Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 review

Let's look back to 2011 first:
I finished the year at 33 wins- 17 losses (2 wks off) with a 3.04 average while covering 2,092 miles.
-set PRs in the 10K and Half marathon as well as adult PRs in the Mile and 5K.
-Performance of the year was the Statue 2 Statue 15K.

2012 Training stats:
The final numbers look very similar to last year but it was a year of more extreme highs and lows:
34W-16L, 3.06 average.  Distance was 2,072 miles.

Heresy #1- I value my training just as much as my race performance if not more so.  Why?  It is the best indicator of my day to day health.  I only raced 10 times this year and lived another 356.  I would rather train well and under-perform a little on race day than the other way around.  If I feel lousy most of the time but get lucky with the occasional good day when the race comes, it won't make me happy long-term no matter how well I perform. 

Heresy #2- Long slow distance makes me feel sluggish and I don't enjoy it either.  Sure, I could boost my mileage by slowing the training paces but I won't enjoy it as much.  The marathon is a different beast that requires high mileage for optimal results but I am unsure if it would improve my performances at the shorter distances.  I tend to feel my best at 45-55 MPW with easy runs at 7:30 pace and tempo runs at 6:30ish.  It's a good plan for a 10K or half marathon but not the best strategy for a full.  As long as I continue to improve, I'm sticking with the same basic principle.

-Nipped my adult PR in the Mile (5:18.3) in 85 degree heat without a proper taper.
-Tied my HS PR in the 5K (19:13).  Because of rounding, it was probably a 19:12.x and I consider it my best time ever.
-Broke the 40 minute barrier for 10K (39:44).  Yes, it was on a track but as long as I know I covered the full distance, it counts just the same to me.
-Smashed the 1:30 barrier in the half marathon (1:28:12).
-Scored a massive PR in the marathon with a respectable 3:21 on a moderately hilly course.
-Silver medal in my age group at Rumpshaker 5K  and Possum Trot 10K.
-Course PRs at Peavine (58:42) and Vulcan (41:32).

-Scored a PW (worst time in more than 2 years) at Denver (half) and Crescent City (10K)
-DNS (Did Not Start) at Kentucky Derby due to a flu bug.
-Mediocre races at Tupelo and Charlotte.
-Extreme sugar intolerance during late summer-early fall
-No lost time due to injury but did battle a bit of plantar fasciitis
-Unstable in late Fall due to copper toxicity.

Performance of the year:
My vote is the 3M half in Austin but my readers seem to value my Rumpshaker 5K a bit more.  I can see why.  It is not common for 30-somethings to match their times from high school cross-country but I did in spite of adrenal fatigue and a long road back.

Non-running goals:
1. GET A GOOD MEDICAL REPORT- literally everything depends on it at least indirectly.  My numbers are about the same as when I had my first false hope in the summer of 2010.  Am I really closer to freedom or is my current hot streak just another short-term breakthrough?  Life will be SO MUCH better all around if I'm healthy almost every week.

2. Promotion at work- That will take a bit of luck and it's too complex to report briefly here.

3. Have a steady girlfriend or at least a few dates- I will not pursue anyone until I get the good medical report.  I don't believe it can work unless I am stable chemically though I would not turn down a "dream girl" who loves me unconditionally in spite of it.  As of now, there is too much potential for hurt on both sides.  I basically know what I'm looking for but will not get into that on this blog.

4. Restore my trust in the Lord- Hate to say it but only a good medical report can do that now.  It's been over 6 years since diagnosis and I could deal with a plateau or even stability at lower levels of performance but not the false hopes and flips from blahs to anxiety.  I have big dreams for a book deal.  There are lots of Christian books out there and lots of books on alternative medicine but I'm not aware of any that integrate them.  It could help a lot of people but again, only a good medical report can make that happen.  By March, it should be clear how this will play out one way or the other and we'll see how I feel at that time.

Running goals:
I will not be running a marathon until late 2014 or early 2015 and I've gotten times I wanted in the 10K and Half so the focus will be on the Mile and 5K.  I will be doing fewer tempo runs and more interval training.  Mileage will be cut slightly to the 35-45 range.  Stated goals are 5:15 and 19:00 but with a medical miracle, I know I can do a lot better than that (more like 5:00/low18). I also want an official sub-40 for 10K on a road course.  As for the 400, I'm not conceding yet but if I can't break 60 seconds in 2013, I don't see it happening after age 33.  I planned a couple serious attempts in 2012 but was derailed by the plantar issues.  I will be running 4 half marathons as part of my Half 2 Run challenge and definitely want another sub-1:30. 

As for training stats, I expect to be below 2,000 miles and I'm okay with that but I do want at least 38 wins out of 50 weeks of training.  That would mean that my health is good more than 75% of the time.
I'll shoot for 1,750 miles with aggressive targets of 38-12 and a 3.25 average.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Rave: Middle Distance and the Mile

It seems that in recent years, interest in the Mile (or 1500 meter) race in track and field has waned significantly.  The glamour events on the track are now the sprints and long distances (10,000 and of course, the marathon).  Back in the day, it was the Mile that was glamour event while there was little interest in the long distances.  In the movie Prefontaine, the title character resisted his coach's plan for him to run longer distances and once said: "Nobody cares about the 3 Mile."  Nowadays, I'll bet that we're more likely to hear a super talented college athlete say "Nobody cares about the 1500."

