Tuesday, August 27, 2013

International travel

I've mentioned on here before that I have been to all 48 contiguous US states plus 5 foreign countries (Canada, Bermuda, Spain, France, Italy).  A new travel goal has emerged: Visit every inhabited continent.  So far, all I've got down is North America and Europe.  Here are a few other places I would like to go besides Alaska and Hawaii:

Canada: I have no desire to visit every province here but would like to expand on my current tally.  I have been to Ontario 3 times, with a day trip from Buffalo to Toronto being most memorable.  Also, I was in Quebec when I was very young.  I'd like to take a tour of the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia).  There are several good races in that area and it could make for a cool summer get away.  I could check off all 3 on a single trip.
Calgary has race on Memorial Day weekend and I hear that the Canadian Rockies are really beautiful.  I could drive from Spokane and check off British Columbia and Alberta.
Lastly, the Detroit Free Press race is on my list largely because it actually crosses into Canada.

Europe-I'd like to return here at some point.  If I am to re-visit Europe, London would be a clear #1 choice.

South America:I probably should bone up on my Spanish if I am to go here.  My first choice would probably be Lima, Peru and the Andes Mountains. Lima does have a marathon/half and it appears to be a really nice course plus I can get there on a direct flight from Atlanta for just over $1K.  I've seen pictures of Maccu Piccu (sp?) and was blown away.

Australia-This is probably the one that I have the most desire to see but it's also the toughest trip.  If I have to choose a city to target, it would probably be Sydney and possibly Melbourne on the same trip.  I can plan to go whenever the big marathon/half marathon takes place.

Israel- My friend Kevin went there this past year and loved it.  As a Christian, I have my special reasons for wanting to visit.  For the record, Kevin said that he never felt unsafe and the biggest takeaway was that you will never look at Scripture in the same way after you've been to those sites.

Asia- Hong Kong is my number one choice here with Tokyo as a close second.  My parents went to HK about 30 years ago and really enjoyed it.  Also, the marathon/half is much easier to get in than Tokyo.

Africa- Durban and/or Cape Town, South Africa.  Durban is on the coast of the Indian Ocean and is home to the world famous Comrades Marathon, which attracts runners from every corner of the world.  Also, the 2 Oceans Marathon/half in Cape Town is the self-proclaimed "most beautiful" in the world.  I've seen video of the course and it may be the truth.  Both cities are reportedly safe for tourists and have plenty of nice areas worth seeing.

As a bit of an aside, in my days as a student, I have met people from all over the world.  Just off the top of my head, here's a list of countries from which I met a student:
Brazil, Columbia, Congo, Uganda, Japan, Bangladesh, India, China, Russia, Bulgaria, Trinidad, Great Britain, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, Vietnam.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Training 8/26-9/1

8/26- Well, I said earlier that I NEVER EVER x infinity want to go back to X # of pills per day or else but that is exactly what has happened.  That said, it sure beats having to deal with the intolerable fatigue and depression that I had last week.  I am back on mega Thym-Adren plus 750mg each of Cal and Mag malate but no need for Fructosin yet.  I can only hope that the precise Cal/Mag ratio will eventually reduce my extreme dependence on Thym-Adren.  I KNOW that if I am able to take it consistently, it will normalize my Na and K values AND keep that critical ratio in the "good" range.  What is just as important is less clear.  Will the magnesium malate correct the Mag deficiency without disturbing the other key minerals and ratios?
As for today's workout, it went pretty well.  We got out first taste of Fall today with temps in the low 80s and a dewpoint of 60.  Lakeshore 5 in 37:20 (7:28 pace) in a comfortably moderate effort.  Slight negative split too (18:44-18:36).  Added a mile cool.  Tomorrow, I will attempt to go back to the Mag with B-6.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/27- First full day on the new formula (750 Cal/Mg + Thym-Adren).  It went well enough overall.  Workout was a short tempo.  3 miles in 19:59 (6:40 pace).  Splits were 6:30-6:52-6:37.  3 hard 200s then a cool.  Felt decent but not great.  May need to tweak the calcium.  I'm striving for a 1:1 ratio but if I am to take a little more of 1 of the 2, it should be magnesium.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=4.0

