Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Drinking water only/ Changes

I am now 1 month from the retirement date but after only 4 days of drinking water only, I am seeing some big changes.  In the past, I have felt my best and have run my best when on this heavily restrictive diet but it did nothing for my sensitivity issues.  I still needed an exact cocktail of pills every day and any deviation spelled big trouble.  In the end, drinking water alone was not enough because of my low Magnesium and methylation issues.  I really thought my sugar intolerance was gone after I boosted my Magnesium but apparently, that’s not the case. 

I fit the symptoms of gut dysbiosis, which is an excess of unfriendly bacteria in the gut that may be due to candida overgrowth.  Gail Clayton, the naturopath that I contacted via Facebook, informed me that my high beta alanine is a sign of dysbiosis.  Symptoms include frequent diarrhea, intolerance to sulfur and shut down of methylation.  Yep.  That’s me.  Is it possible that CBS never was a problem, which explains why every treatment failed miserably?  I suppose it’s possible and I’ll explain more later.  There are supplements out there for candida but since the sugars are not good for me in the first place, a better plan is to starve the candida by abstaining from sugar.

Beginning on Day 3, supplements that had worked for me were causing severe fatigue and depression while stuff that I could NOT take before, NOW I CAN!

Here’s a review:
ADHS- adrenal modulator- This could be taken with Lithium because it does not suppress adrenal activity.  I’ve had trouble with it in the past because of its lower Zn/Cu ratio.  Regardless of the reason, it is now a NO.  Adding TMG (methyl) made it a little better but not much.
Sparga and SUOX- NO.  Both detox sulfur.  I had an immediate negative reaction to both.
What can I take?  Jury’s still out.

Jigsaw Cal/Mag- Critical for balance of those 2 minerals.  No problem with this stuff.

Thym-Adren- Critical for reducing sky high Na and K levels.  Without either this or ADHS, I’m done for.  Still too soon to tell if I can tolerate it and how much I need.  It could be just 3 pills or it could be 6+.

Lithium- Again, too soon to tell.  This pill may reduce the need for mega Thym-Adren and allow me to tolerate B-12.

B-12- May be necessary to keep my Zn/Cu in line and produce ceruloplasmin.  May also reduce taurine and improve tolerance to sulfur.  According to my genetics, specifically the COMT gene, I should do best on the hydroxyl form but methyl B-12 is critical for the production of methionine.  My deficiency in methionine is the likely cause of the extreme sensitivity.  I can tolerate the small amount in the All In One but have not tried the larger dose of either hydroxyl or methyl since coming off the sugar

TMG-Trimethyl glycine.  Supports methylation and detox.  When I have been able to take this stuff, it has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my sensitivity.  It’s a NO when dysbiosis is a problem and a MAYBE when it’s not.  It’s a methyl donor that increases sulfur so I must be cautious.

Glutathione- I’ve taken this in the past and was able to tolerate it ONLY when I was on the liver glandular.  Never when off it.  If I am to take it, it will only be on a temporary basis because of its sulfur content.

MTR/MTRR drops- A last resort option.  It costs $85 and I’ve not had good luck with nucleotide products.

Sulfur/Mercury questions- According to the articles that I’ve read, dysbiosis actually causes a sulfur DEFICIENCY not an excess.  That would explain my complete intolerance to any sulfur detox products.  Still, I don’t think that’s quite accurate.  More likely, it is bio-unavailable, which means that it is indeed present but unable to be utilized.  At the end of the day, I still have the gene for a CBS upregulation, which leaves me vulnerable to a sulfur excess.  So, even if my bio-available sulfur is currently low, it will bounce back real fast.  Sulfur is very important for detox so if my sulfur is high, the odds of mercury toxicity should decline.  The fact that I am a fast oxidizer is also in my favor but more likely, methylation is needed to eliminate the toxins.  There may be many things in play besides mercury that is blocking methylation.   