Let's consider the world record progression:
Most casual fans know that Roger Bannister was the first man under the 4 minute barrier in 1954.  Twenty years later, John Walker of New Zealand broke 3:50.  Morceli of Algeria dipped under 3:45 in 1993.  Since then, in almost 20 years, the world record for the Mile has dropped by only 1 second with El-G's 3:43:18.

In the 10,000 meters:
-The 27 minute barrier was broken for the first time in 1993 (26:58) and the current record is an amazing 26:17.  That's right.  While the Mile record has fallen by only 1 second, the 10K mark has dropped by 41.  Why is that?  I have 2 theories.

As I've already touched on, fewer athletes aspire to be milers nowadays.  Second, with all the emphasis on more and more miles at slower paces, today's training is often not suitable for the Mile.  I believe that many 5,000 meter runners could be world-class milers if they wanted to and are willing to train for the shorter distance.  Former British great Sebastian Coe, a double gold medalist who ran a 3:47 Mile in the early '80s criticized the "more is better" philosophy in his autobiography Born To Run.  I can't quote him exactly but I do recall that he declared that the more is better is "all wrong" and what is important is "speed, speed, speed."  Follow those principles and I'll bet that we will see a sub-3:40 by the end of the decade.

  I like the Mile as a fan as well because it's so entertaining.  Sprints are over too quickly and with the staggered starts, it's difficult to see who is leading the race until the final straight.  Long distance races are run in a pack with no moves being made until the last few laps.  Some people can watch a whole marathon on television but I cannot.  The mile on the other hand is short enough to be entertaining for the entire race but long enough that you know what's going on before it's almost over.  No other event requires the blend of speed, strength and endurance that makes an elite runner.  What does it take?  Enough raw speed to run the 100 meters well under 11 seconds or at least 400 in under 47.5 combined with the endurance to run a 5,000 near 13 minutes.  That is remarkable talent.

As for me:
  I had planned to return to my roots as a middle distance runner last Spring but the plantar issues put me back to 10K-half mary mode this Fall.  Over the past 2 years, I tailored my training to run a fast time in the 10K and half mary and got the results that I wanted (sub-40 and sub-90).  I'll also add that I feel that my 3:21 full was quite respectable as well.  After 13.1 L.A. it's time to attack the Mile and 5K.  What can I do with more interval training?  If by some miracle my body is balanced by Spring, I really think I've got a shot at the 5:00 barrier (4:40 for 1500) but in my present condition, my stated goal of 5:15 is probably near the limit.  I did take 2 shots last year in solo trials and clocked a 5:18.3 in May followed by a 5:18.8 in June.  Both were run in 85 degree weather with only 1 day of rest.   To put that into perspective, that's within 10 seconds of my high school PR and if I had competition, that difference would be even less.  Marathoners often criticize my quality over quantity approach but few adult runners have been able to maintain their teenage speed as well as I have.  I will be plenty satisfied with a 5:15 Mile but if at some future date I run a sub-5:08 solo, I figure that I have to go for it.  The only major track meet in Birmingham is the BTC classic in early June but the 1500 is run in the heat of the day.  I've tried to get others to race me flat out on the track or at least help pace me but have had no such luck because it's too much of a disruption to their marathon training.

Training 12/24-12/31

12/24- Easy 6 on Jefferson Trail.  Standard issue run with nothing overly exciting to report.  Finished in 44:30 (7:25 pace).  1st half was 22-flat and the 2nd half was 22:30 but the trail is sloped so it was actually a fairly even pace.  A bit of foot soreness.  Dosage may be trending down slightly.  I want to keep it high until my numbers get in line.  Decent workout.  Good enough for 3.3 points.  All I need is a "C-" on my next workout to clinch the 3.00.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.0

12/25- Planned rest day.  Merry Christmas to all.

12/26- The clincher!  It turned out to be a rather forgettable and uninspiring workout.  Finished only 3 miles in a time of 22:51 (7:37 pace).  Just barely met the minimum criteria for a real workout as opposed to a junk run.  I'm sure that I could have gone another 3 at this pace but I chose not to (Slacker)!  My excuse was that my trip back to Birmingham was VERY hectic and my heart was not into the workout.  I just wanted to go back home and relax.  I expect to be fine tomorrow but if I wake up deathly ill and can't run for the rest of the week, I will still finish at 3.00 for the year.  Also, this meager workout will allow me to rest on 12/31 without a penalty.  A win this week would be my 34th of the year, which would be a personal record and an important one as well.  I'll explain why in my year end post.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.0