8/28- Tweaked the formula a bit so that I am now taking slightly more Mag than Cal.  I may have to cut pills in half to reach a state of equilibrium.  Once again, the workout went well.  Trak Shak 6.5 loop in 47:28 (7:18 pace) plus a cool.  Faded a bit on the hills at the end but strong overall.  I can still feel the imbalances holding me back but my chemistry is clearly in a state of flux now.  I wanted to do 8 but felt a little overheated and did not chance it.  Weather was sunny and 85 with a 65 dewpoint.  Not bad for late summer but far from ideal for distance running.  
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

8/29- Speed workout.  Both Vestavia and Mountain Brook were closed due to JV football games.  It can be hard to find a track in the Spring and Fall.  Ended up at South Lakeshore as a last resort.  Workout was 8x400 in :83 (5:30 ish pace) with a range of 78-86.  R was 2 min. static and added a half mile warm and cool.  The road is slightly sloped so it should be a hair slower than on a track but this is a far cry from my 75s at my peak.  Average performance overall.  Plenty of energy during the day but felt a little off during the workout.  Maybe I am over-reaching a bit but more likely, I need to cut the Mag just a bit.  Ratio should be near 1:1 but today, it was more like 2 parts Cal: 3 parts Mag.  Just 1 pill can make a difference.  ARRGH!
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=3.0

8/30- Settled on around 600 mg of each and at least for this week, it is a winning formula.  Next week?  Don't know.  Easy 6 at Golds in a time of 44:18 (7:23 pace).  Smooth and relaxed with a nice even pace (22:06/22:12).  This would have been a solid "A" if not for some minor stomach discomfort.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/31- Planned rest day.  Heading to Clemson for the football game.  As of now, I'd prefer to stay on my routine because I'm finally getting it together but I'm not backing out after I've already said yes.  I need only a "C-" tomorrow to get a win.

9/1- The Clemson game was a thriller but it was a mistake to get out of my routine and I'll explain later.  Rather lame 4 miler in 31:23 (7:51 pace) but I still get the win.  Given what happened yesterday (3 AM bed time + too much drinking and garbage food), it was an accomplishment just to get out there and run today.  I've got to say "no" to friends more often.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=4.0

Weekly summary:
Win #14 on the year.  At least for now, I may have found a solution.  I MUST stick to my routine for the next few weeks.  I just hope that I can bounce back quickly from this lapse.  A new Rant post is coming so stay tuned.
Distance=30.0/ GPA= 24.8/8= 3.10

Monday, August 19, 2013

Training 8/19-8/25

8/19- Avoided the sticky-icky weather and stayed inside, which proved to be a good call because I had some mild stomach discomfort.  Performance was about on par with yesterday but I felt that I had a bit more energy today.  Finished 6 miles in 45:28 (7:35 pace) with a relatively even pace (22:36/22:54) but I did have some hamstring soreness.
Medical update: I've recently read an article that said that in some cases, old meds become toxic when starting Mag supplements so I feel a little better about being forced off the Thym-Adren.  I'm taking Mag without calcium, which may or may not be good call.  I'll know when the medical report comes in.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/20- Unplanned rest day.  Feel flat out terrible.  Yesterday's run should not have taken this much out of me.  It could be the B-6 trouble again or it could be the lack of calcium.  I have ordered Jigsaw Cal.  If it is B-6, that means that I cannot take the Jigsaw Mag.  I'll have to rely on the Mag malate and must be careful about the dosage.
Update: Barely made it through the day at work.  It appears that yes, B-6 is the problem and based on my history, for some reason, I can only tolerate it if I am taking Thym-Adren.  The only problem is that I still cannot tolerate Thym-Adren.  Adding some Calcium should not hurt but the ratio of Cal/Mag should be near 1:1.

PM- Decided to do a junk run and clocked 1 Mile in blazing time of 9:49.  For some reason, I have an irrational hope that adding back some Calcium will allow me to tolerate some Thym-Adren and hence, the Jigsaw Mag.  My worst fear is that taking extra Mag in any form will always force me off it.  If that's true, it is all over.  I'll never be healthy again.
UPDATE:  This one is big!  Thanks to the Livestrong website, I've learned that my B-6 intolerance is likely due to an extreme imbalance in my Ca/K ratio.  Adding some Ca is definitely a good call now.  Is there any chance that it will allow me to tolerate Thym-Adren?

