Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Year in Review

Final Training Stats:
14 wins and 36 losses with an average weekly GPA of 2.23.  Total distance was 1505 miles.  All 3 measures were my best since 2014.  I didn't even keep track of won loss records in 2015 and 2016 but if I had, I know for sure that I did not win 14 combined in '15 and '16.  If this had been an NFL season, I would rate 2015 as 1-15 and 2016 as 2-14.  For 2017, I'll call it 4-11-1.

Racing Record:
Here, I had mostly good luck overall and showed some consistency.  All 7 races were halfway decent performances and good experiences overall.  I fell short of the 21/45/1:40 goals but not by much and did manage to set post-35 PRs at 5K, 10K and the Half marathon while picking up 4 new states.  I am now at 32 and my projected year to complete all 50 is either 2021 or 2022.
5K: 21:14- 5K at the Junction- Birmingham, Alabama
10K: 45:40- Coke 10K- Corinth, Mississippi
 Half: 1:42:24- Magic City- Birmingham, Alabama

First Quarter- 1-11 with a 1.88 GPA
The first 2 months of the year looked to be no better than the last 2 years.  I struggled with methylation issues as well as intolerance to sulfur and B-vitamins.  Eventually, I solved these issues by upping my molybdenum and taking stand alone B-12 (hydroxy or adenosyl) along with a B-complex that included just a TRACE of PABA, which solved the sensitivity to methyl folate.  Too much would cause other problems.  My only win of the quarter came courtesy of a memorable trip to New York City.  I just missed a post-35 PR with a 1:46 half but did set an unofficial mark in the 10K en route.

Second Quarter- 4-9 with a 2.26 GPA
Definitely showed improvement here but I was still struggling with the B-12 and Ultimate B most of this quarter.  Tried a few other treatments with fleeting success.  Performed well when it counted however.  Scored an official post-35 PR in Miss'Sippy at the 10K distance and turned it into a nice day trip to Memphis.  The highlight was the Epic Road Trip in June, which included half marathons in 1:45 and 1:44 despite altitude.  I saw Teton, Yellowstone, Calgary, Banff, Yoho and Glacier all within 8 days.

Third Quarter- 3-9 with a 2.18 GPA
Blood donation and its after-effects dominated the headlines in this quarter.  Whole Food Vitamin C was both a savior and a nightmare and it switched all of a sudden.  In the end, I did get my Iron regulation numbers back down close to where they should be.  I don't doubt that it was beneficial for my overall health but it was not the answer for the sensitivity.  There were no races, which is not a bad idea during the peak of the Alabama summer.  I did consider a couple local events but ultimately bailed without signing up.  Travel included a couple nice weekend trips to the Gulf Coast beaches in FLA but nothing major.

Fourth Quarter- 6-7 with a 2.58 GPA
Added Syntol probiotics to my cocktail, which proved to be a good call.  I believe that I have finally found the proverbial smoking gun.  It is elevated benzoic acid, which is exacerbated by an ATP deficit, which in turn is inter-related to gut health.  I believe I have a path to recovery IF I can avoid the need to take stand alone PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid).  Gut health could be the key but Myers' Anti-microbial supplement was too strong and not for long-term use.  Because of this, I ended the year on a sour note with 3 bad losses in the last 4 weeks after it looked like I was headed for a winning record.  One way or the other, I will get resolution and this time, it's for sure.  In terms of racing, it was a success.  I survived a hamstring scare to finish in 1:49 at altitude in New Mexico then came through with back to back PRs in local races at the Junction and Magic City.

2018 Plans:
My best hope is that the need for PABA will not flare up again.  Myers' product will work in the regard but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not an option because it is too strong.  If PABA does flare up, Berberine is probably my only hope.  If I cannot shake the PABA issues, I am done.  Yes, I'll still run occasionally and still hope to finish all 50 states but the training updates shut down.
Spring Destination- Epic New England trip with races in Massachusetts and Vermont
Summer Destination- Upper Midwest with Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Fall- Not sure on this one.  Leaning towards either Utah or Michigan.  I can do the latter with little time off work.

