Monday, June 27, 2016

Training 6/27-7/3

6/27- AM- 2 miles in 16:21 (8:11 pace) with a slight negative split.  I'm sure I could have done another mile at the same pace so consider it MINUS 60 from yesterday.  Took just 400 MF and less than half an Ultimate B pill.  Access to 2nd gear today.

PM- Gold's 5 in 39:50 (7:58 pace).  Very even splits.  1st half-19:58, 2nd half: 19:52.  I had the sub-8 all the way but did allow a modest pick up in the last lap.  The last 2 days I was better in the evening session because I got some clearance, not because of the temps.
The R-5-P (sure hope it is the R-5-P and not something else) is effective in resolving the MF sensitivity and it should arrive as a stand alone by Wednesday evening.  I did better than yesterday because I reduced the dosage to less than half an Ultimate B pill (contains other ingredients that I can't tolerate).  If I did not take the Ultimate B at all, the sensitivity returns with a VENGEANCE!  I know better than to get my hopes up but there MAY be a chance that this nightmare will be over very soon.

6/28- AM-Reduced the Ultimate B dose further and improved to a 7:29 Mile on Wisteria and actually managed to run the upside faster (3:48-3:41).  Yasko thinks that my dependence on Methyl Folate will always be there but the sensitivity will diminish in time when my system builds up a reserve.  The R-5-P should hasten the process.

PM- Bible study tonight so no running.  Took the last of the Ultimate B.  The R-5-P is in transit and should arrive by tomorrow.

6/29- Trak Shak 3 in 22:20 (7:27 pace).  Very good splits (7:25-7:26-7:28).  Perhaps the best news of the day is that I did not feel significantly different after I took the regular pills today. Specifically, 400 vs 800 MF did not matter. If that sticks, it is EXCELLENT NEWS.  Though I will remain diligent about taking the pills, a single missed dose won't hurt much!  The R-5-P did not arrive today.  Tomorrow for sure.  I'm still going without the Ultimate B.  It was hot and sticky at 5:30 when I ran but quite pleasant before sunset at 7:30-8:00.  Maybe I'll do some of my runs later in the evening in July.  Peachtree's forecast looks rough.  75 at the start, 80 at the finish with high humidity.

6/30- As expected, with no R-5-P, the sensitivity is back with a VENGEANCE!  The pills have NOT arrived because they were sent to Pensacola post office by mistake (zip is 325 vs 352 in B'ham).  Tomorrow for sure.  Workout was 5 miles on Lakeshore on a beautiful evening (90 w/ 59 dew point).  I got off to a good start (1st half: 18:05) but faded horribly on the back half to a 25:53.  If this were indoors, I would have called it quits at 3.  No walk of shame but it might as well have been with an 11 minute pace in Mile 5.  Overall time was 43:58 (8:48 pace).

7/1- I would have been horrible without the R-5-P today (likely over 9 for 1 Mile) but fortunately, they DID arrive today.  5K at Gold's in 21:04 (6:46 pace). New post-35 PR and a near miss at the point of confidence barrier.  I was hoping that this pill would take me back to all time PR form but that's just not realistic for the 1st day and the lost fitness.  Still pleased.  Long cool at glacial pace.  I'm going with the formula but may make some minor tweaks.

7/2- Gold's 5 in a moving time of 36:40 (7:20 pace).  1st half: 18:10, 2nd half: 18:30.  Not bad overall but there were a few puzzling developments.  The best news is that my Methyl Folate DOSAGE STILL DOES NOT MATTER.  There was no significant difference between 800 and 1200.  The bad news is that my ADHS does.

 On just 2 ADHS w/800, I struggled for 7:30 pace on the first lap and knew it would quickly turn ugly.  In the past, MF has lowered my demand for ADHS so I thought 1200 MF might be better.  I was slightly faster on the next lap but not significantly and did not feel any difference.  This proves once and for all that the R-5-P does indeed recycle methyl folate and will significantly reduce my sensitivity to it.  YES!  After taking a 3rd ADHS pill, I felt free and easy early at a sub-7 pace but was unable to hold it.  By the halfway point, I had slipped to a 7:40 pace from Mile 2-2.5 and predicted over 8 by Mile 5.  I stopped and took a 4th ADHS and yes, I found somewhat of a resurgence.  The back half was done at a respectable and steady 7:24 pace.

I've noticed in recent days that my skin has become very oily and I have a couple embarrassing break outs on my face too.  The former case is most definitely a sign of fast oxidation and if that's so, it's a good thing that I can tolerate more ADHS because it modulates adrenal function.  I just wish I wasn't so dependent on it.  What caused the uptick in need for it?  I'm not sure.  It could be the R-5-P but that seems unlikely.  If I had to bet, I would say it's either the Lithium or molybdenum reduction.  Moly is necessary to detox sulfur but I fear taking too much will deplete copper and ceruloplasmin so I started cutting those pills in half.  That may have been a bad call.  I'll do something light this afternoon to test it out.

Run #2 @ 10AM- 1 Mile on Wisteria.  Took 1.5 moly pills before starting and felt about the same.  Did the downside in 3:43 (7:26 pace) then popped 2 more ADHS and charged uphill in 3:23 (6:46 pace).  No doubt that extra ADHS is needed. The molybdenum dose does not matter.  I may try occasional use of Lithium but only 1-2x per week. Both my mood and energy have improved and my skin seems to be less oily as well.

7/3- Planned rest day.  Drove to Atlanta for Peachtree.  Forecast looks rough (upper 70s with humidity).  Not expecting much but hopeful for a time around 47-48 minutes.

Weekly distance= 26.0

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ultimate B testing (Last experiments)

What is Ultimate B and why might it be helpful?

