and had just gotten out of Intermediate Accounting class. I was taking a nap in my dorm when my roommate walked in and said "Dude, go online. I heard a plane crashed into the World Trade Center." I did not say anything noteworthy in reply because I thought it was an accident and didn't even know it was a commercial jet. That changed when I saw the news coverage from the cafeteria at lunch a few minutes later.

Weekly summary:
Another bad week overall. This is the 3rd week out of the last 4 below 3.0 but this time, I actually have an idea of what can be done about it. No manganese for 3 days. If I can make it through next week without it, I'll feel a lot better about my situation.
Distance=43.0/ GPA= 26/10= 2.60

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gatorade Steelers 5K RR

Steady mileage between 40-45 with high quality but extremely erratic. My body chemistry is just about as unstable as ever. I know that I am capable of beating my all time PR of 19:13 but I'd need my top form to do it, which seemed unlikely. Just a few days earlier, I hit the wall in a 3 mile junk run at 9:00 pace.
Why did I choose this event in Pittsburgh, PA? I do have family in the area. I may be crazy but I would never drive 12 hours just for a 5K even if it presented the perfect opportunity for a PR (flat course, good competition, cooler weather). The drive really was not too bad. I left work just a little early and made it halfway on Thursday night and stopped at a fleabag motel in Bristol and I don't even know if it was in Virginia or Tennessee. From there, it was a nice scenic ride through SW Virginia and West Virginia (yes, they are 2 different states). I arrived in Pittsburgh by mid-afternoon on Friday and got in a short tempo. I woke up feeling awful the next morning and needed mega doses of Thym-Adren (8 pills) just to feel decent. The race would be a game time decision based purely on the way I felt. Unfortunately, the weather did not look too good either. It felt more like Alabama than Pennsylvania. The high temp the previous day was over 90 and the forecast at race time was temps in the upper 70s with 80% humidity. At least it was overcast. I did not feel too bad on race morning and got by with only 5 pills. The race was a go but expectations were running pretty low. I predicted a time well over 20 minutes.
Interesting course to say the least. It began down by the river walk and briefly on a dirt trail with tree coverings before turning back on the main road back towards Heinz Field for a finish inside the stadium. My only gripe was that the river walk was narrow in spots, which made for a lot of congestion in the first half. This time, I was pretty smart about pacing early. I was in the 5:50s for most of the first mile but my pace started to slip after we went into the wooded area and we also went under an overpass for several seconds. My first mile according to the watch was 6:10 but I'm sure that it was actually faster than that. Normally in a 5K, I can hold the pace well through the first 2K, then I start to fade. This time, however, the fade was not as bad as previous races. The course was basically level with just a few mild inclines. We came down one around 1.5 miles as I came through the halfway point around 9:40 (watch time). Looking like another race in the 19:40-20:00 range. Coming up a small hill, I passed the 2 mile marker with a clock time of 12:25. I figured that the chip was under 12:20 but the Mile marker appeared to be short (1.95). My watch clicked the 2 Mile mark at 12:32 for a 6:22 split. Okay, just survive this 3rd mile around 6:30, finish strong and you've got a best of the year. As the time ticked away, I became pessimistic as my pace slowly faded to the low 6:30s. Sub-20 was in the bag and I still had a chance to beat the 19:45 that I ran 2 weeks earlier but more than anything else, I just wanted it to be over. I started my kick with about a quarter mile to go and we made the turn for the stadium. I passed one runner immediately and set my sights on 2 more. I didn't even see my split at 3 Miles but it was probably just over 19. As I went down the short ramp to the football field, I could see the finish line coming up sooner than expected. I kicked in the turbo when I saw that I had a shot to break 19:27 after all. I breezed by 2 runners sprinting at sub-5 pace down the sidelines. Clock time: 19:27, Chip time: 19:21 (fastest time since '98). My Garmin measured this course at 3.06 and others ranged from 3.06-3.08 but I'm counting it. It's a USATF certified course and perhaps the congestion, trees and the overpass messed with the signal early. The 5K PR drought is over! 8 seconds shy of my all time PR and I know that in 60 degree weather with low humidity, it's mine.
Overall place: 77/2746, Age group: 6/162

