Monday, December 21, 2015

Training 12/21-12/31

12/21- The moment of truth.  How would I do without ATP?  Would I be able to tolerate the full dose of Lithium.  Same 3 miler as yesterday and was shooting for 21:50 or better.  The answer was YES!
Finished today's run in 20:55 (6:58 pace), which is MINUS 56 due to stopping the ATP.  This is comparable to the Turkey Burner and a fair assessment of my current fitness.  I've got a long way to go and there is no guarantee that I will not need the ATP again down the road.

PM- Planned on doing 5@7:30ish and almost managed.  Called it quits after 4 miles in 29:36 (7:24 pace).  Felt GREAT early with the first 2 miles at 7:02-7:10 then tightened up BADLY early in Mile 3 and slipped to 7:27 and 7:57 to finish up.  Clearly need ATP after all.  Will the dosage be stable or will it continue to trend down.

12/22- Interesting day.  Felt much WORSE as evening progressed yesterday and after taking a Lithium pill upon rising, I was not able to run at all.  Popped 1 ATP and was somewhat better.  It took tempo effort to finish below the Mendoza line.  3 miles at Gold's in 23:55 (7:58 pace) with even splits.  I was exactly 1 minute/mile slower than yesterday morning.  What to make of it?  The good news is that Lithium should be tolerated if I take the proper amount of ATP.  Again, I need Lithium to transport B12, which is necessary to detox the sulfates.  Also, it's not a quick fix and is likely more stable than my past treatments.  If I took a 2nd ATP, sure I would have been better today.  If I take 2 tomorrow and the next day, it's probably a different story.  Let's hope that it will balance at 1/day.

12/23- Stuck with the 1 ATP and improved to 21:54 (7:18 pace) and MINUS 40/mile in just over 12 hours.  Again, I got off to a good start but felt my legs suddenly go dead just before the Mile marker.  Kept it semi-respectable the rest of the way.  Splits were 6:48-7:22-7:44.  If the formula is a winner, I should see continued steady improvement.  Maybe, MINUS 20 next time.  Going home now so chances to run will be uncertain for the next 3 days.

12/24- Peter's 3 in 21:21 (7:07 pace).  Hoping for the sub-21 and this time, I was on pace through 2 miles before fading badly down the stretch.  Splits were 6:53-7:01-7:27.  MINUS 11/mile and it is an improvement but I was hoping for better.  For the time being, I am sticking with the 1 ATP but may need to increase it to 2 if I plateau here.

12/25- Planned rest day

12/26- Unplanned rest day.  Reacting badly to Lithium now.  I'm going off BOTH Lithium and ATP just to see what happens but I predict that it will evolve into a situation in which I take ATP every day and Lithium 1-2 times/week.

12/27- Unplanned rest day.  Weather delays made for a tough trip home.

12/28- I did take a whole Food C which may have been ill-advised but early signs show a need for ATP.  Managed just 1 mile and faded early.  Finished in 8:21 and felt very depressed afterwards.

12/29- Felt AWFUL upon rising.  Took ATP this morning and made no other changes.  Even with a nasty sore throat and weakness from what appears to be just a head cold, I was a lot better than yesterday.  Finished the standard 3 in 23:48 (7:56 pace).  Splits were 7:46-8:04-7:58.

12/30- ANOTHER relapse.  I've beaten the head cold.  The sore throat diminished considerably today and has not been replaced by a stuffy nose.  Otherwise, I was so bad that I did not even attempt to run.  Thym-Adren is the culprit now.  Could ATP be detoxing the sulfates?  Some evidence says so but my urine sulfate level came in under 1600 only after it had been diluted with half water.  I would guess that my level is about 2500-3000 now, which is actually an improvement over last time.  Tomorrow, I will cut the Thym-Adren from 6 pills to 3 and if that fails, it's back to the ADHS.  I'm likely retiring tomorrow or on the 1st of the new year.

12/31- Cut the dose from 6 pills to 3 and feel no better.  I've become completely intolerant to Thym-Adren.  It's ADHS or bust now.  I will report tomorrow but shut it down thereafter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ATP and Lithium

The plot has thickened in recent days.  Here's a brief rundown of my issues and treatments:

-I have runaway excessive adrenal activity and I am 95% sure that the Magnesium+ Thym-Adren will NEVER be enough.  I might give that treatment one more try just to confirm once and for all.   If I do take too much adrenal suppressants, I will have the fatigue and malaise during the day and through the evening but when I wake up the next day, I'll be right back to feeling over-stimulated.  Why?  Everything that I have read suggests that the culprit is toxic sulfates, which cause the fight or flight symptoms.

I have literally tried EVERYTHING to detox the sulfates but all of the treatments made me feel worse.  Although unconfirmed, I believe that the sulfate detox treatments have depleted ATP.  If you paid any attention in your Biology class, you know that ATP is responsible for cell energy production and certainly explains the malaise that has predominated.

Here's where I am deficient:
-ATP:  I believe that the drop in ATP is what caused the glutamate and Phospho-Serine to drop off the scale.

-Lithium is bio-unavailable (can't be used by the cells).  Deficient in cells, high in urine.

-B12 is also bio-unavailable.  Deficient in cells, high in blood.

Use of Lithium and B12 likely further depleted ATP.

What I am up against:
I've had no real trouble with Mag+Thym-Adren.  Though it's insufficient, it's certainly better than nothing.  Without it, my adrenals will spiral out of control and I will end up with Stage 3 Adrenal fatigue again.

-I need Lithium to transport B12 but cannot tolerate it because it depletes ATP and increases fatigue.

-I need B12 to detox the sulfates but without sufficient Lithium, it won't work.  It won't be transported into the cells and will be stuck in the blood.  Lithium will be depleted further and ATP may be depleted as well.  B12 is off limits until Lithium comes up BUT when it does work properly, the adrenal balance IN THEORY WILL BE MUCH BETTER.

-Use of ATP causes my system to demand Lithium but I am EXTREMELY sensitive to it.

Today, I took about 1/5 of a Lithium pill and 3 ATP pills worked about the best (2 pills were not enough but 4 were too many).

I can just about guarantee that 3 ATP pills will be too much in just a few days and I will require more Lithium.  BUT.  While 1/5 of a Lithium pill may not be enough, 2/5-1/2 could be too much.  It will be a VERY DELICATE BALANCING ACT until further notice.  Here's hoping that someday, I will find some type of long-term equilibrium.

THIS is a mess right now!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Training 12/14-12/20

I've just learned a couple big things just today.  I am deficient in glutamate and phospho-serine but cannot tolerate either of them in supplement form.  BUT- BOTH ARE ATP DEPENDENT.  I am currently taking ATP with success and thus may not need to supplement with those 2 after all.  This COULD be the key.  If it's not, I will retire at the end of the year.

12/14- AM- Same pattern as yesterday only worse.  Finished with 2 miles in 15:34 (7:47 pace) with splits of 7:22-8:12 and I could feel the collapse coming midway through Mile 1.  Additional ATP made it worse.  That does it.  I'm going back to Lithium and B-12.

PM- 3 miles in 23-flat (7:40 pace) with relatively even splits (11:24-11:36).  Overall, this was better than the morning session.  Felt a lot better immediately after taking half a B12 and half a Lithium but tightened up by the afternoon.  Post workout: Extra B-12 did not seem to hurt but extra Lithium did.

12/15- HORRIBLE.  Only managed a half mile in 4:38 (9:16 pace) and was getting slower with every step.  The Lithium that I took last night hasn't cleared and I had a bad reaction to excess Thym-Adren.

12/16- Mile repeats at Gold's.  Better with or without test (ugh).  Without ATP and with just a trace of Lithium (1/5 of a pill), I could not run at all.
With ATP:
1 pill: 1 Mile in 7:23
2 pills: 1 Mile in 6:33 (MINUS 50)
3 pills: 1 Mile in 6:07 (MINUS 26)
I planned on cooling down after this and I did but a 4th pill made me feel MUCH WORSE.

