Monday, June 29, 2015

Training 6/29-7/5

6/29- Perhaps a faint glimmer of hope.  I am going to try again to cut out all methyl donors including All in One.  No Urinary Amino Acid test results yet but I expect to get them any day now.
AM- Pathetic 2 mile at Gold's in 16:31 (8:15 pace) then popped a 2nd All In One and felt much worse.

PM- On an impulse, I picked up some Alanine at GNC after work.  Began feeling a bit better immediately and improved to 14:59 (7:29 pace) with splits of 7:26-7:33.  Alanine is an amino acid intended to block taurine (sulfur) absorption.  I'll call up the new denty tomorrow and we'll discuss what to do about the tooth on the end that contains an amalgam.
- I have officially scratched for Peachtree.  I'll have to pay for next year but my spot will be guaranteed if I choose to race this event.

6/30- AM- Continued improvement.  2 miles in 14:12 (7:06 pace) with a slight negative split (7:08-7:04) but I was working towards the end.

PM- Didn't plan on running this evening but did not want to waste a rare good weather day (low 80s and overcast).  Did 3 miles on Lakeshore in a solid 21:54 (7:18 pace).  Opened with a 7:32 then finished with a pair of 7:11s.  Tomorrow is a bigger test.  It will be my 2nd full day off methyl and 3rd day on Alanine. I will plan on taking the morning off then going to the Shak in the evening.

7/1- You could say that I failed the test.  I knew before lunchtime that going without any methyl was not going to work.  How did I do so well for so long without any methyl support?  The good news is that I was better after popping an All In One pill.  I wanted to run at the Shak but the weather was threatening so it was the Gold's 5.  I don't know my exact time but it was around 36 flat (7:10-7:15 pace).  Solid performance but it's still the right call to skip Peachtree.

7/2- Planned rest day.  I'm going to Atlanta as planned over the weekend but to visit Nick, not to race.

7/3- RELAPSE!  Can't say I'm surprised.  1 Mile in 8:40.  Appears that ADHS is the culprit and I still can't take Thym-Adren.  Not good news.  Will try more methyl to see what happens.

PM- Took half a TMG pill, which has been poison in the past and improved to 6:55 on Wisteria.  Down side in 3:37 then surged to a 3:18 on the UP side.  That's it for today.  Heading to Atlanta in a few hours.

7/4- Good call on skipping Peachtree.  The race was run in the driving rain and both Nick and I would have sucked.  Waited until afternoon to run on the Comet in steamy 80 degree conditions.  Did 3 miles in 23:45 (7:55 pace) with a brutal fade (11:11/12:34).  I would have been over 50 on the Peachtree course.  I am becoming more and more intolerant to ADHS but it seems like I CAN tolerate the TMG only because the alanine is reducing my sulfur burden.

7/5- More better with or without testing.  3 laps at Gold's with no adrenal support in 2:33 (7:39 pace) then popped 3 Thym-Adren pills and did the next 6 in 5:20 (8:00 pace) so I was significantly worse but it was NOT an extreme reaction.  Popped another TMG and improved a bit.  Ran the next 2 miles non-stop in 15:14 (7:37 pace) with a slight negative split.  Finished with an overall time of 23:07 (7:42 pace), which is an improvement over yesterday.  I'm staying with ADHS but the TMG should allow me to tolerate it.

Weekly summary:
Lots of changes this week.  I'm not going to comment now because I'll know more after I get the Urine test back.  The doc did ask me if I was taking any taurine, which most likely confirms that it was HIGH.  I should get the results any day now.
Distance= 22.0

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dentist visit

Most people would be pleased to get the news that I did.  The examination proved conclusively that my root canal is NOT infected.  Part of me was actually hoping that it was and needed to be pulled.  I had an infected root canal removed in 2011 and got RED HOT later that year.  It crossed my mind that my current problems could be related to this tooth but that's not the case.  I've had some mild discomfort in that tooth that had intensified in recent days but the cause was determined to be a small gap that was causing food packing and if I floss regularly, it should go away.

