Monday, January 28, 2013

Training 1/28-2/3

1/28- Lakeshore 7 in 51:12 (7:19 pace).  Feeling better thanks to more Vitamin C and no caffeine.  Caffeine depletes C so that partially explains why I've been needing more and more of that stuff.  Started too fast but calmed down after seeing a 7:04 split for Mile 2.  Pleasant 60 degree weather.  The only reason this was not a solid A was a trace of lingering IT band pain.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

1/29- Johnny's workout.  Felt a little flat.  3x1200 with 3 minute R followed by a hard 400.  I made the "B" target of 4:30/75.  Strength was good but the speed and power in my legs was missing.  Each lap, I came through the 400 in 88ish and doubted that I could hold the pace but managed to do so.  1200s were 4:27/4:28/4:28 (5:57 pace), which was no faster than my 800s last week despite fewer reps and longer R.  The 400 was a 74.5 (4:58 pace).  Not a bad workout overall but not among my best.  The 17 year-old Crazy J "used to could" run 3x1 Mile in 5:55 with a 400 in 65 after a full R.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=4.0

1/30- BAD!  5 miles indoors in a weak time of 39:51 (7:58 pace).  I had to fight pretty hard just to get a sub-8.  I thought about quitting after 3 miles but managed to slog through.  1st half: 19:37, 2nd half: 20:14.  Clearly the Vitamin C is trending down, which could be good news in the long run.  Today, I was sore and listless because of the pills.  When I am overtrained, I feel zonked and dazed but still have decent flexibility.  It feels very different!  My winning streak is in jeopardy.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

1/31- Cut the Vitamin C down to 500 mg (original dosage).  I was much improved over yesterday but the grading is much stricter on a planned tempo day.  I like to do 6 miles at 6:40 or below on a good day.  Today, I managed only 5 in a time of 35:44 (7:09 pace), 40 seconds/mile slower than last week.  That's barely ahead of GMP and I had to put out tempo effort to do it.  Ugly splits as well!  1st half: 17:16, 2nd half: 18:28. Added a mile cool on the 'mill.  This guarantees a loss on the week but it's a loss with an explanation.  I'm willing to sacrifice this week for long-term gains from no caffeine and less Vitamin C.
Grade:D+/2 credits/distance=6.0

2/1- This was a planned rest day but I wanted a small test to see if I got the continuous improvement from sticking to 500 mg.  I felt near normal by the evening after a rough start to the day.  3 miles at easy effort and finished in a more typical time of 21:39 (7:13 pace).  Little more than a junk run and it should not hurt me tomorrow.  I still can't win this week but hopefully, it won't be too ugly.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.0

2/2- AWFUL!  7 miles in 57:02 (8:09 pace) with the Gnomes.  The last 4 miles went like this: 7:26-7:32-9:22-9:50.  'Nuff said.  I'll consider this my easy weekend day but if I don't finish 13 tomorrow, it's an automatic F and 2 credits.  My only theory is that Vitamin C must be either cut out or taken in the evening.  If I have to go back on it again, that is the breaking point.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=7.0

2/3- NO vitamin C this morning and guess what?  I've improved.  How long will I be forced off this stuff is another question.  I was still far from my peak.  13 miles on the Mercedes course in a time of 1:34:07 (7:14 pace), not including another emergency stop.  In a race setting, I'd estimate a time in the mid-high 1:32s, which is acceptable but not good by any stretch.  No way in hell that I could have run another 13 at that pace today.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=13.0

Weekly summary:
First loss of the year and the end of a 7 week winning streak, one shy of my record.  Again, it is a loss with an explanation.  If I can stay off the Vitamin C and the caffeine, it's a long-run gain.  If not, I will have reached the breaking point.  I really struggled this week with anger about this whole situation.  IT SUCKS!  YTD: 212. Record is 4-1 with a  3.20 GPA.
Distance=45.0/GPA= 24.9/10= 2.49

Monday, January 21, 2013

Training 1/21-1/27

1/21- MLR in the daylight thanks to the MLK holiday.  Some Gnomes ran at 6:30 this morning.  Why anyone would want to run in the cold and dark when they could run in sunny 50 degree temps is beyond me.  Took 7 pills today and felt a lot better than I did on 6 yesterday.  Again, it is RIDICULOUS that a single dose makes this much difference!  Trak Shak 9+ part of Lakeshore extension for a total of 10 miles in 71:40 (7:10 pace).  Sub-3:10 marathon pace is a solid day but this was not a stellar performance.  How much longer could I have sustained this pace?  Maybe another 4-5 miles but not 10, which I have done recently.  Feeling increasing uneasy about the Thym-Adren.  I fear that I could end up below 3 pills and have cut to them in half.  If that happens, I've got to do something different.  Again, it will be at least 6 more weeks until I get my next medical report.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=10.0