12/27- OUTSTANDING!  Long tempo, which was one of my key workouts for a half mary.  I've run 6 miles at goal pace then followed it up with a fast Mile or even a fast quarter mile and found it to be a good predictor for race day.  It gave me confidence that I would have plenty left at the halfway point.  Today, I tried something different.  6 miles at goal pace (slightly slower than tempo) then try to find another gear and hold it for a full 2 miles.  Hit 6 miles in 40:11 (6:42 pace), just a hair slower than my 6 mile split in Austin.  6 miles at that pace is nothing special but what followed is.  I DID find another gear.  In fact, I found 2.  Mile 7 was a 6:30 and Mile 8 was a 6:20 with a sub-6 pace over the final quarter mile.  Overall time was 53:01 for 8 miles (6:38 pace).  Even if I slowed to 7:15 pace over the last 5, I still break 1:30.  Cool down tribute.  A key workout that puts me on track for win #34.  Need a decent long run.
Grade:A/2 credit/distance=8.5

12/28- Chilly rain forced me inside.  Easy 5 in 37:06 (7:25 pace).  Legs were a little sore from yesterday but nothing out of the ordinary.  Even pace and I actually was holding back a bit to make sure it was over 37.  I have just 12 hours to rest up for my long run tomorrow.  Passed 2,050 on the year.  I expect to finish between 2,070-2,075.  GPA will be 3.03-3.06 and I'm still on track for a win this week.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/29- Back with the Gnomes.  Tough conditions out there (upper 30s, 15mph wind) but I was strong.  13 miles on a hilly route in a time of 1:34:28 (7:16 pace).  That would be a 3:10:xx full mary and short of a BQ but I was still pleased with this one.  Mile 13 (mostly downhill) was my fastest at 6:28.  Kept it all under 7:38 (3:20 mary pace) even on the tough uphill sections.   Most miles were 7:20ish if the terrain was fairly level.  Added a half mile cool.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=13.5

12/30- Lakeshore 6.5 in 45:17 (6:58 pace).  Felt no harder than marathon effort.  I looked down at my watch at the end of Mile 2 and saw a 6:39 split and could not believe it.  From there, I backed off a bit but still maintained sub-marathon pace the rest of the way.  Weather conditions were sunny and chilly but not too windy.  It was okay to be fast because I'm resting tomorrow.
Grade:A+/ 1 credit/distance=7.0

12/31- Victory formation.  The quarterback takes a knee to kill the clock.  Final training stats were 2,072 miles.  Finished with a record of 34-16 with a 3.06 GPA.  The mileage total is not a PR but the weekly record and GPA are both my best.

Weekly summary:
Win #34, which means that overall, I was healthier than last year by a hair.  What a finish for the week!  Strong tempo, a quality long run while showing no signs of fatigue.  I still feel terrible without the pills.  Over the next few weeks, I hope to be less dependent on them.  If I am still taking the same things with success at the time of Mercedes (mid-Feb), I will allow my hopes to rise but will not make any declarations of being healed until I get a good medical report (late March).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Medical report

RANT:  I have still not seen my actual results.  I called to check on Monday afternoon and placed an order the following day.  I got the refill on the pills but have STILL NOT RECEIVED THE REPORT!  Most likely, the assistant forgot to put it in the mail.  I already basically know the results but I won't see it in print until after Christmas and I am not happy.  The doc did tell me that it was "not much different than my last one" so I'll base it on that.

  I sent my sample to the lab in mid-November after seeing my Thym-Adren dosage begin to trend down.  That could have meant 1 of 2 things:
1) my numbers are getting close to normal and I can safely begin the process of weaning off
2) I remain unbalanced but my body is rejecting the pill that is necessary to get me there
For those of you unfamiliar with hair analysis, it is a measure of minerals that correlate with hormones at the tissue or cellular level rather than the blood.  Hormones may be circulating at normal levels in the blood but are not reaching the tissues in proper proportions.  That is why many patients report feeling bad despite the fact that their blood work looks fine.  Such patients are usually put on anti-depressants, which are beneficial only if they properly target low neurotransmitters.

I was cautiously hopeful for scenario #1 because I had successfully weaned off neurotransmitter support for deficiencies in adrenaline and dopamine 4 years ago.  Most patients need to take a small dosage for preventative maintenance but I do not.  If my health continued to improve as my dosage was being cut, that would be a very good sign.  I've had some good workouts in the past 6 weeks but the overall trend has been that of decline and increasing instability since my 39:44 10K trial.  It got to the point in which 2 pills left me feeling blah and depressed but if I only took 1, I would flip to the other extreme (anxiety, restlessness, short of breath).  Needless to say, I can't run well in either state and more important things will also suffer as a result.

The results reflect an average of the previous 3 months (late August-late November) so I did not expect to be in balance because I was hurting pretty badly up until mid-September due to the sugar intolerance but performed consistently well from late September-early November.  The actual normals are a bit more complex than I describe but for the sake of simplicity, I will only report the deviation from the norm for both the thyroid and adrenal ratios.