 My last denty tried to push unnecessary fillings and another root canal.  I said NO and it proved to be a good call.  I thought I had 2 root canals in my mouth but it turns out that I only have 1 plus 1 other crown.  The original plan was to replace the crown that had been giving me trouble but I am going to scratch that.  The tooth next to the crown, which is on the end, needs a filling and is one of 3-4 teeth with amalgams.  I've decided to take care of that one first and since it is on the end and above a tooth that I've already had pulled, I don't think I'll miss it too much.  I'll have to talk to him again and we'll decide on what to do. If I improve after getting that tooth out or simply getting the amalgam out, I'll be more inclined to get the rest of my amalgams removed.

On the medical front, I have tried to run the last few days and every day has been flat out AWFUL!  Today was the worst.  I felt dazed all day and was not very productive at work.  I could barely break 10 minutes for a single mile.

VERDICT on a couple treatments:
Adenosyl B12- FAIL.  Just a minute dose triggered a negative reaction.

Sparga- Ineffective but not harmful.  My pace was almost exactly the same with it as without it.

CHANGE- I fully expect that my urinary amino acid test will reveal a severe sulfur burden.  I must increase the Calcium because it's the only thing that I can tolerate that is a sulfur antagonist.  The trick is to keep up the Magnesium as well because I know what happens what that ratio gets out of balance.  I figure a 3:2 ratio ought to work out okay.  I'll make it 900 Cal/600 Mag.  Also, the source of the Mag must change from Jigsaw to plain Malate.  Jigsaw contains methyl folate, which is good for the MTHFR gene mutation but increases the sulfur burden, which is most likely my TOP PRIORITY.  Hopefully, I can stay with the 1 All in One, which should give me just enough methyl to stave off the extreme mineral sensitivity.

I will report back when I get the Urinary Amino Acid test.  I am likely done with the Health Coach.  Their customer service SUCKS!  Still no video from the consult after more than a month.  That's inexcusable!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Louisiana and Texas road trip report

This trip was done just to clear my head.  I am nearly out of options and continue to get worse.  It was also a minor bucket list item.  I had been in the water on the Gulf coast in FL, AL and MS but not LA and TX.  I have now checked off every state on the Gulf coast.

Recent trial and error:
GABA/glutamate spray- FAIL.  Just 2 sprays triggered a negative reaction.  The recommended dose was 4-6 sprays.

Sparga- This is a sulfur detox supplement that supposedly does not affect ammonia.  So far so good.  No negative reaction but not a miracle cure either.

Adenosyl B-12- Too soon to tell yet.  One pill contains a mega dose and it failed but there is still a chance that a smaller dose will work.

I should get the results of my Urinary Amino Acid test by next week and that will give me some answers specifically about my sulfur status.  One other thing to try is moly + Liver.  I can't take either alone but there is a slim chance that they could work together.  In any event, I am going to pursue to holistic dentistry and mercury toxicity.

Friday-  Left in the evening after work and winged it.  I went as far as I could comfortably and made it down to Bogaloosa, Louisiana after a dinner stop in Meridian, MS. I walked to a local bar just outside my hotel and met a couple characters but nothing too memorable.   Bogaloosa is slightly off the beaten path and about 40 miles north of the New Orleans suburbs.  Mississippi is surprisingly hilly with the exception of the Delta and Gulf coast but Louisiana is nearly dead flat especially in the southern portion but the bayou scenery made it interesting.  If I ever get healthy, I may consider another trip to Baton Rouge.

I've always been fascinated by how the local culture can change quickly in less than an hour.  I felt right at home in Bogaloosa but about 40 miles further south?  Not so much. That's just one example.  Uniontown, PA and Morgantown, WV are only about 30 miles apart but you will find distinct differences in speech patterns among the locals when you cross into West Virginia from Pennsylvania.

Saturday- Took a US highway from Bogaloosa to the I-10 and made 2 quick stops in Lafayette and Lake Charles.  As expected, the predominant culture became more Southern and less Cajun as you travel further west on I-10.  Nearing the Texas line, I took a country road down to the coast.  I had read that the Louisiana beaches are forgettable and it was true.  I stopped at a place called Holly Beach, which had no hotels but you could park on the beach itself,  The sand was brown and a bit muddy while the water was brown with no waves.  I walked on the beach for a bit and just went little more than ankle deep in the water.  This really wasn't worth the stop but at least I can say that I've been on the Louisiana coast now.  Lake Charles is probably the best place to swim here.

