Monday, December 26, 2016

Training 12/26-12/31

12/26- Least favorite workout but I learned a lot.  Trial and error intervals.  6 laps at Gold's (2/3 mile) on various pills.  Began with my current formula.  I did take a little more B-12 which may or may not be a good thing.  I opened with an even 5:00 (7:30 pace) with splits of 2:29-2:31 though the back half caused increasing strain.  I figure a 3 miler would have been comfortably under the Mendoza line but likely not much better than 23:00, which is not acceptable.

On Chromium- Improved to 4:53 (7:20 pace) but my splits were 2:23-2:30.  After a faster start, I was no better over the last 4 laps and really did not feel much different.  VERDICT: Not a significant change and likely a non-factor overall.  I'll take it occasionally and finish the bottle but I'll be done with it after that.

On Taurine- Improved to 4:43 (7:04 pace) with splits of 2:19-2:24.  This IS a significant improvement.  Taurine is a sulfur containing amino acid that has at times been a life saver and at other times, an utter failure. Not very long ago, I would have had an immediate negative response to just a half a pill.   Long-term high level use is dangerous because of the CBS mutation but it could be a winner in the short-term.  I'll opt for occasional use after several consecutive days on it.

On Cal/Mag- Felt like the clouds rolled in and my energy was knocked down several notches despite the fact that I took less than half a pill (50 mg each).  Cut it off after just 3 laps in 2:39 (7:57 pace) and fading so it likely would have been around 5:30 (8:15 pace) for 6 laps.  Again, this was ALL DUE TO A HALF A PILL!!  I thought that perhaps citrate was the problem but no, ALL CALCIUM NEEDS TO GO! Morley will be pleased. Tacked on 6 laps as a cool down to claim 3 miles.
-10 miles shy of 1300.  Maybe it will take 3 more sessions but I'll make it.

12/27- Went with NO pills today just to see what would happen.
NO adrenal support, NO methylation support, NO Zinc/Copper.
Felt about the same as usual (sluggish with low mood but no debilitating fatigue and depression) and performed accordingly.  It was the same 4 mile workout that I did 5 days earlier at Spain Park.  Finished this one in 30:57 (7:44 pace).  Splits were almost exactly the same and if I had tempo-ed the last mile instead of delaying my kick until the last lap, I could have repeated the 30:40 give or take about 5 seconds.

 Ordered the Zinc and Copper RBC tests but the turnaround time is 4-7 business days so that means that I won't know before the end of the year.  Oh well.  I want to see a significant deficiency in at least one of them and/or an unbalanced ratio.  I also hope to see a decrease in my Ferritin level, hopefully at least down to 160ish.  If I see that, I will remain on my current track.
This was a surprise.  On one hand, I am very pleased to see that I can get by without pills for at least a day or two.  Not very long ago, I could not break 9:00 for 1 Mile without pills.  On the other hand, I want the pills that I do take to be effective.

12/28- Another interesting day.  Woke up feeling a little rough then got MUCH WORSE IMMEDIATELY after taking sulfur containing pills but JUST AS QUICKLY got better after taking the Zinc/Copper.  Felt decent for most of the day but being off the adrenal support and methylation support seemed to catch up with me by late afternoon.

Did 3 miles at Gold's in 23:39 (7:53 pace).  I beat the Mendoza line but really struggled in the back half and had nothing left in the tank at the end.  Splits were 11:22-12:17.  I seemed to improve a bit afterward with methylation support but it wasn't a huge difference.  Tacked on another half mile cool and 1 more session will take me over 1300.
This is good news all around.  Without the pills, I can get by for a day or two but the pills are still necessary and effective.  It's a good bet that the zinc deficiency was the cause of the issues with sulfur and I really believe the test will show something wrong.  The B-12 may be reduced or eliminated temporarily in the future.  The Thym-Adren is the more effective adrenal treatment but it can't be taken with B-12.  On the other hand, B-12 may play a key role in producing bio-available iron.

12/29- 3 miles in 23:24 (7:48 pace).  Felt sluggish today but it would have been much worse if not for the adrenal support.  I am going to reduce if not eliminate the B-12 as I believe it is indirectly lowering my zinc levels.  This was better than yesterday because the pace was more even (11:38-11:46) and tacked on another half mile cool.  This takes me over 1300 miles on the year with 2 days to spare.  I've averaged 25 MPW in 2016.  After I cut the B-12, we shall see if I do better on Thym-Adren or ADHS.

12/30- Reduced the B-12 by half and improved to 21:31 for 3 miles (7:10 pace) this time at Spain Park.  Started and finished well but struggled a bit in the midsection.  MINUS 38 over yesterday.  I'm going to see what happens if I go off the B-12 completely but I may need it at least as part of a methylation combo.  I may need to go back on Cal when off the B-12 so the maze continues.  Still, I believe I am very close to a resolution one way or the other.

12/31- This ends only the 2nd year since 1994 that I failed to break 6 minutes for 1 mile during the calendar year.  I tried today without B-12 and it was not to be.  Came through 3 laps at Gold's in 2:08 (6:24 pace) then popped a Cal and was awful from there.  Just slow jogged the last 6 laps.  I'll confirm tomorrow but I believe that low dose B-12 is needed, which means both Cal and Thym-Adren are both going to be a NO.

-18 miles on the week.
-1305 on the year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Test Results and Future Plan for Zinc/Copper

Liver Enzymes- 4 were tested in addition to protein.  All were normal.  The only one that was close to the edge was ALT.  The range was 10-44 and my score was 40.  I thought ALP would be elevated but it was solidly normal.  Certainly no smoking gun there.  There was an explanation as well.  Word is that exercise can raise this ALT enzyme and I did run 12 hours earlier.  GB-3 will not hurt me but it's not a game changer.  I'll finish the bottle but will not re-order.

Vitamin C- Was NOT tested.  It would have cost me $229 and I already know that I cannot tolerate it.  Not worth the cost because even if I was low, I've got to go another direction, which is to reduce the Iron.

Vitamin D (OH.25)- This is the storage test.  The range was 20-100 and my score was 34.7.  That seems to be a little on the low side and most MDs prefer it to be at 40.  However, according to Morley's MAG group, there is no additional benefit once it goes over 21.  I'd say my score is fine.

Vitamin D (OH 1,25)- This is the Active D test.  I tested at 55.5, which was right in the middle of the range.  Supposedly, active D should be 1.5-2 times higher than storage and that's right where I am.  No problem with either D test and no smoking gun there either.  The plan to raise these numbers would be Cod Liver Oil but I'm going to pass on that. Unnecessary.

Ferritin- Ticked up from 171 to 194.  The optimal target is 50 but I'll settle for under 100.  This is NOT good news.  What caused that to happen?  I believe Vitamin C may have been the culprit.  No radical solution yet.  Staying off the C may help.  Zinc may help as well.  Those are the 2 conservative options.  The radical choices are the liver flush and blood donation.  Let's hope it does not come to that.  Again, it's still well within the lab's normal range so I doubt that it is the smoking gun either.

  I credit my recent improvement to a product called Zinc balance by Jarrow.  It contains 15 mg Zinc as methionine and 1 mg of Copper.  Zinc and copper are direct antagonists of each other.  Zinc alone will deplete copper and copper alone as well as anything that raises copper will deplete zinc.  A 15:1 ratio COULD keep both in balance.

My past Treatments:
   As my ceruloplasmin (bioavailable copper) level improved, I have felt WORSE.  I am beginning to believe that although the treatments were necessary, they may have severely depleted my zinc levels.
Both Liver Beef and Whole Food C are INSTANT FAILURES at the moment.  Guess what?  Both raise copper and thus lower zinc.   Although my plasma zinc has consistently tested well, it's not always a reliable test.  Just like Magnesium, it needs to be tested at the cellular level with an RBC test.  I'll also test copper.

At one point, I needed to take an exact 20:1 ratio of zinc and copper or ELSE but that is no longer an issue thanks to improved methylation.  If I took all zinc, it would likely be a quick fix but would not last long.  My copper is probably still a bit on the low side.  It is better for BOTH to be a bit low than have 1 normal and 1 deficient.  Think height/weight.

I had brief success with FOS and IP-6 but both turned disastrous after a few weeks.  I know now that both deplete zinc.  Signs certainly point in the direction of a zinc deficiency especially with the recent improvements since starting the zinc balance.