Blood sugar: Ideal = 6.67 (norm= 4.5-9.0) Under 3 or above 12 is significant.  Under 2 or above 16 is extreme. 
Thyroid and adrenal: Normal would be considered to be between 75%-150% of the ideal value.  Most athletes tend to run a little on the high side of "normal" but anything more than 2x ideal is significant and performances will certainly be adversely affected. 4x is bordering on extreme and I've been as bad as 8x faster in the past.  The same holds true for the other side of the spectrum.  Less than 50% of ideal is significant and 25% borders on extreme.

My results:
I was told that my blood sugar was within the normal range.  That's good news but no big surprise.  I've improved a great deal in that area since I took care of the fructose intolerance with the enzyme xylose isomerase (Fructosin).  If I cheat too often however, I will find myself in trouble again.

Again, I don't know the exact numbers but "not much different from last time" means that my thyroid and adrenals are still about 4 times higher than ideal and bordering on extreme.

The plan:
A lot of patients quit on the program when suggested pills stop working or cause them to feel worse.  In my case, my numbers suggested that I need loads of Thym-Adren or something else to slow my system down but my body was rejecting it, which prevented me from getting closer to balance.  The right strategy is to find out why your body is rejecting supposedly key nutrients and either switch to another pill or attack the problem that caused the rejection.  It appears that my issue with Thym-Adren has to do with copper biounavailability (mineral is present but can't be processed as it should).  If I only took 1 pill, being unbalanced will over-ride the copper issue and cause the symptoms of fast oxidation.  If I went up to 2 pills, the copper issue will over-ride the imbalances, causing the blahs.  Now, it makes sense why I was so unstable!  Vitamin C is a powerful copper antagonist with a chelating effect.  Molybdenum could be another option.  As long as I take enough C, I should be able to tolerate as much Thym-Adren as I need.  As of now, symptoms DO match the results.  THIS HAD BETTER BE THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE!  I can't go on like this indefinitely and I must admit that these false hopes and relapses have taken a toll on my faith.

The question on most people's mind is this:  How can I possibly train and race as well as I do if I am so badly unbalanced? I don't mean to sound arrogant but the answer is natural talent.  Let's say that a world-class distance runner such as Meb or Ryan Hall slowed by a minute per mile.  He would still be among the best local runners but would get lapped twice in a world class 5,000 meter race and everyone would know something was wrong.  If he recovers his form a couple of years later, the question becomes: What did you do to solve what was wrong?

On a somewhat selfish note, sure I'd like to know how good I could be if I was balanced.  A lot of people in the running community have no idea that I am not healthy and probably would not believe it if they heard the truth.  A significant spike in my performances will certainly generate more interest in both my story and alternative medicine as a whole.  My doctor says that I know as much as him when it comes to treatment.  Several people have encouraged me to publish my knowledge in a book.  I don't feel right about that unless I get in balance.  Who wants to listen to someone endorsing a treatment despite his/her unresolved symptoms?  My aim to to glorify God, not myself.  I've said this before but I still stand firm:  If somebody offered me a contract stating that I could trade my running talent for 50 years of general good health.  My response would be: "It's a deal! Where do I sign?"  I don't care if I have to take a ton of pills either.  Just get my numbers in line!  I've caught glimpses of what it's like to be in balance and y'all have no idea how good it feels to me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Training 12/17-12/23

12/17- AWFUL!  Lakeshore 5 in 42:43 (8:33 pace).  1st half was a weak 19:15 then it got worse and worse from there.  Mile 5 was around 10:30 and I felt some Achilles tightness.  Fortunately, it does not seem to be an injury but I took no chances.  The medical report is in the mail and will arrive no later than Thursday.  The doc told me what I already knew.  My thyroid and adrenals are elevated.  By how much?  We shall see.  I am going to look into enzyme supplements and try taking 1.25 pills.  Countdown is 13 now.  Ordered an enzyme supplement.  Will also try choline/inositol but I have little confidence that it will work.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/18- AM- 2 mile junk run in 14:47 (7:23 pace).  Not a significant difference in how I feel.  I'm hitting the health food store at lunch time.  Another idea is more vitamin C.  Achilles remains tender but it's all related to the imbalances.  Pushing too hard will likely lead to injury.  I am 2 miles closer to 2,000.  Only 11 to go now.

PM- 5 miles in 37:19 (7:28 pace).  Massive improvement over yesterday.  I took some vitamin C and got the desired effect (more over-stimulation).  This allowed me to try some more Thym-Adren.  I feared that my body would tighten up immediately but it didn't happen.  In fact, I was still too loose after 5 more of those pills.  Just 3 days ago, 1.5 was too much for me and now I need mega doses again.  The reason has to do with vitamin C's chelation effect on copper, which I believe to be the reason I had trouble with Thym-Adren.  More on this subject will come in the Medical report post, which likely will be only understood by me.  I took some choline/inositol after I finished the run and this time my body did tighten up so that's unlikely to be the answer.  It could work if taken without Thym-Adren or taken with enzymes.  I'll try it later.  As for the run, I felt good early, got into a rut in the middle and finished pretty strong.  1st half: 18:36, 2nd half: 18:43.  Still, 3.5 weeks out from L.A, which should be time to turn this around.  Countdown stands at 5.5 so I should make it tomorrow, Thursday at the latest.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.5

