Monday, April 16, 2012

Calcium/Magnesium imbalance

Edit on 6/26/12:
I believe that this problem arose due to an extreme intolerance for sugar and caffeine.  Since discovering the problem, I made numerous adjustments to my Cal/Mag formula, which is why my 2nd quarter of 2012 was not very good.  I still don't understand why this issue has gotten worse recently.  There is a chance that by allowing virtually no sugar in my diet, I can stay off the pills and achieve my potential.  That means no soda, no energy drinks, no beer, no liquor.  Even fruit drinks with no sugar added are off limits.  Basically, all I can drink is water.  The only exception is some Gatorade during runs over 8 miles. 

In my 4 races this year so far, I have raced at 100% only once. That was in Austin. I managed to set PRs at both Mercedes and Rumpshaker but both times, I felt like I was off my game by 1-2%. That's worth 10-20 seconds in a 5K and 2-4 minutes in a marathon (200 minutes*.01= 2). As for New Orleans, I was at least 5% off. If I can get this problem solved, I've got my 5K and 10K goals in the bag barring injury. I'd love to focus more attention on the 400 and Mile until it's time to train for my next marathon in '14 or '15.

After some research yesterday afternoon, I feel a bit better about my situation. The problem is an excess of calcium relative to magnesium and supplements must be taken to correct it. Pills are normally sold in either a 2/1 cal:mag ratio or a 1/1 ratio. This issue has been bothering me off and on since before Mercedes and I found that it is not the number of pills that is important but the ratio of cal/mag. Since the diagnosis, I've been taking a pill that is a 5/3 ratio and as a result, calcium has steadily risen relative to magnesium. Taking all calcium would be a disaster at this stage. All magnesium may lead to a few good days but eventually, I develop negative symptoms associated with a magnesium excess. It is my hope that I will eventually stabilze by taking a 1/1 ratio. Why such sensitivity? That's just the nature of the beast when dealing with chemical imbalances.

Chemical imbalances do NOT mean that you need to be institutionalized. It's not your fault nor is it a cause for being ashamed. Ignorant people tell me to just go to counseling or worse "pray it all away." They might mean well but I'd like to smack 'em when I hear it. I've said it too many times already but it must be said again: It doesn't matter how good things are on the outside or how great your attitude, symptoms will be there when the body chemistry is unbalanced. The only way to improve your symptoms is to balance your chemistry. As for praying it away, God is indeed able to heal and I am steadfast in my belief that it's not his plan for anyone to be unbalanced but faith must be accompanied by action (taking pills when needed).

A non-believer once told me that he considered the possibility that my "religious beliefs" are a major reason why I manage this condition so well. That's not quite true but I can explain it further. It's not enough to simply believe. You have to get to know God through a relationship. See my main site for more info on that. Through prayerful discernment, I believe I can determine what needs to be taken. That's a gift of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, I am extremely well in tune with my body through these workouts. If I can't run up to 10 miles comfortably at 7:30 pace or run an all out Mile near 5:30 and have not done anything real hard in the last 2 days, I know something is wrong long before a sedentary person can even feel a difference.

The fact that I managed to stay off the pills for 4 weeks bodes well for the future. I should be able to miss a dose here and there without major problems. Why could I not tell sooner that I needed to adjust my ratio rather than quit the pills? I was excited by the possibility of being free and was not strong enough to discern that I still needed a pill. Time to get back on track now.

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