 It is a B-Vitamin complex with an unspecified amount of methyl donors including SAM-e and TMG as part of a proprietary blend.  I know for a fact that those last 2 ingredients will INCREASE my demand for methyl folate.  With the Methyl Mate, I found that I require 1200-1400 mcg per pill.  That's right, if I only take one of those suckers, 1200 is required with 1 pill but if I take 2, the requirement jumps to 2400-2800.  Too much is just as bad as too little.  The sweet spot is very narrow and likely subject to change without notice.  Next week, the range could be 800-1000 and as the dose goes lower, the window will become narrower.  NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Gotta try something new.

This pill will not necessarily increase my demand for methyl folate because it contains 50 mg. active B-2 (Ribo-5 Phosphate) which should be taken anyway because it may be depleted by large doses of B-12 and folate.  Supposedly, the R5P "recycles" methyl folate to prevent depletion.  Thus in theory, it will leave me LESS dependent on it all while safely increasing my still low methionine level.  Because I am homozygous on MTHFR 677, some methyl folate will likely always be necessary.  However, the best case scenario is a situation in which there is not a significant difference in how I feel on 400 mcg vs. 2400 and may be able to get away with an occasional missed dose.  I can dream.

The plan:
I'll be on the track or at Gold's every day for the next 4-5 days.  I'll take both the Methyl Mate and Ultimate B and start the workout on ZERO Methyl Folate.  After each interval, I'll pop a pill and keep doing it until I hit the sweet spot and begin getting slower.  After 2 consecutive days in which the dosage is constant, I will declare the formula to be SET.  No more experiments after this are planned.
The worst case scenario is that I can't find any dose of MF that works as well as before these tests.  If that happens, I just go back to the old formula.  Nothing to lose.

See the workout dated 6/26 for more detail.  It's a split decision.  I felt MUCH worse overall but there was no significant difference from one dose of MF to the next.  Odds are that means there was an ingredient that reduced the sensitivity to MF (most probably Ribo-5-Phosphate) but other ingredients that cannot be tolerated.  I'm going to toss the Ultimate B and go with Ribo-5-Phosphate alone.  Hopefully, the Methyl Mate will keep the Methionine in range.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Alaska Road Trip Report

My first trip with Nick along with his fiancee Cara.  It was a bit of a downer to not have my own significant other but I still enjoyed the trip very much.  I left work on time after my day on Tuesday and arrived in Atlanta that night without a hitch. I did have a close call in the parking lot of Nick's place when a car nearly backed into me.  Not a good start.  That would be the last of my logistical troubles.  Our flight included a long layover in Chicago's O'Hare so we had a sit down lunch at Chili's.  From Chicago, it was a 6 hour flight into Anchorage but we gained 3 hours.  Anchorage is located just north of the bay and surrounded by majestic mountains that are more beautiful than Colorado.  I saw stunning views on glaciers, lakes and snow capped peaks on my way in just before landing.

We arrived around 7:30 PM local time to crystal clear blue skies with the sun in a position that suggested it was mid-afternoon.  Even though my body was tired from the travel, my mood immediately became brighter shortly after landing.   All 4 days were a perfect sunny and 75, which is about 10 degrees above average for June in Alaska but it does hardly ever rain in early summer.  If anything, it was actually a little on the warm side when we went hiking and during the race. The sunset occurred at about 11:40 PM with the sunrise being around 3:30 AM and twilight lasts longer the further you are from the equator so yes, it was plenty light enough at midnight for outdoor activities and I'm not sure that it was completely dark even at 2 AM.  On an impulse, I went out for a 1 Mile junk run after midnight just because I could.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to run in the daylight at midnight.  Some people were worried about how it would affect my sleep.  That answer was not that much.  I often felt tired at 10:00 PM but got a second wind around 11:00.  Once I settled in to bed however, I slept uninterrupted for 6-8 hours every night.
Midnight in Alaska

The next day was a 4 hour drive north up to Denali National Park with stunning views all the way.  The National Park is actually near Fairbanks, which is as far north as you can go by car.  In Fairbanks, the sunset is after midnight and even the twilight is very short.  Once in the park, we embarked on a strenuous 4 mile hike up and down a smaller mountain.  Pictures don't do it justice but we saw some incredible views of nearby snow capped mountains including Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) in the distance with a peak over 20,000 feet, which is the highest in North America.  From there, it was back down to our cabin in the town of Talkeetna about 2 hours south of the park on the way back to Anchorage.

On Friday, we drove through the town of Talkeetna and saw even better views of Mt. McKinley at 3 different locations including an overlook, a lake and a lodge.  My only complaint was that because of a late start to the day and a sit down breakfast, we had to scratch Denali State Park due to time constraints.  The State Park is closer still to the mountain and likely had even better views.  Still, what we did see was breath taking so I did not gripe much.  Instead, we went to a Reindeer farm, which also included a bison and some elk.  We were back in Anchorage around 4 PM so we picked up our numbers at a small expo then later went to dinner at a very good but overpriced steakhouse before settling in for an earlier night.  I got a few compliments on my southern accent when talking to other runners in the hotel.