Next tests:
-Repeat Ferritin
-Zinc RBC
-Copper RBC

I've said this many times but now I believe that I will get some type of resolution one way or the other within the next few months.

Training 12/19-12/25

12/19- 5 miles in 37:25 (7:29 pace).  That's an impressive 17 seconds/mile faster than I was just 3 days ago over the same distance.  Obviously, that rate of improvement is not sustainable over the long haul.  Still, if I can simply cut off an average of 1 second per mile per day, I'll be under 35 in just under a month.  Even pace that hovered just over 7:30 most of the way then rallied from 7 seconds down with 1 mile to go with a 7:18 kick.

12/20- Easy 6 in 46:49 (7:48 pace).  Dialed down the effort a notch and felt comfortable all the way.  Even pace with a 1st half in 23:22, 2nd half in 23:27.  Only 4 days ago, a tempo effort yielded 5@7:46.  Today, I did essentially the same pace over an extra mile with much less effort.  Good job.

12/21- Tried Zinc alone in addition to the combo and it was not the answer.  Managed to salvage a workout in spite of it.  Finished with 4 miles in a time of 31:56 (7:59 pace) and needed a small rally at the end to finish under 8 minute pace overall.  Started off pretty well but it was quickly apparent that this was not working.  Zinc balance at 15:1 is my only option,

12/22- AM- Excess zinc has yet to clear.  Did 2 miles just to pad my total.  Finished in 15:08 (7:34 pace) and felt marginally better than last night.   I'll be back out this evening.  I'm closing in on 1300 miles on the year (25 MPW average) and barring sickness or injury, I will make it.

PM- 4 miles at Spain Park track on a pleasant evening.  Finished in 30:40 (7:40 pace).  Not a bad workout but I feel like I've plateaued in recent days.  Came through 3 feeling comfortable then tempo-ed it in Mile 4 with a 7:23 and dipped under 7 in the last lap.

Update:  I saw a post on CureZone in which a patient had a Ferritin level over 1600.  Mine was 194.  While I don't doubt that I will be better off when that number is lower, it seems unlikely that it is the smoking gun.  I'm at 1284 miles on the year and even without a workout over Christmas weekend, I should finish over 1300.

12/23- Planned rest day.  Travel.

12/24- 3 miles on Peter's Trail in a time of 23:51 (7:57 pace).  Dreary day and my heart wasn't really into it but I'm concerned now.  This is not a collapse but I have taken a step backward since the beginning of the week.  Splits were 7:35-7:57-8:19 so I was under the Mendoza line all the way but didn't have much more left at the end.  I could not have finished a half without walking.  I was a bit more sluggish after taking Cal yesterday so that could be it.  I may also try low dose taurine or chromium.  I'll test again next week and want to know my Zinc status before the end of the year.

12/25- Christmas Day.  Planned rest.  The Calcium needs to be cut out.  Is it just Cal citrate that is bad or is it all Cal?  I'll find out tomorrow.  Chromium and taurine will also be tried.

Weekly total- 24 miles.  YTD: 1,287.  3 sessions to 1300.

Monday, December 12, 2016

NYC Trip Plan

The race is on a Sunday (3/19).  I am going regardless of my running status.  If I have to walk part or even most of it, so what?  The course begins on the upper East side and makes a loop around Central Park before turning south through Times Square for a finish near Wall Street downtown.  I spent a night in Queens once because a flight home was cancelled but have never been to any other boroughs.  Manhattan in particular ought to be on any American's bucket list.  

Here is the plan:
  I'll get in on a Friday morning around 10 AM.  It's a direct flight into LaGuardia (Queens).  It's only about 10 miles into Manhattan but figure with the traffic, it will take almost an hour to get to my hotel.  Word on the street is that if you're thinking about renting a car and driving in NYC: DON'T!  I'll take a cab into town and I've heard you can buy a weekly pass for unlimited subway rides too.  If my destination is less than say 20-25 blocks away, I'll walk.  Hopefully, the weather will be decent though it can be a crap shoot that time of year.  Normal high is in the low 50s and snow is rare but not unheard of in mid-late March.  

Here's a list of some of things that I would like to see:
-Rockefeller Center
-Freedom Tower (new WTC)
-Empire State Building
-Trump Tower
-9/11 memorial
-Wall Street/ NYSE
-Brooklyn Bridge into downtown Brooklyn
-Times Square
-5th, 7th and Madison Ave. shops
-Broadway area
-Yankee Stadium tours (Bronx)
-Grand Central Station
-Riverside Dr.
-Battery Park
-Central Park

-One of the famous delis
- A Pizza joint
-Seinfeld cafe (yes, it's a real restaurant)
-Rooftop bar
-Overpriced steak.
I'd say that's plenty to do.  The plan is to stay an extra day and get back to B'ham on Monday the 20th.

Training 12/12-12/18

12/12- 2 miles in 17:42 (8:51 pace).  Splits were 8:15-9:27.  Odds are the Vitamin C in any form (currently on Whole Food) needs to be cut out completely.  I am committed to staying with it for the rest of the week.  GB-3 did help but it wasn't a game changer.  If nothing changes, I will quit the C even if my blood test shows that I am still deficient.

12/13- Another forced rest day.  If I'm not better tomorrow, the Whole Food C will be eliminated altogether.  The testing will be done on Thursday.

12/14- 1 Mile in 9:54.  That does it.  No more Whole Food C.  I just remembered early last year that I had to take zinc with Whole Food C.  It had to be both or neither and I went with neither.  It could happen again.  I'm curious about my Zinc RBC status but I'll hold off on that test until I am off the C for a while.

12/15- Did my blood tests this morning but I'll probably have to wait until Monday for the results this time.  First day off Vitamin C.  3 miles in 26:28 (8:49 pace) with relatively even splits.  3 times the distance at a pace 65 seconds faster than yesterday.  I'll take it.  Picked up some Zinc/copper at Whole Foods and though it wasn't night and day, I did feel a positive difference.  More on the reasons for taking it will be posted later.

12/16- Added 2 miles to the distance and was once again over 60 seconds faster per mile.  Finished the day at 5 miles in 38:50 (7:46 pace).  Struggled a bit on the back half (19:15-19:35) but kept the pace under 8 all the way.  The zinc/copper could be a winner.

12/17- Stuck with the same formula as yesterday.  Came through 4 miles in 30:48 (7:42 pace) and felt pretty much the same as yesterday.  Again, I slipped a bit in the back half (15:14-15:34).  I probably could have coaxed a sub-8 5th mile to beat yesterday's time but it would only be by a few seconds.  What I was most curious about was how I would respond to an extra zinc/copper pill.  Would I see a resurgence?  The answer was yes but only slightly.  Did the next 2 miles in 15-flat (7:30 pace) with a good finish in which I briefly dipped under 7:00 pace.  No lab test results but I didn't expect it until Monday.  More good news is that the Curcumin (sulfur) is tolerated once again.
-With no Zinc and with Vitamin C in a form including a glass of OJ, I'll struggle to break 10 for 1 mile.
-With no Zinc but no Vitamin C, I'll manage 3 miles at 8:45-9:00 pace.
-On all Zinc and no C, I'll have a good few days but it's not the answer long term
-A zinc/copper combo is my only chance at long-term stability.

12/18- Tempo.  3 miles at Gold's on a nasty day outside.  I hoped to break 22 and finished in 21:43 (7:14 pace). with splits of 7:06-7:21-7:16.  Maybe a little better than yesterday but not a night and day difference.  That's okay.  What should happen when I'm on the right path is steady gradual improvement that becomes evident over a few weeks.

-20 miles on the week.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Median Finish Times By Age Group

The following are roughly the peak ages for various distances:
Sprinter- Age 26
Miler- Age 29
Marathoner- Age 32
Ultra/Ironman-Age 35

Obviously, there are some exceptions to the rule.  Carl Lewis ran his 100 meter PR, which was a world record at the time, at the age of 30.  He was still a world class sprinter ranked in the top 10 in the world up through age 35.  Meb Keflezghi set his marathon PR with a victory at Boston just a few days shy of his 39th birthday.  Even at 41, he was still good enough to make the U.S. Olympic team.  Bernard Lagat nearly won an Olympic medal at the same age in the 5000 meters.