12/19- Again, mega dose of Thym-Adren resulted in a mega improvement.  Trak Shak 5 at moderate effort.  It's too dangerous to run that course for a tempo in the dark even with a group.  Finished in 34:32 (6:54 pace) with a last mile in 6:31.  Added a half mile cool to bring my yearly total to an even 2,000 miles.  1st half:17:20, 2nd half: 17:12.  Never slowed beyond 7:08 and Mile 4 is net uphill.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

12/20- Every day and in every way, getting better and better.  I learned today that I will need to take Vitamin C every day or my body will stiffen up because of the copper issue.  I prefer to only take 1 per day but if it has to be 2, I'm fine with it.  Today was my tempo day and it went well.  5 miles in 32:45 (6:33 pace).  Probably good enough for a low 41 in a 10K race, which is still about 10-15 seconds per mile from my best.  That feels about right.  I got off to a great start but my pace gradually slowed before I managed a decent but not great finish.  Splits were 6:23-6:31-6:38-6:44-6:29.  Solid but not stellar.  This one is good for 6.6 quality points and leaves me just 16.3 short of clinching the 3.00 for the year and I'll have 11 more credits to make it.  No medical report in the mail but I already basically know the results.  Tomorrow for sure.  
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=6.0

12/21- AM.  Easy 3 indoors in 22:39 (7:33 pace).  Average performance.  I didn't take enough pills immediately upon rising and it takes some time for them to fully kick in.  Slow start but I was moving decently well by the end.  Splits were: 7:45-7:27-7:27.  2.7 quality points for this one.  Countdown stands at 13.6 with 10 credits left.  Looking good.  Long tomorrow and I think I can handle it.  Sunday will be a travel day and a planned rest, which is why I ran today.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.0

12/22- AM-Probably my best long run EVER!  Trak Shak 9-9 loop in 2:08:01 (7:07 pace).  All 18 miles were below 7:30 and the fastest one was Mile 18 at 6:38.  1st half: 63:40, 2nd half: 64:21.  That's less than 5 ticks per mile difference.  Passed 13.1 in 1:32:45 with barely a hint of fatigue.  The next 4 were a bit of a struggle but included some hills.  It was not quite as great as it sound though.  I had to stop for traffic several times especially in the Brookwood area and took a long drink and bathroom stop (approx. 5 min) after completing the first 9 mile loop. This was only my fifth day on the new formula so I'm sure there is room for more improvement.

PM- I realized that all I needed was 2 more miles at 8:30 to hit my 20@7:15 so I hit Wisteria for a junk run.  Finished 2 miles in 16:36 for an overall performance of 20@7:14.  On a downhill course, I believe that right now, I have a chance to run a 3:10 BQ but that attempt is still almost 2 years away.  Let's also not forget that I ran a tempo just 2 days earlier.  I earned 8.6 points for this one, which leaves me just 5 short.  Hopefully, I can do it within 2 workouts.
Grade:A+/2 credits/distance=20.0

12/23- Travel day.  Planned rest.

Weekly summary:
Win #33.  That ties last year's total.  A good final week will put me in position to beat last year's 3.04 GPA.  I need 63 miles to beat last year's distance total and will not try for that.  With the 2 travel days and being out of my routine, a winning week will not come easily.  Is Vitamin C the long-term answer?
Distance=47.0/GPA= 25.6/8= 3.20

Monday, December 10, 2012

Training 12/10-12/16

Note:  I'm seeing a lot of page views on this one and I'm not sure why.  It was a good week for me overall but I have had better.  Check out late 2011-early 2012 for some really crazy workouts.  This week was just BEFORE I discovered the Vitamin C deficiency.  By adding the C, my dosage went back up  and as a result, I showed much improvement on my March medical report.  Hope this answers any questions.

12/10- Indoor 6 in 43:54 (7:19 pace).  Yes, I am improving but I still struggled in Miles 4-5 before rebounding at the end.  Again, this was acceptable for a planned easy day but in a tempo or interval, it would have sucked.  This was NOT an easy effort.  Good news is that it appears that I will not have to raise my Thym-Adren dosage up above 1.5 and I hope to be down to 1.0 by L.A.  I still believe that I am trending down and may yet be able to get off this stuff once and for all.  A "magic bullet" pill in which the target goes up and down?  I've been there before and IT SUCKS REAL BAD!  Fortunately, that does not appear to be happening this time.  Added a mile cool.  Nothing in the mail and no word from the doc but I expect something any day now.  3 weeks left in the year and I am only 61 miles shy of 2,000.  Let the countdown begin.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.0

12/11- Continued improvement.  5 mile tempo in 33:25 (6:41 pace).  Still not quite 100 percent.  Could not hold my "A" pace through the middle.  Splits were 6:34-6:42-6:48-6:53-6:28.  1st half was 16:38, 2nd half was 16:47.  I was shooting for 6@6:40 but could not quite manage that but this was still an above average workout.  Added a mile cool.  Countdown is down to 55.  Still nothing in the mail.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=6.0