Training Goals:
I want a record of .500 or better with 1750 miles and I'd like to do it with fewer double workouts.  A single 6 mile run is better for me than a double 3 miler.  If I can do that, I will be well into the respectable range.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Must Stay Off PABA

I am virtually certain that the elevated benzoic acid is the cause of the sensitivity and this problem is exacerbated by an ATP deficiency.  I know this because my reactions to benign supplements such as Whole Food C and Calcium get MUCH worse if I take too much PABA (Para Amino BENZOIC ACID).  The problem was that I needed the PABA to complete the glycine conjugation reaction and produce hippuric acid.  I tried to go aggressive with an anti-microbial supplement in hopes that proper intestinal balance will produce enough PABA on its own and thus eliminate the need for the problem supplement.

  Good news.  It does appear that the Myers’ Anti-Microbe supplement has eliminated the need for PABA and may have solved the glycine conjugation by eliminating my need for glycine as well. According to the website, it is not for long-term use so sooner or later, my system is going to reject the new supplement.  Based on recent days, I have a feeling that it will be sooner rather than later.  In fact, it's now.  What will happen when I can no longer tolerate it?  The need for glycine could kick back in with a vengeance.  The same could happen with PABA.  If the former case is true, I’m okay with it.  Not so with the latter.  If it becomes a moving target, that’s the death knell.  I am prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid the need to supplement PABA with the exception of the tiny amount in Yasko’s Ultimate B.  Hell, even if I need the PABA, I’d be okay with it as long as my dose is consistent.  However, that does not appear to ever happen.  One day, I may need just the small amount in Ultimate B while other days, I need the full 500 mg. pill and it goes up and down without notice and seemingly without explanation. Needless to say, that is unacceptable and I don’t care how fast I can go on my good days. 

The best case scenario is that the course of Myers’ anti-microbials will solve the glycine conjugation and the need for PABA once and for all.  However, given my history, that is most likely an unrealistic fantasy.  I have several options to prevent the need for PABA to kick back in:
1)      Take another course of Myers’ supplement- The problem is once the intolerance to it kicks in, I may not be able to go back on it.  That is, I could have a need for PABA but be unable to take the anti-microbial.
2)      Take the Myers supplement only 1-2x per week- That could be tolerated but will it be enough to stave off the PABA dependency?
3)      Take a similar product that is not as strong such as Berberine- Again, will it be enough?
4)     Be meticulous about a clean diet in hopes that PABA stabilizes- Again, will it be enough?

As for the ATP, there is a chance that NADH will now be tolerated but I am not counting on that.  I’ll give the Allithiamine a shot too but I am not counting on that either.  I suppose there is a chance that the microbial issues and ATP are inter-related.  

Again, all I want is to avoid the sensitivity and moving targets.  That should not be too much to ask.  Staying off PABA or at least having a stable dose of it will result in an acceptable final outcome.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Training 12/25-12/31

12/25- Planned rest day but I can feel that an adjustment is needed.  It's either the anti-microbial dose is too high and/or I am trending off the glycine.  I'll get back tomorrow and should have time for a few miles.

12/26- Junk run after the trip home.  I wasn't expecting much and was not upset.  Finished only 2 miles but learned that glycine is indeed trending down.  I was much worse after upping the dose from 500 to 1000.  I am cutting the anti-microbe from 2 pills back down to 1.  I won't be surprised if I am forced off those suckers eventually because the website said it is not for long-term high level use.  What will happen then?  Back on glycine? What about PABA?
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=2.0

12/27- 2 miles in 19:04 (9:32 pace).  That does it.  I am going off BOTH the Anti-Microbe AND the Glycine.  Did the first mile in 9:10 then popped just 250 glycine and was noticeably weaker.  Mile 2 was a 9:54 and it took a last lap rally to keep it under 10.  In addition to the weakness and fatigue, I am having GI distress.  I don't feel so bad about this relapse because I knew it would come eventually, just not so quickly.  Again, I expect the recovery to be slow.  The remaining options will be evaluated.  Good news is that I am just 5 miles shy of 1500.  I'd like to finish it up tomorrow even if it takes a double workout.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=2.0

12/28-AM- Day 1 off PABA, Glycine and Anti-Microbe.  So far so good so what?  2 miles in 17:29 (8:44 pace)  MINUS 48 plus a half mile cool.  Just what you would expect on the first day after a relapse.  I'll be back out this evening to finish the 1500 mile challenge.  The same workout will do it.