12/17- 3 miles in 22:09 (7:23 pace) at Gold's.  Splits were 6:55-7:22-7:47.  Felt good early but it was a steady decline after about a half mile.  Took 3 ATP pills, which worked best for me yesterday and increased my Lithium from 1/5 of a cap to roughly 2/5.  Based on the way I felt, it was clear that I was SHORT on Lithium and perhaps too much ATP.

12/18- Took a full Lithium pill and was still hurting from too much ATP.  I was done after 2 miles at Gold's in 15:38 (7:49 pace) with splits of 7:40-7:58.  Would have struggled to break the Mendoza line if I had gone another mile.

12/19- Unplanned rest day.  Cut the ATP down to 2 and it was still too much.  Tried the Sparga and FOS one last time and I remain COMPLETELY intolerant.  This proves that the ATP deficiency was NOT related to the Sparga intolerance, which remains a mystery.

12/20- Cut the ATP down to 1 and I was better but it was still too much.  The moment of truth will come tomorrow morning.  How will I feel without the ATP?  Will I be able to tolerate the Lithium?  Today's workout was a 3 miler at Gold's in 21:51 (7:17 pace).  Decent splits (7:12-7:18-7:21) but I was going just about all out.

Weekly Distance= 14.0 (Pathetic)
Next week will tell the tale and I'm not that anxious about it.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rant: Radical Islam and the American Left

A VERY RARE political post but I need to get this off my chest:

As a disclaimer, I condemn anti-Muslim bigotry in the name of anti-terrorism whether it be in the form of words or actions.  I believe in treating all people with respect and civility.  Have I ever met any Muslims myself?  Yes.  One of my all time favorite teachers was an Econ professor from Iran who is a moderate Muslim. I've also had some contact with a few Muslim business owners at work and never had a problem with any of them.  In my years as a student, I got to know several people who are either from the Middle East or of Middle Eastern descent and got along well with almost all of them.

Defenders of Islam will say things to the effect of "there is nothing Islamic about terrorism" and so-called Christians have been guilty of terrorist attacks as well.  While it is true that only an infinitesimal  percentage of Muslims will actually carry out terrorist attacks, a fairly significant minority support indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians to "defend Islam":  If you were to ask these terrorists what they are fighting for, they will no doubt say "Islam" and often cry out Allahu Ackbar before the attack.

If you were to poll Catholics, Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, you will likely find that 99.9 percent of people in each group strongly reject violence against civilians in all circumstances to "defend Christianity." With Muslims, that number is only about 85 percent.  I heard of a poll that stated that 8% of Muslims believed the 9/11 attacks to be "fully justified" and a similar percentage saw at least "some justification"  That means that if the United States is to take in 10,000 Muslim refugees, about 1,500 are expected to have at least some sympathy for terrorism. At the very least, we must be EXTREMELY careful about the vetting process and I'm not sure if there is a truly bulletproof system to assess a threat.  As an aside, neither Tim McVeigh nor Eric Rudolf identified as Christian and you never hear anyone proclaim that "Jesus is King" before committing a mass murder.

I heard well-meaning Christians point to Scriptures such as "love your enemy" and "pray for those who persecute you."  In my opinion, this does not apply to terrorists.  If you have even one ounce of sympathy for indiscriminate killing, here's what I think about you:
-you are not a personal enemy who hurt me with words or actions
-you are not a persecutor who mistreated me because of my Christianity
-you are not a political enemy or even merely an enemy of America
Should we pray for their conversion or at least for them to renounce terrorism?  Absolutely.  However, until that does happen, we have no choice other than to fight them.

In Western democracies, you will find near universal support for the following statements:
-Stoning of gays and adulterers to death is barbaric
-Imposing the death penalty for apostasy is barbaric
-Cutting off a child's hand for petty theft is barbaric
While the teaching of Jesus is to go and sin no more, you will find broad support for such savage punishments in the Muslim world and they are often sanctioned by the government as part of Sharia law.  A recent poll showed that roughly half of American Muslims support being given the choice to be governed by Sharia law and may not call these acts "barbaric" when challenged.  I also believe that while radical Islamists certainly do not like America's foreign policy or support for Israel, at the end of the day, their beef with us is because we are infidels.

Life in the Muslim world under Sharia law the way I see it:
-no women's rights
-no freedom of speech to criticize the government
-no tolerance for different lifestyles
-no freedom of religion or freedom from religion
-extremely regressive social policy
In other words, it is everything that the American left detests yet polls show that liberals are much more likely than conservatives to have a favorable view of Islam.  If you are a liberal and are reading this, explain your justification.  I'd sincerely like to know.

My theory is that supporting Islam is merely part of the promotion of multiculturalism. Liberals are willing to align themselves with any ideology that will diminish the influence of the so-called "Christian Right."  Some are merely naive about the threat of terrorism and are ignorant about the extent of the regressive ideology.  Some of those types might change their mind if they saw some of the polls that I have while others will refuse to believe it or dismiss the threat because of the small numbers.

I expect that I will see lots of views and comments about this post but please remember again that I have NO problem with any race or ethnicity.  My beef is only with an ideology.    

Monday, December 7, 2015

Training 12/7-12/13

12/7- The herbal supplements for mal-absorption appear to be non-factors as I predicted.  That's further evidence that I do not have a mal-absorption issue after all.  I'll probably finish the bottles and be done with it.  I cut the Glutamine down to 150 and seemed to benefit from doing so.  I have ordered Glutamate as well just to see if it's more effective.  Either way, it should be only temporary.  So far, so good on the Phospho-Serine.  The ATP came today so I gave it a shot in a Gold's workout.

1 Mile in 6:57 without the ATP.  Felt a slight improvement but not a miracle cure from the ATP.  Tacked on 4 more miles in 27:58 (6:59 pace) for an overall time of 34:55 for 5 miles.  This doesn't count as a sub-35 because of the stop but I most definitely would have been sub-36.  Effort was tempo level with a hard push at the end to secure the sub-7 pace.
I have yet to try the TNF or molybdenum.

12/8- Unplanned rest day due to another collapse.  The culprit is clearly glutamine.  Not a big surprise given that I have a history of intolerance to that stuff.  It appears that it does indirectly increase the sulfur burden.  I can take only a very lose dose a maximum of 2 times a week. Will glutamate be any different?  Yasko recommended glutamine but it was glutamate that read low on the test.  I had to attend a meeting at work today and a coworker sitting next to me knew that I was hurting.  Here's a list of reactions to the latest round of experiments:
Herbs for malabsorption- Neutral
ATP- Positive
TNF- Positive
Glutamine- Negative
Phospho-Serine- Positive with reservations (previous trouble).  NOW NEGATIVE.
Molybdenum- NEGATIVE
By the end of the week, I may know quite a bit.

12/9- Expected to struggle after taking lots of glutamine last night and it has probably yet to clear.  Started off pretty well with a 3:41 first half mile then collapse and finished with a 4:14 for an overall time of 7:55 then quit.  Took glutamate after the workout and was MUCH WORSE.

12/10- Garbage run at Veteran's Park through the woods.  Glutamate has yet to clear.  I should be better tomorrow.  I will try molybdenum soon at a very low dose.

12/11-  All the questions have been answered now.  Run was at Vestavia on a warm evening.  Ran the first mile in a smooth 7:07 then popped a Phospho-Serine and COLLAPSED almost immediately.  Mile 2 was over 9:00.  Took low dose molybdenum when I got home and got WORSE.  ATP and TNF are good for me.  All the rest are BAD.

12/12- Phospho-Serine has yet to clear so I sucked as expected.  Garbage run at Veteran's Park but this time, I did the whole XC course.  No watch.  Estimated pace was around 9.  Should be better tomorrow.

PM- Wisteria 2 mile in 15:50 (7:55 pace).  Much better.  It's starting to clear out now.

12/13- 4 miles in 31:00 (7:45 pace) on the Trak Shak loop.  Looks okay on the surface but I collapsed and the culprit was the MTRR nucleotide so I dumped it.  Splits were 7:19-7:07-7:30-9:02.  Even in Mile 2, I knew the collapse was coming.  Good news is that I got a little better after taking just a trace of Lithium and B-12.  I've been on ATP for a week now so I may want to gradually re-introduce that stuff soon but for now, not every day.