12/12- Strong MLR.  Finished 10 miles in 72:44 (7:16 pace).  Cruised the first 9 at an even 7:20 pace then dropped a 6:41 while remaining fairly comfortable until the last 200.  Again, with no tempo the previous day, I believe that I could have gone double the distance at the same pace.  Today, I had NO trouble holding the pace.  This one was key for the 3.0 goal.  With a win this week, it's mine barring disaster.  The countdown is now at 45.  If it goes as planned, I'll hit 2K by next Wednesday.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=10.0

12/13- Strong again.  Lakeshore 6.5 in 47:31 (7:19 pace).  Hit 5 miles in 36:15 (GMP) then backed off to 7:30 on the extension.  After a tempo and a MLR and now 30 miles in the last 4 days, I expected to be a bit sore but I'm holding up pretty well.  When I'm healthy, this training is really not that hard for me.  Countdown stands at 38 with a half mile cool.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=7.0

12/14- Planned rest day.  Feeling a little uneasy.  I am sore but it does NOT feel like it's natural fatigue.  I had a couple fruit smoothies and a milkshake this week, which SHOULD NOT hurt me as long as I'm taking Fructosin.  I MIGHT need to cut the dosage down to 1.0.  4 weeks out from LA so that means that I will likely have to cut it again before race day.  I really wish that I could make the adjustment just a few days before the race to minimize the chance of another off day at an inopportune time.  If the medical report is not in the mail by Monday, I will call the doctor's office.  I have decided to do a long run tomorrow instead of a local 5K race on a rolling course.  4 weeks out is probably the best time to do an 18 miler and I have as much chance to nail the sub-19 going solo on the track.  I'll have a couple chances before the year is over.

12/15- Good call on skipping the Meadowbrook 5K.  I DID cut the dose down to 1.0 and it was a good call but it was a day late. If I had done it yesterday, I would have been fine today.  If I had waited another day or two, I would have been forced off the pills then back on them again just like before.  It will take another day or so to equalize on 1.0 pills.  As for the workout, it was a split decision.  Felt strong early but faded in Mile 6.  To my credit, I managed to keep it under 8:00 to the end.  1st half: 43:54,  2nd half: 47:06.  Overall time was 91-flat for 12 miles (7:35 pace) on the R9 and 3 Trak Shak route.  Countdown to 2K now stands at 26.  Still on track for the 3.0 but it will probably come down to the last week of the year.  Grading is a little lenient today.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=12.0

12/16- 7 miles indoors in 51:55 (7:25 pace).  Good call because it started pouring rain shortly after I started.  Solid performance but nothing special.  Felt a little loose like I didn't take enough pills.  I'll bet the optimal dose is around 1.2 pills but I'm sticking with 1.0 until further notice.  I hope to stay at 1.0 at least until the end of the year but there's no way to time the adjustment.  If it happens on race day, that's just bad luck.  Added a half mile naked at the same effort and a half mile cool at glacial pace.  Countdown- 18.  I'll hit 2K no later than Thursday.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=8.0

Weekly summary:
Win #32 on the year.  That's 1 shy of last year's total.  The dose is down to 1.0 and I'm 4 weeks out from L.A.  Ideally, I want to stay on 1.0 for another 3 weeks so it will take some good luck to perform well on race day.  As for the week, it was a nice total on the week but I was unable to do the long run.  I will only have 2 more chances to go beyond 15.  YTD: 1982.  I can clinch a 3.0 with a 3.82 next week, which is a long-shot but I have 2 weeks to do it.  Barring injury or infection, I've got it in the bag.
Distance=50.0/ GPA= 29.5/9= 3.28

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 Baseball Hall of Fame

Well, the time has come.  This is the first year that we have seen multiple candidates from the steroid era including the big 3, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.  Based on some unofficial surveys of sportswriters, all 3 will fall short this year.  Whether or not they will eventually get in down the road is another matter.  A key point overlooked by many is that then Commissioner Fay Vincent declared steroids illegal back in 1991.  It simply was not tested until 2003 and penalties were not enforced until 2005.  So if anyone says that steroids were not illegal at the time; that is untrue. According to the criteria for the Hall of Fame, "character, sportsmanship and integrity" matter.  Most voters will not enshrine a cheater and I agree.
Here's a quick look at the big names and my comments:

Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro- Not just no, HELL NO!  Both were juiced for the majority of their careers and thus their entire playing record does not even count in my book.  Palmeiro even lied under oath looking much like Bill Clinton with his finger wagging "I have NEVER used steroids, period."  He even went as far as to blame his teammate and still won't admit his guilt despite the fact that his name also appeared in the Mitchell report.

Sammy Sosa- Not quite as clear cut but still a convincing NO.  With 609 HRs, he's a shoo-in under normal circumstances.  Sosa was not juiced for his entire career and his numbers really didn't spike until 1998 and reportedly tested positive in 2003.  He was arguably the best in the game for 4 years, averaging over 60 HRs per year but those years don't count in my book.  He was clean early in his career and at the end of it and his numbers pre-1998 and post-2003 are not even close to HOF worthy.