8/21- Trak Shak 3 in 25:58 (8:39 pace).  Pace was even and felt relatively comfortable.  I could have gone 5-6 miles today but I could not pick up any speed at all.  I felt substantially WORSE after taking the Mag this morning.  I need more calcium for sure.  The only thing that is certain about my chemistry right now is that my Ca/K is very low (1.4 or below vs an ideal of 4).  That indicates thyroid hyper-function. My Mag had BETTER be up and I hope that I've taken my high Ca/Mg too far in the opposite direction, not just lowered the ratio closer to normal.  I have learned that a chronic Mag deficiency puts you at risk for heart disease too.   The B-6 intolerance does not necessarily mean that my Na/K or Na/Mg (adrenal) is bad but it's surely not a good sign.
Also, I cannot take any old calcium from Wal-Mart.  I need calcium malate, which had to be ordered online.  It's hard to find Cal alone too.  It's usually packaged with Mag in citrate or oxide form, which I cannot tolerate.  The pills will not arrive until Friday so tomorrow will be only slightly better.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

8/22- Gold's 5 indoors.  It thundered but the rain never came.  It went as expected.  I was struggling to stay focused at work again and was only slightly better in my workout.  Finished in 41:45 (8:21 pace).  Started off at 8:00 pace then gradually faded but never went much over 8:30.  No Cal this evening but there is a chance that they could be there by lunchtime tomorrow.  I took nothing today.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

8/23- Unplanned rest day.  Feel terrible and have a tender Achilles.  Not worth it to chance it.  Pills have not arrived but according to the tracker, it should be here tomorrow.
Grade:F/1 credits/distance=0

8/24- The pills arrived around 9:45 AM.  I took 2 calcium pills immediately.  It was not a magical cure, nor was I expecting one but I did get the solid incremental improvement that I had hoped for.  Gold's 5 miler in 39:39 (7:56 pace). That's still BAAAAUHD! Gradually faded after a pretty good start.  Splits were roughly 19:30-20:06 and the slowest was Mile 4 at 8:15.  I'll count this as my tempo on the week and I get a passing grade for finishing.  Going for 10 tomorrow and I don't care if I have to walk part of it.
Grade:D/2 credit/distance=5.0

8/25- There was a shift overnight and not in a good way.  I hit Lakeshore at 7 AM intending to run a very slow 10 miler.  I had to turn around after only 0.75 miles and finished the 1.5 miler in a time of 14:52 (9:55 pace).  Fortunately, I brought the bottle of Thym-Adren with me because I thought I might need it again.  I got back to my car, popped 2 pills and got a quick drink before heading back out there again.  Just like yesterday, there was no magic but I did feel noticeably better within minutes.  Finished the 5 mile out and back on the trail in 43:20 (8:40 pace) with a strongly negative split.  1st half: 22:18, 2nd half: 21:02.  Fastest was Mile 5 at 7:45.  Added a cool.

PM- 2 mile junk run on Wisteria just because I was bored and felt like doing something.  Finished in a solid 14:40 (7:20 pace) with the down side in 7:12 and the up side in 7:28.
Grade:F+/2 credits/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
My worst non-injury week on record.  It appears that I may be right back to where I started.  I need a set amount of Cal/Mag every day and a set amount of Thym-Adren.  If I miss even one dose, I'm screwed.  Also, I will likely be shooting at moving targets.  Who knows what will work for me next week?  What a life I've got!  Still, what I just described is better than intolerable and unrelenting fatigue and depression if I do not take the pills.
Distance=29.0/ GPA= 8.3/8= 1.04

Friday, August 16, 2013

Magnesium and Thym-Adren

Dr. J is back and this post is largely for my reference.  Here goes:

In retrospect, I began having symptoms of magnesium deficiency since 2011.  My hair test had been consistently showing a tissue magnesium level no higher than 3 since 2009 and usually had been stuck at 2 (ideal is 6), leading to extreme imbalances in my Na/Mg (adrenal ratio) and Ca/Mg (blood sugar).  My best race to date is the 3M half in Texas in January of 2012 (1:28:12) but even then, I was not even close to balance. My claim that I have elite potential that is consistently being stolen from me does bear much weight given the times that I have achieved in spite of the imbalances.