Amalgam removal:
I’ve flip-flopped many times and am glad that I did not rush into it.  I have still yet to receive my hair test but even if that shows evidence of mercury toxicity, it could change next time around.  I will give this new plan a month and if things don’t turn around by then, I will meet with the denty in Atlanta.  The decision may not be made until I get the re-test results.  Again, I cannot undo it once it’s done.
The half marathon in Greenville is a go and like the one in PA, I don’t care if it takes me 3 hours.  The only goal is to finish.  If things do not improve, it will be 2 months of inactivity.  Yes, I will still run occasionally in the future but I may never race again.  Even if I do, it will be 1-2 times per year and limited to slow 5Ks. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Training 9/28-10/4

9/28- I contacted another naturopath via Facebook who suspects that I may have gut dysbiosis (unfriendly bacteria).  This condition seems to be related to sulfur and mercury toxicity is some way.  I'll explain later.  I've been eating lots of yogurt and drinking nothing but water.  Things could work differently when I am completely off sugar.  This was Day 2 and I feel a difference already.  Workout SUCKED!  Called it quits after 1.5 miles in 12:18 (8:12 pace)  I hit 1 mile in a respectable 7:38 then crashed to a 4:40 (9:20 for the next half).  The Sparga made me feel MUCH worse when I got home.

9/29- Horrible yet again.  ADHS is now a NO.  The only good news was that I was slightly better after taking TMG.  Workout was 1 mile in 9:21 on Lakeshore.  SUOX made things worse so that's also a NO.

9/30- Very positive developments.
AM- 1 mile on Wisteria in 8:07 so that's a MINUS 74 in just over 12 hours.

PM- 3x1 mile at Gold's and took pills during the interval.  Opened with a 7:31 for a strong MINUS 36.  Popped a TMG and improved to 6:58 (MINUS 33).  Popped a Lithium and improved again to a 6:44 (MINUS 14).  After I got home, an extra Thym-Adren seemed to make things slightly worse but the hydroxy B12 seemed okay.  I have a mild headache and I've had to pee a lot today.  Both are strong indicators of detox.
REACTIONS:  The Lithium seems to be doing its job which is to reduce my need for Thym-Adren and allow me to tolerate B12.  The TMG is a DEFINITE YES.  There is still concern about the sulfur buildup but if that happens, I know what to do about it.  I want to see what the methyl B12 does.

10/1- Found out last night that methyl B-12 is a NO but it cleared by the morning.  I was fine on the hydroxy, which is good news.  I won't be shocked if the TMG fails in a few days because of the sulfur content but for now, it's okay.  Workout was 5 miles at Gold's at tempo effort.  Finished with a time of 36:50 (7:22 pace).  I'll take it.  Faded a bit on the back half (18:15-18:35) and my groin tightened up but overall not too bad.

10/2- The plot thickens.  Negative response to TMG last night and clearly took a step backwards.  The sugars are NOT good for me but even complete abstinence will not be enough.  I did not eat any yogurt the last 2 days.  That's why.  I need probiotics so I picked up some at GNC on my lunch break.  Felt better shortly thereafter.  Workout was another better with or without test this time at Vestavia.  Did a fairly comfy 6:51 first mile then popped a TMG and was definitely poorer.  Slipped to a 7:25 then added a half mile cool.
I need the probiotics and my system is not ready for methyl donors yet.  I was PLUS 34, which is a significant difference but that's not horrible.  I believe I could have been under the Mendoza line for 3 miles.  Need a good long run this weekend.

10/3- Once again, the plot thickens.  I did not take the Lithium for ONE day and my system has already demanded more Thym-Adren.  3 pills were not enough this morning as I melted down early after a good start.  Called it quits after 3 miles downtown in 23:06 (7:42 pace) with splits of 11:08-11:58 and I was over 8 by the finish.  Fortunately, I saw the collapse coming and there was no walk of shame.  Added a half mile cool.  I'd like to get at least 25 miles this week and need 7.5 tomorrow to do it.

10/4- Completely disgusted!  Took Lithium and probiotics so I should have had no excuses but again, I was horrible.  Hoping to do 10 on Lakeshore and crashed after Mile 1.  Again, I felt reasonably well early (7:31) but it took me 21:42 overall to run just 2.5 miles (8:45 pace).  I believe too much Thym-Adren was the problem today.  Ridiculous that 1 pill would make this much difference!

20 miles total.  4 weeks to go until retirement.  No hair test results.  Yasko is going to make me wait until I do all the tests so they can be interpreted together.  I can't be too upset because the tests were given to me for free.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chemical Imbalances: Fact vs. Fiction

If you read this blog regularly, this probably won't be news to you but if you happen to stumble on and realize that this sounds an awful lot like you or someone you know, READ ON.