Roger Clemens- 354 wins, 4500+Ks and a .650 winning percentage.  Should be another shoo-in but I vote NO.  In this case, there is a legitimate case for Clemens.  He notched nearly 200 wins before age 33 but his stats had been declining for a couple of years.  Then, he had a sudden resurgence at 34 and never slowed down until his last season at age 43.  I know that he was found not guilty in court but I am convinced that he did in fact use steroids. His numbers were not quite HOF worthy before he juiced but if he had stayed clean and hung on for maybe 5 more years as a .500 pitcher, he is probably in because he was so dominant in the late '80s and early '90s.

Barry Bonds-  This one is the most hotly debated.  Based purely on stats, he's among the top 5 in history if not the best ever.  Accounts say that he started using steroids in 1999 and before that time, he already had 411 HRs and had been among the best players of the decade.  If he had suffered a career ending injury or played 5 more simply ordinary years, he's in for sure.  He may have been clean for the last 2 years so he hit over 450 HRs clean, hit for a pretty high average and was a threat to steal.  That's borderline HOF even if you throw out the steroid years.  I still vote NO because of the character, integrity and sportsmanship clause and am adamant about no cheaters in the HOF.

Jeff Bagwell-  This one is a lot more complex.  Bagwell was a suspected steroid user that was never caught or named in the Mitchell report.  Based on before and after pictures that I have seen, I believe that he was probably juiced but there is insufficient evidence to convict and he's innocent until proven guilty.  He never played in the post-steroid era because his career was cut short due to a back injury.  Thus, you really can't say that he dropped off after testing began.  He ended up with 449 HRs and a BA just under .300.  It's a close one but I vote no.  I would not be upset if he did get in.  If he does, it's harder to ignore McGriff.

Mike Piazza- Best hitting catcher of all time with 427 HRs.  He's another one that probably did use steroids but is innocent until proven guilty.  Unlike Bagwell, Piazza did play after steroid testing began and his numbers dropped off suddenly and significantly.  He never hit more than 22 HRs after 2003 and was not even that old either (33 or 34).  He was out of the game by age 36 after a mediocre final season.  That's enough evidence for me to vote no but again, there is a strong case in his favor.

Craig Biggio- Never among the very best in the game but managed to compile some big numbers over 20 years including 3,000 hits but it took him over 10,000 ABs to do it and his lifetime BA was a rather ordinary .281.  Also, he never hit more than 26 HRs in a season.  You could count on him to hit .280ish with 15-20 HRs per year every year and for a middle infielder, that's pretty darn good.  He was also a threat to steal and drew a fair amount of walks.  He has never been linked to steroids and I say let's reward consistently solid if not spectacular play.  This one is a YES.

Tim Raines- 808 career steals and was often overshadowed by his contemporary Rickey Henderson.  Finished with a .294 average along with 2605 hits, a .385 OBP and a .425 slugging.  The knock on him is that although he was a superstar for about 5 years, he was basically over the hill by age 29 and was a bench player by age 36.  My vote is a "close no."  He simply fell just a little short.  With 2750 hits, a .300 BA or a touch more power, he's in.  He needed maybe 2 more outstanding top-10 MVP type seasons.  He's been getting near 50% of the vote and may yet get in. 

Curt Schilling- 214 wins and a near .600 winning percentage.  He had several outstanding seasons near the end of his career and has also been mentioned as a possible steroid user.  I vote NO because his numbers are not quite good enough.  With 250 wins, I'd vote differently.

Jack Morris- One of several in the "close but no cigar" group.  254 wins and a .570 winning percentage are both good enough to make it in this day in age.  With fewer complete games, 250 will likely become the new threshold instead of 300.  The knock on Morris is his ERA of 3.90, much of which was compiled in the pre-steroid era.  That mark is only 5% better than the league average during his career.  I see Morris as an above average pitcher whose win total is inflated by playing on a lot of good teams.  I vote no but it's a close one.  With a sub-3.50 ERA or even a sub-3.70, I'd vote yes.

Fred McGriff- He's been on the ballot for 4 years and has yet to get more than 25% support.  There are several knocks on him.  One is that he fell short of 500 HRs.  Who cares?  He ended up at 493 and if not for the strike in '94-'95, he would have made it comfortably.  It's silly to vote against him and say that if he only hit 7 more homers in 20 years, your vote would change.  Another is that he never was among the best in the game or even in the top 5 at his position.  That is untrue.  He was in the top 10 in the MVP voting for 5 straight years ('89-'93).  McGwire and Palmeiro have been purged in my book as well as several other obvious steroid users.  If not for them, he would have been among the best for several more years.  A class act and clean athlete.  He may never get in but I vote YES.  That said, if you vote for McGriff, only "suspicion of PEDs" justifies excluding Bagwell.