From Holly Beach, it was a scenic ride along the coast and it quickly became apparent that the beaches across the Texas border would be no different than Holly Beach.  I would have to go to Galveston to catch any waves so that's where I would go.  I stopped at a nice independent restaurant in east Texas about an hour from Houston then hit the road to Galveston and arrived by mid-afternoon.  This time, I splurged a bit and stayed at a hotel on the beach so I could simply walk from my room to take a dip. The hotel staff was very nice.  When I go to the beach, I'm not there to sit under an umbrella and read or sip drinks.  I'm there for the action, which is boogie boarding and catching some big waves.

As expected, the Texas beaches are not as nice as Florida and Alabama but it was worth seeing.  The main attraction was a place called Stewart Beach.  The beach itself is rather small with a sea wall and the main road right next to it so the view was good.  The sand was brown and the water also had a bit of a brownish tint but was a bit clearer than Louisiana but more importantly, at least to me, the waves were pretty decent and I had fun that afternoon as well as the next morning.  Supposedly, South Padre Island(near Mexico)  is much nicer but it's way too far and too expensive.

Sunday- Left Galveston in early afternoon and took an alternate route back.  I stayed that night in Alexandria, near the geographic center of Louisiana.  As expected, I fit right in there.  It was a relatively smooth trip back to Birmingham,

Final thought:
I'm glad I took this trip and really needed to clear my head but in the future, I'm sticking to the Florida and Alabama Gulf beaches.  I may go to Savannah on the Atlantic coast if surf conditions are optimal (4-6 footers).  My trips will be impromptu based on weather and surf conditions.  Back to work tomorrow but I do have an afternoon appointment with the holistic dentist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Early thoughts on the time off

Today was my 3rd day off and I'm starting to miss it.  I still don't feel any better, maybe a little worse.  I've read that heavy exercise can contribute to ammonia toxicity but at least according to the blood, that's not a problem.  It seems like the culprit is All In One, which is very puzzling because it did SEEM like my tolerance to that stuff was improving up until Asheville.  I'm going off it for now but would not be the least bit surprised if I need it again very soon.  I know I need the methylation support but just can't tolerate it until the CBS mutation is resolved.

I have ordered the UAA (Urinary Amino Acid) test as well as the GABA/glutamate spray.  That's the first new treatment that I will try.  Next is the ACE nucleotide product.  The test kit should arrive by the end of the week and I hope to get it sent out on Friday but the results may have to wait 3 weeks.
I will definitely get some answers and I expect that it will explain some things.  If in the unlikely event the sulfur is NOT high, I am going to attack the mercury toxicity.

This weekend:
I'm spent most of my time alone hanging by the pool the last 2 weekends.  This time around, I think I will go road tripping off the beaten path.  I'd like to hit the coast but go somewhere a bit out of the way that's not crowded.  Maybe the pain of being alone won't be so bad that way.  So where to?  I'm thinking the Louisiana and Texas Gulf coast around Lake Charles/Galveston.

It's about a 9 hour drive but I can manage especially if I break it up.  Actually, the Texas coast is a small item on my bucket list.  I'm also curious about the culture of SW Louisiana.  Is it Cajun, Southern or a mix of the two?  The word on the street is that the beaches are not as nice as Florida and Alabama but I'm up for something different. Supposedly, the south Texas beaches (South Padre Island) are very nice but that's way too far and a last minute flight would be too expensive.   Yes, there is some minor tropical activity there now but it is forecasted to clear out by Thursday.  If the weather is still bad, it will be the Florida Atlantic.  Hopefully, the area between Jacksonville and Daytona will be quiet and peaceful.

