Monday, October 28, 2013

Training 10/28-11/3

10/28- Gold's 5 miler almost all out in a lame 39:05 (7:49 pace).  Used the anger as fuel for a 7:23 last mile.  2nd day off the antibiotics and I was not significantly better than yesterday.  That means that there could be other factors at work and I won't rule out magnesium.  Clean diet for the first time in several days.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

10/29- Gold's 5 miler in 35:23 (7:05 pace). Popped some extra Mag after Mile 2 and clocked a sub-7 pace the rest of the way.   This was an improvement of 3:42 over yesterday but this time, my reaction is So what?  Similar improvements have happened before and were followed by another collapse. This time is hardly worth celebrating as it is nearly 4 minutes from my PR.  Once again, I need magnesium.  That's right, in this month alone, I have been on it then forced off and now I've been forced back on.  Is it too much to ask just to function at 90% and be able to do so consistently?  My 90% would be mid 1:30s for a half, which is not too shabby.
The antibiotic use likely played a role in the magnesium depletion so I fully expect that I will be forced off again soon and will endure another collapse in the very near-future.  Sorry for the pessimism but I'm only being realistic given this nightmare of a year.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

10/30- 5 mile time trial and my time is down to 33:32 (6:42 pace).  1st half: 16:40, 2nd half: 16:52.  Fastest time since June and just 33 ticks shy of "competitive shape."  Actually felt somewhat like my old self today but the news is not all good.  I bumped up the Mag from 100 mg to 150 mg this afternoon and I could tell before starting that it was not enough so I went up to 225 mg.  The same dosage would have been toxic only 2 weeks ago.  I still don't know why this happened and I still expect to be forced back off and collapse to 9:40 Mile shape.  I did have a minor slip with the caffeine but once a week won't hurt me.  Just don't make a habit of it.  Do I chance it and race in West Virginia?  I'm leaning towards going.  Tulsa is nearly sold out.  The hair test will be sent in 4 weeks and I should get some answers.  Which problem is worse, the high Na or low Mg?
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=6.0

10/31- Lakeshore 6 just before the rain hit.  Finished in 45:47 (7:38 pace).  Not a bad time for a planned easy day but I was not pleased with how I felt.  1st half was a comfy 22:16, 2nd half was a weak 23:31 and had to work to maintain the 7:50 pace.  An average performance overall.  Passed 1,500 miles on the year so as much as this year has sucked, I'm still getting decent mileage and not losing too much fitness.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.0

Update: Good news and bad news.  The bad is that once again, changes must be made just after I thought I was getting it together.  Glad I did not get my hopes up.  The good news is that I found out why I needed magnesium this week and it was my own damn fault.  I skipped too many doses of Vitamin C.  Vitamin C enhances magnesium absorption.  Thus, without it, I needed to supplement Mag but with it, it's too much of a drain on my adrenaline. There is a chance, albeit slim, that Thym-Adren+C+ a clean diet will maintain my Mag levels.  I will proceed as planned with the all Thym-Adren strategy until Thanksgiving.  Then depending on my medical report, I will either stay with it or go with more Cal/Mag and less Thym-Adren.  On lowered Thym-Adren, I will not need Vitamin C.  I'll bet my tissue Na is down to the 60s by now.  The West Virginia decision will be made this weekend.

11/1- Planned rest day.  As expected, I am not feeling the best on my first day off the Mag and back on the C but I bet I could handle an easy workout today if the schedule called for it.  I hope to be well enough to go long tomorrow but if I can't, I can do it on Sunday.

11/2- COLLAPSE!  Can't say I'm surprised.  3 miles in 25:10 (8:23 pace) with a 3rd mile in 9:30.