PM- 3 miles in 23:27 (7:49 pace) plus a half mile cool.  The recovery is quick this time.  Below the Mendoza line on Day 1, which is rare.  Not sure if that is good or bad.  The clean diet is a given going forward.  For the time being, I am going to roll with being off the 3 aforementioned products but I don't count on it being the permanent solution.  The 2 best options to prevent the need for PABA are occasional use of the Myers product OR regular use of Berberine.  If neither one works, that is officially the end of the line and I am done as a serious runner.  The odometer reads 1501 miles on the year so that's one goal that is accomplished.  I will slack the next 3 days.
Grade:C/2 credit/distance=6.0

12/29- Elective rest day.  I put off the sugar withdrawal until now because I knew I could not do it over Christmas.  The first day or two are always rough.  With the mileage goal accomplished, there is little more that I can do in 2017.  I will probably run a few over the weekend and finish around 1510 or thereabouts.
I have learned that intestinal dysbiosis and ATP deficiencies are indeed inter-related just as I surmised.  Now, I feel a little better about being forced off the NADH.  I will not try it again for a while and if the gut is healed, it should not be needed at all.

PM- Change of plans.  The need for glycine kicked in BIGLY today after a nasty reaction to Whole Food C.  Unfortunately, I overshot the balance point.  I never should have taken the full 1000.  I've got to build back up to it.  Workout was 3 miles in 25:53 (8:38 pace).  Got off to a sub-7:30 start then faded to 10:00 by the end.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

 I feared the worst when I got home but my initial thought was confirmed.  Extra C and Cal had no real effect BUT just TRACES of PABA, glycine and the Anti-Microbe made things MUCH WORSE.  If I had taken 500 glycine, I probably would have been okay.  Again, I'm okay with needing glycine but PLEASE NO PABA!  It seems very unlikely that another course of the Myers Anti-Microbial will be tolerated any time soon.  Most likely, it will be a while before it can even be taken occasionally.  I'll give Berberine a shot. 

12/30- 4x400 intervals at Vestavia with increasing glycine dose.  I knew I would be awful on 0 so I didn't even try.  Started at 250 and increased in increments of 250.
250- 2:28 (9:52 pace)
500- 2:22 (9:28 pace)
750- 2:08 (8:32 pace)
1000-1:52 (7:28 pace)
I'll take it.  Odds are the traces of the bad stuff from last evening haven't fully cleared but I interpret the tolerance to glycine as good news because I know I need it.  The enzyme is defective.  As long as I am off PABA, I still have a chance.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=1.0

12/31- Elective rest day.  Decided to sit on 1505 miles.

Weekly summary:
Closed out 2017 with one of my worst weeks on record.  Not what I wanted to see going into the new year.  Once again, I expect resolution one way or the other VERY SOON.
Distance= 14.0/ GPA= 1.33
Totals on the year:
14-36 record with a 2.23 GPA.  1505 miles.
All 3 measures are my best since 2014.

Monday, December 18, 2017

PABA vs Anti-Microbials

After SO MANY YEARS, I finally found the cause of my sensitivity.  For my newer readers, an example of it was seeing my whole body tighten up after taking just a trace of a supplement as benign as Calcium or Vitamin C, which also included a bottle of orange juice.  It doesn’t matter if the supplement is synthetic or food based.  The best way to describe how it feels is a flu-like malaise minus the fever, chills and congestion.  Even if it’s wrong for my chemistry type, there is NO WAY that a tiny dosage should cause such a severe reaction without other factors in play.  What’s worse is that sometimes, a pill that is needed is not tolerated and I’m shooting at moving targets.  A cocktail that works one week may not work next week.   The cause is an elevated level of benzoic acid, which is worsened by an ATP deficit.  The solution is glycine conjugation.