Race day:
The race did not start until 9:00 AM and I would have preferred earlier because temps warmed to near 70 by the finish with sunny skies.  Yes, in Alaska it was a bit warmer than ideal.  I cautioned myself not to go out too fast but the first mile was almost all downhill so I ran a 7:21, which I figured was probably the equivalent of a 7:40 on flats.  Miles 2 and 3 were mostly flat along a bike trail overlooking the bay.  I deliberately held back in Mile 3 and was pleased to see a solid 7:45 split.  My realistic goal was to beat my time from KC (1:45:58) but a sub-1:43 (7:50 pace) would have been my fastest time since 2014 and it appeared that I had a good shot at it in the early miles.
7:21-downhill (7:21)
7:39- flats (15:00)
7:45- holding back (22:45)

The hills came steady in Mile 4 with only 1 break that was level not downhill,  My pace was still respectable given the terrain but I could feel a massive fade on the way.  I should still be relatively fresh after Mile 5 and that was not happening.  The next mile had one major decline with a nice view of the sea but the rest was rolling and mostly climbs.  The elevation rose close to 200 feet over the previous 2 miles and Mile 6 was similar but it was in the full sun next to an airfield, which was not very exciting.  By this point, I was in survival mode and not checking my watch very often.
8:00- uphill (30:45)
8:00- rolling (38:45)
8:21- cramping (47:06)

Just before the halfway point after a brief downhill, we turned off the road onto a trail section.  I thought it would be gravel but it was all grass and bumpy with lots of turns.  There was one short but very steep climb, which I walked and the following downhill was so steep that you had to brake or else you would have fallen.  Mercifully, the grass trail was only about a Mile though it felt a lot longer.  Once we got back on the bike trail, I managed only a slight resurgence.  My groin was cramped up pretty badly and it was now obvious that the pills were off.  When I saw my split at Mile 8, I knew that even with a ghastly fade, a sub-2 was assured and it was likely to be in the low 1:50s.  Unfortunately, Mile 9 was also nearly all uphill and again, I had to take a short walk break and did not get much of a resurgence in Mile 10.
9:34-technical trail (56:40)
8:48- back on pavement (65:28)
9:21-uphill (74:49)
9:04- back down, water stop (83:53)

With 5K to go, we were now on the same bike trail heading back to where we started so I knew that since the first mile was nearly all downhill, the last mile would be nearly all uphill.  Fighting imbalances and feeling the effects of under training, I'm sure I let up on this section.  I knew what was coming and really did not want to have to walk those last hills so close to the finish so I saved the little energy I had and yes, I did manage run up all those hills.  My gun time was 1:55 flat but my watch time was 1:54:52.  I was just hoping to be in the top half in my age group but was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had placed 19th of 82 (77th percentile).
9:22 flats (1:33:15)
10:04 saving it (1:43:19)
9:57 uphill (1:53:16)
1:36 uphill (1:54:52) last .17

Pills were clearly off and once I got back to the room, it was confirmed that Lithium was the culprit.  An adjustment was needed and it was simply unfortunate that it happened on race day.  Fortunately, the methylation support prevented a total disaster.  If not for that, I would have been well over 2 hours or worse had to drop out after Mile 3.  Still, realistically I am not much better than the 1:45 I ran in KC on this course even if the pills were on target.  Over the past 8 months, I have done only 3 runs longer than 10 miles and 2 of those were half marathon races.   Steady training at 40 MPW with some quality should get me well under 1:40.  The long-term formula should be set by the end of the month and I'm going with it until the Fall.  That should allow for more consistent training.  If I'm not much better by then, I must see a functional medicine doctor even if it costs a fortune.

Race organization:
Only fair overall.  The scenery was terrific by the bay but I could have done without the trail and air base section.  Instead, I would have liked more downtown running.  I suppose for a relatively small event however, you can't shut down traffic all day.  The race distance was accurate but mile markers were short by a tenth of a Mile all the way which made for a long Mile 13.  Also, beer was SOLD at the after party.  IMHO, at least 1 beer should be included in your entry fee.  If you want more after that, then you pay.  All in all however, a sub-par race experience really did NOT put a damper on the trip overall.

We got cleaned up and went out to lunch where I had fish and chips and 2 beers then took a walk down by the bay for one last photo op before a walk around a downtown city park.  By mid-afternoon, it was time to go back to the airport.  I could have taken a red eye and gotten back to Atlanta by Sunday morning or early afternoon but I can never sleep on a plane so I decided to take an overnight layover in Seattle.  This also enabled me to catch up with my friend Beulah from Clemson.  We had a nice breakfast together at Denny's and she took me back to the airport.  The flight back to Atlanta also went without a hitch.  Maybe I could have made it back to B'ham that night but it would have been very uncomfortable and I would not have arrived until midnight because of the time change and I did not plan on coming to work on Monday anyway.  Fortunately, Nick gave me a key and allowed me to crash so I had an easy drive back and plenty of time to decompress.

Hair and UAA Test Results

Hair test:
This measures 23 minerals but I was really only concerned with 2 of them, Lithium and Cobalt (B-12).  This test represents an average of the past 3 months or however long you allow your hair to grow.  That means that if a mineral is trending up, then it is likely slightly  higher at this time than it appears on the test and vice versa.

Yasko was very pleased overall.  The best news is that Cobalt has edged into the normal range, just barely at .005.  However, it is a 5 fold increase since last time and if measured at a snapshot, it would likely be slightly higher.  Still. I need to stay on B-12 and if anything, it may need to be increased a bit.  My energy will not be affected if I take too much but it can cause diarrhea so if I am to take extra, it must be done at night.

To clarify, the form of Lithium that I take is low dose Lithium Orotate, which is very different from the Lithium Carbonate that is prescribed to bipolar patients.  It's primary function is to transport B-12 into the cells.  As I learned the hard way last year, if you take B-12 when your Lithium is not up to snuff, it not reach the cells but pool up in the blood and leave you worse off than before.  My first test showed Lithium to be nearly undetectable then it was mildly elevated on the 2nd test (yellow zone) so I reduced the dosage.  It is now SKY HIGH (well above the red line).  Though Yasko was not too worried, it is common knowledge that excess Lithium suppresses thyroid function and will leave me vulnerable to fatigue and weight gain.  ADHS (adrenal modulator) contains an unspecified trace amount of Lithium so that's probably why I felt slightly worse if I took too much of that stuff.  What's done is done but I likely would have performed better in Alaska if I had nixed the Lithium caps.