PM- 1 mile junk run in 7:06.  Felt better but so what?
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/3- Reminiscent of the Crazy J of old today.  Lakeshore 14 in 1:41:40 (7:16 pace).  1st half in 51:07, 2nd half in 50:33.  Pace was pretty steady at just under 7:20 for the first 13 then slammed a 6:47 in Mile 14.  I believe I had a 1:33 half in me today in a race setting.  Again, so what? 1 good run does not make everything right.   I cut the Thym-Adren from 8 pills to 6 and if I did not do that, I would have been just as horrible as I was yesterday if not worse.  What are the odds that this is the long-term answer?  Slim-none.  I am going to chance it and race next week in West VA.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
2 good days in a week is not good enough at this stage of the treatment.  Because the good days occurred on my planned quality days, I managed to pull out a win.  If I win next week, that's 2 in a row.  How about a winning streak?
Distance=40.0/GPA= 24.1/8= 3.01
YTD; 1,520 miles and that's all I'm posting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Magnesium RBC test results

Update: December 2014.  Much has changed since the original post.  I CAN tolerate Jigsaw Magnesium and take 500-750 mg per day balanced with a 1:1 ratio with Calcium.  My RBC Mag has been steady between 5.6-5.9 and my most recent hair test was a 5.  Unfortunately, tissue sodium and potassium remain too high.

The short answer is that my result is a 5.9 compared to a reference range of 4.2-6.8.  The reference range was revised downward in 1962 from 5.0-7.0.  Still, even using the old scale, my result is solidly within the normal range. 6.0-7.0 is considered optimal by knowledgeable practitioners so I'm right on the edge.  I've also read that it is rare to see a patient's value much higher than 6.5 nowadays because of poor soils and processed food. 

What is an RBC test?  As you can probably guess, RBC stands for red blood cell.  This test is a blood test but unlike the more commonly used serum test, it measures your value at the cellular level. When magnesium is low, it is typically pulled from the cells to keep it normal in the blood.  Thus, a serum test is pretty much useless.   I got the results in less than 72 hours and paid just $49.  Moreover, I did not have to get a referral from a doctor.  I simply ordered the test online and showed up at the lab.

Overall, I feel pretty good about this result.  I may be heading to a point in which I cannot take any magnesium at all in supplement form with the Thym-Adren because I am becoming more and more intolerant to the Mag.  Part of me was hoping to see a value that was over the top because my supplementation but that didn't happen.  I do have one key question that I posted on Facebook but have yet to receive an answer: How well does an RBC test correlate with the Mag level on the hair test?  If my RBC is 5.9, can I expect a 5 or even a 6 on my next hair test?  Surely, it will be better than the 2s and 3s that I have gotten recently (ideal is 6).  Again, my sodium level was down to 30 back in March and if the Mag is 5, it would be a ratio of 6.0 compared with an ideal of 4.17.  Even a 32/4 or 8.0 would be within my "normal range" and for an athlete, it's better to be a little on the high side than low.  In other words, a ratio of 8.0 is clearly preferable to a 2.0.  15.0 or higher?  Not so much.

So where to go from here? 
The Mag citrate failed me.  The Mag chloride helped for a while but it's not the answer.  Jigsaw Mag also failed because of the co-factors.  The only form of Mag that I trust is the pure Malate and it must be taken with calcium.  It's either the Thym-Adren or the Cal/Mag, not both!  I don't know what my result would be if I went with all Cal/Mag malate instead of the Thym-Adren.  I do know that all Cal/Mag citrate didn't work.  Also, the Thym-Adren has proven to be effective in both lowering tissue sodium AND keeping the critical sodium/potassium ratio in balance.  I'm going with all Thym-Adren until further notice. If my body rudely reminds me next week that I need Mag again, I'll take a low dose.  Since I won't be supplementing Mag, it is critical that I control my diet by trying to get enough Mag in food sources and eliminate sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which deplete Mag.  My next hair test will be in about 6 weeks.  I expect to see at least a decent result.  My tissue sodium is probably near 80 now but within 6 weeks, it could be as low as 45.  Suppose that at some future date, sodium dips under 30 but the Mag drops under 4.  I take Cal/Mag malate temporarily then go back to the Thym-Adren when I feel it's necessary.
Bottom line, I am more hopeful now than I was this morning.