Update:
Good news today.  Previously, I could NOT take choline/inositol but when taken with B-3 and L-methionine as suggested, I did NOT have a negative reaction.  If the Thym-Adren does fail, I know it's the copper that is the problem and it is NOT hopeless after all.  I can take the ICMN and/or thymus substance alone (glandular in Thym-Adren w/o other ingredients).  Quality tomorrow.

1/22- Good tempo.  5 miles in 32:24 (6:29 pace) with a hard but measured effort just like a tempo should feel.  Added a short cool at the end.  Felt just a touch loose and faded a bit in Miles 3-4 but finished pretty strong. 1st half: 16:07, 2nd half: 16:17.   I would have broken 41 for 10K today not going all out.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.5

1/23-Another quality session.  Body is holding up okay but I expect to be sore tomorrow.  I tried out Alex's speed session at Mountain Brook.  His philosophy is different than Johnny's.  Alex wants a lot more reps at slower paces with minimal recovery.  He initially wanted me to run 8x800 at 3:10-3:15 pace with only a 30 second rest.  That's pretty much a tempo run.  I modified it to run 6x800 with a 1 minute rest.  My normal rest for 800 intervals is 2:30 or even 3 minutes but I can run them in 2:45-2:50.  Tonight, I was fighting for sub-3:00 on the shorter rest.  I managed to average a 2:58.5 or 17:50 for 3 miles (5:57 pace).  That's 10 seconds faster than my current 5K race pace, which is good but not great.  Like Johnny's group, nobody could run my pace.  I'm stuck in the middle.  Too slow to run with the best in the area (2:50 marathoners) but too fast for most everyone else.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=4.0

Update:
I had hoped that because I took some ICMN last night, I would not feel so awful in the morning.  Not so.  I was obviously too loose on 7 pills so I popped #8 at lunch time.  When I get too tight, cutting the Thym-Adren is not as effective as adding more Vitamin C.  However, I must be judicious about doing that because too much can cause diarrhea as I learned the hard way in LA.  It also stimulates the adrenals. I'm currently taking 1500 mg of C and am willing to go up to 3000 if need be.

1/24- Easy 6 on Lakeshore in 44:54 (7:29 pace).  Relaxed even pace.  Felt good and never struggled despite back to back quality days.  It was a comfortable 50 degrees outside while the North and Midwest are close to single digits.  Added a half mile cool.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5

1/25- Planned rest day and I need one.  Pretty much all I have to do is finish my workouts this weekend and I pick up another win.

1/26- Gnome run with the big boys.  I did not plan to run more than 14-15 but the pace was slower than usual (7:40ish) so I opted for the full monty (19 miles) in a time of 2:33:30 (7:34 pace) or approx. 3:17ish for a full mary.  Mile 19 was a strong 6:40 but it did include a steep quarter mile downhill on a route that was not easy (16-18 were tough).  I definitely think I could have held it for another 7 miles.  I have won another one.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=19.0

1/27- Went to Veteran's Park for a change for a low-key easy run with Kirk and Will.  Finished 4.5 miles in 35:44 (7:57 pace) then added a half mile cool.  Pace is always slower here because of the gravel trail, which is soft in some spots and the wooded section is hilly.  Sore knee and stiff legs.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
7th consecutive victory with no major hiccups this time but it seems like I am needing more and more Vitamin C.  I fear that eventually, the gains that I make from the Thym-Adren will be wiped out.  The verdict on the ICMN is that although it will not hurt me, it is unlikely to be very effective.  The only other viable option is thymus glandular and I am unsure if that will be effective.
YTD: 167 miles.  4-0/3.37.  Good start but not as good as last year.
Distance=50.0/GPA= 34.8/10= 3.48

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Training 1/14-1/20

1/14- Junk run on Washington Blvd before the flight back to the Ham.  Legs felt remarkably fresh because I left some time on the course. Entering week #3, I am 2-0 with a 3.31 GPA.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=1.0