Toxic metals:
I thought that perhaps with the methylation support, I would see more toxic metal elimination.  Not so at least at the present time.  All toxic metals were in the low zone.

Other minerals:
I had a few that were mildly low (yellow zone) but NO CRITICAL DEFICIENCIES!  That is excellent news and clears one hurdle that is a must before I enter the dating market.

UAA test:
This stands for Urinary Amino Acids and I believe it is a snapshot test, not an average over a period of time.  Again, many of them were tested but I will only list the ones of note.

Methionine- This represents the starting point of the methylation cycle and I believe that a deficiency here is responsible for extreme sensitivity to minerals.  I tested at 9.7 vs. a reference range of 7-35.  That's still on the low side (yellow) but it beats the hell of the 2.0 that I had without the methylation support.  I had only been on the Methyl Mate 3-4 weeks when I sent the sample so it's probably higher now.

Taurine- A mild concern here.  I saw a rise from 720 (green) to 1080 (yellow).  The red line is 1200 so I did come in well under that.  It is a bit puzzling why I had such a bad reaction to the CBS drops and the CBS/NOS caps.  Perhaps I was too aggressive with the dosage and I only should take just a trace.  Any downside to too low taurine?  Yes.  A deficiency can lead to anxiety and leave me vulnerable to high blood pressure and cholesterol.  I have another theory that it is related to beta alanine and gut dysbiosis.  If that's true, I need to focus on probiotics not CBS issues.

Ammonia- No concern here.  This one was in the green zone and just a tick north of the 50th percentile.  No need for treatment.

Glutamate- It was undetectable last time.  It's now 10 (5-45 ref).  Edged into normal but it may be a good idea to take some occasional glutamine to guard against another drop.

Phospho-Serine- Also undetectable last time.  It's now 0.96 (ref 0.6-6.0).  Again, it's still a little on the low side but I should get by without it as a stand alone supplement.  Methyl Mate contains a trace of it as part of a proprietary blend so that should be enough to stay afloat.

Beta alanine- A rise from 6.5 to 18.  OUCH!  The red line is 20 so I did still come in under that.  A high value here indicates gut dysbiosis and unbalanced intestinal flora.  It may also be artificially raising my taurine levels.  I've slacked on my probiotics recently and though it won't hurt to miss a day here and there, I can't make a habit of it.  This will come down if I take them every day and/or eat some yogurt and taurine may drop along with it.  The herbal supps for malabsorption are non-factors.  I'll finish the bottle and pitch it without re-ordering.

Mostly pleased but a few tweaks are necessary.  First, Lithium as a stand alone has to go.  It may take a few weeks but I should see improvements in energy when that normalizes.  I'll try to up B-12 to get the Cobalt to the middle of the range.  Hopefully, ADHS will be enough Lithium to get it into the cells.

I have a few indicators of a mildly low Magnesium level.  This one has been tested 3 times at the RBC level (all 5.6-5.9).  That's slightly below the optimal range but not enough to produce significant symptoms.  If it drops below 5, I've got real trouble.  I'm upping it from 500-750 mg.

Probiotics every day.

I want to give the CBS stuff one more shot at a low dose or simply occasional use.  It's possible that it's necessary if I take MitoForce (with glutathione) but more than likely, it will be neither not both.

Ultimate B is worth a shot.  My ratio of 1200 methyl folate/1 Methyl Mate appears to be stable at the moment but given my history, that could change.  I really don't like to have to take such an exact ratio every morning or else.  Some flexibility would sure be nice and more methylation support will raise my still low Methionine level.

I should have the formula set by the end of the month and I'm going with it for the next 3 months.  At the end of September, I'll send in another hair test this time through ARL to get more accurate assessments of thyroid and adrenal function.  If I can avoid a major relapse during that time and I have no severe imbalances in key mineral ratios, I'm putting myself on the dating market.

Training 6/20-6/26

6/20- Back to the Ham.  Got in just before lunch.  Stopped at Gold's for more experimental Mile reps this time with ADHS.  I'm jet lagged so I wasn't expecting much but I still found out what I needed to know.
Zero ADHS- 7:39 at moderate effort.  Surprising pop in my legs.
3 ADHS- Down to 7:16 on similar effort (MINUS 23)
6 ADHS- Up to 7:54 and had to rally for a sub-8 (PLUS 38).
Distance= 3.0
ADHS is an adrenal modulator so it should not hurt me to take extra.  It does contain an unspecified amount of Lithium as part of a proprietary blend so that's likely the reason.  I'm going with 3 of those pills but may cut it to 2 temporarily.

PM- I said both or neither regarding MitoForce and CBS/NOS caps.  The answer is neither and I did not have to run to find out.  Tomorrow could be rough as well but that's okay.  It's going to take at least 2 more days to recover from the jet lag anyway.  Ordering the Ultimate B and this is my last experiment.

6/21- Summer solstice.  90 degree temps but dew point was only 65.  5 miles on Lakeshore in 37:54 (7:35 pace).  Decent performance.  Faded to the 7:40s in Mile 3 but held it there the rest of the way.  Come August, it will be just as hot but more comfortable because it will be closer to twilight at 5:30 PM.  First day off Lithium and I may have still had some CBS in my system.  Somewhat encouraging but it will take time to bring Lithium down.

6/22- Planned rest day but it was such a nice evening that I decided to go a 2 mile junk run naked.