When I get back on Monday or Tuesday, I will try to run again.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Taking a Break

Another horrible day today (1 Mile in 8:52) so that does it!  How long will I be out?  I'm really not sure.  It will all depend on how I feel and my mood.  It could be just a week-10 days or it could be 6 weeks.  In any event, I am still committed to those last 2 half marathons: Montour Trail in Pennsylvania (9/12) and Spinx Greenville, South Carolina (10/31).  At this point, I don't care how I do.  Hell, if it takes me 3 hours, so what?  I will not be denied just 2 states shy of the Half2Run challenge.  If I am injured or sick,  I have a backup plan.  After that point, I will never race again unless I can at least bear some resemblance to the Crazy J of old.  My minimum standards are (21:00/45:00/1:40) or at least in that neighborhood

I've looked over some of my old posts from 2009-2010 and yes, there were some rough stretches in there and I did have some ridiculous sensitivities to taurine and chromium but for the most part, I was able to overcome it.  I won more than I lost in my training and usually delivered a good performance on race day. The days that I could not run at all or blew up before Mile 3 were very few and far between.  Nowadays, it seems like it's happening more often than not and at the end of the day, I just don't enjoy this anymore.  

As far as the Health Coach, I have mixed feelings.  I personally like the guy and he seems to be genuinely caring but I question his knowledge and expertise.  Several of the products recommended will certainly cause a negative reaction and he should have known it too.  Moreover, the customer service is lacking and the staff appears to be shorthanded.  I have yet to get the list narrowed down to 3 or 4 additional products.  Unless I hit another roadblock, I will probably not do my follow up appointment.  It has not been a total waste however as I have learned quite a bit more about what these genes do and how a mutation could be affecting me.  If an alternative health practice opens up in Birmingham, would I consider joining the staff?  If I could earn a livable wage, hell yeah!  I don't mind my current job and I'm pretty good at it too but it's not my passion.  I read another heart breaking story on Facebook recently about a 12 year old girl who has been subject to severe depression, suicide attempts, cutting herself and hallucinations.  She has reacted horribly to anti-depressants.  Again, she is only 12 years old with no major emotional trauma! Not surprisingly, her genetics are far worse than mine.  I'm doing a good thing for society by busting blatant tax cheaters but helping someone like that would be SO much bigger.

I did get my Ammonia blood test results back today as well and it is normal in the blood and not even close to the upper limit.  The reference range was 20-106 and I believe mine was 62 so that's no cause for alarm.  Still, it's quite possible that the CBS issue is giving me problems.  The best source of information at this point would be a Urinary Amino Acid (UAA test), which tests the levels of ammonia, taurine and other methyl donors such as methionine in the urine.  I would be VERY surprised if taurine is NOT high.  It's tested through the roof in the past when I was supplementing with it.  How to reduce it is less clear but the smart money is on increasing my Cal/Mag, which will in turn reduce my need for the ADHS.  The test costs $305 but should be worth it.

Here is a list of new supplements that I am considering though for the time being, I will stick with the same basic formula:
Nrf2 Energizer- Produces necessary glutathione for detox indirectly and does NOT contain sulfur and will NOT raise taurine levels.  Still iffy about its effectiveness.

Mitoforce-  Improves weak mitochondrial function but contains a couple questionable ingredients so I am unsure if it will work.

GABA/glutamate spray- treats the GAD mutation and also should not affect taurine but not fully confident.

Pectasol- This one specifically targets the mercury toxicity and is based from the pectin in fruit.  If in the unlikely event, taurine is NOT high, then mercury is the only reasonable explanation as to why I cannot tolerate sulfurs.

ACE nucleotide product- The ACE mutation is responsible for sodium retention and may explain why my tissue Na is stubbornly high on my HTMA.

LAST resort- Again, dealing with potential mercury toxicity, I could get my metal amalgams removed.  It would have to be done by a very skilled biological dentist.  I do have 2 root canals and several metal fillings.  I hesitate because I've read stories of people who got worse after the procedure.  I'd have to exhaust every other possible option before going down this road.  My friend Carrie is strongly considering this procedure and if it does help her, I'm a lot more likely to try it myself.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

10K in 10 states completed

My personal record for this distance actually came on a magical day in November 2012.  Feeling exceptionally strong, I went to Hoover’s track after work.  I started clicking off 95 second laps and never slowed down.  When I completed the 25 laps for the 10K distance, my watch read 39:44.  I’ve never broken the 40 minute barrier in a race setting but it counts just the same to me.  If I have run multiple races in the same state, only the fastest time is listed.  