If this one had been 10 seconds faster, would it change my attitude on this disease? The answer is no. Even if I can get a great race every once in a while, it still sucks to be chemically unstable. How will I feel tomorrow? How many pills will I have to take? What pills will I have to take? Again, your guess is as good as mine. For the time being, I will bask in the glory and head back to Birmingham tomorrow.
Grade is an A minus.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Odds of becoming a professional athlete

This post has little to do with running but I hope y'all will find it interesting. If you want to make it in a sport, I'd have to say track and field is the toughest to make a living. If you are not among the ten best in the world at your event, you'll never make a living let alone be able to retire comfortably after your career is over. If you don't run in a glamour event, you have to be even better. Odds are that a casual fan can name at least 3 of the ten best sprinters in the world. Devoted fans can name some of best middle and long distance runners as well. Can anyone name some of the best hammer throwers in the world? I didn't think so. That said, if you are the 10th best quarterback in the NFL, you're a multi-millionaire. Even if you're the tenth best middle linebacker in the game and can play for at least 5 years, you will be quite well off and barring some really stupid financial decisions, you will never have to work a real job.
Several years ago, I went to a low minor league baseball game and made the comment that every single one of these players were the star of their high school team yet upwards of 80% of them will never make it to the majors. Even if a player does beat the odds and plays at least one MLB game, what are the odds that he plays at least the 3 years needed to be eligible for arbitration and the chance at a million dollar contract?

I looked up the odds of making it to MLB and wiki quoted the figure at 1 in 16,000. That sounds about right to me and I assume that it includes those who simply had a cup of coffee in a September call up. If you are a career minor leaguer who is among the first in line to get called up when key players go down with injuries, you can make good money. What I am referring to is a "4-A player," a very good AAA player who is not quite good enough to stick in the majors. Those guys can earn 6 figures for several years but that's not enough to support a family and put kids through college and many of them end up selling insurance and telling old stories to anyone who will listen. You need to last at least 5 years to truly retire comfortably and the odds of that are very long. Let's break it down.
I once read that the average player lasts about 4-5 years so figure that if you get called up, your chance of having a 5+ year career is less than 50%. Consider some of the scrubs that put on the uniform of bottom tier teams such as Pittsburgh or Kansas City.  If the odds of getting 1 call up are 1 in 16,000, the odds of a 5 year career are probably more like 1 in 50,000.  That means if you take the top 1% of the population and invite them to a camp, you would have to be a stand out among that group to even stand a chance.  Even if it becomes the top 1/10 of 1 percent, your chance of having a lengthy career is still only 1 out of 50.

If you can make it as high as AAA, you've got about a 50/50 chance (maybe a little better) of getting at least one call up. The odds get progressively longer with each lower level. In any given draft, a team signs maybe 25 players. In a good year, maybe 4 or 5 will eventually reach the big leagues and figure only 2 of them will stick. A major D-1 school may see 2 or 3 players drafted each year. On average, less than 1 will make it. As I've already said, every player in the low minors was the star of his high school team. I'll even go further than that, he was among the 2 or 3 best players in his conference that beat the odds and got drafted. That means that if you are good enough to play Varsity baseball in high school, your chances of getting drafted out of high school are about 1%, maybe even less. To take it another step further, every Varsity baseball player was an All-Star in little league and most of those Little League All-Stars will never play in high school. 1 in 16,000 sounds about right to me. I had a pitcher on my Little League team who sometimes retired the side in an inning by throwing 9 consecutive strikes. He did not even get drafted. I don't know of anyone that I knew of growing up that made it to MLB.

Other sports may be a bit less or more difficult depending on the size of rosters. Basketball teams only carry 12 players so that's the toughest major sport to make. Football seems to be the least difficult because an NFL team may carry 53 players to MLB's 25 and fewer kids play football than baseball. I did grow up with 2 people that signed with NFL team. Both were head and shoulders above their peers and could compete with boys 3 years older. One played special teams for about 3 years and the other never made it above the practice squad. Anyone ever heard of Eddie Drummond or Tyler Reed? Unless you're a die-hard Detroit Lions fan, I'm betting no.
Stay in school.