Realistically, the 19:09 5K that I ran 10 days shy of 34, was probably my last personal record but I've met some people who honestly think that my age is the reason that my performances have fallen off a cliff in the last 2 years.  Some might blame past over-training. I do not.  Even at my peak, I never averaged more than 42 miles per week over the course of an entire year.  Yes, I did over-reach at times by forcing too many quality sessions in a single week but I almost always took a rest day when I needed it and took cut back weeks periodically when I had a race coming up soon. If I had it to do over again, the only thing I would have done differently was race more frequently when I knew that I was hot.  I believe I had a sub-19 5K in me on a few occasions as well as a sub-5:15 Mile.  I never broke 40 for 10 K in a race setting but the time trial counted the same to me.  I did get the one that I wanted most, which was the sub-90 half marathon.

Now to address the main point of this post:
I did some research on the median finish times in every age group at the last 2 Mercedes half marathons among the men.  I found some intriguing results that are likely to surprise my readers.  Teenagers were the fastest age group followed by the 20-24 division but they also had relatively few finishers.  Starting at the 25-29 age group (when I debuted), things got interesting.  Listed below are the median finish times and number of finishers from the M25-29 through M50-54 averaged between 2015 and 2016 to guard against any anomalies:

25-29- 2:05:12 (145)-9:33 pace
30-34- 2:03:59 (176)-9:27 pace
35-39- 2:01:41 (215)-9:17 pace
40-44- 2:05:30 (214)-9:34 pace
45-49- 2:07:39 (187)-9:44 pace
50-54- 2:10:33 (170)-9:57 pace

If I were to guess the training of mid-pack finishers, I would say it's only "semi-serious" with an average weekly volume around 20 miles with ups and downs throughout the year and a build up which includes several double digit runs as race day approaches.  Of course, there are exceptions based on the amount of natural talent.

In both 2015 and 2016, the 35-39 division was the fastest among the age groups listed so it's unlikely to be an anomaly.  Why is that?  I'd chalk it up to more experience racing the distance.  In my first 2 half marathons, I really didn't know what I was doing.  In my first, I went out too fast and had to walk-jog the last 5K.  My second time, I did the opposite and finished strong but left time on the course.  Also, runners in their late 30s are probably a bit more serious about training and less likely to jump in unprepared.  In terms of raw physical ability, I'd say those in their late 20s do have an edge over the late 30s but not a significant one.

As for the age-related decline, a 40 second drop off in pace between the 35-39 and the 50-54 seems like a lot but if you average it out over 15 years, it amounts to an average annual decline of 2.66 seconds per mile, which should not even be noticeable from one year to the next.  Expressed another way, it's just under one half of one percent per year.  Being 35 or even 45 or 50 is NOT a death sentence.  There is most definitely something physically wrong with you if you fall off a cliff at that age.  I will not quit until I find the smoking gun.

As for the participation rates, it seems like that tends to rise from age 25 before a peak around age 40. Similar to the performance, the rate of decline is slow up through the early 50s.  Things got interesting in the 55-59 age group.  While the median finish time did not decline significantly, the number of finishers fell by nearly 40%.  I would guess the reason for that is top performers are more likely to stay with the sport than those in the back of the pack.  Starting with the 60-64 division, the attrition rate is about 50% for each subsequent division and performances decline sharply among those who stay involved.  Male finishers over age 75 and females over 70 are very rare.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Upcoming Tests, Predictions and Treatments

Next week, I will shell out some major cash in another effort to try to find the smoking gun:

-Vitamin D (2 tests).  I predict there will NOT be a deficiency but there is a possibility of an issue with bio-availability.  In any event, Vitamin-D in supplement form is a NO.  Cod liver oil is my only chance here.  I'll take a few teaspoons in liquid form.

-Vitamin C- I've been taking this stuff pretty steady in recent weeks so I think it's a good bet that it has at least edged into the normal range.  If it remains low, do I take ascorbic acid or Whole Food C?  Whole Food C is the recommendation but I'll go with the most effective option, which remains to be seen.

-Ferritin- I expect to see continued improvement here.  The question is how far am I away from the optimal range? In theory, the Cal citrate should be helping and so should cutting out all lactoferrin. If I remain stubbornly high, my options are a liver flush first then blood donation.

-Hepatic Liver- This is a liver enzyme test.  There is one in particular (ALP) that may very well be high.  If that's so, a liver flush may help and GB-3 may help as well.  I've already ordered the GB-3.

That's all for now.  In the near future, I will be interested in Genova Comprehensive Profile, which is the only one that I know of that tests sulfates in writing.  If it is indeed high, it's probably a wasting issue rather than an excess.  I'll have to investigate what to do about it.  The only things suggested were a zinc deficiency, which seems unlikely and a Vitamin D issue.  I'll know more about that after this test and the treatment will be Cod Liver Oil, not D-3.

Liver flush- We'll see what the ferritin says.  If it's high, the theory is that the ferritin will be dumped out and fall significantly but the Iron and Copper will likely rise.  Fortunately, I know what to do about that.  It may impact my Vitamin C tolerance at least temporarily.  I hope I don't have to do it but if all else fails, it's viable.  The first 2 detoxes were very effective.  The last few were not but that was 2 years ago.  I could be due for another one.

Still have options left but if everything comes back normal, my path to recovery will look bleak.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Training 12/5-12/11

12/5- Went with all ascorbic acid today.  Finished 4 miles at Gold's in 30:37 (7:39 pace).  On 2 pills, I was doing an even 7:40 then finished with a 7:37 after popping a 3rd pill.  That's not a significant difference so I'm going to stay with 2.  It is possible but unlikely that I can handle B-vitamins again if I cut it back to 1.  We'll see.  Also, I tried Thym-Adren (adrenal suppressant) last night and my energy was definitely knocked down a notch but it wasn't an instant disaster.  I'm curious about how I'd do on an adrenal stimulant.  The modulator doesn't hurt me but it's ineffective.
-Next round of tests will be early next week.

12/6- Same workout as yesterday but this time, the wild card was the adrenal glandular.  Came through 3 miles in 23:55 (7:58 pace).  Very stiff and significantly worse than yesterday.  Had to fight hard just to come in under the Mendoza line.  Popped the adrenal glandular and was considerably WORSE.  At least I know it's not the answer now.  Slipped to the 9:00 range and could not even hold that.  I cut off the watch after a half mile and treated the rest as a cool down.  May need to cut out the ascorbic acid.

12/7- Unplanned rest day.  Legs feel like steel beams.  It's either the ascorbic acid or the caffeine or both.  I can handle some caffeine occasionally but if I go 3-4 days on it, it's trouble.

12/8- Took just 1 ascorbic acid and immediately felt much worse.  Most likely, that does it.  I'm going with the Whole Food C at lowered doses.  I'll try again on Sunday with just a trace.  Massive headache after just 1 day off caffeine but stuck it out.  2 miles in 19:40 (9:50 pace).  Should be better tomorrow.  In other news, I got into the NYC half so I've got 3 months to get well.

12/9- AM- 2 miles back on Whole Food C just looking for modest improvement and got it with a time of 16:55 (8:28 pace).  MINUS 82.
 PM- Began feeling different by the afternoon and improved to 23:53 for 3 miles (7:58 pace).  Again, I had to fight pretty hard just to get under the Mendoza line.

12/10- Another unplanned rest day.  Curcumin was the culprit today.  Did not even try.
PM- Decided to do a junk run on Wisteria just before sunset.  1 mile and it was ugly.  No time.

12/11- It does not matter which form of C that I take or what dose.  It cannot be taken with B-vitamins.  Did not even try this morning.  GB-3 did arrive yesterday afternoon so I took just a trace and felt a definite improvement.  2 miles on Wisteria in 15:50 (7:55 pace) with the upside in a respectable 7:44.  I'm going with the C for the next 5 days then hopefully, I'll be done with it.  The GB-3 will be added slowly.

-18 miles on the week.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rant: Race Relations Part 2

There are some on the Left who believe that whites are irredeemable because we have racism in our DNA.  I vehemently reject that bigoted point of view.  Nobody is born racist.  You have to learn that nonsense down the road but you can unlearn it too.  Nelson Mandela agreed with my views and said the following prior to his death in 2013: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

How does one learn racism?
IMHO, it is a two-fold cause.  First, it can be taught by parents or peers.  Second, it can be learned through negative experiences with a particular group.  While we can debate whether or not "racist" is the appropriate term for those who posted such awful anti-white sentiments on the video that I shared in my last post, there can be no dispute that all races are capable of  hate and bigotry towards others.  Like I said, BOTH sides need to make changes.