1/15- Easy 7 in 52:08 (7:27 pace).  Even pace.  Felt quite comfortable.  A bit of soreness in the quads but felt good overall.  Very little jet lag.  Long cool down. Weather will be dreary and chilly for the next few days.  It will clear out on Friday.  Unsure about my quality session this week.  I may do a tempo tomorrow.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=8.0

1/16- I think the jet lag has caught up with me today.  Legs felt pretty good but the body is awfully tired.  I have some pain on the side on my left foot.  Let's hope it's not serious.  I was not up for a tempo but did quite well in a basic workout.  6.5 miles in 47:58 (7:23 pace) plus a cool.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

1/17- Snow day.  Probably one of the two that we will get here this year.  I got to the gym just 30 minutes before it closed so all I had time for was a short tempo.  Hasty warm up followed by 3 miles at a fast and controlled pace.  Finished in 18:35 (6:12 pace) with splits of 6:11-6:15-6:09.  That projects to a 5K in 19:21 (8 ticks from a PR) and I felt that I had another gear too.  Sometime soon, I'm going for that PR and I don't care if it's on a track or the road. I wanted to run another easy 3 on the 'mill at my apartment complex but the door was locked. 
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=3.0

1/18- Lakeshore 5 in 36:45 (7:21 pace).  Clear skies and temps in the 40s.  Good to get back outside.  Strong performance.  Pretty even pace and was holding back at times.  Added a warm and cool.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

1/19- Run with the Gnomes.  13 miles in 1:35:50 (7:22 pace).  Mile 3-11 averaged just a hair under GMP but I was really strugg-a-ling late.  Mile 12 was 7:40, 13 was 7:55 then I quit.  Decent performance but something was off.  The Thym-Adren may have to be cut, which may not be good news.  I did pick up some new supplements that are supposedly good for detox.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=13.0

PM- Went to a college indoor track invitational.  It was upper level D-1 with schools like Auburn, Bama, GA Tech, Clemson, Miami, etc.  I was somewhat surprised by how many slower runners were allowed to run.  The top guys are nearly world class.  I believe that winner in the Mile ran a 4:08.  However, if you can run a 4:30, you're competitive.  In the 800, the winning time was 1:51.  Mid-pack was 1:55ish and you need to be near 2:00 to be competitive.  Granted, it was indoors but I was still surprised.  I was running 2:13-2:15 in high school and was already showing signs of adrenal fatigue.  Could I have been competitive at D-1?  Probably not.  In D-2, mid-pack is about 2:05 and the back end guys are 2:15-2:20.  No doubt that I could have made it there.

1/20- Cut the dosage from 9 pills down to 6 and it was too aggressive.  I think that 8 was too many yesterday and the 9th made it much worse.  Again, it really makes me feel uneasy that just one pill can make this much difference.  I'm fighting a 2 front war with copper toxicity and extreme fast oxidation.  Workout was quite lame.  5 miles on Lakeshore in a time of 39:46 (7:57 pace).  The sub-8 pace was the only reason that this was not a "D" performance.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Won my 6th straight decision but endured yet another hiccup. Great tempo on Thursday but outside of that, it wasn't really anything special.  My personal record is 8 wins in a row.  The hair sample will be sent in about 3.5 more weeks and I'll get the medical report in about 6-7 more weeks.  If I cannot handle more than 3 Thym-Adren pills because of the copper issue, I must do something different.  I can't stop taking pills long-term but there is a chance that I will arrive at a place in which a single missed day will not make a difference.  Next week, I will start with tempos and intervals in the same week as I shift to Mile-5K mode.  YTD= 117 miles.  3-0 with a 3.34 GPA.
Distance=43.0/ GPA= 26.8/8= 3.40



13.1 Los Angeles RR

State #16 in my drive for 25 and first trip to California in nearly 20 years.
Why this race?
 -First off, there is plenty to see in and around LA.  This one offered me the chance to race on the Pacific Coast as the location was actually in Venice Beach rather than the city of Los Angeles.  The course proved to be even more beautiful than I expected.  Secondly, I wanted to see the Reagan presidential library as well as to get a quick tour of Malibu and Beverly Hills.  Last but not least, it gave me the opportunity to catch up with a childhood friend named Sarah, who was very good to me during a rough season of my life.