I found that during periods in which I basically abstained from caffeine and limited my sugar and alcohol, my performances would improve significantly.  Because caffeine depletes magnesium, this makes total sense now.  However, in the end, it proved to be not enough to stave off deficiency symptoms despite the fact that I had been taking a Cal/Mag supplement.  It got to the point in which I could not even tolerate those Naked Juice smoothies with no sugar added.  Fortunately, I was able to enjoy another good stretch of running from October 2012-January 2013 thanks to a product called Fructosin, which acts to convert fructose to glucose thanks to the enzyme xylose isomerase.  I still endorse that product but have since learned that fructose malabsorption is linked to a magnesium deficiency and while fructosin does eliminate the symptoms of sugar intolerance, it does nothing to raise tissue magnesium levels and is also very pricey.

Fast forward to March 2013- my medical report looked as good as it ever had with 3 of the 4 key electrolytes (Ca, Na and K) all within the normal range but that darn magnesium remained stuck at 2 and the symptoms of a high Ca/Mg ratio became more problematic that the high Na/Mg.  I responded by adding more Mag to my formula in the form of Magnesium citrate.  After 2-3 glorious days, I went steadily downhill and eventually reached a point in with my body rejected the Mag citrate, leaving me with overwhelming fatigue and depression if I took any.  Okay, so now the medical report should show my Mag is no longer a problem right? Wrong!  The Mag rose only 1 point while the Na and K went through the roof again.

In June 2013, as a last resort, I tried some transdermal magnesium gel in the form of magnesium chloride.  The company made some hard to believe claims such as the following:
-no chance of an overdose because the skin has a unique ability to self-regulate
-it can regulate other chemicals in the cells; thus, no need for other supplements to balance cell chemistry.  Therefore, instead of 12+ pills, I can simply rub some gel on my skin.

The result:
I have mixed reviews on this product.  The good is that since starting it, my summer allergies have been almost non-existent.  Also, I was able to get off both Thym-Adren and Fructosin while my training runs improved gradually.  However, once again, I was not "freed" from the pills.  I was forced off.  Taking a single Thym-Adren made me sick.  That's very unusual and made me feel uneasy.  Too much gel caused a mild rash, some urinary retention and sore muscles.  Finally, I read an article from a trustworthy source that using transdermal magnesium often causes a low Na/K ratio.  That's one of the key indicators of adrenal fatigue and that result must be avoided at all costs.

In conclusion:
I plan on using the transdermal magnesium on an occasional basis at least until the next medical report.  Slathering it on every day like suntan lotion is not the answer.  The only thing that has PROVEN to be effective in BOTH lowering my Na and K AND keeping that all-important ratio where it should be (between 2.5-4.0) is Thym-Adren.  I have found that after starting magnesium malate, I have had more energy this week that I've had for 6 months.  In addition, it has been the recommended source for athletes with chronic fatigue.  Moreover, research shows that it is effective in detoxing Aluminum, which has always been mildly high on my report.  High levels of Al have been linked to dementia and there is some Alzheimer's in my family.  I've determined that I will not fall prey to it.

I'm fine with having a need to take pills but NOT okay with a "desperate need."  As of now, if I miss a day or two of pills, I will be okay and that's how I want to keep it.  Once again, it is not the imbalances that prevent me from dating, it is the INSTABILITY.  I NEVER EVER x infinity want to go back to X # per day or else while shooting at a moving target.  I'm going with Mag malate, Thym-Adren and Mag chloride up to but not past the point of Thym-Adren intolerance.  I still don't know how this will all play out but I do have some new hope.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Training 8/12-8/18

8/12- Mountain Brook loop in oppressive conditions (85 w/high humidity).  This week's loop was Brownell to Canterbury to Country Club to Jack's Shell then down Montevallo to the finish.  It was a hilly 5.4 mile loop and I stopped at 5 then treated the remainder as a cool down.  Time was a very solid 36:29 (7:18 pace), a strong performance in tough conditions.  Effort was moderate.  Current formula is Mag chloride and Mag malate.  If it fails to keep the Na and K in line, it will be Thym-Adren+C and Mag malate.  I am cautiously optimistic heading forward.  I've been off caffeine for 3 days but am still consuming too much sugar.  That needs to change.
Grade: A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