1. South Carolina- Oktoberfest ’04 in Walhalla-45:04
This was my first 10K and the only race that I ran as a student at Clemson.  I was fighting Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue and sensitivity issues but got lucky with a very good day given my fitness at the time.  I could have gone sub-44 if I did not mishandle the pace so badly.  The course was mostly rural, which was not a surprise given the small size of the town, and gently rolling with a few views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.  The race was run with my Bible study teacher and his future wife and we treated ourselves to great fried chicken at the Steakhouse Cafeteria.

2.Alabama- Vulcan ’08 in Birmingham-41:32 (in '12)
My fastest official time on Alabama soil came in 2012 but I have run this race 3 times plus the more prestigious Azalea Trail Race in Mobile.  If I ever have another shot at a sub-40, I’ll consider a trip to Mobile in November for the Senior Bowl.  It’s basically the same course as Azalea without the threat of humidity.  As for this race, it could be a PR course if run smartly.  It’s got a mile long incline in Mile 3 and some tough rollers in Mile 4 but 5 is significantly downhill then it’s flat to the finish.  The weather is usually perfect and the event is well organized.

3. Georgia- Silver Comet ’11 in Atlanta- 40:55
My fastest official 10K was here but I have beaten that time on several occasions in practice.  This is most definitely a PR course that is rolling for the first 2 miles then ever so slightly downhill on a perfectly straight trail over the remaining 4.2 miles.  I also scored a 3rd in my AG here.  If I had run this the following year at my peak, I would have been sub-40 for sure.  I’ve also run Peachtree and Possum Trot here as well.  Possum Trot could be a PR course.  Peachtree is not but if you’re looking for a real Atlanta experience, run it.  My sub-42 at Peachtree in 2014 was likely a better performance than my official PR.
4. Louisiana- Crescent City ’12 in New Orleans- 43:09
I am not a fan of this city for reasons besides a mediocre race performance.  I toured Bourbon Street and a mall on the banks of the river.  The course is nearly dead flat and point to point from Jackson Square to City Park but it doesn’t start until 8:30 AM.  Heat is often an issue in April and can preclude a shot at a PR.  I was on pace for sub-40 through most of the first half but wilted in the heat and this was the first race in which my Magnesium and enzyme deficiency became problematic.  My decline would begin here.

5. Mississippi- Gum Tree ’12 in Tupelo- 42:07
A chance for redemption after the failure in New Orleans the previous month ended in disappointment though it was a full minute faster on a more difficult course.  I am a fan of this city and its sweet and friendly people.  Event was well organized with good swag that included a tech shirt and finisher’s medal but again the start was too late in the day.  Fortunately, temps were a bit below average for May that year.  It’s gently rolling course that’s mostly residential with some highways.  See the Elvis tourist attractions here.

6. Florida- Fiesta ’13 in Pensacola- 42:22
My health was really in decline here but I managed to get lucky with a decent day.  It’s a point to point course from Pensacola State College to the entertainment district downtown that featured a mix of residential, highway and city streets.  There was only one tough hill and it was a net decline with a downhill finish but given that it’s Florida, the elevation change was not significant.  It was a quality event overall with a nice after party.  Heat can be a big concern here in early May but it was unseasonably chilly and windy that year.

7. Pennsylvania- Great Race ’13 in Pittsburgh-43:02
I was really in poor shape health wise by this point and delivered about the best performance I could have expected.  Overall, notwithstanding my performance, this was my favorite event that featured 3 college campuses, attractive city skyline views and a finish at the confluence of the city’s 3 rivers.  The course is so much downhill that I don’t consider it to be PR-legal but it’s tons of fun especially if you’re in shape.  This was my only fly away of the 10 states and I’m still glad I did it.