6/23- Gold's 3 in 26:57 (8:59 pace).  Weak effort but I know the reason.  I binged on caffeine again after the race.  I can afford to cheat once but not 3 times.  Better than yesterday and I should be okay by Saturday.  Ultimate B pills arrived but I won't try them until Sunday.  Again, this is the last experiment before the formula is set.

6/24- AM.  2 miles in 15:54 (7:57 pace).
PM- 3 miles in 23:49 (7:56 pace).
Never tired but no power in my legs and it felt like I was stuck in 2nd gear.  Pace was very even.  I just want to finish tomorrow.  I don't care about the pace.

6/25- 6 AM- FAIL.  1 mile in 11:15 and did not even attempt the BTC group run.  The culprit is methyl folate for sure.  I've had minimal caffeine the last 3 days too.  Only good news is that I was slightly better after taking the Ultimate B.  I may try again this afternoon.

10 AM- Despite temps pushing 90 with full force sun, I improved to 9:19 on Wisteria (MINUS 1:56).  The difference was clearly Ultimate B.  No caffeine or sugar for that matter for the next few days.  It will be experimental intervals at the track tomorrow and I still expect to have the formula set within the next 5 days.

6/26- 8AM.  Experimental intervals at Vestavia.  Started with Methyl Mate and Ultimate B plus everything else normally taken except Methyl Folate.
ZERO MF- 400 in 2:31 (10:04 pace).  BEYOND AWFUL
400 MF- 400 in 2:24 (9:36 pace).  ONLY SOMEWHAT BETTER
800 MF- 400 in 2:23 (9:32 pace).  ESSENTIALLY NO IMPROVEMENT
1200 MF- 400 in 2:23 (9:32 pace).  IDENTICAL
1600 MF- 800 in 4:48 (9:36 pace).  PERHAPS A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT
2400 MF- 800 in 4:46 (9:32 pace).  NO BETTER BUT NO WORSE
  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a split decision.  I felt terrible overall and it's obvious that the Ultimate B is not going to work BUT there was NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 400-2400!!  Odds are there was an ingredient that recycled the MF and reduced my sensitivity to it.  That ingredient is most probably the Ribo-5-Phosphate but there are other ingredients that I cannot tolerate.  I'm going to toss the Ultimate B and order R-5-P as a stand alone.  I might try some mucuna prueins down the road to boost dopamine and/or slowly increase the ADHS but this is the end of the experiments until further notice.  The formula will indeed be set.

PM- Gold's 3 in 27:30 (9:10 pace).  Perhaps slightly better than the morning session but that's probably because it was indoors with 70 degree temps vs. 85 and sunny outside even at 8-9 AM.  Very even splits and could have gone longer but no power at all and no access to anything beyond 1st gear.  The R-5-P will likely arrive by Wednesday night and I'm not sure what I'll do until then.

Weekly summary:
28 miles on the week but only Tuesday was respectable.  Learned a lot and the formula should be set by the end of next week.  YTD: 574 miles.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My CBS mutation solution

I have a heterozygous mutation for every CBS SNP tested and have homozygous mutations for a couple NOS SNPs.  NOS will make CBS issues worse.

Somewhat surprisingly, my UAA tests have NOT shown elevated taurine and ammonia levels unless I had been supplementing with taurine recently.  However, my sulfate test strips still show that my levels are off the scale high (over 1600) and it does not seem to matter what I do.  Nothing will bring it down.  It was suggested to me that perhaps those strips are not accurate and I am beginning to agree.  I have tried numerous treatment specifically designed to reduce sulfur such as:
-CBS RNA drops
-Activated Charcoal
-CBS NOS caps
ALL WERE MISERABLE FAILURES!  I thought that maybe Methyl Mate would allow me to tolerate them but that's clearly not the case.  I'm not messing with this anymore.  Is there any downside to having taurine too low?  Yes.  It can leave me vulnerable to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and anxiety.  My last health screening at work wasn't bad enough to raise a red flag but my bad cholesterol was much higher than usual and my blood pressure was a little on the high side as well (126/86).  Taurine may have been elevated due to gut dysbiosis as evidenced by a high beta alanine level.

No, I can't and won't supplement taurine and other sulfur containing amino acids but it is unnecessary and potentially harmful to keep trying to reduce it.  Strangely, taurine or glutathione was not only tolerated but needed when on Liver Beef.  That's because my toxic copper was too high.  Now that my copper dysregulation has improved (last Cp was 25.9 vs 17.9 at my low point), Liver Beef is not needed and also could be harmful because it depletes zinc.

I'm sticking with what does work, which is hydroxy B-12 and low dose molybdenum plus low dose Lithium Orotate to transport it into the cells.

I may end up going with MitoForce instead of stand alone CoQ10 for mitochondrial support but it's unlikely to be a game changer.  Instead, it's going to depend on the MethylFolate/Sam-e ratio.  As of now, it's 1200-1400 MF per MM pill.  Again, it is not the dosage that is important but the RATIO.  1200 MF/1 MM- okay
1200 MF/2 MM- not okay
2000 MF/1 MM- not okay
2000 MF/2 MM- not okay
2400 MF/2 MM- okay
 How do I feel about that?  As long as this ratio stays constant, I don't like it but it's manageable and I can deal with it.  Having to adjust it every week or 2 would be intolerable.

It's too close to race day to try Yasko's Ultimate B but there's a good chance that it's going to do something.  It does contain Sam-e and TMG so it will likely increase my need for Methyl Folate.  However, it does contain Ribo-5-Phosphate (Active B-2).  Now, B-2 has not worked in the past but there may well be a difference between the 2 forms.  Think about my folate conundrum.  Synthetic folic acid is poison for MTHFR defects but active Methyl folate is a life saver.  The same could be true with active B-2.  Supposedly, it "recycles" MF and may allow me to take more MM without so much dependence on MF.  I can dream.