Best ways to unlearn it?
While I believe that civil rights and racial equality certainly should be taught in school,by far the most important thing is positive experiences.

My background:
I grew up in a predominantly white middle class neighborhood but was raised by parents who believed strongly in racial equality and taught it to me from a young age.  I did have a few childhood friends who were racist and it turned out that their parents were as well.  Fortunately, I never bought into it.  I also believe that if you had a close friend who is black (which I did), you are less likely to grow up to be racist.

A couple experiences:
One day I was walking down the street on my way to the convenience store and said "Good morning" to a black teenager.  His response was "F--- you white bitch!"  I was HURT.  Let's say this sort of thing happened with regularity or I was a victim of the "Knockout Game" on multiple occasions.  I'll admit that I could fall prey to hatred.  Fortunately, I don't see that happening because the vast majority of blacks that I know are good people.

Another time, I exchanged smiles with an older black woman who worked in my building in Monty.  That's common in the South and I usually don't give it much thought,  This time the smiles got bigger and heartfelt as we got closer.  As I walked by, she said "Come here," then gave me a hug.  You can't help but like that type of person.  Now let's say that I was raised by racist parents or had some negative experiences.  It would be very hard to hold on to those views after meeting and getting to know someone like I just described.

Advice for Whites:
What I hear most on social media is to show more empathy and I agree with that assessment.  Being pro-police and having compassion for the shooting victim's families are NOT mutually exclusive.  You can say to simply comply with orders and you'll be okay and that's certainly true.  However, after the fact when emotions run high, those words can be hurtful especially if a person lost a close friend or family member to violence, which is common in the inner-city.  Regardless of a person's criminal history, it is tragic to see anyone killed at such a young age.  I met a man who was once a drug dealer but experienced a conversion to Christianity and is now a pastor.  Some people change.  I would also encourage participation in outreach projects in the inner city.  If there's anything I should add to this, let me know.

Advice for Blacks:
Here's where I could get in trouble.  Again, I have compassion for victims of police brutality but IMHO the biggest problems are absentee fathers and gang bangers.  You can say that police violence hurts more because they are paid to "serve and protect" and I understand your point.  However, some in BLM feel that it's reached epidemic proportions and that's simply not true.  The fact is that blacks are 90 times more likely to be killed by other blacks than police.  Also, when you factor in encounters with law enforcement, there is no real evidence that blacks are targeted.  Chants for dead cops, looting and throwing rocks at traffic are completely unacceptable regardless of difficult life experiences.  

Across all races, you are 8-9 times more likely to drop out of school or end up in prison if you grow up without a father.  The black illegitimacy rate is currently at 72%.  If it would drop below 50%, crime will fall dramatically and educational achievement would also improve with more parental involvement and discipline.  Profiling will also diminish with time.  As an aside, white crime has ticked up in recent years as the illegitimacy rate has increased.   There is a school of thought that negative behaviors such as bad language and horseplay during  class instruction should be acceptable as "part of their culture."  To me, this implies that we are to expect that certain people cannot behave in a respectful manner.  This is a racist point of view.  End the soft bigotry of low expectations. Do not tolerate negative behaviors in the name of cultural relativism.  No ethnic group is inherently superior or inferior to another.

Advice for all:
Make an extra effort to be kinder than necessary to people who are different from you.  Don't give anyone a reason to hate and seek to change the hearts and minds of those that have fallen prey to it.  What makes me sad is that there is an element within BLM that seeks to re-segregate and there are calls for separate housing on college campuses.  What would Martin Luther King say about that?  He had a dream that we could all sit down together as sisters and brothers.

Across all races, if you do the following, your odds of success increase dramatically for both yourself and your children:
1. Stay in school
2. Secure stable employment
3. Don't have kids out of wedlock
4. Don't use drugs

Again, I welcome comments on this but keep it civil.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rant: Race Relations Part 1 of 2

This could be my most controversial post yet but I've got to get this off my chest:
  I am 36 years old and have never seen race relations this bad during my lifetime.  That includes during the LA riots and the OJ trial.  What really made me sad was the open hatred of white people that has exploded on social media since the election of Donald Trump.  Check out this video: (WARNING: VERY BAD LANGUAGE).  Ironically, Trump actually did marginally better than Romney among minority voters.  IMHO, BOTH SIDES need to make changes to work out these problems once and for all. More on that in Part 2.   Here are my thoughts:

Many on the Left tend to view everything through the prism of race and make false accusations of racism where it does not really exist.  That is divisive and needs to stop.  Here are some examples:
- Bush 43 was criticized for calling Obama "impressive and articulate." If he had added "for a black man," then yes it would be offensive.  As it is, I'd say that's a compliment to one individual.

-Michelle Obama went to a store incognito and was upset that a woman of short stature asked her to reach for item on the top shelf "as if she was a store employee" .  Could that be because she is nearly 6 feet tall?  Ridiculous!

-A FB friend (who has since been unfollowed) called Evangelical church services "gatherings of white supremacists" and I've been accused of racism just because I have a southern accent.  Assuming that an entire group of people hold racist views is in itself a bigoted viewpoint.

-Any criticism of a minority, even if it is fair and accurate is slammed as "racist"

While it is true that actual white supremacists voted overwhelmingly for Trump, the vast majority of his supporters cast their vote for other reasons as I explained on my last political post.  Ask the radical Islamists, rioters and gang bangers about their presidential preference.  Yes, some of Clinton supporters were deplorable as well but I would never say that it's half or even a significant percentage.  Has Clinton ever disavowed her unsavory supporters?

Now at the other end of the spectrum, many on the Right wish to ignore racial issues altogether which can come across as insensitive.
- I have little-no idea about life in a predominantly black community especially one that is a high crime neighborhood so I say we need to show more empathy for people who were born into these difficult circumstances.  Birmingham's largest church has teamed with Prayer Force United to perform outreach in those communities.

-Did police who shot the black suspects have a legitimate reason to fear for their lives?  I'll leave that for others to debate.  What is unquestionable is that any person whose life is cut short in his teens and 20s is a tragedy.  I express my condolences to the family of Michael Brown and the others.

-Profiling does exist and I acknowledge that the War on Drugs has disproportionately impacted the black community.  If any readers have been watched or harassed just for being black, I share your outrage and I am on your side.

Now let's shift gears.  I've watched several YouTube videos in which Trump supporters debate Black Lives Matter or similar groups.  Typically, the Trump supporters remain calm and civil while the other side reacts with anger and name calling.  Let's break it down.
First, I dislike the term "privileged" as it relates to skin color.  I've faced hard times and much of it was due to genetic defects and I really don't consider myself to be all that fortunate even though I grew up middle class with above average intelligence.  If you explain that, they will usually say that I am still "privileged" because the "system" is "set up" for me to succeed while minorities are "set up" to fail.  I strongly disagree with that assessment.  Let's look at 2 cases.  The first is real.

-A man who works in my office rose to the rank of Division Manager.  He and his wife, who also works in my building earn a combined salary of approximately $200K/year.  The couple lives in Helena with their young son.  Helena is located about 30 minutes south of Birmingham and was recently ranked among the 100 best places to live in America.  The community is virtually crime free and has a school system consistently ranked among the best in the state.  This is a black family.
FYI- Alabama has changed in the last 60 years.  In 2016, upper-middle class Southern whites are VERY RARELY racist.

-A child was born in the Heart of Appalachia.  His parents divorced when he was a toddler and earn a combined salary of only $40K/year.  The local economy is stagnant with a high poverty and unemployment rate and the school system is poor and underfunded.  This is a white family.

Which person would you say is privileged and "set up to succeed?"  Almost everyone would say the former.  If you bring that up. they will say that the latter case will likely have a good relationship with law enforcement and can loiter around in high end shops and rich neighborhoods.  I say that's not necessarily true.  If you walk into a high end clothing store dressed like a bum, you'll be watched because you appear out of place.  I have not had many encounters with law enforcement myself but have usually been treated with courtesy.  I did have to submit to a full body pat down and bag search when I set off a metal detector at the airport.  Of course, I didn't like it but complied with orders and was on my way in 5-10 minutes.  Up to this point in the discussion, it's still pretty civil.