Glycine alone was quite effective for a while but it turned out to be another false hope.  In time, the ill-effects of the glycine were worse than the problems with sensitivity.  Next, I discovered that PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) was necessary to tolerate glycine but now that I know what it stands for, it should not be a surprise that it did worsen the sensitivity if I took too much of it.  Then, I tried increasing ATP by taking NADH with the theory that it would both increase my max heart rate and allow me to tolerate the PABA.  Once again, I was teased with false hopes for about 3 weeks before it abruptly became poison.  Today, I still need both glycine and PABA but there is a very narrow sweet spot with PABA and it appears to be a moving target.  Needless to say, that is unacceptable.

Any ideas left?  Yes.  Just one more.  I will try antimicrobial supplements in combination with my current Syntol probiotics.  Why might it work?  2 reasons.  First, I only recently learned with PABA does indeed have anti-microbial properties.  Therefore, the narrow window may make sense.  I need just enough to clear out the toxic microbes but once I cross that line, any further amount will trigger sensitivity because of the benzoic acid content.  Perhaps the moving targets can be explained by my dietary choices.  The cleaner that I eat and drink, the less microbes are produced and therefore, less PABA is needed/tolerated.  The second reason is that PABA can be produced by the intestines if the environment is favorable.  Thus, with an anti-microbial supplement and a clean diet, at least in theory, I can produce enough PABA naturally so that supplementation will not be needed and glycine will still be tolerated.  To clarify, a clean diet along with anti-microbials is only ONE piece of the puzzle.  I still need glycine as well as all the other stuff.

I am physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted by this war.  One more relapse and I am afraid that I am done.  The final deadline is the end of the year.

Training 12/18-12/24

12/18- AM.  I am resetting the count to Day 1.  I was tempted this morning but stayed strong.  3 miles in the expected 25:32 (8:31 pace) MINUS 27.  Added a half mile cool.  I'll be back this evening.  I won't make it by Christmas but I do want to hit 1500 before the final weekend.  Took no PABA except for the trace amount in Ultimate B and so far so good but so what?

PM- Took advantage of a mild evening and ran 10 laps at Vestavia track.  Finished in 20:36 (8:14 pace).  Fairly modest improvement over the morning session but I'll take it.  Figure a 3 mile would be 24:45-50 so I'll call this a MINUS 15.  Tried some Thym-Adren and though it was not a disaster, I think ADHS is the better option for adrenal support.  Cheated again with the sugar so screw it until Christmas.  I'll go through the withdrawal on my days off.  So far, it has not affected my sensitivity issues and I'm still off PABA. 34 miles to go.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=6.0

12/19-AM- 4 miles on 31:53 (7:58 pace).  Under the Mendoza line.  Woopity doo!  This recovery is slower than usual but as long as I am not relapsing, my flickering hopes remain alive.  Passed 3 miles in 23:55 so I am over 30/mile faster than 24 hours ago.  Still off PABA and not off sugar.  I may be back out this evening only because I want to get to 1500 ASAP.  30 miles to go.

PM- Noticeably better this session, which was a surprise.  3 miles in 22:58 (7:39 pace).  Needed a small rally to get under 23 but not a massive kick.  27 miles to go.  Tomorrow will be a single 5 miler and I hope to be in the 37s.  Probably 6 training days away from 1500.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=7.0
This microbe clear is some pretty strong stuff.  I've had mild nausea plus several bathroom trips today.  I've also learned it must be taken at a different time from the probiotic.  I'll go with the microbe clear in the evening and the probiotic in the morning.  Not the least bit excited yet.  The normal pattern is improvement for the next 2-3 days followed by a sudden relapse.

12/20- WELL DONE!  5 miles in 36:44 (7:21 pace).  Fast start then settled into a pace just south of 7:30 the rest of the way.  Felt a little stiff before the run but was fine once I got warmed up.  Only 22 miles to go and I figure that I have 8 training days to do it.  Barring disaster, it's mine now.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=5.0

12/21- 6 miles on Lakeshore in 46:16 (7:43 pace).  A little weakened in comparison with yesterday but this is still not bad.  If I am to run 6 miles in 1 day, I am better off with a single session than a morning and evening 3 miler.  Trail was dark and muddy in spots which slowed me down a bit.  1st half- 22:56, 2nd half- 23:20.  I still have a chance to win but I need to ace the last 2.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0
I've learned that long-term high level use of the anti-microbe is NOT recommended.  That's good news because it is pricey. I'll take 2/day in January then 1 in February and hope to be done with it.   If I relapse from the anti-microbe, hope remains alive but if I am forced back on the PABA, I'm afraid that is the death knell.