PM- Tacked on a Mile on Wisteria to finish with a round number for the week.  Time was 7:33.

Distance on the week: 20 miles.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

More thoughts on Doctor Report

First, I'd like to re-visit the Mercury toxicity and the Cutler Counting Method as it relates to this lab, specifically the "zones" that I referred to last time.

White zone- VERY little deviation from the mean.  I don't know the exact percentiles but I'd guess that it's around the 40th-60th percentiles. 4 out of 5 samples are outside this range.

Green zone- 16th-40th percentile and 60th-84th percentile.  Slightly low or high but within 1 standard deviation of the mean and no cause for alarm. Nearly 1 in 3 are further out of balance.

Yellow zone-  2.5th-16th percentile and 84th-97.5th percentile.  Significantly out of balance but still within 2 standard deviations of the mean.  Lab values in this zone are clearly sub-optimal but would not be flagged in mainstream medicine.  Only 5 percent are more unbalanced than this.

Red zone- Bottom 2.5 percent and Top 2.5 percent.  Only 1 in 40 samples are on either side of this range.  This is a severe imbalance that almost certainly requires treatment.

This lab tests 22 minerals.  Cutler wants to see no more than 4 in the red zone.  I passed this test.  I only had 2 (Lithium and Cobalt).  However, Cutler's site specifically says that low Lithium is evidence of Mercury toxicity.

The 2nd test is how many are above or below the 50th percentile.  Cutler wants to see at least 5 out of the 22 above the mean but also at least 5 of the 22 below the mean.  I passed this test too.  I had 7 above and 15 below, which is cutting it a little close but I'm not worried.  First, I had at least 3 "lows" in the white zone.  Considering lab errors, they may have been on the plus side of 50 if tested again.  Second, 13 out of the 15 lows were either in the white or green zone.

The 3rd test is the green zone test.  Cutler wants to see at least 11 in the white or green zone.  I had 19 of 22.  In addition to Lithium and Cobalt, there was 1 obscure mineral called Zirconium that was in the yellow zone on the high side.  Passed this test with flying colors.

Despite the good report on this test, at the end of the day, I still have EXTREME high sulfates which cause the fight or flight adrenal symptoms.  NO AMOUNT OF MAG+THYM ADREN will be enough to balance it unless I can eliminate the sulfates.  Yet, I cannot tolerate any of the sulfate detox treatments.  Why?  I thought it was due to mal-absorption but now I'm beginning to think that the Sparga and FOS may have thrown something else out of balance.  My UAA test showed undetectable levels of Glutamate and Phospho-Serine.  Glutamate had actually been on the high side on my last test while PS was mildly low.  What caused those 2 to drop?  The only other thing that I did differently was probiotic use so it's certainly possible that Sparga was responsible for the drops.  If I can boost those 2, will I be able to tolerate the Sulfate detox again?

Yasko's plan and my ideas:
-I picked up a few herbs for malabsorption at the health foods store but I expect that they will be non-factors.  I also ordered a TNF nucleotide product that supposedly is good for sulfates and may not cause the other issues.
- I will also order low dose Molybdenum again.
-Yasko has recommended ATP caps for the low Lithium and Cobalt then GRADUALLY re-introduce them after a couple months.  I plan to be aggressive with this stuff.  If I can tolerate the B12 again, it will CERTAINLY help the sulfates.
-I did pick up some Phospho-Serine as well but I'll go slow on that.
-One of my probiotics contains 150 mg of glutamine.  Yasko wants me on this, NOT glutamate and supposedly, it will balance both.  Again, I'll go slow on this as well.

Today was Mile repeats at Vestavia with very generous rest periods.  It was a better with or without test (ugh).  I already know that taking FOS and/or Sparga would have been disastrous.
On Thym-Adren only- 6:58
After taking Phospho-Serine- 6:39 (MINUS 19)
After 300 mg Glutamine- 6:26 (MINUS 13)
Effort was comfortably hard each time with even splits.  I feel a lot more comfortable with the PS than the Glutamine.  I'll drop back to 150.  Adding the ATP and TNF could shake things up further.  I will wait another week before trying the Sparga OR FOS again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Preliminary Thoughts on Doctor Report

It's going very poorly as of late.  I have not been below the Mendoza line in 4 days.  Today was pitiful.  Plan was a 5 miler at Gold's but it ended up at 2 miles in 16:24 (8:12 pace) with splits of 7:41-8:33.  The culprit is clearly the FOS.  The first few weeks, I took a gummy with a few other ingredients that I bought in Auburn.  When I ran out, I started taking the pill form that I ordered online (I can't find it locally in a store).  Is it the pill form that I cannot tolerate or is it yet another treatment that worked for a while but later caused a collapse?  I'll find out this weekend after another trip to Auburn this Saturday.  The Sparga was so bad that I thought I had sustained an injury.  If the gummy form fails, I'll be right back to no more options to treat the sulfates and I don't believe that Mag +Thym Adren will be enough to slow down my runaway adrenal function.

Test Results:
 5 tests were ordered:
-Hair mineral test
-Urine mineral test
-Urine test to determine need for supplements:
-Urine Amino Acid Test (re-test)
-Stool analysis (disgusting)

Let's start from the top.
Hair mineral test:
This one looked surprisingly GOOD.  Because the sample was washed, I really cannot rely on it to determine adrenal function but it did show that the 4 macro minerals (Ca.Mg,Na.K) were in relative balance. Potassium was slightly low (still within range) but that may have been due to use of B12.  I suspect that an unwashed sample would have shown a VERY high Na/K ratio.  Use Analytical Research Labs or Accutrace to assess mineral ratios.

I was primarily interested in this test to confirm or rule out mercury toxicity using Cutler's counting method.  Lots of high and low values suggest impaired mineral transport and is thus strong evidence of mercury toxicity.  If mercury reads low in the hair, you may still be toxic because it can hide in organs and is difficult to eliminate.  In my case, all but 2 minerals were in the green zone (16th-84th percentile) and most were well within the range.  Odds are, mercury toxicity is not the problem and I will NOT go through with amalgam removal.  Personal note to Carrie:  Thanks anyway for caring enough to make the suggestion and I still value your advice.

The 2 minerals that were outside the range were not a surprise; Lithium and cobalt were too low and in the red zone (critically low).  Cobalt is the B12 mineral and Lithium is involved in B12 transport yet I cannot tolerate either in any form.  Why?  That will be explained in the Urine mineral test.  The big surprise was Sulfur.  I expected it to be sky high but it was actually slightly BELOW average.  I am baffled by this and cannot understand why my sulfates are off the scale.

Urine mineral test:
Again, there were only 2 abnormalities and Sulfur was in the low-average range (around 30th percentile).  This test showed the opposite problem.  Lithium was WAY TOO HIGH wwhile Cobalt was low.  I am wasting the Lithium and B12 away in the urine.  That is, it's not being properly absorbed into the cells.  What to do about it?  I'm not entirely clear but it may have something to do with my ATP status.  If I can fix that, will my sulfates go down and thus normalize my adrenal function?  I can dream.

Urine Amino Acid Test:
This was a re-test that showed many alarming things the first time around.  This time, the news is MUCH better.  Yes, many amino acids are still on the low side but not critically so.  I list the big changes one at a time:

-Ammonia had been borderline high (yellow zone) but has dropped significantly and is now well within the green zone and just a hair above the 50th percentile.
-Taurine, which had been in the red zone at 1290 has been cut nearly in half to 660 and is also in the green zone.  In both cases, simply stopping the supplementation for several months was enough.
-Beta alanine, which had been sky high at 51 has plummeted all the way down to 6.  Doc simply wants it under 20 and I don't think there is any downside to it being too low.  I've read that high beta alanine is a sign of gut dysbiosis so I credit probiotic use in this case.
-The SHOCKER was Methionine, which I believed to be responsible for the extreme sensitivity to Cal/Mag and Zn/Cu.  It rose from 2 all the way up to 13, which is well within the green zone.  I really don't know what I did that caused such a drastic improvement and will have to ask about it.
-The only downer was that glutamate crashed and once again, I don't know why.  It had been 34, which was a little high but was actually undetectable this time.  Could it be a lab test error?  Again, I will dig deeper.