First, I want y'all to consider the term "chemical imbalance."  Chances are, it conjures up images of people in straitjackets and/or those who are in need of powerful anti-psychotic medication or else they would have to be institutionalized.  That's pretty much what I thought before I got sick.  The truth is that there are millions of chemical reactions that take place regularly in the body every day.  It is very unlikely that anyone is completely level but for most people, the imbalances are not severe enough to produce symptoms.  Factor in pollution, toxic drugs, poor diet and high stress combined with defective enzymes and/or poor detox pathways due to genetic defects.  Sometimes, I am amazed that we are as healthy as we are.

- YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME YOURSELF.  There are numerous key chemicals responsible for regulating mood and energy production.  If any one of them gets too far out of whack, you WILL experience fatigue, depression and/or anxiety.  It has nothing to do with your attitude.  Being emotionally strong or "tough" won't save you.  In my experience, counseling won't help either and will do nothing to solve the imbalances, which are the root of the problem.  The only way out of this nightmare is to balance the chemistry. The problem is with methylation issues, you may not be able to tolerate the pills that you need until you improve in that regard.

-It is independent of your external environment.  Suppose that I was making 6 figures in a job that I love and was married to the woman of my dreams.  Guess what?  I'd still be depressed.  If my external circumstances became less favorable, disappointment is to be expected but I truly believe that I could handle almost anything if I am in balance.

-It will almost certainly strain relationships with friends and family particularly if they are ignorant of the true nature of this illness.  On a particularly bad day, I usually just want to be left alone.  Even if it is my best friend or a girl that interests me, I won't even answer the phone.  I have spoken with several people who have endured a painful divorce or a difficult breakup that was directly related to health problems.

-It will hinder your performance in school or work.  Virtually every time that I did poorly on an exam or turned in a report with errors, I saw it again after I was feeling better and think to myself, "How in the world did I miss that?"  Simple, my mind was not as sharp as normal.  As it is, I've managed to do pretty well in my current job but I ought to be the best in the field on track for an upper management position.  Not likely at this point.  It could be worse.  I spoke to one man in full blown adrenal failure who was so sick that he barely had the energy to feed himself.  Indeed, I know several people who sincerely want to work and live independently but cannot.

First, I want to address the 2 dumbest pieces of advice that I have ever gotten.  The first came on a running forum by someone who suggested that chronic fatigue was treatable with nothing more than a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull.  The truth is caffeine is one of the worst things you can do for your adrenals and Red Bull contains taurine, which is terrible for CBS mutations  The second came from an actual MD (Mineral Denialist).  He suggested that I need to get more exercise to combat symptoms of depression.  Yes, I told him earlier that I was a runner experiencing a sudden decline in performance.

-You will often by judged as lazy or unmotivated.  In reality, the opposite is true.  Suppose that you saw me walking halfway through a 5 mile training run.  Those who have some idea have asked me if I was okay or if I needed help but most would think that I am just not putting in the effort.  The truth is that it takes every ounce of energy to do what you can.

- Unless your case is among the "extremes of the extreme," you are NOT a danger to yourself or others.  Yes, I've had temper tantrums before and have yelled at family and friends but am always quick to apologize.  I have NEVER physically harmed myself or anyone else and even at my worst, I am repulsed by even the thought of it.

-This could be a bit controversial but in my experience, you CANNOT pray it away either.  All the faith in the world will solve chemical imbalances.  I've found that I could spend hours in prayer, worship or study of the Word and feel no different.  Sometimes, I feel worse because it seems that my prayers are never answered.  What you do have is the "promise" that it won't be like this forever and the eternal perspective.  I also do believe that it helps you to better discern the causes of relapses and how to prevent them.  If my faith had not gone cold this Spring and Summer, I may have realized that B-12 was not good for me at an earlier date.    

Suppose that someone offered me the following deal:
I will be immediately set free from the instability.
I will have generally good health for the next 40 years with good-adequate energy every day.
-Any attempts to run, bike or swim will trigger an immediate relapse
Would I take the deal?  YES.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Training 9/21-9/27

I am entering this week less than 6 weeks out from my retirement date.  It's Lithium alone with no B12 this week.  I'm not getting any positive or negative effects from Sparga so I'll finish out the bottle.  I am still not sure if it will help excess taurine.  Do I give the CBS drops another try and hope they work on Lithium?  Do I reduce the methyl folate in Jigsaw Mag? It never ends.  I may get Yasko's hair test results next week and that should either confirm or rule out mercury toxicity,

9/21- AM- First session was a success.  3 miles at Gold's in 22:14 (7:25 pace).  Even splits with something left at the end but still feel a little loopy.