What tends to set BLM off is being accused of racism themselves and the reminder that we have a black president and a black attorney general. Their point of view is that only whites can be racist because they have the power to systematically oppress minorities. Minorities can only be "prejudiced" and even that is only grudgingly admitted. Same difference if you ask me.  More on that in the next post.  I will NOT downplay the horrors of slavery and segregation and acknowledge that impacts are still felt today.  However, IMO in 2016, there is little to no unavoidable systematic oppression with the possible exception of police profiling.  Despite our past sins, Western culture today is by far the world's most tolerant place toward ethnic and religious minorities.  White racism still exists but it is not strong enough to preclude success in life.  What I would like to know is the following:  What laws need to be enacted today to help minority communities?  Tell me.  I am open minded and will consider supporting your proposals.  Here's what I do support:

-Ending abortion, which disproportionately affects black babies.
-School vouchers to improve education in the inner cities.
-Secure borders to reduce competition for jobs.
-Aggressive enforcement of anti-discrimination laws.
-Criminal justice reform including decriminalized marijuana.
-Cameras on police to investigate profiling and brutality.

I welcome your comments but anything abusive will be deleted.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Training 11/28-12/4

11/28- BAD!  Took extra whole food C last night but none this morning and it cost me.
2 miles in 16:58 in the morning.  Only 1 mile in 8:55 in the evening.  One piece of good news is the ADHS (adrenal modulator) had no real effect at all.  My pace was almost exactly the same without it as with it.  We'll see tomorrow.

11/29- Unplanned rest day.  Felt like death all day but did make an important discovery.  The B-6 and Vitamin C cannot be taken together.  It's possible that I can take one at low dose in the morning and the other in the evening but for now, I'm better off not messing with it.  One or the other and I'm going with the C

11/30- Another unplanned rest day.  If I did run, it would be 9 minute pace or worse for less than 3 miles.  All B-vitamins must be cut if I a to take C.  It's either one or the other.  Of course, I could try to reduce the dose of C while staying on the Bs.  For now, I'm going with the C because the test showed it was my most pressing need.

12/1- AM- Came through 1 Mile in 8:24 fading then popped a B12 and was immediately worse.  Slipped to the 9:15 range then quit after 1.5 miles.  No excuses tomorrow.  I'm going all in with the Whole Food C.

PM- 1.5 miles in 13:46 (9:11 pace).  No improvement over the morning session.  No more excuses tomorrow.  Due for the next round of testing in 2 weeks.

12/2- Woke up feeling like death but did get noticeably better after taking the Vitamin C.  Finished with 2 miles in 16:48 (8:24 pace).  That's enough improvement to stay on the current track.

12/3- Least favorite workout:  Trial and error at Gold's.  It appears that winter has arrived here with temps in the 40s- low 50s and rain in the forecast.
0 Vitamin C- 1 Mile in 9:24
500 mg of Whole Food C-8:32 (MINUS 52) with splits of 4:25-4:07.
500 mg of Ascorbic Acid- 7:13 (MINUS 79) with splits of 3:38-3:35.
While the ADHS (adrenal support) doesn't hurt me, it has become almost completely ineffective.  It's quite possible that I was deficient in C all along but the fast oxidation compensated for it.  Do I go with Whole Food C or the synthetic ascorbic acid?  Despite the greater effects from the latter, I'm going with the Whole Food C because it does not raise Iron or deplete ceruloplasmin.  Also, it appears that the Whole Food form takes longer to kick in as evidenced by the strong negative split.  If I had taken the ascorbic acid first followed by the Whole Food, the bulk of the improvement would come first but I still would have seen a significant improvement after the Whole Food dose.  In any event, I'm going with this until it stops working.

PM- 4 miles in 31:38 (7:55 pace).  Not half bad.  I beat the Mendoza line then tacked on another mile.  Relatively even pace (15:46-15:52).  MAYBE this is the key.

12/4-  Opened with all Whole Food C.  I was better than I would have been without it but somewhat disappointing.  On a full 2000 mg, I managed only 15:52 for 2 miles.   If I had done the same workout as the afternoon session yesterday, it would have been mid-32 so that's slightly worse. Then, I took the synthetic ascorbic acid and improved to 15:20 (MINUS 16/mile) despite tired legs.  A 2nd ascorbic acid pill led to a 7:14 mile.  Overall time was 38:26 for 5 miles (7:41 pace).
I'm going with ascorbic acid at least temporarily.  I'll need to take Curcumin every day to guard against Iron overload.  The next round of tests will be within about 10 days.

Distance=20 miles on the week

Monday, November 21, 2016

Training 11/21-11/27

11/21- No doubt now that Whole Food C was another false hope.
AM- 2 miles in 16:44 (8:22 pace) with even splits then got significantly worse after just a trace of C.
PM- Got some clearance and a modest improvement.  Rallied from 10 seconds down to come in under the Mendoza line.  3 miles in 23:52 (7:57 pace).  Not many options left.

11/22- Another trial and error at Gold's with Vitamin C:
0 pills- 8:06 Mile
1 pill- 7:12 Mile
2 pills- Over 9:00
I still need Vitamin C.  How much?  Will it ever stabilize?  If it does, something else will flare up?

11/23- Pathetic 9:40 mile at Gold's then left for home.

11/24- Down to 250 mg of Whole Food C and it appeared to be a good call.  Peter's 3 miler in 22:37 (7:32 pace).  Faded a bit in Mile 3 but was still under 7:45 pace at the end.  A small glass of OJ made me feel slightly worse so if I am to adjust it, the dose will be lowered.
-Considering another Liver flush but will likely wait until the ferritin is re-tested in 3 weeks.

11/25- Peter's 2 in 17-flat (8:30 pace).  In a sudden reversal, I need to RAISE not lower my Vitamin C dose.  That could be good news in the long run.  Took a little over half a pill as planned and was awful in the opening mile (9:15) but improved to 7:45 after popping just 1 more C pill.  This same dosage would have been a disaster just 1 day ago.  Nothing surprises me anymore.
Distance=2.0.  YTD: 1,197.  One more session should get me back into the 1200 mile club.

11/26- Peter's 3 in a moving time of 22:53 (7:38 pace).  My need for Vitamin C continues to increase.  Today, it was apparent even before I started that 2 pills would not be enough so I started with 3 and ran the first half in 11:44 then popped a 4th pill an improved to 11:09 on the back half.  That's a pace of 7:50 without vs 7:26 with the extra C.  That is significant but not a night and day difference.  I have hit 1200 miles on the year, which is more than I did all of last year.  I'd like to finish at 1350.

11/27- Went with 4 Whole Food C pills and finished 5 miles in 38:35 (7:43 pace).  Not too bad.  Still low energy.  Drank a smoothie loaded with C and felt no real difference one way or another.  Not sure if loading will have much impact.  It will just take time.  Again, Vitamin C was the only thing that was significantly out of range on my OAT test.

Distance= 22.0.  YTD= 1205.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Training 11/14-11/20

11/14- AM.  Spain Park Mile in 6:54 (3:30-3:24).  MASSIVE improvement over yesterday thanks to cutting out the D.

PM- Took some Cal and was noticeable worse.  Same old tired Gold's 3 in 24:58 (8:19 pace) and had to rally to get under 25.  I'm sticking with the Cal because eventually I will need it again but the dose will be no more than 500 mg.

11/15- 5 miles at Gold's in 40:45 (8:09 pace).  Decent improvement over yesterday.  Though the pace was just 10 seconds faster, I lasted 2 more miles and had something left at the end.  Yesterday, I was spent after 3.  I've said it a million times.  I'm fine with a slow climb out of this hole.  If I can avoid a relapse, I'll be competitive soon.

11/16- Gold's 5 in 37:57 (7:35 pace).  MINUS 34.  That's a huge improvement over yesterday and actually managed a slight negative split (19:02-18:55).  Still, my reaction is SO WHAT?  If you're a longtime reader, you know I've seen similar improvements from day to day.  I'm not celebrating anything until I am under 35 and can do it consistently.

11/17- Lakeshore 4 miler in 28:32 (7:08 pace).  Nice job.  I started strong and finished strong but even the middle 2 miles were in the 7:15 range.  I cut it a mile short because my hips have been aching all day long.  Not sure what the source of it is but it didn't hurt me in my workout tonight.  I believe I could have broken 36 or at least come close in a full 5 so I'm within striking distance of the goal.  Again, no celebrations until I can do it CONSISTENTLY!  Tacked on a half mile cool.