12/22- Gold's 4 miler in an even 30:00 (7:30 pace).  Compared to yesterday, this was about the same.  That's a relief.  I feared that I was heading for a relapse yesterday.  I think I accidentally took too much glycine the last 2 days and I did feel it but it wasn't a disaster.  On Lakeshore with its mild hills and mud, it would have been the same pace as yesterday give or take a few ticks.  I can still win but I need a great showing tomorrow.  I've got time only for a quickie before I leave for home.  Only 12 miles to go.  Barring disaster, I'll hit 1500 by the 27th or 28th as planned.  I get the day off on the 24th, 25th and but hope to do a quickie on the 26th.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/23- Gold's 3 in 20:26 (6:49 pace).  Splits were 10:05-10:21.  Felt a little off.  Glycine may be trending down and I remain intolerant to PABA.  Still pretty solid.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance-3.0

12/24- Planned rest day.  9 miles to go.  Just 2 more days.  Those junk runs paid off.

Weekly summary:
I probably don't deserve to win this one but I will take it.  Throw out Monday and it was decent.  Things could change next week when I am off sugar.  As long as I am off PABA, I still have a chance.
Distance-31.0.  GPA-3.01
YTD- 1491 miles.  14-35- 2.25

Monday, December 11, 2017

Training 12/11-12/17

12/11- 2 miles in 17:54 (8:57 pace) plus a full mile cool down.  Day 1 was a success with no sugars.  I was HORRIBLE in the morning but did get a bit better as the day progressed.  Tomorrow, I will try to increase the PABA.  My gut feeling is to stay with the low dose Ultimate B even though it does contain a trace of NADH.  In the past, I was intolerant to NADH but could handle the Ultimate B.  An alternative to it is the Active B-2.  70 miles to go and I've got 20 days.  It's going to be close.
Grade: Freebie/0 credit/distance=3.0

12/12- AM- In an aggressive move, I upped the PABA to 500 on Day 2.  It was also clear that Ultimate B is still needed.  Improved all the way to 15:54 (7:57 pace) MINUS 60 in only 14 hours.  Splits were 8:10-7:44 and I'll be back out this evening hoping for a sub-Mendoza effort.

PM- Continued improvement.  4 miles in 31:28 (7:52 pace).  I'm encouraged that I am doing this well on just my 2nd day off sugar.  Even pace with something left at the end but I could not go much faster if this were a race.  HR: 152, Cadence: 174.  64 miles to go.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=6.0

12/13- Day 3. 5 miles in 37:36 (7:31 pace).  I actually expected to take a step back today because I jacked the PABA all the way up to 1200.  Yes, my legs were abnormally sore but they held up pretty well on the run.  Even pace that never went above 7:37 or below 7:25.  HR-157, Cadence-176.  59 miles to go.  I should be even better tomorrow when I am back down to 500 PABA.  Even at 1000+, I am betting that NADH still won't be tolerated.  I'll confirm that over the weekend.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/14- Day 4.  Tempo.  5 miles in 35:57 (7:11 pace) plus a cool.  Good job.  Slipped a little in Mile 4 but rebounded nicely at the end and kicked hard to get the sub-36.  I believe this was good for a sub-45 10K performance so once again, I'm right on the edge of respectability.  I've got further improvements in me but I know that I will level off soon.  It's halftime on the week and I have taken the lead.  A decent weekend will put me back over .500 for the 4th quarter.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=5.5

