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.
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.
:52- last .13 (6:40 pace)
21:54 (7:03 pace)
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.
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.
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.