11/18- Step backward but not a relapse.  Gold's 3 in 23:51 (7:57 pace).  Took off at 7:15 for the first half mile then it was downhill from there.  I did manage to hold it in the 8:10 range over the last 2 miles and I did not need a rally at the end.  Tacked on a half mile cool.  I wasn't sure if Whole Food C was making a difference but after 1 day off it, I know I need it.

11/19- DISAPPOINTMENT!  I overshot the dose on Whole Food C.  It appears that the optimal dose is either 250 or 500mg (1 or 2 pills) or possibly 1.5 (oh goody, cut them in half).  I took 3 this morning and had nothing.  I HATE THESE NARROW WINDOWS!!  Just 1 mile at Spain Park in 7:51 (3:48/4:03).  Granted, it was very windy but even in calm conditions, I would not have been much better than 7:40.
 Afterwards, Vitamin D only made it worse but other sulfur containing pills such as Curcumin and Apple Cider Vinegar did not seem to hurt me.  I thought about jumping in the Magic City half tomorrow but that looks highly unlikely barring a miracle turnaround tomorrow.

PM- Added another junk mile at garbage pace.  Almost certainly out for Magic City tomorrow but I didn't sign up anyway.

11/20- Unplanned rest day.  Did not even try.  Cut it down to 500 mg. of Whole Food C and it still didn't work.  Just a trace of D made it worse.  I may try Cod Liver Oil or another brand of Whole Food C.  Not looking good.

PM- Did 1 junk mile on Wisteria and it sucked as expected.  I will likely go completely off the C rather than try a small dose tomorrow.

-25 miles on the week.  1,183 on the year.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rant/Rave: Politics

Just a random observation, it seems that conservatives are far more likely to treat those with whom they disagree with respect and civility.  It was quite common this election cycle to be de-friended just for liking Trump’s page even if you never commented on it.  I shy away from politics on my Facebook page but do comment on other posts only if I agree.  Only once have I cut off a friendship because of an offensive view, which was an anti-Semite who honestly tried to tell me that the Holocaust didn’t happen.  I would also do the same if a person was an apologist for radical Islam while railing against Evangelicals and conservative Catholics.  I maintain my no de-friending policy but have unfollowed several people for excessive left-wing posts filled with profanity.  I still care about them and occasionally check to see how they are doing.

 Let’s go back to 2004.  Remember the “Jesus Land” and “United States of Canada” maps.  I heard a talk show host say that she wished Lincoln had allowed the Confederacy to secede so the present day U.S would be more “progressive.”  Forget the fact that most of the black race would have been enslaved for another generation or 2.  Other posters openly hoped for another 9/11 level attack only if it happened in a red state.  Both sentiments were VERY offensive to me.

This time around, it’s twice as bad.  It seems that the far left (not all liberals) have genuine disdain for people with opposing views as evidenced by Clinton’s basket of deplorables comment.  They preach tolerance for different lifestyles yet mock those who enjoy hunting, fishing and going to church.  We’ve got a 50/50 nation with a deep urban/rural divide.  For example, Maryland was a 25 point blowout for Clinton but she failed to win a single county outside the Beltway metro area.  18 of the 24 counties went for Trump.  If you look at New York and Illinois, the story is similar.   Somebody tweeted “Rural America= Stupid.”  Can you imagine if a conservative posted the same thing about the inner city?   

If you’ve watched the news, you’ve heard all the “F--- Donald Trump” and “Die Whites Die” chants and people being beaten just for wearing a Trump hat or T-shirt.  Some victims were young girls and senior citizens.  Several FB friends have posted that they are “terrified” of a Trump presidency including one person who posted a picture of a black man in a cotton field saying Vote For Hillary or else this will happen again.  There is a Twitter hashtag trending that says “Assassinate Trump.”  Sadly, in my experience, it is nearly impossible to have a rational and reasonable discussion with the far left so I expect the divisiveness will continue.  Go down to Cuba and see what happens when your ilk comes into power.  True, the right has said some pretty nasty things about Obama but nothing on that level.

As for me, I consider myself a moderate conservative.  On a scale of 0-100 with 100 being the most extreme right, I’m probably around a 75.  In other words, I’m well to right of center on most issues but usually pragmatic and willing to listen to well-reasoned opposing points of view.  For an Alabama resident, my views are pretty much in line with most of the population so if you are curious about what most Southern conservatives really believe, here it is:

Abortion- Life begins at conception and termination of a pregnancy is tantamount to murder.  The media would have you believe that it is usually not a black and white issue but here’s the truth: 3% of abortions are due to the life of the mother, 2-3% are due to a severe fetal abnormality that may result in a stillborn child, 1-2% are due to rape, 93% are for convenience.    It should be discouraged in all circumstances but forcing a woman who is beaten, raped and left to die to carry the rapist’s child is hard to defend.  Again, these cases are VERY RARE especially with the morning after pill.  The remaining 93% must be stopped. Partial birth abortion is barbaric and indefensible yet Democrats fought tooth and nail to keep it legal.  This may be counter-intuitive but I believe that if the option of abortion is off the table, we will see fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Civil Rights- Hire the best candidate for the job without regard to race or gender and prosecute organizations that practice discrimination.  Work to eliminate all forms of prejudice through positive interaction with those who are different from you.  When it comes to college admissions, I would allow some degree of preference but it should be based on economic disadvantage rather than race.  A minority who lives in the same neighborhood as their white middle class peers should be held to the same standard.  Marginal applicants from the inner city or poor areas of Appalachia may be given slight preference.

Death Penalty- In ordinary circumstances, I favor life in prison without parole for murder.  However, in particularly gruesome or hateful cases such as shooting up a black church, the ultimate punishment is appropriate.  It ought to be enforced surely and swiftly within 1-2 years of conviction with no doubt of guilt.  As a general rule, it ought to be used only for mass murderers and terrorists.

Immigration- Canada has been known to deny entry to tourists who had a recent DUI.  Any country can and should be able to decide who enters and who is likely to thrive if they stay permanently.  It ought to be based on merit and job skills that are in demand as well as shared values without regard to your home country.  In other words, I am not at all against immigration but it must be done LEGALLY.  The border must be secured in a manner that all future illegal immigration is stopped cold once and for all and future legal immigrants must be carefully screened.  As for the illegals already here, they must turn themselves in, pay a fine and submit to a background check or be subject to deportation.  If they can pass the tests, I am fully on board with a path to legal status.  However, I am firm on the only path to citizenship being going back home and going through the same legal process as everyone else. As for refugees, polls show that at least 1 in 8 Syrians have a favorable view of ISIS and a larger percentage do not accept basic rights for women, gays and other religions.  Yes, most are peaceful but it’s NOT just a TINY minority that are dangerous.  If you don’t believe me, look at the Pew Research polls and see for yourself. 

Taxes-Capitalism may be unfair but history has proven that it’s the best system we’ve got to lift people out of poverty.  I will not go as far as to support a flat tax and am strongly opposed to a regressive national sales tax but I do support making the income tax flatter and lower for all wage earners including the top 1%.  When it comes to the top 0.1%, which is largely composed of athletes, entertainers and CEOs, yes I would be open to them paying a little more especially if it increases revenue.  I support cutting corporate tax rates as well as capital gains taxes for ordinary investors but a hedge fund manager who makes millions per year should pay the same tax rate as the top bracket.  It’s counter-intuitive but throughout history, tax reduction has often led to an INCREASE in revenue for the government.

Trade- In theory, I do support free trade and open markets but multinational agreements such as NAFTA and TPP must be written in a manner that safeguards American interests and sovereignty as well as human rights around the world.

Foreign Policy- I support a strong defense but no more nation building or unprovoked regime change.  Spreading democracy in the Middle East is a noble idea but I just don’t think it can work in that culture.  I do strongly support Israel as a nation that largely shares our values.   Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons and ISIS must be defeated.  A secular dictatorship is preferable to an Islamic sharia state.

Health Care- No universal government run health care but I support vouchers for the poor and disabled.  I have no need for prescription drug coverage and doubt that I would take it if it were prescribed.  I would take coverage for catastrophic events.  If it were up to me, I would allow patients the right to choose coverage for either prescription drugs or naturopathic testing.  I’ve spent thousands on lab tests over the years and if I didn’t have a decent job or a supportive family, I would have been screwed.  Don’t worry about the costs to cover naturopathic testing.  We are highly motivated individuals who will generate far more tax revenue when healthy and able to return to work. 