8/13- Planned workout was Johnny's speed session.  Did 2x400 in 81-79 then it started to storm so I hit Gold's gym and ran an easy 6 there.  Time was a comfortable 44:47 (7:28 pace).  Slowed just a tad towards the end (22:16/22:31) but this was a strong performance overall.  A quarter mile warm and cool brought me up to 7 on the day. On another note, this has been one of the wettest summers that I can recall.  It has not been real hot temp wise but the humidity sucks.  I prefer 95 and dry to 85 and sticky.  Bring on Fall.  It's not far off now.

 Update: I've ordered Jigsaw magnesium, which is basically another magnesium malate supplement with a few synergistic vitamins.  It's also a better value for the money that what I currently take.  I'm reducing the Mag chloride and stand by my previous assessment that too much can be harmful.  Stopping it completely could force me back on the Thym-Adren.  I'd prefer not to do that but if my hair test shows continued sky high Na and K, I have no other choice.  Mag citrate was poison for me and threw the Na and K through the roof but that does not necessarily mean that Mag malate will.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

8/14- Thought about a rest day but the weather finally cleared and the dew point dropped to 70 so it didn't feel half bad out there.  Trak Shak 7.5 mile loop in 55:50 (7:27 pace).  Solid performance but this is not an "A" because I faded after Mile 5.  I was doing 7:20 pace at that time but slipped to 7:40 over the final 2.5 and had to work just to maintain that. Went with all magnesium malate today and was pleased with the results.  Hope this one won't hurt me tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.5

8/15- BAFA day!  18th anniversary of my first HS cross-country practice, which was a big turning point in my life.  I always like to do something special on this day if I can.  What does BAFA mean?  That's a secret of the team and I've sworn not to tell.  It was a speed workout at Mountain Brook.  24x200 in sets of 6.  R was 1 minute except for a quarter mile jog after every 6th rep.  The first 23 were all between 37-40 with most of them being 39.x.  Turned on the speed on #24 and clocked a solid 31.4 despite having to dodge a soccer player.  Strong performance and feel like I could have done 37-38s.  Unfortunately, plantar has flared up.  Actually, it never fully went away.  I will attempt to take Thym-Adren and see what happens.  Tomorrow is a rest day so if it doesn't work, I'll be ready by Saturday.  Enjoyed my warm and cool running with Kelly.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.0

8/16- Planned rest day.  Took 2 Thym-Adren last night and seemed to tolerate it okay but 2 more the next morning was too much.  I should be okay by tomorrow morning.

8/17-  I was not okay for the long run.  The Thym-Adren apparently still has not cleared and my plantar issues are getting worse.  I will try to load on the Mag and have heard that it is a good treatment.  My calf muscles are too tight and without sufficient Mag, they can't relax.  6 miles in 50:46 (8:28 pace) plus a cool.  Was doing near 8:00 pace through 4 then finished with an 8:55 and 9:36.  Ouch!  Need a "C+" tomorrow with a distance of at least 10.5 for a win this week.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=6.5

8/18- Lakeshore double out and back in steady drizzle.  Finished 10 miles in 76:47 (7:41 pace).  Kinda meh on this one.  Timewise, this is my best 10 miler since June but I was not pleased by how much I faded at the end. 1st half was 37:15 and I was actually holding back for a while.  Then, I faded to a 39:32 and saw the pace go above 8 in Miles 8-9 then had to push for a 7:50 close.  The Mag malate has a bit of a laxative effect but the Jigsaw Mag does not.  I'm sticking with the Jigsaw for better or worse.  The plantar is still there but it is not debilitating.  I'm giving it 2 more weeks before I bite the bullet and go for prolo.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=10.5

Weekly summary:
Held on for the win despite the shaky weekend and topped 40 miles for the first time in a long time.  I'm not in very good spirits right now.  With problems from too much Mag chloride and malate and still being intolerant of Thym-Adren, Jigsaw Mag is all that I can take and since it contains B-6, I may have problems with it down the road.  No time trials this week but if I ran one this weekend, I would have been going backwards.
Distance=42.0/GPA= 24.0/8= 3.00
YTD: 1,167 miles.  13-18 with a 2.63 GPA