Training:
Although I came into the race with 4 straight "winning" weeks, each one contained a hiccup and the last of which was quite scary. At my best, I had 2 long runs that indicated that my condition was comparable to last year when I scored the 1:28 in Texas.  On the morning of my flight 2 days before the race, I was awful.  A single mile in 7:30 actually required effort and my IT band was abnormally sore.  It turned out that I was getting more and more sensitive to copper and would have to cut out my normal morning protein bar because it contained too much of it. I suppose that makes sense.  As I get closer to balance, I will not be able to tolerate as much copper because the toxicity over-rides the fast oxidation.  Vitamin C is effective in combating the excess but too much of that stuff can cause diarrhea.  I began feeling better as I approached LA and by the next morning, I believed that I could do well the following day.

Trip:
Left Birmingham by mid-afternoon and after a layover in cold Denver, I arrived only a few minutes behind schedule.  I called Sarah to confirm lunch after the race and headed to my hotel in Marina del Rey.  The next morning, I had to go to the expo which was located about 20 minutes south of town.  I feared the Freeway so I would have drive through a bit of South Central.  Fortunately, I got off Rosecrans via Crenshaw Blvd before I got to Compton, which is notorious for gangs and crime.  Still, I saw plenty of businesses and homes with bars on the windows.  The expo was in LA's version of the Trak Shak in Torrance (near Long Beach).  From there, I took the Freeway up to Santa Monica where I picked up some pizza for lunch.  It turned out that the Freeway wasn't so bad after all.  Next, I picked up the Pacific Coast Hwy up to Malibu, where I was treated to ocean views on the west and mountains to the east.  From there, it was US-101 up to Simi Valley for the Reagan library.  Again, the scenery was amazing.  That is worth seeing for anyone interested in history regardless of political ideology.  I've already seen Carter's and Bush 41's and plan on seeing Clinton's and W's within the next few years. 

After the race, it was an enjoyable lunch with Sarah and her husband followed by a drive on Santa Monica Blvd to Hollywood and back through Beverly Hills via Sunset Blvd.  I got in a quick junk run the next morning and the flight back was also relatively smooth.

Race:
Course was a 3 out of 10 in terms of difficulty and 10 in terms of scenery.  It began on Venice Beach's boardwalk for about a mile then turned downhill into a residential area.  It was a little congested at the start but I lined up close enough to the front that it did not slow me down significantly though I lost a few precious seconds.  At the end of Mile 3, we turned onto a bike trail overlooking the marina, which eventually led us back to the beach.  I set out to maintain a steady 6:45-6:50 pace, which felt comfortable.  My legs were fine but I was beginning to get some cramps in my stomach.  Please no mess!  Please let me hold it to the finish!
6:40 (6:40) little fast
6:37 (13:17) mostly downhill but need to slow down
6:50 (20:07) better
6:46 (26:53) solid

  From Mile 5-8, we were running on a paved path in the middle of the sand right next to the Pacific Ocean.  As you can imagine, it was beautiful but the stomach cramps were gradually getting worse.  By the end of Mile 5, it was becoming clear that there was no way that I could hold it to line and it was already beginning to slow me down.  Fortunately, there were 3 portajohns just after Mile 6 and I jumped in without hesitation.  At this point, I was more concerned about that issue than my finish time but I tried to make it as quick as possible.  I stopped my watch because I wanted to know what I would have done without the stop.  I estimate that I lost about a minute and that turned out to be almost exactly right.  I had been near PR pace and still felt good except for my stomach.  A PR chance was gone but I still believed that I had a chance of a sub-90.  When I got going again, I managed to pick up the pace a bit.  Near the end of Mile 8, I stopped for some Gatorade, which proved to be a bad call because it jacked my stomach up again.
6:44 (33:37) strong, slightly down
6:52 (40:29) cramps, had to stop.
6:46 (47:15) feeling good again
6:56 (54:11) drink stop