If I can find a stable formula and am able to train consistently at 35-40 MPW, I see no reason why I cannot get back down well under 21/45/1:40.  After Alaska, my next planned half is Detroit Free Press in mid-October.  I expect to be in the 1:35-1:37 range by that time.  If I'm not improved by the Fall, I've got to bite the bullet and pay the $450 to see the Functional Medicine practitioner in Nashville.

Training 6/13-6/19 (race week)

Very little training will be done this week.  I've got to leave for Atlanta after work on Tuesday to catch a morning flight on Wednesday.  I know the optimal ratio (1200-1400 Methyl folate/1 Methyl Mate) with no CBS treatment.  Unless I am significantly better on 2 MM pills, I'm going with 1 up to and including race day.

6/13-AM- Tried to run this morning and realized I forgot the B-12 so I just did a junk mile.  Popped some Mitoforce and got worse so I know that stuff is a NO.  I'm sticking with CoQ10.  That leaves me with Ultimate B as the only other option remaining.  I will attempt a run this evening and tomorrow morning on 2 MM pills but doubt it will be a game changer.

PM- Just another junk mile.

6/14- On 1 Methyl Mate pill, clocked a 10:42 for 1.5 miles at tempo effort then popped a 2nd pill and ran the next half mile in 3:37.  Not a significant difference in pace but felt slightly more sluggish.  I'm going with 1 pill.  If I took a half, then 600 mcg. MF would be the sweet spot but my need for ADHS would tick up again.  Going with 1 pill.

6/15-Atlanta to Chicago then to Anchorage.  Crystal clear skies with temps around 70.  Beautiful mountains nearby.  BIG news.  The medical report has arrived sooner than expected.  The news is mostly good.  A more detailed post will come later.  Planned rest day.

6/16-AM- Ran in the daylight at midnight.  Just a junk mile but how often will I be able to do that?  Once in a lifetime unless I come back here in June again.

8AM- 2 miles in 14:28 (7:14 pace).  Out and back route from my hotel through downtown Anchorage.  1st mile on no Lithium was 7:32 then came home in 6:56 on half a pill but got worse after taking the rest of it.  I'm going with half on race day.  Yes, Lithium was elevated on the medical report.  More to come later.

PM- Strenuous 4 mile hike at Denali National Park.  Doesn't count as a run but it was a real workout.  Amazing scenery and pictures will be shared on my road trip report.

6/17- Talkeetna then back to Anchorage.  More views of Mt. McKinley.  Picked up number at the expo.  Planned rest day.

6/18- Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon in a mildly disappointing 1:54:52 (8:44 pace).  Decent first half but cramped and died in Mile 7.  State #27 is in the books.  Flew to Seattle that evening for an overnight stop rather than a red eye.

6/19- Planned rest day.  Breakfast with Beulah, an old friend from Clemson, then flew back to Atlanta and crashed at Nick's.  Probably could have made it back to the Ham but it would have been very uncomfortable and I was not planning on working Monday anyway.

Distance on the week- 21 miles.  YTD: 547

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Attitude and Chemical Imbalances

I'm sure y'all have heard all the cliches such as this one.  "Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you deal with it."  That has always been one of my pet peeves because it just does not apply to someone like me.  A chemical imbalance exists independent of your attitude and your external environment.  The cause is usually a combination of genetics and environmental factors that may be beyond your control. You cannot choose to be happy in spite of it and it's not a matter of simply "learning to love yourself."  The only way out of this nightmare is to balance your chemistry.

It's all about the pills.   If I take the wrong pills or the wrong dose of the right stuff, I will feel lousy almost immediately thereafter.  If I take the right cocktail, I will feel better immediately and the negative feelings will quickly be washed away.  If you read this blog with any regularity, you know it's all true.   The problem is that over the past year and a half, I've have never found sustained success with any formula.

For those of you have been critical of how I've been dealing with this.  Consider  this:  I have studied relentlessly and have tried so many cocktails and combinations of pills all with the goal of finding a formula that will bring permanent stability for myself and anyone I counsel in the future. I've had glimpses of what I can do if healthy and it will be life changing with implications far beyond simply running fast again.   I will try just about anything and will not give up until I find the key.  I'd say that's exactly how I should be dealing with this.  Try letting go and just stop with those pills huh?  If I did that, I believe I would be unemployed and disabled even with anti-depressants.

Another ignorant suggestion about depression is to simply "get off your ass and improve your circumstances."  I'd say I've done that.  Fortunately, I am able to work and live independently while many others cannot.  I've put it in the effort with my job and earned a promotion with a 15% raise last year.  Guess what?  It did nothing for my symptoms.  What about someone who is too sick to work?  How do they improve their circumstances without proper treatment?

In other news, I joined a new Bible study last night.  I like the group but the crowd is a bit too old for me (40s-50s).  I'll stay with it for the summer because I really like the 2 leaders.  One thing that stuck out that really made me think was the suggestion that anger and resentment may be harmful to your health.  I believe it's true.  The speaker also suggested that unresolved issues from childhood could be hurting you as well.

 If you read my Bullying post, you know some of the things I went through.  High school was better but I knew that most of my friendships were contingent on my ability to run,  There was no physical abuse but several instances in which I joined a conversation with an inoffensive remark and was told to shut up with a 4 letter word in between.  Then someone else said nearly the same thing a minute later and it was well-received.