Monday, August 5, 2013

Charleston trip/ Fall race plans

When most people think about going to the beach, it's a relaxing time in which you sit in the sand underneath an umbrella sipping drinks and maybe taking a dip in the water.  Not so for me.  I'm there for the action.  My idea of a good time on the beach is as follows:
-Don't even plan the trip in advance.
-Wait for a day in which the weather forecast and surf conditions are favorable.
-Leave the night before, drive halfway (South Alabama) and stay in a cheap motel.
-Park in the public beach lot, hit the water and stay out there all day.
-The surf is usually best in mid-late afternoon and I love to catch those big waves on the boogie board.  I've done it so much that I know just the right time to kick.  On a good day, I can catch a 4-6 foot wave and ride it all the way to the shore.  Man, it's so much fun but it's also tiring.
-I'd like to stay out there until 6 PM then head home.  I can make it from the Gulf coast in one day but not the Atlantic.
I do not care about:
-Staying in a nice hotel on the beach and paying $300/night.
-Eating in a pricey restaurant with small portions and paying $50+ for dinner if I want a drink or dessert.
Of course, when traveling with a friend, I have to make some concessions.

Overall, this was a fun but a too expensive vacation.  I did enjoy the companionship.  The weather was good all 3 days.  For the most part, we stayed on Isle of Palms, my favorite South Carolina beach.  I've spent many happy hours there but had not been back since I moved to Alabama in 2006.  We also went into downtown Charleston for a good seafood dinner one night.  I've always been a big fan of that city.  It's been consistently ranked among the most friendly and well mannered cities.

Now back to running:
I've been progressing pretty well these past 2 weeks and hope that being out of my normal routine will not set me back again.  Of course, I cheated on the drinking a bit but kept the consumption at a fairly low level (no more than 2 per sitting or 3 per day) and I was clean on Sunday.  Also, the word is that swimming in the ocean is good for magnesium levels.  I found that I did not need any gel and felt slightly worse after an application today.  If I can continue to improve gradually but steadily, I will be in decent shape by late September.  That said, I've pretty much written off 2013 as a loss in my mind.  Even if I finish the year strong, my final stats will not look good and I will be hard pressed to set any PRs all year, which will be my first shutout since my comeback.

Here is the preliminary schedule:
9/22- Talladega 5K- This race is held on the NASCAR speedway and is almost exactly 1 full lap around the track.  I'm not a big NASCAR fan but it will still be really cool to race there.  It's a companion event to the half mary.  Although the course is flat as can be, it won't be competitive.  Even in my weakened condition, I may have a shot at a top 5 finish.

9/29-Great Race- 10K in Pittsburgh, PA.  This one is confirmed as I've already signed up.  Even if I'm in bad shape, I will struggle through it and finish safely at this distance.  It's a large event with a lightning fast course.  Because it has nearly 4x as much downhill as uphill, I cannot count it as an official PR so it's another race mostly for fun.  It will be state #7 of 10 in the 10K chase.

10/26- Sphinx Run Fest in Greenville, SC- Half marathon that I've wanted to do for years.  I used to live here but was strictly 5K-10K at that time.  Looks to be a decent course that "could be" a PR but again, it's highly unlikely that I'll be in top form even by this time.  This one is not confirmed and I will run only if I'm in shape for a 1:35 or below. This would be State #18.

11/10- Marshall Univ. Half in Huntington, WV- If I must limit myself to one half this Fall, this is the one that I would choose.  It's a fast course and drive-able from Birmingham.  Also, it falls on the day before Veteran's Day so I can do this one without taking any time off from work. State #19 if I do this one as well as Greenville.

11/17- Turkey Burner 5K in Monty-  This one is at Metro Fitness gym, where I used to work out when I lived there.  I've always wanted to race this one but never could fit it into my schedule.  Hopefully, this year I will be able to do it and I hope to be a good shape by this point.