Gun Control- I do not own a gun myself and can’t envision buying one given my issues.  I support reasonable background checks and waiting periods but for law abiding citizens, I do support the right to own a gun.  I have no problem with concealed carry but open carry makes me uncomfortable.  I also believe that a good guy with a gun can save lives in a mass shooting.

Education- Allow more state and local control and allow parents to choose schools via vouchers.  Private school tuition can be prohibitively expensive for lower income families, which is just not right.  Common core, especially when it comes to math is a joke.  Just memorize the addition, multiplication and division tables.  No need to draw pictures to show the work.  Encourage schools to take a hard line on bullying and I do believe that prayer can help combat that problem.

Criminal Justice/Drugs- Stay tough on serious crime but consider alternative sentencing for petty cases.  Imprison drug dealers but users should be given a shot at mandatory rehab for a first offense.  When it comes to marijuana, I do not favor legalization but do support decriminalization.  By that, I mean that if a college kid gets caught in possession, he or she will pay a fine and that’s it.  It will not affect the criminal record or job prospects down the road.

Religious Freedom- No establishment religion and no restrictions on free exercise.   Allow prayer groups to meet in school during free periods but no spoken prayer during class instruction time.  Businesses should have a right to refuse service for any reason unrelated to race or religion and customers have a right to boycott those whose policies they find objectionable.

Trump- There are aspects of his character and personality that I find distasteful and for that reason, I voted against him in the primary.  However, once he secured the nomination, I was fully on board especially against Hillary.  Could I ever vote for a Democrat?  If a candidate was nominated who is pro-life and strong on national and border security, yes I would consider it in spite of advocacy for big government. Truman is an example of Democrat that I probably would have liked. Such a candidate could be nominated at the state level today but don’t see it nationally. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Training 11/7-11/13

11/7- Went aggressive with the Vitamin D dose.  Got the expected result based on my research.  Legs were heavy and sore but my pulmonary function seemed to improve, which suggests better sulfate metabolism.  That's the reason for taking the D.   Did 3 miles at Gold's in 22:40 (7:33 pace) with very even splits.  Tacked on another mile as a cool down after popping another pill and was noticeably worse.  Tomorrow, I will cut the dose back from 4 pills to 3 and hope that I will eventually be able to cut it out entirely.
Other news:
I have ordered the probiotic supplement and I predict it will be helpful but not a game changer.  Vitamin D test will be done on Friday.  Listed as doubtful for the Magic City half on 11/20.

11/8- Gold's 3 in 23:29 (7:50 pace).  A step backward.  The Vitamin D is trending down.  I will stay on 3 for 1 more day.  Similar feel to yesterday.  Lungs were fine.  Legs were heavy and sore.

11/9- Naked 2 mile at Veteran's Park,  It is clear that Vitamin D needs to be cut.  Down to 2 pills tomorrow.  That's a positive development.

11/10- Cut it down to 2 pills and it was still too much.  It was a bad call to load on that stuff.  I should have been content with gradual gains from a low dose.  I'm going down to 1 pill tomorrow.  Gold's 3 in 23:53 (7:58 pace).  Relatively even pace that never went much above 8 but never felt strong.

11/11- Day off work for Veteran's Day so I ran a double.  Cut the D down to 1 pill and it was still too much and interestingly, I got worse on extra Cal.  I've learned that Accutane depletes D and so does Synthroid.  In fact, there is an inverse relationship between thyroid activity and Vitamin D.  Too much D suppresses thyroid function so that makes sense.

AM- Trak Shak 3 in 23:49 (7:56 pace).  Slightly faster than yesterday but felt no better overall if not worse.  I started off pretty well today but my legs went dead after a 7:33 opening mile and had to fight just to stay below the Mendoza line.

PM- Picked up a less potent D at the health food store and as expected, I got slightly worse after taking another small dose. Another 3 this time at Gold's in 25-flat (8:20 pace).  Tomorrow, I'm going with the less potent D, which is only 1000 IU vs 5000 of the old stuff.  I'll start at 3000 tomorrow.

11/12-Reduced the D as planned but it was still too much.  It appears that I am heading towards complete intolerance.  Morley, if you're reading this, I'm likely going off D completely or merely taking it once a week for maintenance.  Did not even try to do the group run today.  Instead, it was more interval testing at Gold's (ugh)

In Mile 1, I felt about the same as yesterday.  Came through in 7:46 and was likely headed towards another Mendoza level performance.  The moment of truth came later.
Mile 2, took some of the new probiotics and as I predicted, I felt marginal benefit but it seems unlikely to be a game changer.  Improved to 7:31 (MINUS 15).
Mile 3 was where it got interesting.  Took some taurine (sulfur containing) and was merely hoping to survive the next mile.  As recently as a few months ago, a small dose was an instant disaster.  Today, I actually got slightly better with a 7:21 (MINUS 10).  That means there is a very good chance that the sulfate metabolism problems have been solved.  If so, that is EXCELLENT NEWS!  Still, with the CBS mutation, I had best not mess with the taurine.

I decided not to test my D levels at the lab until my dosage stabilizes.  Instead, it will be tested with the ferritin after Thanksgiving.  Vitamin C as ascorbic acid remains a NO and I'm okay with that.

11/13- Another interesting day.  It was immediately clear that Vitamin D need to be eliminated NOW.  Dose was cut in half and did only 1 mile on Lakeshore in a pathetic 9:21 then got home and popped a Whole Food C.  This same pill caused instant disaster just 2 weeks ago.  Today, I not only tolerated it but actually got better.  Did another mile on Wisteria and improved to 8:43 (MINUS 38).  This tells me that while D most definitely caused damage to my thyroid and possibly my copper metabolism, the sulfate metabolism problems COULD BE GONE.  If so, that would be YUGE!  Not celebrating yet because it could come back with a vengeance when I stop the D.

Weekly summary:
It is entirely possible that the problems with iron, sufate, methylation and sensitivity are all under control.  I COULD BE IN THE CLEAR when the excess D is out of my system.  YUGE!
Distance= 23.0.   YTD: 1,158 miles.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Further reflection on OAT/Ferritin

After some additional consideration, I am disappointed in my results.  Still no real smoking gun.  I was VIRTUALLY CERTAIN that the oxalates would be WAY over the top but that was not the case.

As for the yeast and fungal infections, neither one was extreme high and I have every confidence that with stronger probiotics, they will come down.  It's possible that they were not always high.  I took probiotics more regularly in the past and it did NOT solve my the sulfur issues or the sensitivity.  As for the low serotonin, the 5-HTP failed but I am pretty confident that improved gut health will also boost my serotonin.  I'm not even getting my test interpreted by a "real doctor"

In other news, my ferritin blood test results came back today and my number is 171, which is down 77 points from my high of 248 just 5 weeks ago.  Ideal is 50 so I've got a long way to go.  I doubt this is the smoking gun either.  I've read about cases that were over 1000.  It's certainly a good thing to get it down and I will keep striving for that objective.  IP-6 is no longer tolerated but it seems like Calcium citrate is not only tolerated but necessary at pretty high doses.  I'm going with that until the first of December.  If I don't see another significant drop, I will go through with blood donation.  Why the hesitation?  I'm leery because it can deplete other minerals.

Worst symptom:
If I take a pill that I cannot tolerate, what happens?  My whole body tightens up and both my energy and mood are tanked for the rest of the day, perhaps into the next day.  The ill-effects kick in almost instantly.  I'm talking about less than 60 seconds after taking the pill.  Would a mildly elevated yeast/fungal marker cause something like that?  Hell no!  How about a mild-moderately elevated Iron or ferritin?  Highly unlikely.

Tests to be considered:
-Genova Organix Comprehensive- Tests many of the same stuff as the OAT but this one tests sulfates.  My urinary sulfates are off the scale on the test strips but I have nothing in writing.  Based on everything that is going on, the evidence suggests that I don't have an excess at all.  Rather, I am wasting the sulfates in my urine just as was the case with Lithium last year.

-Ferritin re-test-  I want to a drop down to at least 125 by early December.

-Vitamin D- I found several articles on Google that have said this is "critical for sulfate metabolism."  The Accutane that I took is a toxic dose of Vitamin A, which is stored in the liver.  What gets depleted when you have an excess of Vitamin A?  The answer is D.