12/15- Day 5.  Easy 3 in 22:52 (7:37 pace).  Not as strong as yesterday.  I did dial back the effort but I think I should have been sub-7:30 for this short of a distance.  I took a stronger dose of Cal last night and I think I am going to cut that out and stick with Whole Food C. After Sunday, I will try the Thym Adren vs. ADHS and confirm that the NADH is bad.  Thanks to the glycine conjugation, it was not a disaster today even with the excess Cal.  Added a half mile cool, which puts me within 50 miles of 1500.  Barring injury or illness, I've got it now even though I'll probably lose 2-3 days over Christmas.  That's it for today.  I need a good long run tomorrow.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.5

12/16- Day 6 and I have cheated.  Hopefully, it's a one and done deal.  I knew as soon as I started that I didn't have it and quit within a couple minutes this morning.  Got home and confirmed that PABA was the culprit.  Also confirmed for all time that NADH is BAD!  That's the only positive out of this.  After it warmed up a bit, I went out to Vestavia for 7 laps at a glacial pace.  I did not even time it.  The only hope is that the PABA dose will stabilize.  I don't expect to be much better tomorrow.

PM- Another Vestavia 2 mile in 19:50 (9:55 pace).  I predict a mid-25 for 3 miles tomorrow.  No more than 200 mg of PABA and I'll try to get by without it.  46 miles to go.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/17- Day 7.  I didn't binge so the count continues but if I fail again, it resets.  I am now completely intolerant to PABA but there may be an explanation.  An anti-microbial supplement that I have been taking could be a viable and better substitute.  The workout sucked as expected.  2 miles in 18:56 (9:28 pace) MINUS 27.  Took just 50 mg of PABA and got MUCH WORSE.  Treated the 3rd mile as a cool down and it was well over 10 minutes, maybe even 11 minutes.  43 miles to go.

PM- Another 3 and my time is down to 26:54 (8:58 pace) MINUS 30 but it took a rally in the last quarter mile to get the sub-9.  In one piece of good news, it is possible that PABA is no longer needed if I take anti-microbial supplements.  40 miles to go.
Grade:D-/2 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
I now need to win the last 2 weeks to get the winning record for the 4th quarter.  The anti-microbial offers ONE LAST CHANCE!  With only 40 miles left to run, my chances of hitting 1500 are looking good even though I'll lose 2-3 days over Christmas.
Distance=33.0/ GPA= 17.1/8= 2.13
YTD: 1460 miles.  13-35 with a 2.23 GPA

Monday, December 4, 2017

Training 12/4-12/10- Possible Race

The race would be the Jingle Bell 5K in Railroad Park.  It's a good course but the weather is likely to be less than ideal.  Winter has arrived and the early forecast calls for freezing temps with wind at race time.  We'll see how I feel.

12/4- 5 miles in 37:40 (7:32 pace).  Decent performance.  I should be at or near equilibrium with the NADH and PABA but perhaps 300 is still a bit too much.  250 or maybe even 200 should be better.  Felt great early but legs got sore in Mile 2 and the energy faded by Mile 3.  1st half was 18:20 but slipped to 19:20 on the back half.  Again, still decent overall.  95 miles to go.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/5- Unplanned rest day.  Began feeling lousy in the afternoon and in a shocking turn of events, it appears NADH is the culprit.  Once again, the final outcome is not final after all.  ARGH!

12/6- AM- One of my all time worst showings.  2 miles in 21:52 (10:56 pace).  I am officially done with NADH though I may confirm it after a week or two.  In another stunning development, I was BETTER after caffeine.  Caffeine may very well play a role in NADH/ATP production.  I'm staying off BOTH in the future.  For the time being, I have no choice other than to go back to Ultimate B.
-93 miles to go.  I may be back out this evening.

PM- 3 miles in 26:43 (8:54 pace).  An improvement over the morning session by more than 2 minutes per mile but that's still BAAAAUHD!   Tomorrow won't be much better either as I will have to deal with caffeine withdrawal.  I am almost certainly OUT for the Jingle Bell 5K but still on track for 1500.  Now have 90 miles to go.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=5.0
PABA is the stumbling block.  It's needed in small amounts for MTHFR and glycine conjugation but unless I am producing sufficient ATP, sensitivity will flare up if I take too much PABA because of the benzoic acid.  With sufficient ATP, PABA ought to be tolerated.   NADH worked for a while but now, it's too strong.  I will try again to drink nothing but water and eliminate as much sugar as possible because I know it interferes with ATP production.  I must rely on Ultimate B.