I have LONG SINCE let go of the anger and bitterness and I'd say that I've been "over it" since at least my mid-20s but the speaker challenged us not to simply "get over it" by burying it beneath the surface where it could pop up again but rather to "rip it out from the root."  The rejection still  affects me today even if I'm "over it".   I'm still reserved in a group and struggle when I don't know many people in a crowd.  If/when I go on dates with women that I've never actually met before, that needs to change.  I must confess that some of those negative feelings have popped up again.   There's a secret group on Facebook for fast runners in town that doesn't meet with the regular folks from the BTC.  I was borderline acceptable before the relapse.  Not so now.  I'm excluded from group runs and special get-togethers because I'm not fast enough anymore.  Not cool.  I really wish they'd just go back to meeting with the BTC and doing their own route.  Most people in this fast group are still good and encouraging to me but I know that if I can't run, the fellowship just isn't the same.

All I can do right now is do my best to remain patient and strive to find the key.  When I get my vindication, I must not do the "I told you so" routine.  Are my negative feelings affecting my health?  Maybe.  Will an improved attitude solve my sensitivity issues? NO.  Still, it can only help me to truly rip out the roots of rejection.  One last point.  People are often told not to associate with people who are too negative.  I disagree.  They need encouraging friends and maybe if you show them some kindness, they will become more positive.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Training 6/6-6/12

6/6- Tried SOD and it was a massive failure.  Strange because I seemed to have tolerated it before but I only took it occasionally and usually many hours before the run.  At least I know now that it's a NO.   Finding that out on race day would have sucked.   Methyl B-12 is still a loser as well and I pitched the nearly full bottle.  Jury is still out on B-2 and I am hopeful that it will enable me to tolerate more Methyl Mate.  I want to give Sparga another shot before I declare the formula to be set.
The pathetic excuse for a workout was a 9:28 Mile and I knew I was in trouble as soon as I started.  Perhaps I will be slightly better this evening.

PM- No evening session.  Not even worth a try.  I may struggle tomorrow as well but I want to set the formula before I leave for Alaska.  Ordered Sparga but will hold off on Ultimate B until I get the UAA results, which will likely be after I get back.

6/7- AM- 3 miles in 25:48 (8:36 pace).  As expected, I improved but the bad stuff hasn't fully cleared yet.  Similar to 2 days ago but this time, I actually had a slight negative split.

PM- Almost a carbon copy of last Sunday in both workouts.  I had to cut it to 2 miles today due to time constraints.  Finished in 15:51 (7:55 pace) with even splits and no doubt that I would have been sub-8 if I continued for another mile.  Pitched the empty bottle of Phospho-Serine and will not re-order.  I don't think it really helped or hurt me.  Tomorrow's plan is to go with nothing new in the morning and try some B-2 in the evening.  I am not messing with the Sparga or Ultimate B until I get back but once I try those last 2, the formula will be set.

 Why mess with the B-2?
It can be depleted by methylfolate and B-12.  There is also a chance that it will relieve the remaining sensitivity issues by allowing greater tolerance to Methyl Mate and reducing my dependence on Methylfolate.  I'm sure both will remain must take pills but it sure would be nice to have the flexible dose like the others.  Also, even when I took everything right, I wasn't much better than 36 minutes for 5 miles.  Not good enough.  If I can't do better than 7:10 pace for 5 miles, I can't break 1:40 in the half (13.1 @ 7:38).

6/8- AM.  Not much better.  Again, I had to cut it short to 2 miles in 15:29 (7:44 pace).  MINUS 11 from yesterday but not nearly good enough

PM- 1 mile at the Shak in a time over 10 minutes.  Terrible reaction to CBS/NOS caps that had been okay for me just recently.  This is the 3rd treatment in the last 2 weeks in which I have had an extreme negative reaction.  I thought Methyl Mate was supposed to stop that.  ANGRY AGAIN.  Only good news is that B-2 appears to be tolerated.

6/9- B-2 Experimental intervals.  I had already taken the B-2 before I started.  The aim here is to see how it affects my reactions to methyl.
No methyl pills- 3 laps in 3:11 (9:33 pace)
Methyl Mate only- Improved to 2:59 (8:57 pace)  MINUS 36
400 mcg Methyl folate- 2:32 (7:36 pace) MINUS 81- Mood improved even before I set off on this interval.  Again, the MF must be taken with the MM or it won't work either.
800 mcg Methyl folate- 2:14 (6:32 pace) MINUS 56
1200 mcg Methyl folate (sweet spot)- 1:55 (5:45 pace) MINUS 47
If I had taken more MF, I know that I would have faded somewhat from this.
2nd Methyl Mate- 2:42 (8:06 pace).  Within minutes of taking this pill, it felt like a fog of gloom rolled in.  I knew I had nothing but gave it an honest effort.

This validates everything that I posted yesterday.  Get off your ass huh?  If I was capable of running a sub-6 pace without the methylation support, I would have done it.  If I was capable of doing it on a 2nd Methyl Mate, I would have done it.  The verdict is in on the B-2 and I'm not messing with it.  The pill itself was tolerated but that could change down the road.  It failed to resolve the sensitivity to Methyl Mate and failed to reduce my dependence on Methyl Folate.

6/10- Had NOTHING.  Quit after a 9:42 Mile. An extra B-2 made things worse.  B-2 is NOT going to work.  Sparga is also a FAILURE.  This week has sucked but at least I am close to setting the formula.  I pitched the B-2 and dumped the Sparga down the drain.  That leaves only 2 questions left.  Will Ultimate B allow more methyl tolerance?  MitoForce or stand alone CoQ10 for mitochondrial support?  Those questions will be answered AFTER Alaska.

PM- Junk mile on Wisteria in 9:33.  Not a significant improvement and tomorrow will suck as well.