Training 8/5-8/11

8/5- Back in the 'Ham.  Easy 6 indoors.  Weather was okay but it was probably a smart call to stay in given that I spent so much time in the sun the past few days.  Legs were very heavy but outside of that, I remained fairly relaxed with an even pace that varied no more than 10 ticks per mile.  Finished with a time of 46:56 (7:49 pace).  1st half was 23:24, 2nd half was 23:32.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/6- Mountain Brook loop.  This one was milder than last week with the only really tough stretch being Overbrook near the halfway point.  Covered 5 miles in 38:06 (7:37 pace).  Relatively even splits and fairly comfortable effort.  Felt a good deal better than yesterday and it is becoming increasingly clear that too much gel is bad for me.  I was immediately skeptical of the claim of "no danger of overdose" and it appears that I was right.  What is most important is still to be resolved.  Does transdermal magnesium help modulate other key minerals?
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

8/7- Planned an interval session but it was rained out so I had no choice other than to hit the gym.  Got to see Lisa who was teaching a class there.  Workout was good.  Easy 6 in 44:54 (7:29 pace).  Man, it feels so good to click off steady 7:30ish splits again and feel comfortable doing it.  Pace was steady in the low 7:30s until the last lap. Unofficially, I clocked a 36 second last lap (1/9 mile), which is roughly 5:20 pace despite some lingering heaviness in the legs.  Used just a few sprays of Mag oil and may even go off it for a few days.  I've got about 5 weeks until I send in the hair sample but I want to see a new medical report now.  Added a mile cool on the 'mill.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

8/8- Another mediocre speed session.  This one was at Mountain Brook for a change.  I was shooting for 10-12 300s in 60 seconds with a short rest.  I ended up doing 10 in sets of 5 with a final 200 all out.  I was heavy and slow from the start but to my credit, I managed to hold the pace through the workout.  The 300s were all 66-67 and the final 200 was a pedestrian 38 seconds.  I had another forbidden drink this morning and used just a small amount of Mag gel.  I'm going off it as of now so once again, my body is rejecting all treatments.  The medical report must be sent out as soon as my hair is long enough.
Grade:C-/2 credits/distance=3.0

8/9- Planned rest day.  First day off the gel.  Still not feeling well this morning but expect to improve throughout the day.  I can still get a win this week but I'll need an "A-" in my long run.

8/10- FAILURE!  Demoralizing run with the Gnomes and had to drop out after 2 miles.  Walk-jogged back home and finished with a running distance of 3.5 miles in 32:43 (9:21 pace).  Starting back on the gel this afternoon.

PM- Back on the Mag gel.  A weak 2.5 miler at Gold's in 19:55 (7:58 pace).  Better than the morning.  I've come to the conclusion that it is the caffeine that was the problem.  I can handle occasional beer and smoothies and even non-caffeinated soda in moderation but NOT caffeine.  For the last time, I'm done with that stuff and I am embarrassed that I keep saying that and still go back on it for no real reason.  It doesn't even make me feel good temporarily.

Run #3- 2 miles on Wisteria in 15:38 (7:49 pace).  Not a significant improvement over last time.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=8.0

8/11- Well, I finished 9 miles with a group but it was done at a maddeningly slow pace.  GPS was acting weird so I don't know the pace but my last mile was barely under 10 and I don't think the overall pace was much better.  I will tack on a junk mile later to make it an even 10.  I am going to stay on the transdermal mag but will try a Cal/Mag in pill form or possibly another form of Mag.  I could not tolerate it before but maybe I can now.

PM-  Added another 2 mile after realizing that I was at 38 on the week.  Wisteria route and my time is down to 15:02 (7:31 pace).  Improving.   Update: The Cal/Mag citrate was POISON to me before starting the gel and IT STILL IS!  Felt MUCH worse immediately after popping a pill but there is a payoff.  I picked up some Mg malate also at the store and began feeling slightly better after taking it.  Dare I say that there is new hope?
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=11.0

Weekly summary:
Loss #18 on the year and it was another blowout but I made 2 important discoveries.  First, I re-learned how bad caffeine is for me.  Second, I found a new form of magnesium, which may be more effective and is supposedly very good for athletes with chronic fatigue.  I'm staying on the transdermal stuff as well.  Without it, I will probably have to go back on the Thym-Adren and I sure hope I do not substitute one extreme sensitivity for another.  PLEASE, no x# of Mg malate or else!
Distance=40.0/ GPA=16.1/8=2.01
YTD: 1,124 miles.  12-18 with a 2.60 GPA