PM- It seems that my tolerance for taurine has DECREASED since I stopped the B12.  I'll have to ask Yasko what she makes of that.  I should get the results soon.  After an ill-advised Red Bull, I struggled through another 3 miler.  Despite hurting, I managed to finish comfortably below the Mendoza line with a time of 23:44 (7:55 pace).  Splits were 7:36-8:05-8:03.  I expect to be much improved tomorrow.

9/22- Was NOT much improved.  In fact, I was MUCH worse.  In what should not be a surprise, Lithium + mega Thym-Adren = too much adrenal suppression.  This is true with or without B12.  1 mile stop and go at Gold's in 7:21 (2:14-2:23-2:44) so I was over 8 pace on the last third.  Popped 2 more Thym-Adren and got MUCH worse.  Did not even attempt an evening session.  Tomorrow, I'm cutting it down to 4 Thym-Adren.  If Thym-Adren doesn't work, it's back to ADHS.

9/23- Cut the Thym-Adren dose from 6 pills to 4 and was rewarded by a significant improvement.
AM- Gold's 3 in 20:57 (6:59 pace).  Opened with a 6:49 then hung on for a pair of 7:04s.  Still didn't feel quite "right" but it's been so long that I almost forget how that felt.  It is certainly possible to that cutting it to 3 pills will yield a time close to 20.  That is for 3 miles, not a 5K.

PM- Sparse crowd at the Trak Shak 5 which was a surprise given that it was a beautiful evening.  Clear skies with temps cooling to the 70s with low humidity.  I dialed back the effort a bit still had a pretty solid performance.  Finished the 5 mile loop in 38:01 (7:36 pace) with a slight fade (18:51-19:10) but that was partly by design.
UPDATE:  Mailed out the urine test for essential minerals and toxic metals.  We'll see how that correlates with the hair test.  Word on the street is that it may be quite different.  I'm still avoiding the B-12 but plan to re-introduce it slowly this weekend.

9/24- Shooting for a sub-20 for 3 miles.  Fell on my face.  Apparently, Lithium+ Thym-Adren at any dose will not work.  I went down to 3 pills and it still did not work.  Adding a 4th made it worse.
AM- 1 mile at Gold's in 7:13 with splits of 2:11-2:22-2:40 so again, I was only doing 8:00 pace when I finished and was rapidly slowing.

PM- 2 miles at Oak Mountain track in 14:56 (7:28 pace).  Even splits (7:27-7:29).  Pleased with my ability to hold that pace despite feeling awful.  Adding some ADHS helped so that's what I'm going with tomorrow.  If that fails, I'll have to come up with some type of rotation with the Lithium.

9/25- AM- Lithium + ADHS is a NO.  The answer to yesterday's question is a rotation with Lithium.  It will probably be something like 2 days on- 1 day off.  If it keeps going like this, YES I will retire in 5 weeks.  Today, I did not even have to run to know I was off and am prepared for a rough day at work.  Added just a trace of B12 and got worse.  Maybe, I will be up for a junk run this evening but I am focusing on tomorrow's long run.  If I can do it, I'll have over 30 miles this week.

PM- Rough day as expected.  No attempt to run.  I do expect to be okay tomorrow.

9/26- DISASTER!  Even though I did not take the Lithium this morning, the normal dose of Thym-Adren was still too much.  Did 2 miles with the group then died and completed a long walk of shame.  I will try again tomorrow.  5 weeks away from retirement.

9/27- 1 mile in 9:51 on Lakeshore.  It's back to the drawing board now.  Lithium+ Thym Adren will never work.  ADHS might.  No hair test result but expect it any day now.  Again, I am strongly considering amalgam removal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lithium and B-12

I will not know for sure until I get the results but Yasko's theory as to why I became intolerant to B-12 is low levels of Lithium, which is required to transport B-12 into the cells.  Without it, the B-12 will simply accumulate in the blood and cause a toxic buildup of Cobalt which weakens cardio function.  Lithium was a regular part of my formula from 2008-2010 and during that time, I DID have some ridiculous sensitivities with Taurine and Chromium but for the most part, it was not a moving target.  If my formula was off by a pill or 2, yes I could feel it but it did not make the difference between a PR and a disaster.  Even on my bad days, I was usually able to fight it and salvage a 21/45/1:40 level of performance.