-5HTP- FAIL.  See the description above.

Whole Food C- FAIL.  See above.

Syntol- Stronger probiotic will be ordered.

Vitamin C as Ascorbic acid- May be okay in small doses but I can't tolerate anything over 500 mg.  I will take it only if it makes me feel better.  If it's ineffective but not a FAIL, I won't mess with it.

Calcium Citrate- looking like a winner and my best hope short of blood donation to lower ferritin.

Blood donation- Again, a last resort.  It will almost certainly lower ferritin but will it solve the sensitivity or sulfate metabolism?  Highly unlikely.

Vitamin D3- Many health practitioners shoot this down and suggest Magnesium instead.  My Magnesium has consistently tested at 5 in the HTMA and in the upper 5s in the RBC.  That's just south of optimal and CERTAINLY NOT the smoking gun.  Upping Mag is still a good idea and will be necessary if I take more D.  Based on what I've read, D could be my best hope to solve the sulfate metabolism.  Of course, I will test it to see if I really am deficient.  I've been wrong before.

What about depleting ceruloplasmin?
  To be honest, I'm not worried about that at all.  I felt BETTER when it was low.  However, if I find that ascorbic acid doesn't help or my D tests normal, I won't mess with either.

Monday, October 31, 2016

OAT Test Results

Well, I finally got the results e-mailed to me today.  In short, there are abnormalities but not the ones that I expected.  I am going to order a consult with one of the doctors at Great Plains Labs but I want to give a special shout out to the woman who actually e-mailed me.  She spent at least 20 minutes with me on the phone and made several promising suggestions and did it free of charge.  Very few people that I have dealt with have been kind enough to do that.  Anyway, 75 markers were tested and I will only list the ones of note.

Part 1- Intestinal Microbial Overgrowth-
I had 2 markers flagged as high in this section:
Arbinose – 24 (0-20)-  Indicates candida overgrowth.
4-Hydroxybenzoic- 0.74 (0.01-0.73) – Harmful bacteria and fungal overgrowth.
I’m taking probiotics already but it’s not enough.  I need something stronger.  As I’ve said many times on this blog, you’ve got to be really out of whack to be flagged.  Being borderline high is still not healthy.  Suppose, my values were 20 and 0.73 respectively.  That’s still pretty bad and a patient who is 1 point under the line won’t feel much different than one who is 1 point higher.  The woman that I talked with is pretty convinced this is the root of my problems and that may be so but I wanted to see a “smoking gun” that was WAY outside the range.  I’m talking about an arabinose over 100, which has been seen.  I’m not shocked about either of these abnormalities.

Part 2 Oxalates-
This was the biggest surprise.  I fully expected my oxalates to be WAY over the top.  Not so fast.
Glycolic was actually borderline LOW and barely within the reference range while oxalic was only mildly high and well within the normal range.  Why have I become dependent on calcium citrate?  Does that stuff have anything at all to do with the trans-sulfation pathway?

Part 3 Neurotransmitters-
Good news is the dopamine and adrenaline are fine.  Bad news is the serotonin is low.  Not a huge surprise.  What’s causing the low serotonin?  It could very well be related to gut/bacterial issues but I’m going to give 5-HTP a shot in hopes that it will give me a quick boost.

Part 4 Vitamins-
B6 and B12 were mildly low but not severe.  No real concern because both are trending up with supplementation.  Ascorbic acid was VERY low (3.9) versus a range of 10-200.  Morley Robbins is convinced that my Iron Overload is the culprit and I need to focus on raising my ceruloplasmin.  

Morley is a good man but I may have to disagree on this.  I’ve tried Liver Beef and Whole Food C and both are disasters at the present time.  While I’ve raised my ceruloplasmin from 17.9 to 25.9 as of my last test, I FELT BETTER WHEN IT WAS LOW!  I’m not saying that there is a connection but I was doing pretty well in the Fall of 2014 when it was around 20 and my downturn began once it got around 22-23.  Sure, Iron overload is a very serious problem but my numbers looked so much better on the re-test and it’s possible that my ferritin is now moving in the right direction.  I’ll get that re-tested tomorrow but I’m going to try ascorbic acid at least in low doses.  Maybe now if my sulfation pathways are open, I can tolerate Whole Food C.  We shall see.  If the ferritin remains high, I will either try to eliminate a supplement that contains low dose lactoferrin or go through with blood donation as a last resort.

Part 5- Others of note-
NAC (glutathione precursor) was undetectable but glutathione itself was right where it should be.
Phosphoric was a bit low but within the range.
So what is the smoking gun?
I’m still convinced that it is a block in the trans-sulfation pathway.  I can’t take any sulfur containing pills or the CBS treatments to reduce them though it’s possible that calcium citrate has improved that.  I have nothing in writing but the urinary sulfate strips are always off the scale even if the sample is diluted with water.  How to unblock that?  I got a couple other suggestions.

I think it's possible that high ferritin is the cause of the sulfur block and I've read some evidence that calcium citrate can lower ferritin.  I'll find out tomorrow when it's tested.

Training 10/31-11/6

10/31- Unplanned rest day.  Vitamin C appears to be working.  5-HTP is a disaster.  Ferritin re-test is tomorrow.  5-HTP makes me sore and drowsy.  Should be better tomorrow.

11/1- AM- Did the ferritin blood work and should have the results tomorrow.  Trial and error at Gold's.  Came through 1 mile without any citrate or Vitamin C in 8:14 running at tempo effort.  Popped a Cal citrate with Mag and did the next half mile in 3:38 (7:16 pace) then took 1 Vitamin C pill and improved to 3:13 (6:26 pace) for an overall time of 15:05 (7:32 avg).
It is CRYSTAL CLEAR now.  I need both Cal citrate and Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid).  Maybe I can switch to Whole food C someday.  I'll find out tomorrow if the Cal citrate is helping the ferritin but either way, I'll need to go back to Curcumin keep the serum Iron under control.

PM- Lakeshore 2 in 17:28 (8:44 pace).  1 Vitamin C worked well.  3?  Not so much.  Not a big surprise or disappointment.  I had a MAP test with Yasko last year that did NOT show arabinose issues.  Hmm.  No doubt I need a stronger probiotic.

11/2- AM- Tried Whole Food C again and not surprisingly, it was a TOTAL DISASTER.
Just a 1 Mile junk run.  Stay tuned for the ferritin results later today.

PM- Improved a bit.  3 miles at Gold's in 26:54 (8:58 pace) with an even pace.  The whole food C hasn't cleared yet and I'm not sure about the ascorbic acid either.  Ferritin is down 77 points to 171.  Nowhere near where it needs to be but progress is progress.

11\3- AM. 6 laps at Gold's in 7 flat (10:30 pace) then popped just 1 D pill and improved to 5:58 (8:57 pace). 1000 mg of ascorbic acid is a FAIL. 500 may be as well but the D is promising.

PM- Lakeshore 2.5 in 21:35 (8:38 pace).  Not much to say that's not already apparent.
Vitamin C in any form is likely a fail at any dose.

11/4- Lakeshore 3 in the daylight after work for the last time until Spring.  Felt noticeably better today thanks to reducing the Vitamin C.  Finished in 22:54 (7:38 pace) with even splits and a little bit left at the end.  I'll be better tomorrow when it's completely out of my system but it's still the right call to skip Vulcan.  Instead, I'm going to South Carolina for a Clemson game.

11/5- Planned rest day.  Clemson won in a blowout.  If you include drive through states, South Carolina makes it 21 states visited this year alone.
Dallas Trip: AL, MS, LA, TX
KC Trip: TN, AR, MO, KS, IL, KY
Alaska: AK, WA (overnight in Seattle)
Gulf Coast: FL
Pittsburgh: VA, WV, PA, OH
Tahoe: CA, NV
Clemson: GA, SC

11/6- Vitamin D testing.  Intervals at Gold's.  With no D, I did better than expected with a 7:10 mile but I was fading to the 7:30 range by the end.  Without Cal citrate, I would have been closer to 8.
1 D pill: Improved to 6:44 and held the pace pretty well
2 D pills: Improved to 6:18 with a dead even split
I believe I could have threatened the 6 minute barrier if fresh.
The MAG group is strongly against D supplementation but what the hell do I have to lose?  Hopefully, it will be only a temporary measure until I fix the sulfate metabolism.

-18 miles on the week.  YTD: 1135.