I figured that the official time was around 56 minutes for 8.1 miles though my watch read just under 55.  I needed only a 7 minute pace to get an unofficial sub-90 and 6:48ish to make it officially.   At this point, the GPS cut off and the mile markers were inconsistent so I'll just estimate the splits.  The only significant hill was a Mile long climb of about 70-80 ft. in Mile 9 in which we came off the beach and back onto the road.  I was warned of it and I seemed to hold the pace pretty well.  I passed 2 immediately and did not get passed myself.  Survive that and you're in pretty good shape. The last 5K is mostly a gradual decline with a steeper section in the last half mile.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful.  The ocean was right below us and there were some mountains in the distance.  Unfortunately, the stomach cramps were starting again by Mile 11 and would get gradually worse as I approached the finish.  Such a shame.  I can't say that I felt great at this point of the race.  Nobody does.  When you're trying to hold in a #2, you really cannot dig deep and push the pace.  While I can't say that I would have accelerated in the last 5K, my legs had enough juice to at least hold the 6:50ish pace especially going slightly downhill.  As I came down the final hill toward the finish, I knew that I could not hold it more than another mile or 2 but fortunately, I would not have to.  With the finish line in view, I managed to pick it up again to secure the unofficial sub-90.  Clock time was 1:31 flat and the chip time was 1:30:53 (6:56 pace).  I was only mildly sore and clearly left time on the course.
7:10 (61:21) uphill
6:45 (68:06) back down
6:50 (74:56) still fairly comfy
7:00 (81:56) cramps
7:16 (89:12) steeper downhill, more cramps
40- (1:29:52)

Because of my sprint to the line, I had to sit down to wait for the cramps to pass before I could walk to the portajohns near the finish.  I really could not enjoy the post-race party because I was not sure if I could hold any food so I just took the bus back to the hotel without further incident. 

Final thought:
Despite the stomach cramps, this was a very enjoyable trip overall and an excellent destination race.  Could I have PR'd?  Probably not but I was good for a low-1:29 on a course that was slightly more difficult than Texas.  I may only have one official sub-90 but in my mind, I have 2 unofficially.  As for the medical issues, I do not require too much vitamin C and as long as I can take the Thym-Adren, I believe that this will work out.  If I hit another roadblock, this is about as good as it will get minus the cramps.  I'm plenty satisfied with my 1:28 PR but I honestly believe that I am capable of 1:25 even with similar training.  If I can do that, it will generate more interest in my story and silence all the critics.

     At least I did not end up like this guy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame 2014 and beyond

In the wake of no inductions in 2013, I've done some quick research for the future.  In most cases, it's fairly clear cut.  Only a few players fit in the "very good" category that needed only 2 more good seasons to get their numbers over the top.
Here's my list of potentials among either recently or soon to be retired players:
Pitchers:
Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner.
Position players:
Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr, Jim Thome, Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Todd Helton.

The way I see it, you have to do 1 of 2 things to make the Hall of Fame:
1) Be a dominant performer for at least 8 years before tailing off at the end due to injuries or other factors (Sandy Koufax or more recently Pedro Martinez).  5-6 years of dominance won't quite cut it (Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy).  These candidates shine in metrics such as winning percentage or lifetime average but fall short of "magic" milestones such as 250 wins or 3,000 hits.
2) Be a compiler.  Perform at a consistently good but not great level and last for nearly 20 years.  In other words, you're good for 15ish wins per year but never 20 or hit near .300 with decent power every year.  Such players were never superstars but when their careers are over, they have the milestones such as 3,000 hits, 500 HRs, 250 wins.  Ex. Craig Biggio, Don Sutton.
IMO, both are equally impressive and both are HOF worthy.

How to evalute:
Use of traditional metrics such as hits, HRs, wins will help the compilers.  With the advent of sabremetrics, newer methods such as OBP, slugging %, OPS and wins above replacement are now being used.  These newer methods generally favor the short-termers.  However, if most newer methods reveal comparable stats, the player who lasted longer and compiled the numbers is usually chosen and rightfully so.  They maintained a high level for a few more years.

1st ballot no brainers:
Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter- no discussion needed.

 In but may have to wait:
John Smoltz- I don't see any doubt on this one.  His win total is low but he lost about 50 wins from his 3-4 years as a closer and yes, he was dominant in that role.  200+ wins and 150 saves should be a 1st ballot HOFer in my book.

Tom Glavine- Glavine doesn't look as strong with a sabremetric mind and some argue that his win total was inflated by pitching on some great Atlanta teams.  I say 300 wins especially now makes you a lock for the HOF.  Glavine's ERA is skewed a bit by some mediocre years near the end and yes, he pitched for some bad teams at both the beginning and end of his career.  In for sure.

Mike Mussina- not quite as strong as the previous 2 but I still vote yes by virtue of his more than 270 wins and high winning percentage.  The ERA is a little high but inflated by the steroid era.  If Jack Morris gets in, Mussina is a lock.  YES in my book as well.

Mariano Rivera- Voters are normally tough on closers but this one should not even be up for debate.  He was a lights out closer who averaged less than 1 base runner per inning with a ERA just over 2.  If Eckersley got in easily, Rivera should too.