The prescription form of Lithium that is given to bipolar patients is Lithium carbonate, which is toxic and should be avoided.  The form that I used to take was Li-Zyme Forte from Biotics Research.  You would have to take 20 pills to get the same amount of elemental Lithium as a prescription.  I am not sure of the form of Lithium.  It was simply listed as "from vegetable culture" but rest assured that it was very different from the carbonate form.  If you don't believe me, Google "Lithium the misunderstood mineral."  Still, excess doses can damage thyroid and kidney function.  I had a very good year in 2009 that ended with a 1:32:57 (13.1@7:05) in Baton Rouge and knew that a sub-1:30 was within reach.  2010 was characterized by a series of good but not great races.  Then, I was forced off the Lithium and had 6 weeks of sensational training before collapsing.  Why did it happen?  Too much Lithium slowed my thyroid hormones and it was not enough to solve my mineral imbalances (excess Na and K).  I can't go back in time but MAYBE low dose Lithium plus Thym-Adren could have done it.  I have also recently learned that Lithium is critical for MTR and MTRR genes, which in my case are severely defective.  MTR and MTRR and responsible for the production of methionine, which I believe to be responsible for my extreme sensitivity issues.

Lithium and Cobalt are tested on my hair test lab (ARL) but I found that even when I was supplementing with Li, my lab value was always very low while Cobalt was barely detectable.  Other patients showed a similar pattern so I'm not sure that ARL is accurate in this regard.  Yasko's lab is accurate for this but since the sample is washed, it won't tell me much about my adrenal function.  I'll do a post about the different HTMA labs in the near future.  It is also possible that the "vegetable culture" is poorly absorbed into the cells much like different form of Magnesium are more bio-available than others.  The form that I tried to take recently is Lithium Orotate, which most definitely is easily absorbed.  The first couple of days on it went very well but it was a steady decline after that.  I am HOPING that I must limit it to just 1-2x/week early because too much B-12 too soon will cause problems.  I won't know for sure if I am deficient until I get the results.

Amalgam removal:
Yasko's hair test is ideal to determine "probable" Mercury toxicity using Cutler's counting method.  I'll explain this later but a low hair Mercury doesn't mean that you are in the clear.  It can hide in organs and thus not revealed on a hair test. What I will be looking for is a lot of very high and/or very low levels because Mercury impairs mineral transport.  The sensitivity is indeed evidence of mercury issues.  However, the fact that my numbers DO move in the right direction when I can tolerate the right pills is evidence that I do NOT have such issues.  Because of the costs and risk of complications, I would really prefer NOT to go through with it but if it's my only hope to get my life back, IT IS A RISK THAT I WILL HAVE TO TAKE!  We'll see what happens with the Lithium and the hair test results.
Since stopping the B-12:
I can no longer tolerate SUOX drops OR ADHS
I can tolerate Thym-Adren and Sparga which I could not take when on B-12.

Last point:
Somebody  said that they wished that I never pursued the genetic solution.  That is certainly a valid point because I am most definitely WORSE off now than I was in February.  Still, what had been going on back then was COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.  Here's a review:
- needed exactly a 1:1 ratio of Cal/Mag.  Sometimes, it was 500.  Sometimes, it was 750.
-needed exactly a 20:1 ratio of zinc/copper and was shooting at a moving target.
-needed exactly 50 mg of methyl folate.
Obviously, I HAD to try to better my situation.  I ran a 1:34 in Indy last November but slipped to a 1:37 in Tulsa and a 1:42 in Phoenix.  I believe that a collapse would have occurred with or without the genetic supplements.
Finding out that I had Balkan, Scandinavian and Jewish ancestry was also worth finding.

Training 9/14-9/20

9/14- Drove from Louisville to Birmingham and arrived at mid-afternoon.  Planned rest day to recover from the trip.  The Lithium must be cut out at least for now.

9/15- First run as a 35 year old was not half bad.  Lakeshore 5 and yes, I finished the whole out and back route without a collapse.  Time was 38:54 (7:47 pace).  1st half: 19:20, 2nd half: 19:34.  I would have been a LOT better than 2:06 in a half mary today.

9/16-Collapse.  2 miles in 16:10 (8:05 pace).  Stupid taurine was the culprit.  CBS is still a problem.