Training 10/14-10/20

10/14- AM 2 mile junk run on Wisteria in 19:22 (9:41 pace) running nearly all out.  Afternoon should be marginally better.

PM- Got the expected marginal improvement.  3 miles at Gold's in 24:52 (8:17 pace).  In a full 5K, I would have had to rally for a sub-26, which is HORRIBLE.  I did get one piece of good news.  My RBC Magnesium results are in and the results are solidly in the normal range.  I will lay off the Mag for now.  One baffling development is as follows:  I know that the "deadly duo" of caffeine and alcohol depletes Mag so taking more should help when I cheat right?  Wrong.  Extra Mag made things worse.  From now on, it's all Thym-Adren.  Mag will be taken only on an as needed basis.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=5.0

10/15- AM 3 miles in 22:56 (7:39 pace).  Splits were 7:40-7:53-7:23.  I was pushing but it was nice to dip under 7:30 for that last mile.  I hope that I can maintain it for 5 miles this evening.

PM- 5 miles at Gold's in 36:59 (7:24 pace) with a hard fought last mile in 6:51.  Actually dipped under 6:00 pace in the final 200.  This is NOT worth celebrating.  I've gone backwards in the last 2 weeks.  Will this round of improvements be followed by another crash this weekend?  2nd day off the Mag and 2nd day clean on the diet.  This was tempo effort to run what was previously an easy pace.  I may cut the Thym-Adren from 8 pills to 6 tomorrow.  Last week, I was over-stimulated when I tried that but who knows now?
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=8.0

10/16- Trak Shak 5 in 34:50 (6:58 pace).  My legs actually had some power today and I had a bit of a spring in my strides.  Still, I was quite lethargic and heavy.  Rallied for a 6:42 in Mile 5 to secure the sub-35.  Time trial tomorrow.  I cut the Thym-Adren down to 6 pills and only 6 days ago, I was awful on that lowered dosage.  WHAT THE __________?  I am not going to get even the least bit excited about this string of improvements.  I could collapse by the weekend.  That said, I would really like to run the half in West Virginia on 11/10.  The song "Country Roads" by John Denver was going through my head today.
Today was my 3rd straight clean day with the diet.  The lowered Thym-Adren could be related to Vitamin E issues, which went away before after abstaining from caffeine.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

10/17- Gold's 5 in 33:45 (6:45 pace). Fastest time since early June.  Started too fast and was actually on pace for a sub-33 through the first 1.5 miles.  Faded in Mile 3 and 4 but rallied strongly at the end.  1st half: 16:42, 2nd half: 17:03.   (6:31-6:45-6:53-7:01-6:35).  Again, I had some power in my legs but was still too heavy and sluggish.  1 mile cool back on Wisteria.
Tried to get by on only 4 Thym-Adren but found to my relief that it wasn't enough.  6 Thym-Adren with no Mag is a winning formula for the time being and I will probably stick to it through Huntington barring another collapse.  3 sprays of Mag chloride produced a negative reaction.  That's okay.  I'll be fine by the weekend.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=6.0

10/18- Planned rest day.  I can get a win this week with a strong long run this weekend.  I need 2 runs in excess of 13 miles if I expect a decent showing in West Virginia.  Clinched a 2.0 GPA on the year yesterday.

