Today is my 5th day off the pills and it is becoming increasingly clear that I have a real shot at freedom. My last glimpse of it lasted from 3/13-4/7 of this year though the problems actually began around 4/4. Since then, I tried no fewer than 5 different dosages and ratios of Cal/Mag with fleeting success and lots of instability. I have no doubt that cutting out virtually all sugar from my diet has made the difference. The only exception is Gatorade on runs longer than 8 miles. If I can get to 30 days off the pills (7/27), I will be feeling a lot better emotionally.
The Cal/Mag ratio has to do with blood sugar and is inter-related with thyroid and adrenal function. I quit the Thym-Adren pills on the 1st of the year so I am puzzled as to why my sugar intolerance has gotten worse, not better. Perhaps, the thyroid/adrenal dysfunction merely over-rode the blood sugar issue. 5 years ago, I met my parents in Orange Beach when I was taking 10 different pills (close to 25 total/day). My mother said: "Geez Justin! Do you really need all these pills?" Indeed I did and in some cases, I was so sensitive that 2 pills were not enough yet 3 were too many so I went with 2.5. I was so unstable that if I waited a couple hours after my scheduled dose, I would experience symptoms. Since then, my need for pills has fluctuated but trended down all the way. My half marathon time has dropped from 1:59:37 (9:08 pace) to 1:28:12 (6:44 pace). Anyone who has read this blog with any regularity knows that this battle has been long and difficult but at long last and after many false hopes, victory could really be within my grasp this time and God gets all the glory.
My trip to Orange Beach/Perdido Key on the Florida/Alabama line was worthwhile despite the traffic and difficulty finding a hotel. More than anything else, I needed to clear my head. The sugar white sand and emerald green waters were beautiful as always. While I prefer 4-5 foot waves and rougher surf, the relative calm of the sea allowed me to relax and gather my thoughts. Like I said in my halftime post, I fully expect my running to improve. Not only will I be faster in balance, I will be capable of training harder and more consistently over the long haul.
It was somewhat depressing to be alone. That didn't used to bother me when I took these trips in my 20s but it does now. A relationship could work if I was a little unbalanced but not when I am unstable. I have to constantly adjust my formula with no idea of how many pills I will need the next day and what ratio of Cal/Mag to take. Even 1 too many or too few pills will cause fatigue, depression and malaise. The only way it could work out is if I met a girl who knows all about this yet still loves me unconditionally in spite of it and is not already taken. Not much chance of that. That's all out the window if this is really over this time. I will give a couple of dating sites a try.
Will I have to stick with this extremely strict dietary restriction? Probably not completely. I bet I can cheat on special occasions but those times must be rare and I will have to have a couple of weeks of stability under my belt. This may not be the best analogy but think of it like drinking and driving. If you blow a .081, you'll be arrested for DUI and probably lose your license. If you blow a .079, the police have to let you go even though you are hazardous on the road but have not crossed "the line". For me, that line is slightly more than 3 consecutive drinks. Do I try to get as close to the line as possible without crossing it? NO! Stay far away from it and fear getting too close. Don't even think about getting behind the wheel after more than 2. The same holds true for this. Small amounts of sugar may not be good for me but I will be fine as long as I don't cross the line. However, just one extra sugared drink can send me over the edge and back to instability. When that happens, I need about 5-7 days to recover.
I've developed a point system for forbidden items that used to be part of my diet:
-fruit smoothies, green tea, Gatorade- 1 point (Powerade zero is zero points)
-soda, beer, sweet tea- 2 points
-energy drinks, mixed drinks- 3 points
After only 5 days off the pills, I am probably still very close to the edge or "the line" and I hope that by abstaining completely for 30 days, I will put some distance between myself and "the line." After 7/27, I'll set a weekly limit of 3 points, which is still very strict but more manageable. If I break the limit once and have enough distance from "the line," I'll be okay but I must remain fearful of getting too close. I'm not much of a drinker but do enjoy the rare beer for a special occasion or social gathering and I simply like the taste of fruit smoothies. I have developed an aversion to soda and sweet tea but there is so such aversion to energy drinks for some reason. I hope that I will also find them disgusting in the near future because they are poison
This post is more for my reference and I don't expect most people to relate but thanks to anyone for listening and caring about me.