9/17- While I'm sure that the taurine did not help me, it was NOT the cause of yesterday's collapse.  The lack of Lithium this week is.  I repeat, THIS IS NUTS!  1 mile at Gold's in a PATHETIC 9:53.  Popped just 1 Lithium pill and walked a lap then proceeded to run 2 miles in a respectable 14:18 (7:09 pace).  Splits were 7:21-6:57 so I got better as the pill kicked in.  3 days ON Lithium caused a collapse but 3 days OFF also caused a collapse.  For the time being, I will try to alternate days and hope that eventually, I will be able to take it every day.

9/18- Upon rising, it was clear that I needed more Lithium.  I may not only need to take it every day but 2x/day.  That's okay.  If I am deficient as I have every reason to believe that I am, this will help the MTR and MTRR and improve my methionine THUS reduce my sensitivity.
3 miles at Gold's in 21-flat (7:00 pace).  Splits were 6:43-7:10-7:07.  Legs really stiffened up in the 2nd half but I held a decent pace all the way and had somewhat of a kick left.  A 5K would have been 21:45ish.

9/19-AM- FAILURE.  This time I was done in by too much Lithium.  2 pills won't work.  It must be 1.  Attempted a group run and flamed out.  Fortunately, I saw it coming so there was no walk of shame.  Finished 2 miles in 16:47 (8:24 pace) with splits of 7:49-8:58.  I might be better in the afternoon.

PM- Another 2 miler this time at Vestavia.  Improved to 14:52 (7:26 pace).  Even pace but I was slipping in lap 7 do I decided to finish strong rather than force another mile.

9/20- Did not even try.  It is becoming apparent that Lithium alone is not the problem.  Lithium+B12 is and the All In One pill contains 62.5 mcg of B12.  For now, it will be cut.  I may try a junk run this afternoon.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mountour Trail Half RR

At this point, I just want to be done with this Half2Run Challenge.  If I was not so close, I probably would not have even raced this year after Phoenix at the end of February.  With only 2 states to go, I was determined to finish come hell or high water.  If it took me 3 hour or I was the last finisher, so be it.  Yes, I probably would do better than that but even if I had one of my best days, 1:45-1:50 looked like the limit even on a fast course.  This was a low key no frills event in the Pittsburgh area a few miles west of downtown near the airport. I do have family in the area, which is why this has been a destination 3 of the last 5 years in September.  Pennsylvania was State #24 and my first in the Northeast region though Pittsburgh does have a bit of a Midwestern flavor.  I would have preferred a race through the city the next Spring but given my rate of decline, I may not get another chance at this.

It's roughly a 12 hour trip from Birmingham and I assumed good weather in September so I opted to drive.  Given a 2 day trip, it's manageable if you split it up fairly evenly.  There are 2 routes that are nearly even in terms of travel time.  The Western route goes through Nashville, Louisville, Cincy and Columbus while the Eastern route covers Chattanooga, Knoxville and the mountains of SW Virginia and West Virginia. Both are almost all interstate but I prefer the Eastern route because it is more scenic.  It proved to be a bad call this time.  It started pouring rain about an hour after I left Birmingham and the storm was so severe that I had to slow o about 50 mph.  It continued for the next 2-3 hours with no letup in sight so I shut it down early and stopped in a fleabag motel between Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Day 2 was not much better as it rained about half the time I was driving to Pittsburgh.  I did take one detour on a scenic mountain road near the town of Bluefield, which straddles the Virginia/West Virginia border.  I arrived at my destination just before dinner and just relaxed the rest of the evening.  I needed a slack day to recover from the trip but a quick test run did not go well.  Perhaps a small adjustment might make it a little better.  Dinner was a Ribeye at Lone Star steakhouse.

Race morning dawned cloudy with a 90 percent chance of rain and it started coming down hard on the way to the starting line.  The race topography was similar to White River in Arkansas.  It began in the parking lot of a shopping mall then went sharply downhill for about 3/4 mile before an out and back route on a crushed limestone trail, which turned somewhat muddy in the rain.  The trail section contained little elevation change.  It was a nearly imperceptible incline before a turnaround at Mile 7, which made for a slight decline on the way back.  Fortunately, the rain stopped a few minutes before the start and we were off.