Jim Thome- 600 HRs with no links to steroids should be an easy YES even in this era.  The only knock is that he was often overshadowed and a bit of a compiler.  Again, YES from me.

YES vote from me, voters may not agree.-
Frank Thomas- To me, this is an pretty easy YES.  True, 500 HRs may not guarantee you getting in now but Thomas was a slugger before steroid use became widespread.  He also had a .300 BA, .400 OBP and .550 slugging.  Those are huge numbers.  IN.

Chipper Jones- fell short of the milestones but his BA is over .300 and his sabremetrics look good as well.  My vote is a close yes.

Pedro Martinez- see scenario #1, fits the mold perfectly.  Only just over 200 wins but won more than 2/3 of his decisions.  YES.

Billy Wagner- likely to be snubbed but his WHIP is the same as Rivera and sports a 2.40 ERA.  YES.

Close but no cigar
Carlos Delgado- 480 HRs would have done it in the '70s and '80s.  Not so now.  I vote for McGriff and against Delgado because McGriff came into the league in a much tougher era for hitters.

Johnny Damon- Compiler who fell short of magic milestones.

Todd Helton- This one is a harder no and I may change my mind.  The .320 BA is impressive but I'm not sure he was dominant long enough or lasted long enough.  Moreover, his numbers are inflated by hitting in Denver 81 games per year.

Trevor Hoffman- I'm not overly impressed by a closer who racks up a ton of saves while posting otherwise ordinary numbers.  His candidacy is slightly better than Lee Smith.  ERA near 3 and a WHIP and strikeout ratio that is good but not eye popping.  Close no.

OUT:
Gary Sheffield- linked to steroids and never liked him as a person because of his numerous racially charged remarks throughout his career.

Ivan Rodriguez- linked to steroids and his numbers fell off dramatically when testing began.

Manny Ramirez- Hell NO!

On the fence:
Alex Rodriguez- I lean towards NO because he is an admitted doper.  However, he stepped forward and came clean on his own.  If he was only dirty for 3 years, he's got the numbers even if you don't count those seasons.  More deserving than Bonds or Clemens.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Training 1/7-1/13 (race week)

1/7- Planned rest day.  I'm a little concerned that I pushed it too hard last week.  I will say that last Saturday's long run was NOT a race level effort.  If I had run 16 all out, I would not have been capable of 5@ sub-7:30 with relative ease the next day.  60% chance of rain on Sunday.  Let's hope it changes.  I expect to run very few miles until the big day so this is a steep taper.

1/8- Johnny's workout.  6x400 at 90% of my normal speed.  I was consistent in the upper 70s-low 80s, which is just about what I had planned to do.  Not a bad workout but felt a little off and got worse as the evening progressed.  I may have forgotten to take the Vitamin C this morning.  Either that or I need 2 of those per day.  I'll find out tomorrow.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=3.5

1/9- 4 miles in 26:50 (6:43 pace).  Ran it indoors because of darkness and a threat of rain.  Again, not a bad workout but obviously not in top form.  Body is clearly too tight.  Did not plan to go this fast but needed a test after the hiccup yesterday.  NO way that I could have done this for 13.1.

Update:  Extra vitamin C appears to be a good call but I may need to reduce the Thym-Adren.  I'm fine with increasing the C a little bit but after seeing how bad the medical report was, I MUST take at least 6 Thym-Adren per day or it's pretty much hopeless.  Sad but true.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.5

1/10- This is a planned rest day but I will probably end up doing a junk run or some strides in the afternoon.  I still need Thym-Adren, which is good. More good news is that I do NOT need chromium or manganese. The dosage remains a question mark and the flight to LA is tomorrow afternoon.  The bad news is that my IT band is sore, which was the first sign of something wrong last winter.  As of now, I will run a "decent" race in the low-mid 1:30s but well short of what I would have done last week.

PM- 1 mile junk run in 7:30 and felt terrible.  It's got to be the copper and I must get rid of as much of it as possible.  The protein bar that I eat contains as much copper as 5 pills so it must be cut out.  At least for the short-term, I will take as much Vitamin C as needed.
Grade:D-/0.5 credit/distance=1.0

1/11- I did plan on running this morning but I don't feel up to it.  I have no choice but to quit the pills for at least a few days.  The race is still a go but a good time is looking very iffy now.  Flight is at 1:53 PM.  I get to Denver at 4:05 and L.A. at 7:45.  As for the future, I've got to try something different with no copper.  Going off all pills long-term will spell certain doom.