6/11- Failed as expected.  Ran with the BTC.  Started at the back of the pack and never really moved up.  Called it a day after 4 miles in 39:28 (9:52 pace).  1st half in 18-flat.  2nd half- 21:28.  Marginal improvement over yesterday but it hasn't cleared yet.

I'm done with the CBS experiments.  I'm going with B-12, moly and Lithium.  Neither the Mitoforce nor the CoQ10 is likely to be a game changer and the Ultimate B has some questionable ingredients.  Another thought is to really load on Methyl Folate and hope that it will increase tolerance to Methyl Mate.  I just want to get a flexible dose on those 2.

6/12- Ran with the full deck today.  Took nothing questionable yesterday.  I was much better than yesterday but not nearly good enough.  Came through 4 miles in 30:30 (7:38 pace).  That's 1:40 half marathon pace but in a 13.1 race, I would have been closer to 1:50 today.  1st half was 15-flat but faded to a 15:30 on the back half and was fading.

Decided to experiment from there.  Took extra Methyl folate (800 extra mcg) (2000 total) and struggled as expected.  Next mile was 8:29.  Then took a 2nd Methyl Mate and much to my relief, I improved.  Did the next mile in 6:58 though I still felt a bit sluggish.  Too much Methyl Mate or too little?  Took another half pill and got the answer quickly.  Next half mile was a 4:21 (8:42 pace).

The active ingredient in Methyl Mate is Sam-e and based on what I have read, it's just a fact of life that more Methyl Folate increases the need for Sam-e.  Most likely, it's going to be 1200-1400 Methyl Folate per Methyl Mate pill.  I've traded one sensitivity for another but as long as this ratio remains constant, it's a trade that I am willing to make.

Weekly summary:
A terrible week overall but I learned a lot.  The formula will be set very soon.
Distance= 24/ YTD= 526

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Finding the Sweet Spot

After my latest round of experiments, here’s what I know:

-Either Betaine (TMG) or Yasko’s Methyl Mate.   Either one will do the job of supporting the part of the methylation cycle that will prevent extreme sensitivity to pills.  I feel safer on Yasko’s product because I trust the brand and her advice.  I know I can’t take more than 1 pill and I know I need at least half but it does not appear that half a pill makes a significant difference. 

Without this stuff, I’d need a precise 4:1 ratio of Lithium/B-12.  8:3 won’t do and neither will 9:2.  Factor in that I was shooting at moving targets and you’ve got unyielding misery.  Nobody could be content under those circumstances.  Fixing that problem is HUGE regardless of whether or not my running improves.

-Methyl Folate- This is necessary to tolerate the stuff listed above and I’ve experimented with various doses.  1000 mcg is not enough and 1600 is too much but there does not appear to be much difference between 1200 and 1400.  Caffeine is best avoided but I can tolerate up to about 50 mg/day without a problem.   The key benefit to this this is that my need for adrenal support has diminished because MF slows down an overactive enzyme (GNMT).  I still need it but not at mega doses. 

-ADHS (adrenal modulator)-  The sweet spot is 3-4 of those pills per day but unlike in the past, I won’t be horrible if the dose is a little off.  Suppose I only take 1, I’ll be overstimulated but can still handle an easy 5 miles.  If I take 6 or more, I’ll be a little sluggish but can still run okay.

-Lithium, B-12 and molybdenum- If I am to skip any one of these, it won’t be pretty at all and I most likely cannot do a basic easy workout.  Unlike in the past however, extra doses won’t have much effect.  I only must be wary of too much B-12 because it can cause diarrhea.

-Cal/Mag- The need for a 1:1 ratio every day is LONG GONE.  I’ll run into trouble if I stop it for weeks at a time but if I miss a dose here and there, no big deal.  I probably won’t even notice.

Probiotics and All In One- same as above.

CBS/NOS pills- Put this in the category of helpful but not essential.  I’ll feel a modest improvement from this but can get by without it.

I need to clear out my cabinet and I’m basically taking these occasionally just to finish the bottles:
TX Superfood, Phospho-Serine, herbal supps for malabsorption.  All of these will be pitched and not re-ordered.  I don’t think they’re hurting me at all but I am feeling no benefit.

Mito-Force- I can take Co-Q10 as a stand-alone but would prefer to take this instead because it’s stronger.  The risk is that it could add to the sulfur burden but CBS/NOS will likely mitigate those effects.

Methyl B-12- A disaster before Methyl Mate but I may be able to tolerate it now.  If it’s a loser, I should know early and will be only slightly worse.  UPDATE: It's a LOSER

Sparga- Developed a sudden intolerance in the past but once again, I may be able to take it now and it may be critical in reducing sulfites. 

SOD- Likely a winner because I’ve got homozygous SNPs but I’ve got too many pills as it is right now.  I’ll try it when I clear the cabinet a bit. UPDATE: It's a LOSER

Riboflavin (B-2)- A disaster in the past.  I know it recycles B-12 and Methyl Folate so it may reduce my dependence and sensitivity to MF and MM.  Worth a shot down the road but I’m staying away for now.

Yasko's Untimate B- More methylation support and contains many of the same key ingredients as Methyl Mate.  Definitely worth a try down the road.

Final thought:
I declare myself stable as of June 1 and am a lot better off than I was 12 months ago.  The singleness issue is really starting to get to me now that almost all of my friends are in serious relationships.  If I am still stable by the end of September, I will put myself on the market.

2 weeks from today, I’m going to be there.  I’m not placing a great deal of importance on the race.  I just want to go.  Still, a sub-1:40 or even a 1:41-1:42 would sure be nice.  The course appears to be dead flat for the first and last 5 miles but that middle 5K looks brutal and part of it is on unpaved trails.