10/19- Lakeshore 15 in light drizzle.  I believe this is my longest run since January.  Finished in 1:54:52 (7:39 pace).  Very sore groin and hip at the end but managed to hold it together despite starting too fast.  14 of the 15 miles were sub-8.  Passed 13.1 in just under 1:40 and probably could have been 2-3 minutes faster in a race setting.  Still, I've got a lot of work to do and the race is only 3 weeks away.  I remain on all Thym-Adren and will stay the course at least another 3 weeks.  Grading is lenient but it puts me in position to win barring a poor showing tomorrow.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=15.0

10/20- Beautiful 70 degree afternoon.  Trak Shak 5.5 loop in 42:35 (7:45 pace).  I'm fine with this one.  I was appropriately sore after yesterday and this closes out a strong week.  Slight fade at the end but kept all 5 miles under 8 before loafing in the last .5.  Added a half mile cool at glacial pace.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
WIN!  That's one in a row with my highest mileage since March.  Magnesium must be avoided like poison when on Thym-Adren.  Thym-Adren must be avoided like poison when on Cal/Mag.  Simple enough.  The medical report will tell me when I need to make the switch.
Distance= 45.0/ GPA= 24.4/8= 3.05

Monday, October 7, 2013

Training 10/7-10/13

10/7- Lakeshore 6.5 on a picture perfect Fall day.  Temps in the low 70s with crystal clear skies.  Strong performance.  Finished in 48:32 (7:28 pace).  Fairly smooth and relaxed with a nice even pace.  Only gripe with a bit of aches in the knee and groin.
Update:  I had a mild negative reaction to an extra Mag pill last night but it feel like I am a bit low there.  If I am to increase the dose to 300 mg, the Thym-Adren should be cut from 8 pills to 6.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=7.0

10/8- Unplanned rest day.  300 mg. of Magnesium is too much.  It would require me to drastically cut the Thym-Adren.  I was hoping to salvage a workout but could not.  Quit after 1 mile.  I will be very lenient and not grade this.
Update: Since both Mag and Thym-Adren suppress the adrenals, perhaps taking them too close together is causing problems.  I will begin taking the Mag later in the day then maybe I can tolerate more.  Also, I MUST CUT OUT SUGAR, CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL!
Grade:None/0 credit/distance=1.0

10/9- HORRIBLE again.  Trak Shak 3 mile in 26:21 (8:47 pace).  Took the same dosage that worked well for me over the weekend (8 Thym Adren + 225 mg Mag).  Clean diet.  A few more sprays of Mag chloride made me feel worse.  It's either cut the Mag further or cut the Thym-Adren.  I will be taking Cal/Mag at night starting next week. at the latest.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0
Update: I will probably order a Mag RBC test.  If I am deficient in Mag AND cannot tolerate it in supplement form, it's over.  I'm done as a serious runner.  I'm giving it until December and that's all.

10/10- Took only 6 Thym-Adren in the morning and felt badly overstimulated.  Then added 225 mg of Mag and within 2 hours, I reversed it to the blahs.  As of tonight, I take the Mag at night and the Thym-Adren in the morning.  Workout was 1 mile at Gold's in 8:30.  No further comments needed.
RBC Magnesium test is tomorrow afternoon. I'll have a good idea of where I stand after I get the results.  If my Mag is near normal, I have no problem taking only small amounts of it and I will focus on staying on the Thym-Adren.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

10/11- 3 miles in 23:48 (7:56 pace) with a slow fade (7:42-7:55-8:11).  It was right to take the Mag at night but the dosage should have been cut, not raised.  I'm going down to 150 mg tonight and I should be significantly better tomorrow.
In other news, I went to the lab for the Mag RBC test and it was an ordeal.  It took me 30 minutes to find the right building in a huge hospital complex. They told me that it might not go through and I may have to be "stuck again" with the needle for reasons I didn't understand.  I can only hope that it goes through and if it does, I'll get the results no later than Wednesday of next week.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=3.0

10/12- WORSE!  Lakeshore 5 in 42:49 (8:34 pace).  I was holding up in the 8:10 range for the first 3 miles then I unraveled and finished with a 9:33 split in Mile 5.  I am going to try to go completely off the Mag and see what happens but I predict that deficiency symptoms will flare up in just a few days.