8. Tennessee-Franklin Classic ’14 in Franklin (Nashville)- 49:30
Here, it was becoming obvious that something was badly wrong.  Granted, it was hot and hilly but I never should have been anywhere near this bad.  I actually walked a couple hills. The culprit was extreme Cal/Mag sensitivity.   Franklin is one of Nashville’s outer suburbs so it was no surprise that the course was largely rural with a few parks.  I don’t remember a whole lot about this event for good reason.  I would find something better if you need Tennessee.  I’m sure Chattanooga, Knoxville or Memphis has a good race.

9. Kentucky- Medical Center ’14 in Bowling Green-41:28
Redemption after the nightmare in Nashville the previous month!  Although this was not a race that’s worth a 4 hour drive and was only done to hit 10 states, it was a good event overall.  The course was not easy and featured Western Kentucky Univ.  and a few city and residential streets.  This was a good performance and given the difficulty of the course, it was better than my official PR.  I toured the Corvette Museum and stopped in Nashville’s Wild Horse Saloon for lunch on the way home.

10. North Carolina- Asheville ’15 in 49:04
I thought about a mega race such as Richmond or Bolder Boulder to finish up this challenge but it was still pretty special coming full circle after starting in South Carolina.  The course was mostly highway and VERY hilly especially in the back half. It did have good swag including a tech shirt and finishers medal.  It was easily the most difficult of the 10 races listed.   This performance was worth about a high 46 on a normal course, which is about what I expected given that I have pretty much collapsed.  I really enjoyed the drive through the Smoky Mountains and Nantahala River valley. 

10 states done and I'm stopping here.  I do expect to revisit Alabama and Georgia.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Training 6/8-6/14

6/8- AM- 2.5 miles in 18:45 (7:30 pace).  Somewhat encouraging workout.  Started to hurt a little in Mile 2 but the pace stayed even give or take 2 seconds all the way.  Took some methyl later and it failed.  No big surprise there but it means that I cannot treat the MTR or MTRR mutations right now.  Consult is tomorrow and if I don't get some good info this time, I am done with the Health Coach.  I STILL have not received the recording as promised from the 1 hour consult which took place on May 18th.  Also, the only reliable way to reduce my dependence on ADHS is more Cal/Mag.

6/9- Junk mile on Wisteria in 7:57.  No sugar or caffeine today and there may be an adjustment period.  Nothing earth shattering from the health coach.

6/10- AM 1.5 mile at Gold's in 11:23 (7:35 pace) showing little improvement.
PM- Popped a 4th All in One and got worse.  That dose needs to be cut.  Naked Trak Shak 3 in a very slow pace.

6/11- Gold's 3 in 22:57 (7:39 pace).  Slightly better than yesterday after cutting the All in One back down to 2 pills but I was working to hold a 7:45 in Mile 3.  It was a drag too and left me more depressed afterward.  I just don't enjoy this anymore and it may be time to shut it down but only temporarily.  I'll see if I'm better tomorrow on just 1 All in One.

6/12-Down to 1 All In One and feel no better.  If anything, I may be slightly worse.  No running today and if I am not better by the end of the weekend, I am shutting it down.  I expected to get my ammonia test results today but did not.  Perhaps there is a delay because my results will be flagged as abnormal.  I would actually interpret that as good news.  No running today.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Asheville 10K RR and road trip

  I was looking forward to the drive much more so than the race.  20 MPW just won't do but with a non-horrible day, there should not be any doubt that I would finish.  I figured that I was in shape for a 46:xx on a normal course and 48:xx here with hills and mild altitude.

I took the whole day off work on Friday and got off the interstate in NE Georgia (near Toccoa) and rode into Clemson (my alma mater) via mostly 2 lane county roads.  I found the area on 76-123 to be much more built up and looked quite different than when I was student 10 years ago.  I made a quick stop at a fruit stand hoping to see an old friend but she wasn't there then drove around campus for a bit.  There was some construction but it looked pretty much the same to me.  From campus, it was more country roads up to some of my old hangouts, which I visited quite often in times of stress.  Table Rock was just as beautiful as I remembered but I had no time to do any hiking.  Finally, my last stop in South Carolina was Caesar's Head, which is a scenic overlook just across the NC border at 3,300 ft. elevation.  Unfortunately, it was too foggy to see anything.