1/12- Full day in So-Cal.  The hotel is in Marina del Rey and I had to go all the way to Torrance (near Long Beach) to pick up my packet.  From there, I took the Pac Coast Hwy from Venice to Malibu then US-101 and 23 to Simi Valley to tour the Reagan presidential library.  I am feeling better today.  Perhaps, all I needed was to cut out that protein bar for breakfast.  I am back to my normal dosage of Thym-Adren and Vitamin C, which is excellent news.  I'm not feeling a lot of pressure to deliver a good performance and historically, that usually (not always) bodes well for race day.
Workout was a junk run.  Approx. 1 mile on the sidewalk near the hotel with a few strides at the end.
Grade:B+/0.5 credit/distance=1.0

1/13- Official result was a 1:30:53 (#2 all time).  I was robbed of my 2nd sub-90 due to one portajohn stop and more stomach cramps that forced me to slow down at the end.  Full race report and trip report will come in another couple days.  I was still pleased overall.
Grade:A-/4 credits/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
Solid race result enabled me to win my 5th straight decision despite a scary hiccup.  Mileage was very low but I'm not as concerned with that this year.  I still plan on shifting to more speed oriented training.  I'll be running my home race in Birmingham 5 weeks from now and want a sub-90 with no dispute.  The long runs will continue to be a part of my training.  I will be doing fewer MLRs and replacing tempos with intervals.
Distance=24.0/GPA= 25.2/8= 3.15

Thursday, January 3, 2013

NFL playoffs

First let's take a look at how I did with my predictions:
AFC: I did pretty well here.  I picked 4 out of 6 playoff teams and if not for a missed FG in a late season game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, I would have had 5.  I picked 3 out of 4 division champs (New England, Baltimore, Houston).  I missed on Denver but did pick them for a wild card.
I was correct that the New York Jets would flop without Tebow starting.  I predicted that San Diego would bounce back and Indy was still a year away from being a playoff challenger.  Wrong on both counts. Baltimore was my pre-season Super Bowl pick.

NFC: Not so good here.  I only got 3 out of 6.  I was correct that New Orleans would falter but I also got burned by picking Carolina and Detroit as wild cards. I did not pick Seattle but did mention them as a potential surprise team.  Like most others, I did not expect Washington or Minnesota to make it and did expect New York to win the East.  I was correct in 3 out of 4 division picks (Atlanta, Green Bay and San Fran).  Green Bay was my pre-season pick to win it all.

Wild card weekend:
Houston over Cincy- The Bengals are a good but not great team.  It would be a surprise to see an upset here even though Houston has not looked great at times either.

Indy over Baltimore-  Picking a mild upset here but neither team is much of a threat to go all the way.  Luck is a good clutch QB but his overall numbers weren't great.  Baltimore lost 4 out of 5 going into the playoffs and it's rare to see a team that faded down the stretch make a deep playoff run.

Green Bay over Minnesota- re-match of week 17.  Green Bay wins by 10 at home.

Washington over Seattle- 2 of the hottest teams.  The winner of this one is a serious threat to go all the way.  I'm picking Washington only because they are the home team.  Seattle was 8-0 at home this year but only 3-5 on the road.

Divisonal round:
New England over Houston- It was a blowout win for New England in the regular season and it will not be close in the playoffs either.

Denver over Indy- Peyton Manning vs. his old team.  If Manning still played for Indy, I'd pick a different outcome but as it is, Denver wins it pretty easily.

Washington over Atlanta- The upset special.  Atlanta is a great team but Washington won 7 in row to close the season and it's hard to bet against RG3. In recent years, it's been the team that got hot at the end instead of the team with the best record during the season.

Green Bay over San Fran- Mild upset here.  Close game but Rogers pulls it out at the end.

Conference champ weekend:
Denver over New England- Another Manning vs. Brady classic.  In a close game, I've got to go with the home team.

Green Bay over Washington- Could be a classic.  No rookie QB has ever led his team to the Super Bowl.  If anyone can do it, it's RG3 but I'm going with Rogers and the Packers.