 The remaining 2 tests showed no critical problems, only a mild need for a couple vitamins.  I expected that the stool test would show terrible mal-absorption but that was not so.  Doc did suggest 2 nucleotide products called KLX and TNF.

This is good news overall and definitely a boost in confidence in light of my recent struggles.
-I have ruled out mercury toxicity
-Nice improvements in ammonia and taurine
-HUGE improvements in beta alanine and methionine
-The Lithium and Cobalt problems were fully expected but should be treatable.
I am still VERY concerned about the urine sulfates and don't know what to do about it.  This will be the first thing that must be addressed in my follow up questions.  Can it be corrected with proper absorption of Lithium and B-12?
What about the glutamate?  What caused it to drop? Do I need to supplement with it?  What problems are caused by low glutamate?
-Phospho-Serine was also low.  I might be willing to try that stuff again but am a little gun shy because it did not work in the past.

A follow up will be posted in a few days.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Training 11/23-11/29

11/23- Gold's 3 in 23:54 (7:58 pace).  Just barely finished below the Mendoza line and had to rally in the last 3 laps to do it.  I won't call this a collapse but I really feel like I've slipped in the last 5 days.  Fortunately, there is an explanation.  I tried Lithium and B12 again yesterday evening.  I thought maybe it was the orotate form of Lithium that I could not tolerate.  It turns out that any form is bad.  B12 still won't work either.  It simply hadn't cleared yet so no big deal.  I should be better tomorrow.

11/24- Repeat of yesterday and my time was down to 23:08 (7:43 pace).  Splits were more even and this was significantly better than the previous day but not even close to the "new normal."  I did take ill-advised zinc and methionine last night.  It appears that the MTRR nucleotide product is a non-factor at best so I will likely have to be content with gradual improvement with Sparga.  Concern, panic or doom?  I'm at concern now.  If I'm still struggling around Christmas, it upgrades to panic.

11/25- It may be time to panic now.  Collapsed after just 1 mile on Lakeshore and turned around.  My heart wasn't into it because I was about to leave to visit my parents and too much FOS and caffeine are hurting me.  Hopefully, I can take a mulligan on this one.

11/26- Surprisingly good Thanksgiving Run on Peter's Trail.  Finished a 5 mile out and back route in a time of 36:30 (7:18 pace).  Loose and overstimulated.  Did not want to slow down.  Too much FOS was the culprit yesterday.  Back to concern now.  No longer in panic.  Splits were 17:58-18:32 and I was working pretty hard to hold the pace at the end but the route was slightly sloped with a lot more incline on the back half.  Pace was more even than the splits suggest.

11/27- 4 mile out and back route on the same trail and it was a struggle today.  Finished in 30:42 (7:40 pace), which is still respectable but I really did not feel well.  Splits were 14:58-15:44 and I had to work hard to keep the pace under 8.  Worse yet, my foot ankle area is killing me and I'm actually walking with a limp.  Possible injury but the rest of me is also very stiff and sore.

11/28- Planned rest day and I was in no condition to run.  Trip back went without a hitch.  I'll know tomorrow whether or not this is an injury or simply more abnormal soreness due to chemical issues.  I suspect Sparga to be the culprit.

11/29- NOT injured.  I've dodged a bullet.  I was actually walking with a limp yesterday and could not run a step.  Similar things have happened before.  This once again underscores just how much difference it makes to have the pills in line but what worked as recently as 3 days ago does not work today.  The workout was awful.  2 miles at Vestavia in 17:51 (8:55 pace) but more importantly, there was ZERO pain in the foot.

Weekly summary:
I am still cautiously optimistic but changes definitely need to be made going forward.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Turkey Burner 5K RR

I am in the midst of my 4th week without a major collapse, which is a very good sign.  Still, I was a little sluggish at times during this week.  I thought the culprit was Histidine but it turns out that it's Yucca (for ammonia detox).  I can tolerate a small amount (half a pill) but if I take a whole pill every day, I will be a little stiff and sore but able to handle a standard issue run (5@ sub-8 pace).  That's still a huge improvement over where I was before starting the FOS.  Back then, just a trace of that stuff caused me to tighten up something awful and could not break 9:00 for just 1 Mile.  Could I clear my system after just 1 day off it?  I woke up on race day feeling less sluggish and more overstimulated, which was a good sign.

Race morning:
I've stayed in a hotel for a goal half mary in Monty but for just a local 5K, I'm driving in the morning.  Yes, it was early but no different from my long group runs.  I was up at 5:00 and on the road just after 5:30.  With a stop in Prattville for gas, I got the the race site around 7:00.  This race was located about 10 miles east of downtown and the site of the race made it special.  I had been there 4 weeks earlier on what was supposed to be a farewell tour of my old running routes but I've shown enough improvement to keep going.  We had near perfect weather conditions with sunny skies and temps in the low 50s.  The only gripe was a moderate headwind at times.

The race was held just outside Metro Fitness gym.  I was a member there when I lived in the area from 2006-2009 and the race course would cover part of a group run that I did in November 2006.  It was then that I realized that I just might be able to come back from Stage 3 adrenal fatigue.  Could this be the start of a 2nd "impossible comeback"?  I had wanted to do this race several times in the past but it never fit my schedule.  I could not think of a better time than now to do it.  I was hoping to see my old friend Susi but unfortunately, she could not make it.  I was a little sluggish warming up but did not feel any pressure to deliver a good time.  A post-35 PR was all but guaranteed.

  I was really planning to go out slower and try for a negative split but it didn't happen and this wasn't the course to do it.  My GPS signal was a little funky early but I hit the quarter mile at 1:36 (20:00 pace).  Too fast but it was slightly downhill.  The course was a bit more difficult than expect but was quite scenic.  It covered upscale residential areas and a few views of a small lake.  The course did not lend itself to negative splits.  I could be wrong but it seemed like the first half was about 75% downhill but that would make for a tough finish.  I'd describe the course as gently rolling.  Nothing was severe or even moderate but a small climb with a half-quarter mile to go would be rough.  I hit the Mile marker in 6:43 but the instant pace had already slipped to the 7:00 range.  I was clearly licked shortly after the Mile marker but my pride and strength held and there would be no collapse.  I believe that I was passed by only 3 runners in the back half.  I got to Mile 2 in a solid 13:47 so even with a slight elevation gain, I should be pretty safe for a sub-22 and with a decent chance to finish under 7:00 pace.  Unfortunately, I lost it on the last climb.  My breathing was loud from early Mile 2 on and my legs didn't have much power.  I was happy to get across the line.  Sub-22 was pretty safe all the way so my kick was rather weak.  My finish time was 21:54 officially.  It was good enough for 18th overall and 3rd in my age group and I got a nice medal out of it.
7:04 (13:47)
7:15  (21:02)
 :52- last .13 (6:40 pace)
21:54 (7:03 pace)

Final thought:
Not bad.  Probably a fair assessment of my fitness.  I am capable of a 21:30ish with better pacing and a pancake flat route.   To put this in perspective, I have done 3 half marathons with an average pace below 7:00 plus 2 more in the 7:05 range.  Still, back in 2007, I raced a Retro Run in 22:17 and by the next summer, I had edged under 20.  I will not be racing again until Mercedes and I am unsure if I will do the 5K or half mary.  I do hope to be in sub-21 or sub-1:40 shape by then.
I was allowed to run a few laps inside Metro Fitness as a cool down for old times sake.  Pretty cool.

Road trip:
I left the race just after 9:00 for a trip to Meridian, Miss' Sippy to visit Trent, my old Bible study leader.  He lives on the north side of Jackson now so this was a good halfway point.  It was important for me to see him because when he moved, I was at or near my lowest point.  He had prayed for me countless times and I really wanted him to see me feeling better.  The route from Monty was US-80 almost all the way.  It was nice countryside most of the way but the area is among the most economically depressed in the county.  I did stop in Selma, which does have a pretty nice downtown and crossed the historic Edmund Pettus bridge. It was a very enjoyable lunch at Western Sizzlin' and he prayed for me aloud for several minutes after we finished.  Man, I wish I had recorded it.  This was my favorite part of the trip.  I took I-20/59 back to the Ham and it went without a hitch.  My only stop was in Cuba, where I was glad to see lots of American flags.  This was Cuba, Alabama.