PM- Lakeshore 5 only 4 hours later and this time, my time was down to 37:42 (7:32 pace).  Each mile got progressively faster until I clocked a 7:07 in Mile 5.  That's an improvement of 5:07 in just 4 hours while putting forth NO MORE EFFORT!  The excess Mag is clearing my system.  I will attempt to run without it tomorrow and try to go long.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=10.0

10/13- Attempted to go long and failed again.  5 miles on Lakeshore in 41:50 (8:22 pace).  Passed 4 miles in a respectable 31:40 then hit the wall and clocked a 10:10 for Mile 5.  I went with no Mag last night.  I took some after Mile 3 and got no better then tried Fructosin after Mile 4 and got MUCH worse.  WHAT THE ______________?
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Every time it seems that I am improving, I crash.  I cannot take it anymore.  11 more weeks until the end of the year and if I don't have it together by then, I give up.
Distance= 30.0/ GPA= 11.7/8=1.46

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Magnesium and Thym-Adren Part 2

Dr. J is back. 
I posted the question on Facebook's Magnesium Advocacy Group:
Why can't I take magnesium and Thym-Adren together?
  I got some good answers.  Thym-Adren is a thymus glandular with a small amount of adrenal substance and several synergistic minerals (zinc, copper, C, manganese, calcium).  The thymus gland is strongly connected to the immune system and is a direct antagonist to the adrenal gland.  If a patient is a fast oxidizer (excess thyroid/adrenals), the thymus gland is likely to be under-active and vice versa.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  I used to get terrible sinus infections every winter but when I take the Thym-Adren, I almost never get sick.  If left untreated, my tissue sodium level (assoc. w/ adrenal function) would skyrocket above 100, maybe even as high as 150 (ideal is 25).  That is a severe imbalance and likely means that the thymus gland is severely under-active.  That explains why I feel so much better on Thym-Adren.  As the thymus gets stronger, it suppresses the adrenals and thus lowers the tissue sodium nicely and actually normalized within 3 months.  The problem is that it does little to help the magnesium deficiency.  After several months on mega Thym-Adren, the magnesium deficiency became more problematic than the adrenal issue.

As for the magnesium, if taken with calcium in the proper ratio, it is better than leaving it untreated.  It's like tapping or covering the brakes when going down a steep hill.  It may prevent the sodium from going out of control but will likely lower it only to 80-100 range, which is still severely unbalanced.  Moreover, it does little to help with the under-active thymus gland.  So, given the choice between having a sodium/magnesium ratio of 30/2 vs 90/4, it is the former that is preferable.

So, why can't I take the two of them together and get a good ratio of 30/4, which would be considered near normal and possibly even better for an athlete.  Magnesium supposedly "neutralizes" adrenaline.  Thus, the suppressed adrenal glandular activity from the thymus plus lowered neurotransmitter adrenaline from the magnesium is apparently too much. Hence, the fatigue and malaise has been so prevalent the last few weeks.  That may not make sense to my readers but it does make sense to me. 

Where to go from here?
Top priority is to get the tissue sodium down.  I've done it before and I can do it again by taking mega Thym-Adren consistently.  I will lay off the magnesium for the time being but will try to increase my intake in my diet (more nutty protein bars, peanut butter, limit sugar, caffeine, alcohol).  That said, I do expect that when the sodium normalizes, the Mag issues will flare up again.  When that happens, I have some options:
1) Take the Mag only on an as needed basis in sporadic fashion as symptoms appear.  I can take both temporarily but fatigue and malaise set in after a few weeks on both.  When that happens, I stop the Mag again and the cycle repeats itself.
2) Find a formula that I can tolerate in which I take lowered doses of both Mag+Thym-Adren every day (ex. 4 Thym-Adren+250 Mag) instead of large doses of 1 or the other.  This is the preferred option.  I want to be stable more than anything else in the world.
3) Add another pill such as ADHS that gently increases adrenaline, which may increase my Mag tolerance.  It's iffy that this option works but I should get a clear YES or NO within a few days.
   I expect to be on all Thym-Adren for the next 2 months and expect to improve steadily.  Around Thanksgiving when the Mag deficiency does flare up, all 3 options are worth a try.