Shortly after crossing into North Carolina, I picked up US-25 which should have taken me quickly into Asheville but I was caught in traffic so I stopped at an Applebee's for a steak and riblet combo and waited for the traffic to move again.  I did not get into my hotel until about 7PM so I had little time to explore downtown.  Fortunately, my hotel was just a couple blocks from the starting line.  Even though it was high priced, it was a good call because parking would have been a problem race morning.

I saw the course elevation and I knew what I was getting myself into.  It appeared to be roughly out and back with a loop in the midsection.  The elevation profile showed about 250-300 feet elevation loss in the first half then almost all uphill on the back half.  OUCH!  Fortunately, it APPEARED to be gradual with a couple breaks.  The elevation of 2,200 feet was not noticeable to me but it probably cost me 20-25 seconds over the 10K distance.

I aimed for about a 7:30 pace early then hoped to hang on for an 8:00 pace on the back half.  The first mile began rolling with some ups and downs followed by 2 steep drops.  Man, it's gonna suck coming back!  Mile 2 was mostly a gradual decline and I figured that it would be okay coming up this section.  Here, I got caught up in the race excitement and tried to keep up with one of the female leaders.  The first 2 miles passed by in relative comfort in 7:13 and 7:09.  I knew it was too fast so I intentionally backed off for a still decent 7:32 3rd mile.  Then, we hit the hills and oh was it nasty!  The loop that I referenced earlier contained a steep 3/4 mile rise with several curves in the road so you had no idea when it was going to end.  I took 2 walk breaks and must confess that I really didn't give my all here.  It was partly strategic because I knew this would not be the last of the hills.  The next quarter mile here was a quad busting downhill that gave back most of the elevation gain and was so steep that I had to brake rather than just let it roll.  Mile 4 passed by in an embarrassing 9:38 but I still had some fight left.

It was another long climb for about 1/3 of a mile but it was short enough to be run-able then thankfully, the next 1/2 mile was a nice steady downhill and my pace quickened to 6:50 range.   Overall, I managed a 7:35 in Mile 5 to pass the marker just north of 39.   Then, as I feared, the last 1.5 or so were steadily uphill but thankfully, it was not terribly steep.  For my Birmingham readers, it was about on par with Highland Park on dead legs.  I was hoping to keep the pace under 8 to secure a sub-49 finish but could not quite manage that as I came to finish in 49:04.

Final thought:
This was about what I expected.  With a little more effort in Mile 4, I would have been in the mid-high 48s, which translates to a 46:xx on a normal course.  I posted earlier that I did not expect to be much below 50 on this course and I did manage that by a comfortable margin.  Once again, I placed well in my age group (top 20-25%) and unless you knew me, you'd never know I was sick.

Rest of the road trip:
  I picked up US-19 which took me through the Great Smoky Mountains and the Nantahala river valley.  It had been nearly 10 years since I had been on these roads and it was just as beautiful as I remembered.  After crossing into Tennessee, I picked up the Appalachian highway through the north Georgia mountains on my way to Nick's place in Atlanta.  We hung by the pool for a bit then saw the Braves beat Pittsburgh on a 9th inning homer.   After a bad run the next morning, we had lunch then I hit the road this time taking the scenic route through the lake country in NE Alabama before picking up the interstate from Gadsden back to Birmingham

Last thoughts:
  One of the many things I liked about upstate SC is that there is so much to do within a day's drive.  You've got the mountains, beach and big cities (Charlotte and Atlanta) all within 3 hours.  Birmingham is my home now and I don't want to leave but if I had gotten a job there back in '05-'06, I'd still be there and would have been happy if healthy.  I'll be back that way again (I hope) for my 25th half marathon state in Greenville, SC in late October.  My next consult is this Tuesday and I hope to get some answers.  I have too much pride to continue competing this far below my peak.  I'll still run casually but if I can't run say 21/45/1:40, I just won't enjoy racing and there is always the risk of a total blow up in which I have to walk by Mile 3-4.
At any rate, I have completed a minor milestone with the 10K in 10 states.  Stay tuned for a brief run down of that completed goal as well as comments about my consult.