Next up:
For the billionth time, I'm fine with gradual improvement and some days may be slightly worse than the previous one but I do expect to be sub-21 within a couple of months.  I did a 19:09 time trial just before turning 34.  No reason why I cannot come close to that at 35.  I have lost a step in terms of fitness but I believe I am being hurt more by unbalanced chemistry.  The Sparga works as does SMALL amounts of Yucca.  I want to give B12+Lithium another try as well as low dose molybdenum.  I'm not ready for methyl donors yet but I may benefit from the MTRR nucleotide.  No pressure to perform next week with the travel involved.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Remaining States Part 2

I was thinking last week about each state that I have yet to do and researched potential targets.  Here it is.  Enjoy.

Alaska- Anchorage for sure.  There's a race in June and another in August.  Neither is a PR course.  I think I'd prefer June because it would be cool to experience 20+ hours of daylight.

Hawaii- Really can't go wrong here.  It will be beautiful no matter where I go but also warm and humid regardless of the time of year.  This could also be a stopping point to break up a trip to Australia.  Something in Honolulu would probably be the easiest logistically.

Washington- RnR Seattle in June.  Cool summer getaway and I could see a Mariners game.

Montana and Wyoming- There are 2 races a week apart in Yellowstone National Park in June. The Yellowstone half is in Montana and the Grand Teton is just a few miles south but it's in Wyoming. Both are trail races at 6,500 feet elevation.  Time means nothing on a course like that.  I'd have to spend a week in Yellowstone but I'm sure I can find stuff to do nearby such as Glacier National Park.

Nevada- RnR Las Vegas.  This is an evening race in November and would be interesting.  I don't gamble but I'm sure there are some shows worth seeing.  The race itself starts and finishes in the Strip but is largely residential.  Edit:  I'm beginning to think a Lake Tahoe race would be more fun.  The scenery is awesome and Reno is also close.

Utah- Cottonwood.  There are 2 races that are basically the same course in the Spring and early Fall.  The course drops nearly 2,500 feet in elevation (nearly a 5% average grade).  Even at high altitude, that's not PR-legal but it could be tons of fun.  It is located just outside Salt Lake City.

New Mexico- Santa Fe.  There's another high altitude downhill race here but it's only about 1,000 feet net drop and might be PR-legal.  I'd road trip into Amarillo or Lubbock, Texas.  I've never been to West Texas but I hear it is very different from East Texas.

South Dakota- Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills near Rapid City in July.  Rural and off the beaten path but I'm sure the scenery will be awesome.  I will also re-visit Mount Rushmore.

Nebraska and Iowa- I'd like to double up here with just one trip. I've done some research and found one in Des Moines on a Saturday in late April/early May and one on a Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska which is only a little over 3 hours away.  I won't race either but if I'm in decent shape, I should come away with a pair of sub-1:45s.

Kansas- This is the only remaining state that could possibly be a drive.  I would likely opt for one on the Kansas side of the KC metro area.  I do have a childhood friend in the area and would like to see a Royals game and the Truman library.

Minnesota and Wisconsin- Definitely a chance to double here, possibly this year.  There are several races in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that would be nice in late Spring/early summer.  That's just across the border from Wisconsin, which has lots of races.  Ideally, I'd go with Minneapolis and Eau Claire but Madison and even Milwaukee could be do-able.  I could see a Twins or Brewers game.

Michigan- Detroit Free Press in October for sure.  This one has been on my radar for several years but it never fit my schedule.  You cross the Ambassador bridge for a few miles in Windsor, Ontario, Canada before a mile long tunnel back to the USA for a finish in downtown Detroit.  Tourist options include the MoTown and Henry Ford museums.

Maine/New Hampshire- Should be able to double here if I can find a Saturday/Sunday combo.  As of now, there are a pair that I could do in Concord and Portland, which are less than 3 hours apart.  Both races are in the first week of October.

Vermont- Race options are fairly limited here and I'd turn it into a trip to Montreal and possibly Ottawa.  As of now, no such Saturday/Sunday combo is scheduled but that could change down the road.  Montreal is less than 2 hours from Burlington, VT.  It would have to be late Spring or early Fall for the temps to be comfortable.

Connecticut/Rhode Island- Lots of runners double here.  The 2 races are ING Hartford and Newport, RI.  It's a Saturday/Sunday combo in the 2nd week of October.  Leaves will be changing this time of year.

Maryland- Island 2 Island in Ocean City in late April.  I spent a summer in this area back in 2000 and have not been back since '02.  I'd probably fly into Philly and would like to drive the DelMarVa peninsula.

New York- There's the Manhattan half in January and the NYC half in March.  Both courses go through Central Park.  Obviously, I'd prefer March because the weather will likely be better but it's a lottery and could be tough to get in.  There is the option to wing it and make a last minute trip in January based on the forecast a few days out.  The weather up there is unpredictable.  It could be snowing or bitter cold but there are a lot of fairly mild days in the 40s-50s.  Times Square and the Empire State building are within walking distance of the start/finish.  Both should be on any American's bucket list.  It will be an expensive weekend trip but so what?

New Jersey/Delaware- I found a Saturday/Sunday combo in Dover and Atlantic City.  They are only a little more than 2 hours apart and I can use Philly as my hub and do some touring there.

Massachusetts- Boston.  If I never qualify for the marathon that everyone wants to do, my choice would be the Boston Memorial half in late May.  Unfortunately, Red Sox tickets are almost impossible to get.

I think that covers them all.  It could take me a decade to do all this but I'm beginning to think it may be worth it.

Training 11/16-11/22 (race week)

The plan this week is to drop the mileage back down to the 30-35 range with a mini-taper.  The planned race is the Turkey Burner and I am doing it more to see an old friend from Monty than to race for a fast time.  I predict a time in the high 21s with a goal of a sub-7 pace (21:45).

11/16- 6 miles on Lakeshore in 45:44 (7:37 pace).  I have felt about the same for the past few days.  My legs were fine.  Relatively loose and limber with decent power but still significantly over-stimulated and easily winded.  I'll take it but changes need to be made going forward.  The Sparga will be upped and so will the Thym-Adren.  As for the TMG (methyl), I had a slight negative reaction and became a bit more over-stimulated.  Not quite ready for it yet.  Tempo tomorrow in lieu of Johnny's workout.

11/17-  3 mile time trial at Gold's nearly all out.  Finished in 20:42 (6:54 pace).  Upped the Sparga and Thym-Adren and was somewhat less over-stimulated today but it was not a significant difference.  This equates to roughly a 21:30 for a full 5K.  Can I beat it on race day?  It will probably depend on my pacing.  Splits today were 6:44-7:00-6:58.  If I had gone out slower, say 6:52, I could have repeated the 6:52 then maybe come home in 6:46.  That would add up to a 20:30.  Restraining myself on race day may be difficult.  Added a half mile cool.

11/18- Gold's 5 in 39:17 (7:51 pace).  A little sluggish today but most likely no cause for alarm.  Never really pushed the pace and allowed a mild fade (19:25-19:52) so I did manage a sub-8 on the back half.  No collapse.  Added a cool.

11/19-  In taper mode now.  2 miles naked on Wisteria just before sunset.  Felt about the same as yesterday which was a little sluggish but not horrible.  Even with a rest tomorrow, I'll hit 30 if the weekend goes according to plan.
I had been taking Histidine sporadically for a few weeks because it was low on my UAA test and it is intended to "improve sulfur metabolism."  It's a non-factor at 1 pill/day but if I increase it to 2-3 as directed, I will feel a bit heavy and sluggish.  It feels like it increases the sulfur burden.  I pitched the bottle and should be better by tomorrow.  I do NOT count this as a collapse.