As is often the case on my runs, I felt reasonably well for the first 2 miles then the wheels came off and I faced a tough slog to the finish.  I aimed for about a low-8 effort early but expected to be 30 seconds fast going downhill and that's just about how it turned out.  Mile 2 was also on target but as I approached Mile 3, it became clear that I was not going to make it at this pace.
7:34-7:34 (downhill)
8:04 15:38

From this point, I would walk about 100 meters after each mile marker.  Overall, I don't think it affected my time very much.  I found that if I tried to skip the walk break, the rate of my slowdown was even greater but I did manage to re-charge a tad after each stop.


Approaching the halfway point, I saw that I was still about a minute ahead of 2 hour pace but I knew I wasn't going to hold it.  More likely, I was looking at a 2:05-2:10 finish considering how I was feeling.  I had NO power whatsoever and my legs were cramping and shutting down.  After the turnaround, at Mile 7, I tried to run the next mile without stopping and found that if I went longer than about 10 minutes, my pace slowed dramatically and I needed another walk break sooner.


I ought to be done by now yet I still have over 4 miles of pain to go.  Runners of all shapes and sizes were passing me now but I somehow kept from slowing further.  With just over 1 mile to go, I saw that I was gaining on a runner that had almost surely passed me earlier.  I made the last walk break a little shorter so I could finish as strongly as possible.  I found some surprising life in the last Mile.  I looked down to see a pace in the mid-8s with a half mile to go and it kept getting gradually faster.  I managed to re-pass 4 or 5 runners and actually bore a faint resemblance to the Crazy J of old as I hit sub-8 pace over the last tenth of a mile.  A couple of people commented about what a "nice finish" I had.  It was beginning to rain again but fortunately, a bus would come shortly to pick us up and drive us up to hill back to the mall.

1:07-2:06:40 (9:39 overall pace).

A new personal worst.  I was not surprised at all.  This is the new normal and I've long since gone numb to the pain.  7 weeks of training to go and only 1 more race.  State #25 will be in Greenville, South Carolina and barring a miracle recovery, it's all over after that.  Is a sub-2 too much to ask for what will probably be my last race?  The course will be fairly hilly.

I got cleaned up and went out to lunch then took a nap before heading to PNC Park to see a Pirate victory over Milwaukee.  The game was good but we got soaked again.  It was not quite hard enough for a rain delay but hard enough to be very uncomfortable sitting out there for 2+ hours. The game was a blowout so we left after 7 innings.

I left for Birmingham the next afternoon and this time, I opted for the Western route with a short detour in Wheeling, WV.  Cloudy skies began to clear by eastern Ohio and I ended up stopping just south of Louisville near the halfway point.  Day 2 was smooth with the exception of a brief traffic jam near Bowling Green.  It's back to work tomorrow.
States seen on this trip:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

OT: MLB playoffs and DH rule

I was AGAINST adding the 2nd Wild Card as well as the "1 and done" format but given what is happening this year, I can understand why it was done.  If the season ended today, Pittsburgh and Chicago, owners of the 2nd and 3rd best records in the NL, would face off for the right to play the #1 seed (St. Louis).  Meanwhile #4 and #5 automatically qualify for the NLDS.  Under the old system of only 1 wild card, Chicago stays home.  Even stranger things have happened before.  In the strike shortened '94 season, we would have seen a sub.500 division champ in the AL West.

 In MLB, the best team usually wins just over 60 percent of their games while the worst team wins close to 40 percent.  Even those bad teams do get hot at times and it's certainly possible for a mediocre team to win 3 consecutive series.  I'm old school and want to see a World Champion that was among the best teams all year long, not just in October.  Increasing the number of playoff teams will definitely increase the likelihood of a rather ordinary team winning it all.

Last season was fair.  Pittsburgh and San Francisco tied for the #1 wild card with 88 wins.  It was essentially a 1 game playoff.  San Fran had a red hot pitcher in Madison Bumgarner and rode him all the way to a championship but they were a deserving team.  The best non-playoff team was only 82-80.  Suppose that San Fran lost 5 more games and made the playoffs at 83-79 and Bumgarner made 36 starts in which his team went 27-9.  Without him, they are 14 games under .500 but would probably be favored in a 1 game playoff if they start their ace.  IMO, that system must be reformed.

I heard one announcer suggest that the #1 wild card be given 2 chances to win a game.  That is, if the #1 team wins the first game, it's over but the #2 team must consecutive games.  I like that idea because it safeguards against an otherwise mediocre team riding their ace to victory but I've got a better idea: Go back to 2 divisions per league.  That way, with 7 or 8 teams per division, you won't see a weak division winner.  Give the 2 division winners home field advantage and take the next 2 best records as wild cards.  If there must be a play in game, the 1st wild card gets a bye while the 2nd and 3rd duke it out.