Super Bowl:
Green Bay over Denver- Sticking with my pre-season pick in a classic QB duel.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Training 1/1-1/6

1/1- Biggest news of the day is that I finally saw the official medical report yesterday.  It was MUCH WORSE than last time.  The thyroid is about the same (4x ideal).  The adrenal ratio is off the charts high.  That's what happens when I don't take the Thym-Adren for 8 months and had only been on a low dose for 2 months.  Again, I wasn't freed from it, I was forced off due to toxicity issues.  I'm doing well now so my critics will say that you can't rely on a hair test and there is nothing seriously wrong with me despite the results.  Why I was hurting so badly back in late summer-early Fall?  Why was I so erratic in November?  It makes perfect sense that the report showed major problems.  What is a bit of a mystery is how I was able to do so well for so long without the pills.  The next test will be sent around mid-late February.  It's too much to ask for my numbers to improve all the way to balance but if I am able to continue on the pills, I guarantee that my next result will be a LOT better.  Lord, please let this be the year that I silence all my critics once and for all.

The workout:
A chilly rain all day but fortunately the gym was open today.  Plan was 5 miles at marathon pace followed by 5 miles at half-tempo pace.  Hit the first 5 in 36:36 (7:19 pace).  That's a little short of BQ pace but probably on target with my current fitness.  Took a short water break then took off at a comfortably hard effort.  Finished the next 5 in 33:45 (6:45 pace).  Could not quite hold 6:40 but did manage to make up some time with a strong kick.  Objective was to train myself to sustain a hard pace on tired legs.  Not an all time great but pretty strong overall.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.5

1/2- Trak Shak 5 in 36:55 (7:23 pace).  Not a bad workout but felt just a little off.  I have an excuse because yesterday was a quality day.  Marathon pace should not be hard for such a short distance but it was too much of a strain for an easy day so I backed off to a 7:30 over the 2nd half.  The rain finally stopped but it was cloudy and cold all day.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.5
Update:
After receiving the medical report, I tried some extra zinc to lower my off the scale tissue sodium levels.  It is now clear that it is not the answer and it's probably why I was a little off today.  I will stick with the C+ mega Thym-Adren.  I may be a little off tomorrow as well but it's no reason to panic.

1/3- 7 miles in 54:44 (7:49 pace).  As expected, this one was less than stellar.  Obviously the extra zinc that is causing the problems since I've gotten progressively worse since starting it.  At least, it was not an extreme reaction from just 1 pill.  However, if I stay on it, I will be flat out awful by the weekend.  How does it feel?  I was never especially tired but it felt like I had elastic bands holding me back.  On my absolute worst days, the fatigue and malaise is comparable to the flu (minus the fever and chills).  Fairly even pace and never went over 8:00 or below 7:40.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=7.0

1/4- Just as I predicted, I was MUCH better after eliminating the extra zinc.  6 miles in 43:28 (7:15 pace).  Strong GMP run.  Felt very comfortable.  It was an enjoyable evening.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=6.0

1/5- Slept in and ran solo.  Not a bad call because it was cold and dark outside.  Took a trip down to Oak Mountain for a change.  16 miles in 1:54:13 (7:08 pace).  I chose the flattest possible route but it was still rolling throughout the run.  Plan called for 13 miles at marathon pace followed by 3 at half marathon pace and I did it. No split for Mile 13 but did hit 13.1 just a hair fast at 1:34:25.  By then, I had already picked up the pace.  Miles 14-16 were 6:49-6:50-6:51 so I was short of PR half pace but did manage sub-1:30 pace. Route was beach to park entrance then straight ahead for another mile then back AND repeat.  I did run up the hill to the beach at the end of the 1st circuit but not the 2nd. Not much of a kick left and walking up the hill to the beach was tough.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=16.0

Update: I'm still taking mega doses of Thym-Adren and always wake up feeling awful until the pills kick in.  Today, I was not as bad when I woke up.  Again, only a good medical report will convince me that I'm getting better.  I expect to do well in L.A. but I did well for 3 months last year despite being unbalanced.  

1/6- Easy 5 in 37:13 (7:27 pace).  Overstimulated.  Too much caffeine yesterday.  No more until after the race.  Solid performance.  Slowed down at the end on purpose.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Very strong week.  Emotionally, I'm still trying to digest the official medical report.  If I can still tolerate the Thym-Adren come Spring time, I'll be in a better frame of mind and the next medical report will be a lot better.  This is my 4th win in a row and I've never had more than 8 straight.  Time to taper now.
Distance=50.0/ GPA= 27.7/8= 3.46