11/20- 1 mile comfortably hard at Gold's.  I was looking at about 7:04 before sprinting the last lap to finish in 6:56.  I felt that I could have kept the 7:04 pace another 2 miles, which would bring me home just under 22.  I'd be a little disappointed in that but I've got another day to clear the Histidine.
I will also explore other options.  Added a mile cool.

11/21- Turkey Burner 5K in 21:54 (7:03 pace) plus a warm and cool.

11/22- Easy 7 from the Trak Shak.  Ran it naked and did not care about the pace.  I'm sure it was well over 8 on a hilly route.  It's been confirmed that the cause of the mild sluggish feeling is indeed Yucca and it has yet to fully clear.  Still, as recently as 4 weeks ago, I never could have finished a 7 miler if the pills were out of whack.  I hit the quota for the week.

Weekly summary:
Did pretty much what I planned this week.  No real complaints.  3rd straight week with 30+ miles.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Remaining states

MOST definitely:

Alaska and Hawaii-
.  These are the only 2 U.S states that I have yet to visit and I will surely go regardless of my running status.  If I can’t run a half, I bet I can find a companion race at a shorter distance.

I spent a summer in Salisbury (near Ocean City) and would very much like to return to the area for a race as well as to drive the full Delmarva Peninsula.

The Detroit Free Press race course actually goes into Windsor, Ontario, Canada for a few miles.  I think that’s really cool.  I also have a couple of buddies that live in the area.

Connecticut and Rhode Island-
I rode through here when I was maybe 4 years old and part of me does not feel right about counting these 2 among the states that I have visited.  The best/worst part of it is that the races are on the same weekend so I’d have to be in very good shape to manage that.  Of course, I won’t “race” either of them but would have to at least finish respectably to enjoy it.

South Dakota-
I visited here when I was 7 years old and yes, I do vaguely remember it.  There is a downhill race at altitude in the Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore.  I’d have to go a bit off the beaten path but I’m sure that the scenery would be amazing.

The one to do here is RnR Seattle, which could be a nice getaway in early June.  I’ll leave 90 degree weather for temps in the 70s and yes, this is the dry season there.

There are several high altitude but almost all downhill races here.  It would be difficult to assess the exact value of my time but that becomes less important as I get older.  The scenery would be awesome.

New York:
It would have to be in Manhattan, nowhere else and yes, there are a couple half marathons there.  It would be really cool to race through Central Park and Times Square but I dare not drive and a hotel within a few blocks of the starting line would awfully pricey. 

Boston is the only one to do here.  It would take a miracle for me to qualify and I do not have any interest in running for charity.

If I am to do all of these, it would take me to up to 36 states.  Maybe I could be talked into a couple others.  I suppose that if I get up to 40 states, I’ve got to go all the way. There may be other opportunities to do 2 races in the same weekend in nearby states.  NJ&DE, VT&NH, MN&WI.  Yes, there is a chance that I will end up doing all 50.

Training 11/9-11/15

11/9- Gold's 5 in 38:20 (7:40 pace).  Even pace and felt good most of the way.  Had a lot left at the end too.  It feels so good to have a stable dosage and not have to do all those better with or without tests.  I've said it a billion times but I'd rather be a little slow but stable than fast and unstable.  Now that it's a reality, I feel even more strongly about it.  Most of my workouts this year have been little more than a chore but I actually enjoyed this one.  Another change in my health is that I am sweating a lot more.  That's also characteristic of excess adrenal activity.

11/10- Johnny's workout.  8x400 at Vestavia in sets of 4 with a 2 min R.  Finished with an average of :84 or roughly 5:38 pace.   (86-84-83-84) (85-84-85-80).  I believe that I can break 6:00 in a Mile time trial and Johnny agrees.  Solid workout.  Calves are very sore.  Not used to getting on my toes and sprinting.

11/11- Trak Shak 8 in the daylight on Veteran's Day.  Finished in 66-flat (8:15 pace).  I'm fine with this one.  Pace was slow but this was a hilly route done the day after a hard speed session.  I don't think I've done this route all year and I've forgotten how nice and scenic it is.  Cool down tribute to Ochocinco.

11/12- Saulter-Trak Shak 5 route in 37:58 (7:35 pace).  Felt good.  Strong even pace.  No complaints.  Beautiful day with temps in the upper 60s.  Added a mile cool.

11/13- Planned rest day.  Felt good most of the day but overstimulated in the evening.  Long cold run tomorrow.

11/14- 13 mile BTC group run.  GPS died in Mile 11 so I'm unsure of the exact distance but it was around 13.  Pace was sub-8 up until the "hill that sucks" so I estimate about 8:05 on a pretty hilly route.  Given a flat course and a race setting, I believe I could go sub-1:45 for a half now.  5 minutes away from "respectability."  At a low-8 pace, I found a group that matched my pace.  If you get into the 7:40 range, you're too fast for the BTC but not good enough to stick with the sub-3.  Need only 4 tomorrow to hit 40 for the first time since January.

11/5- BTC recovery run.  5 miles from Highland Park to downtown and back.  I chose to run it naked (no watch).  Pace was probably similar to yesterday.  Legs were fine but felt quite a bit over-stimulated.  I may need to up the Thym-Adren and/or Sparga.  I did try TMG (methyl) yesterday and did tolerate it okay but am not sure if I can run on it.

Weekly summary:
If I kept track of grades and won/loss record, this would have been a winner.  21 days since my last collapse.  That's a very good sign.  It's too late to salvage 2015 but I am going to surprise a lot of people next year.  41 miles on the week is my highest total since January.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

NOT Retiring

Still no results from Yasko but I expect to get word any day now.  No panic no matter how bad the results.  I am primarily hoping to rule out Mercury toxicity and amalgam removal.  If the results show probable mercury issues, I will do a re-test to confirm before I pull the trigger.  I am about 90 percent sure that I know what it's going to say.  Here it is:

My number 1 problem is sulfur toxicity, which is likely the source of the runaway adrenal function.  Mineral support (Cal/Mag) plus Thym-Adren (adrenal suppressant) will help but it's not nearly enough.  Think about a runaway truck going down a steep mountain.  Simply tapping the brakes every few seconds is not going to be enough.

I need to do something to reduce the sulfates and the Sparga is likely the best choice.  B-12 and Lithium still cannot be tolerated.  Low dose molybdenum might be worth another try down the road.  Yucca can be tolerated at low doses. In the past, just a few drops of Sparga caused overwhelming fatigue and depression.  Sparga could not be tolerated probably because of mal-absorption issues but since I have been taking the FOS supplement, I have had no such reaction in the last 2 weeks.  Yes, that's right.  I have NOT had a collapse in 2 weeks.  Though I am far from being in the clear, I have seen enough improvement to keep going at least until the end of the year.

Changes in health:
As I said in my last post, the biggest change is that the flu-like malaise has been replaced by over-stimulation and mild anxiety.  That's how I should feel as a fast oxidizer.  My resting pulse rate is way too high (close to 90 BPM).  The average person's is 72 and for an athlete, it should be more like 60 or lower.  No reason to panic about this.  I have been told and have personal experience that suggest that my adrenals have sped up in response to solving a major problem (sulfur toxicity and malabsorption) and it is only a temporary reaction.

30 miles on the week, all at sub-8:00 pace with the exception of the recovery jog intervals.  My longest run was an 8 miler in 63:21 (7:55 pace).  Even if I slipped to the 9:00 range over the next 5.1, I still would have come in around 1:49:30 for a half mary.  I've found that I can hold a pace around 7:50-8:00 in relative comfort on a standard issue 5 miler but if I speed up to the 7:30s, it's as if there's a noose around my legs that really begins to tighten.  If I am to bump it back up to the 40 MPW range, I am going to have to be okay with paces in the 8:00-8:15 range for the time being.  For the millionth time, I want to see a GRADUAL climb out of this hole.  I may not feel any different from one day to the next but progress should be evident over the course of several weeks.  If I can avoid collapses, I may be in half decent racing shape by Mercedes.