Now let's shift gears to the Designated hitter rule.  I grew up a National League fan so I was against the DH but have since changed my position.  First, I'll list the pros and cons:
-It violates the fundamental 9 on 9 rule.
-More bench players are used as pinch hitters
-It's more challenging to manage in the NL with the double switches and defensive changes.
If the game is tied 1-1 in the 6th inning with men on base and the pitcher due up, what do you do?  You could bring in a pinch hitter and try for the go ahead run or leave an effective pitcher in the game and go for it the next inning. Depends on your strategy and the matchups later in the game.
-An average pitcher hits about .125 (1 for 8) and most of the hits are weak bloopers over the infield or grounders that find a hole,  When you take into account sacrifice bunts, figure an out is made nearly 9 times out of 10.  If the #7-8 hitters are also weak, that's a third of your lineup right there,  More offense make things interesting.
-When a pitcher does get on base, he usually dogs it running the bases to protect against injury and tiredness before next inning.  You're being paid millions/year.  Put forth some effort or take a seat.  
-It can extend careers of older players who are weak in the field or somewhat injured but can still hit well and it can give players a "half day off'' by not playing them in the field.
-Most importantly to me is that it gives more AAAA players a chance to play regularly.

Many of these career minor leaguers could be decent players if given a real shot but with no DH in the NL, they are more likely to be blocked by All-Star caliber starters.  A lot of players struggle in the pinch hitting role because it's harder to come off the bench cold.  Even the best hitters can go through slumps in which they hit under .200 for a month so you really cannot judge a hitter based on 150 ABs especially if most of them are off the bench.  In the AL, a part time DH is much more likely to get the 300-400 ABs needed to develop and show what he can do.

Perhaps most telling of all is that over the last 25 years or so, the AL has dominated the All-Star game and usually comes out on top in Interleague play.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Training 8/31-9/5

8/31- Severe reaction to methyl B-12 has yet to clear.  I know for sure now that any form is toxic to me.  The hair and urine test will reveal possible toxic cobalt or low lithium.  Unplanned rest day.

9/1- AM.  1 mile in 8:30 with splits of 4:02-4:28.  OUCH!

PM- Broke the "Mendoza line" with 3 miles at sub-8 pace just barely with a hard fought 23:54 (7:58 pace) but did manage a slight negative split (12:02-11:52).  It will take time for the B-12 to clear and I am not touching any form of it for a long time.

9/2- AM 2 mile quickie at Gold's and it was pretty solid.  Finished in 14:30 with a negative split (7:19-7:11)

PM- NIGHTMARE!  Trak Shak loop and crashed 2.2 miles into a 5 mile loop and completed the walk of shame.  Actually, I did do a few spurts of slow jogging.  13.1 miles on a day like this would be pure hell but I probably could finish.  4 miles this session with an average pace near 8:30.

UPDATE:  Feeling a lot better after taking the All in One.  I had been avoiding it because it contains B-12.  Now, I know I need it.

9/3- Not much better.  Gold's 4 in 31:44 (7:56 pace).  Again, I was just under the Mendoza line over 1 extra mile.  Faded pretty badly with splits of 15:21-16:23.  This is not working.  I've got to do some more experimenting.

9/4- Successfully switched from ADHS back to Thym-Adren and now it seems like I cannot tolerate TMG anymore.  Still, it was a nice improvement over yesterday.  It was a quickie because I want no excuses for tomorrow's long run.  2 miles in 14:15 (7:07 pace) with splits of 6:59-7:16.  I was fading but I had more in the tank.

9/5- FAILURE!  I can no longer tolerate the TMG, which was not a huge surprise.  I am beginning to wonder now if the SUOX drops are helping with the sulfur at all.  I've become so desperate that I have ordered Lithium, which may help B-12 transport and aid in methylation.
Run #1- Attempted the group run and died after about 200-300 meters.  Finished 1 mile in 10:48 running almost all out.  That's right.  I was less than half the speed of my adult PR.

Run #2- Another 1 mile junk run this time on Wisteria.  Apparently, I've gotten some clearance as my time is down to 8:58.

9/6- Only slightly better.  1 mile in 7:53 and had nothing left in the tank.  I'n quitting the SUOX.

8 weeks from retirement now and it's looking bleak.