Training 12/3-12/9

12/3- Lakeshore 6.5 in 48:10 (7:25 pace).  Solid performance.  Still a little sore and put out a little more effort than I planned.  A bit of a slow start but I ran a comfortable even pace over the last 5 miles.  I am overdue for a rest day and will probably take it Wednesday or Thursday.  Temp was over 60 degrees at 6 PM.  Passed 1,900 on the year.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

12/4- I had planned to do Johnny's workout but it was raining a little so I bagged it and took an elective rest day.  I've re-learned the lesson that 7 days per week won't work for me even if one of them is just a 2 mile junk run.  I feel "okay" today but just okay is not what I had hoped for coming off the pills. Massive improvement would really boost my confidence. I am still over-analyzing every little ache and pain.  No medical report today and this is the first day that I am going to the mailbox with any expectation of receiving it.  The doctors usually calls to let me know that it arrived before he mails it to me.  For the remainder of the year, I want at least one more shot at 5K and I don't care if the PR comes in a time trial or race setting.  I also want an 18 mile LR within a month of Los Angeles. If I feel up to it, I might try the 5K tomorrow.

12/5- DEFEAT!  I had hoped to run a 5K time trial today and arrived at the track after a pretty good day at work.  I felt decent warming up as well but within about a minute of starting, it didn't feel right.  The plan was to run straight 92 second quarters, get to 2 miles in 12:16, hang on and burn it home.  I figured that I could afford to go maybe 6 seconds in the red before the last 400 but it never came to that.  I hit 200 in a fairly comfy 45.x  but the watch was nearly 1:33 by the end of the lap.  Not good.  I tried to pick it up but could barely hold the same pace for the next lap and came through 1K at 3:51, already slow.  When I hit the Mile at 6:14, I bagged it and turned it into a lame interval workout.  This one SUCKED something awful.  1200 was a 5:37, 800 was 3:56 and the 400 was 1:50.  The first mile in 6:14 sapped all my strength.  For about a half hour, I panicked.  Now, what do I do?  I know what I need to get healthy but my body is rejecting it.  Then it hit me.  I accidentally took too much Fructosin last night.  Could that be the reason?  I got worse after taking another when I got home.  Hopefully this is a one day blip but it's a big hit the GPA.
Grade:D-/2 credit/distance=3.0

12/6- Easy 5 in 38:53 (7:47 pace).  Mediocre performance.  I get a plus because of the negative split.  1st half: 19:33, 2nd half: 19:20.  Put out moderate effort and based on that, it should have been 7:00-7:10 but there was not much there.  No real improvement over yesterday.  I would have flat out sucked in a quality session.  It's not the Fructosin.  I must go back on the Thym-Adren and will report back with the results.  If nothing else, this ends the anxiety about the medical report.  I know that I will NOT be in balance.  The question is, how far out of balance?  Can I stay on low dose Thym-Adren?  Will that be enough to get to balance?  In any event, I should know how this will all play out by Spring.  The next medical report will be the key and will be sent out in 2-3 months.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.5

12/7- Took 1 Thym-Adren this morning and improved as a result.  Vestavia 5 and my time is down to 36:56 (7:23 pace) for a nearly 2 minute improvement over yesterday.  Good start, faded in the middle before a nice rebound at the end.  That pace is acceptable for an easy run at this distance but once again, I know that I would have struggled in an interval workout.  What went wrong?  I waited to long to cut the dosage when 2 pills became too much.  When I finally did adjust, I was too aggressive.  Despite the so-so effort today, I'm sticking with 1 pill tomorrow.  If I'm not better, I go to 1.5 but not 2. 
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.5

12/8- FELT WEIRD.  Trak Shak 9 loop in a solid 65:13 (7:15 pace).  That looks pretty decent on the surface but it's the moving time.  I stopped several times for just a mental break.  I took off at sub-7 pace and really tried to slow down but could not.  By halfway however, I was faltering.  Hit 5 miles under 35 but miles 6-8 were 7:33-7:43-7:53 then rebounded with a 7:08 close.  Added a mile cool to make it an even 10.  I woke up feeling awful and 1 pill was clearly not enough so I went with 1.5.  It still seems to be on the low side but I'm sticking with it until further notice.  I must not cheat so much with the sugar and caffeine.  I'm not bulletproof in that area even with the Fructosin.  That may be contributing to my instability.  I'll call this one "average" overall.  No medical report again but I fully expect to hear something next week.  
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=10.0

12/9- BAD!  Lakeshore 5 in 38:40 (7:44 pace).  1st half: 17:39, 2nd half: 21:01.  Felt weird but ran well early then hit the wall late in Mile 3 and walk/jogged Mile 5 in over 9 minutes.  I believe it was the cheating on my diet.  If so, I should be better tomorrow.  I'm sticking with 1.5 pills.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
3rd loss in the last 4 weeks and this one was a blowout.  Los Angeles is only 5 weeks away so I've got to get this set right real quick. YTD is now 1932 so 2K is looking like a lock barring injury.  The 3.0 will likely come down to the last week.  I'm still on the plus side but not by much.
Distance=36.0/ GPA= 17.5/8= 2.19