I am listed as probable for the Turkey Burner 5K in Monty 2 weeks from now and it will likely be my last race of the year.  Realistically, I have probably set my last PR which means that I was 3 for 6 in my lifetime goals.  I can live with that.  In order to enjoy these races, I've got to get back under 21/45/1:40 in the big 3 distances.  If relatively healthy, there is no reason why I cannot do that in my mid-late 30s.  A 1:45 half will become acceptable sometime in my 40s but not now.  The 2016 race schedule remains a big question mark.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Early response to Sulfur Detox Products

In the days since completing the Half 2 Run Challenge, the sadness has diminished and I am feeling more proud of my accomplishment.  However, I credit my improved mood to a shift in chemistry rather than what happened in my external environment.  Since I got back last Saturday night, I have tried 4 treatments that failed in the past.  My hope was that the failure was due to the mal-absorption issue and now that I am taking the FOS and probiotics, my tolerance should improve.

The verdict:
B-12 and Lithium are just as bad as they ever were.  No big surprise given the blood test results.  I must confess that I did binge on caffeine after the race and that may have hurt me.  I'll try again this weekend.

Sparga and Yucca-Both of these cause an immediate negative reaction to just a trace every time prior to taking the FOS.  Now, it appears that I can tolerate BOTH provided that the dose is relatively low.  The plan calls for 10 drops twice a day.  I'm doing 5 drops once a day.  This stuff is supposed to slow down the adrenals indirectly by reducing the sulfate.  Strangely, I have felt over-stimulated with a bit of unexplained anxiety.  I had a case of the shakes today at work.  I expect that I will calm down eventually.  Still, feeling "wired" is HIGHLY preferable to the flu-like malaise that I've had most of the year.

The last 2 days have been slightly better but not so much that it's considered significant.
Tu- Johnny's workout.  2x800 in 3:05, 4x400 in 84.  5:52 overall pace with generous rest.
W- Lakeshore 5 in 38:54 (7:47 pace) with moderate effort.
That's okay.  As I've said many times, I want to see a gradual climb out of this hole.  Getting it all back only to lose it a few days later is psychological torture.  Even if my half marathon pace improves by just 3 seconds per week, that's a 6 minute improvement in just 10 weeks.

I was toying with the idea of running Vulcan this weekend.  I figure I'm good for a time around 50 minutes, which would be a post-35 PR but I've decided against it.  I still don't want to answer all the "what's wrong?" questions from the locals.  I may run the Turkey Burner 5K on 11/20 in Monty to see my friend Susi.  I would hope to see noticeable improvement by then.

A couple of people have told me to shoot for 50 half marathon states.  If by some miracle, I recover my health, there are at least 5-6 on my list that I would like to do and I could see myself hitting 35 before it's over.  I suppose that once I hit 40, I've got to go all the way.  It will be hard to justify a plane ticket to a rather remote area without tourist attractions nearby.   I would like to do more international events rather than 50 states.

Once again, this is NOT about running fast again.  It is about having a chance to enjoy life.
Still no word from Yasko but there will be no panic if it's bad (which it will be).  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Half 2 Run Challenge Complete

1. Seaside Half. Seaside Florida - 1:59:37 PR  3/07 (state #1)
I was expecting a nearly dead flat course along the coast.  Instead, it was an out and back route that veered slightly off the coast and contained a few rolling hills.  Though it had few views of the water, it was a decent choice for Florida and well-organized overall.  I went out around 1:50 pace, which proved to be too fast and I had to walk-jog the last 5K but rallied for a sub-2.
2.       St. Jude.  Memphis, Tennessee- 1:48:17 PR  12/07  (state #2)
Highly recommended event and probably the most fun I’ve had in a race.  Outstanding course that featured iconic city landmarks such as Beale Street and the Mississippi River plus Overton Park with a finish inside the minor league baseball stadium.  Mostly flat early with a few rollers toward the end with a downhill finish.  Here, I went out too slowly but finished with a strong negative split and a massive PR.  See Graceland, Sun Studios and the Rock and Soul Museum here.
3.       Eugene.  Eugene, Oregon- 3:56:03 PR  5/08 (state # 3)
First full marathon and could not think of a better place to do it.  Nice flat course mostly on paved trails on the Oregon campus and the Willamette River.  Ran a pretty smart race and though the last few miles were ugly, I never walked and got the sub-4 on my first try despite being a bit under-prepared.  Road trip included the beautiful Oregon coast, Mt. Hood and Prefontaine’s hometown of Coos Bay.
4.       Banco Popular. Chicago, Illinois- 1:42:50 PR  9/08  (state # 4)
Nice course through Univ. of Chicago and a long stretch along Lake Michigan with only a couple noticeable hills and the swag included perhaps the best medal I’ve received.  Good shuttle service and surprisingly affordable hotel.  I ran a good evenly paced race here on my birthday but this event will be most remembered for the driving rain throughout the entire race and being shivering cold afterwards waiting on the shuttle.
5.       Mercedes.  Birmingham, Alabama- 1:34:02 Half/3:21:56 Full PR   2/09  (state #5)
I may be biased because this is my home race but this is another 5 star event.  Organization is always flawless and the event has top notch swag including an iconic medal and great after party catered by Jim & Nick’s.  The course has some highlights but is not especially scenic and though it contains a few long inclines, it definitely could be a PR course.  I’ve done well in both the half and full marathon here but those hills pack a punch on the 2nd loop.  If you pace it well, you can really gun it those last 5 miles.  Best half time came in 2011.  Best full was 2012.
6.       Fargo.  Fargo, North Dakota- 3:43:22 PR  5/09  (state #6)
If you are looking to escape the heat for a late Spring marathon and are unconcerned about anything except your finish time, Fargo is a good choice.  The course has almost no hills and though not particularly scenic, fans are out in force shouting encouragement.  I chose this race to check off both North Dakota and Minnesota for my Visit 50 states project.  I flew into Minneapolis and saw the Mall of America, which included an indoor amusement park.  I was 13 minutes faster than the previous year and again ran a pretty smart race but was hampered by bronchitis during peak training.
7.       BR Beach.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana- 1:32:57 PR  12/09  (state #7)
Scenic course that included lakeside views, upscale neighborhoods and the LSU campus.  Fast course that included just a few small hills.  Organization was fine for the half but I’ve heard it can be lonely in the full.  Sunny but very cold conditions and I quickly got very chilled after finishing.  Ran a tremendous race that capped off an incredible 27 minute improvement in just 2.5 years.  Placed 3rd in my AG and the RD was nice enough to mail my plaque free of charge.  I knew that a sub-1:30 was within reach but challenges were ahead.
8.       ING GA.  Atlanta, Georgia- 1:38:18-  3/10  (state #8)
Scenic tour of Atlanta that was relentlessly rolling including both long inclines and steep rollers.  Tough stretch after Mile 10 and an uphill finish.  Expo was at the Georgia Dome and had everything that you could possibly want.  I was coming off an Achilles injury and ran a pretty good race on this course despite being a bit out of shape.  First big race with my buddy Nick and the stormy weather held off until after we got home.
9.       Country Music.  Nashville, Tennessee-1:42:27   4/10
This is one of the few races that I would not recommend.  Run Memphis if you need Tennessee.  Hotels and entry fee were very expensive but swag included a nice post-race concert and a cool looking medal.  Most of the hills were in the first 8 miles but they will wear you out.  I went for a fast time on a day that it wasn’t there and completely melted down in the last 5K and reacted badly to the Cytomax sports drink.  Got back to the hotel just before a big storm hit.
10.   Run For Life.  Madison, Mississippi- 1:34:47  10/10 (state #9)
Another race that I cannot recommend though I’ve heard it no longer exists.  Advertised as flat but it was actually a rolling course through the upscale suburbs of Jackson and contained a brutal hill in Mile 12 before a downhill finish.  I was on pace for a small PR but lost it on the hills at the end and hurt my knee in the process.  Placed in my AG but there were no awards.  Run Tupleo or MS Blues instead.
11.   Rocket City.  Huntsville, Alabama- 3:43:18  12/10
Very well organized event with the host hotel just outside the start/finish line.  Gently rolling throughout with only 1 memorable hill around Mile 22 and lots of turns.  It could be a PR course though it has since been changed.  Quality event all around and I ran a decent race despite being under-trained due to the recent knee injury.
12.   Scenic City.  Chattanooga, Tennessee- 1:32:49 PR  2/11
Broke the PR drought with a great performance on a tough course.  Roughly out and back route with 4 major hills but some flat sections, city views, bridge climbs and bike trails.  Just missed an AG award but still very pleased.  Well organized but small race with a minimal expo.  Lots to do in and around the city but Memphis is still a better race option for this state.
13.   CDA.  Coeur D’Alene, Idaho- 1:33:21  5/11  (state #10)
Another race chosen as part of the Visit 50 states project and welcome relief from the heat in late May.  Located at mild altitude on the panhandle near the Canadian border, it is a very beautiful area and scenic course as well but there was a major flaw in organization.  I thought I was on pace for a PR until the last mile was measured 2 tenths too long.  Either the course was long or the mile markers were off.  Still a good trip that included stops in Spokane, Washington and Missoula, Montana.  Recommended if your finish time is less important to you. 
14.   Monty.  Montgomery, Alabama- 1:31:31 PR 10/11
Used to live here and this course showcased the better areas of the city.  Rolling course with an uphill start and tough climb in Mile 11 but I PR’d it.  Finish in the minor league stadium and one of the best after parties of any race.  Placed 3rd in my AG and got a nice little plaque.  First time under 7:00 pace overall and edging closer to THE goal.
15.   Nationwide.  Columbus, Ohio- 1:31:02 PR- 10/11  (state #11)
My first serious attempt at a sub-1:30 and I was on pace through Mile 9 before faltering a bit in the last 5K.  Mostly flat course with just a couple mild inclines and a downhill finish.  Fairly non-descript in terms of scenery but did feature some downtown, residential and the Ohio State campus.  I was within 5 seconds per mile of THE goal now.
16.   White River.  Mountain Home, Arkansas- 1:33:34- 11/11 (state #12)
Downhill start for the first mile followed by an out and back route on a very gently rolling bike trail.  Good course for a sub-1:30 attempt but it wasn’t there on this day.  Small race with few perks in a rural area with little-nothing to do.  Run this one if you’re looking for a fast time.  Otherwise, opt for Little Rock if you need Arkansas.
17.   3M- Austin, Texas- 1:28:12 PR- 1/12  (state #13)
The race of my life when everything was going right in terms of health and training.  I consider this my crowning achievement as a runner.  Even greater than beating my HS XC PR later that year.  Very fast course with a net decline but some uphill stretches.  Time was legit because you only gain half as much on a down as you lose on an up.  Highly recommended race.  Road trip included lunch with a HS buddy, San Antonio and Bush-41s presidential library.
18.   RNR Denver.  Denver, Colorado- 1:39:13- 9/12  (state #14)
Mile high elevation cost me about 3.5 minutes here though the course was relatively flat.  Slightly out of shape due to a bout with plantar.  Tough stretch from Miles 10-12 but a downhill finish.  Good swag and an excellent destination race.  Saw Garden of the Gods and a Rockies game.  See Rocky Mtn. National Park if you have time.  Average race performance.
19.   Thunder Road- Charlotte, North Carolina- 1:34:57- 11/12  (state #15)
Started and finished in downtown Charlotte but this was a hilly trek through upscale tree-lined neighborhoods.  Downhills were long and gradual while climbs were shorter and steeper.  Last 5K was nearly all uphill and had to fight hard to hang on to the sub-1:35.  Decent performance in which I pushed for a time that was not there on this course.
20.   13.1 LA.  Los Angeles, California- 1:29:52- 1/13  (state #16)
Point to point course featuring the boardwalk, a bike trail in the sand next to the Pacific and a road in which you could view the ocean to the west and mountains to the east.  Outstanding scenery and I was in top form here as well.  Though a PR was out of reach, this would have been even faster if not for stomach cramps late.  Road trip included lunch with a childhood friend, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the Reagan library.
21.   GO!  St. Louis, Missouri- 1:42:13- 4/13  (state #17)
Health was beginning to decline here.  Faded early and it got worse with every mile.  Very hilly course though most of the climbs were in the first 8-9 miles.  Like Nashville, the early hills will beat you up and leave you with little left at the end.  Solid organization and good crowd support.  Toured the Budweiser plant and visited the Arch. 
22.   Marshall.  Huntington, West Virginia-1:35:50 11/13  (state #18)
In a state with almost no flat land, this course had only 2 short hills and is definitely a PR course.  Not a whole lot to do in the area but I was there to race.  Wide variety of scenery including city streets, riverside and parks.  I ran a solid even pace with only a mild fade the last 5K.  No frills expo but a well-organized event.  Lots of out of staters here and recommended if you need West Virginia.
23.   Blue Ridge.  Roanoke, Virginia- 1:49:26  4/14  (state #19)
On a course with 3,800 feet of elevation change, this was actually a pretty decent performance.  Time means little on a course like this.  You will conquer 2 major mountains with scenic views and run on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Saw Appomattox and Monticello.   If you are up for a challenge and don’t care about your time, run this one.  Otherwise, go with Richmond or VA Beach. 
24.   Blue Nose.  Halifax, Nova Scotia- 1:43:26  5/14
My first international race experience was not a pretty sight.  The race itself was very well organized that featured a very scenic course that was tough but fair.  Downhills were short and steep but climbs were more gradual and manageable.  Highlights included a downtown section, a harbor and a park overlooking the Atlantic with cheering fans.  I was hampered by a draining travel schedule featuring Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia plus worsening sensitivity to pills.
25.   Monumental.  Indianapolis, Indiana- 1:34:30  11/14  (state #20)
Flat course and a nice tour of the city through downtown and residential areas.  Only 2 noticeable inclines with a few long declines as well.  Lots of turns but definitely a PR course.  Conditions were very blustery all the way but the rain had moved off.  Ran a very even pace and was pleased with my race.  High quality event.
26.   Route 66.  Tulsa, Oklahoma- 1:37:42- 11/14  (state #21)
Featured mostly residential areas with a couple of parks and a riverside section.  Overall, a relatively non-descript event and a moderately difficult course.  Faded early but managed a bit of a resurgence at the halfway point and finished with a slight negative split.  Road trip included a stop in Little Rock for the Clinton presidential library.  It fit my schedule well as it was just before Thanksgiving and it’s not a bad choice for Oklahoma but OKC is likely the better option.  My last race as a serious runner.
27.   Phoenix.  Mesa, Arizona- 1:42:15- 2/15  (state #22)
By this point, I was just looking to get through it.  The highlight of the trip was not the race but rather a trip to the Grand Canyon and an overnight stop in beautiful Sedona.  The race itself was slightly net downhill but was mostly an imperceptible incline through mostly rural and residential areas with a finish in a shopping center rather than in Phoenix proper.  Performed as well as could be expected given rapidly declining health.
28.   Bluegrass.  Lexington, Kentucky-1:50:46-  3/15  (state #23)
Gave it all that I had here but there was nothing there.  All rural course through horse farms outside the Keeneland race course.  Tough course was rolling all the way with almost no flat spots.  No hill will kill you but cumulative effects will wear you down.  Nice after party and medal but weak shirt.  Recommend KY Derby in Louisville instead of this one.
29.   Montour Trail- Robinson TWP, Pennsylvania-2:06:38 PW- 9/15 (state #24)
Located just west of Pittsburgh mostly on a crushed limestone trail.  Flat and fast course but by this point, the crash was complete.   All I wanted to do was finish.  I expected it to suck and had gone numb to the pain.   Small event with few perks.  My only comment after finishing was “only 1 more to go.”  Saw a Pirate game at PNC Park.
30.   Spinx Runfest.  Greenville, South Carolina- 1:56:19- 10/15 (state #25)
A return to one of my old stomping grounds made the last one special.  Tough but fair course that included lots of long moderate hills especially on the back half but there were flats as well.  Scenic route that included city streets, trails and parks but the major flaw was a lack of Gatorade on the course.  Pleased with the improvement over last time and proud of my accomplishment but sad that it may be over.  Competing this far below my peak is too painful both physically and emotionally.  Road trip included stops in Atlanta and Clemson.