12/7-AM- No running this session but I must report that after just 24 hours off the NADH, the PABA intolerance has kicked in bigly. Perhaps that changes after a week or so off sugar.   It's going to be ugly this evening but I've got to get the miles in now.

PM- 3 miles in 26:28 (8:49 pace) plus a cool.  Not a significant improvement over yesterday.  PABA was the culprit.  If I had taken NADH, PABA would have been tolerated without a problem BUT the ill-effects from it would have been worse (likely over 30).  I've got to somehow boost my ATP production by some other means to tolerate PABA.  Count is down to 86.5
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.5

12/8-AM- Looked to be an improvement early but died a half mile in and just slow jogged another mile untimed.  85 to go.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.5

PM- 3 miles at Gold's after leaving work early due to snow.  Modest improvement to a time of 25:51 (8:37 pace). Officially out for Jingle Bell and the race may not even go off.   Let the caffeine withdrawal begin. 82 miles to go.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

12/9- Race was cancelled due to snow but Gold's was open.  Cut the Ultimate B down to 1 pill and improved to 24:36 for 3 miles (8:12 pace) and managed a slight negative split (12:24-12:12).  Tried a 2nd Ultimate B and was noticeably worse.  Treated Mile 4 as a cool down.  78 to go.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/10- AM-Another very interesting finding but not a good workout.  Tried to find the proper Ultimate B dose.  I was awful on 1 pill, only slightly better on 2 then awful again on 3.  Finished 3 miles in a pathetic time of 28:45 (9:35 pace).

PM- Surprisingly, I got better after taking more PABA.  Went to Vestavia for 2 miles in 16:48 (8:24 pace) then got worse after a forbidden drink.
Grade:D-/2 credit/distance=5.0
21 days to go.  It appears that NADH has failed and the caffeine had nothing to do with it.  I'll confirm that at the end of next week.  PABA will be tolerated if I stay clean. The reason is that  sugared drinks (even non-caffeinated) contain benzoic acid, which messes with PABA metabolism.  Stay off that and PABA will be tolerated?  21 days to get this cleared up or else I quit.

Weekly summary:
One of my worst weeks on record and it figures that it happened just after I declared victory.  21 days to go.  I somehow managed to stay on pace for 1500.  I now have just 73 miles to go.
Distance=27.0/ GPA= 1.01
YTD: 1427 miles.  13-34 with a 2.23 GPA

Friday, December 1, 2017

Final Outcome Part 2

Last 9 Weeks:
Even with a loss this week, I will be 5-4 with a GPA around 2.90 so far in the 4th quarter of 2017.  If I can simply manage to go 2-2 down the stretch, it will be my first quarter with a winning record since Q3 2014 and provides reason for optimism in 2018.  I wanted to run a 5K under 21 and a half under 1:40.  I fell short of those goals but not by much.  I am nearly certain that I am capable in the 5K and lost some motivation when I saw the Junction course would be short.  As for the Magic City half, I think I was good for a sub-1:41 on a flat course despite my pills being slightly off.  To put it another way, I am right on the edge of my often stated respectable times of 21/45/1:40 in spite of spotty training.  If I can simply run these times consistently, it is indeed an acceptable outcome even if further improvements are minimal with more consistent training.  Of course, the only thing that prevents that from happening is sensitivity to pills

In my last post, I said that glycine taken with PABA would knock out the sensitivity and prevent unexplained reactions to benign pills such as Calcium or Vitamin C, which may be necessary for optimal health and performance.  I thought the sweet spot was 1000 glycine with a flexible PABA dose.  That turned out to be wrong.  Instead, I need a 3 pronged approach of glycine, PABA and NADH.  The sweet spot for glycine is still 1000 mg but the PABA is tricky.  I found that 2 of Yasko’s Ultimate B pills provided just the right amount of PABA to knock out the sensitivity but no amount of stand-alone PABA without the Ultimate B could do the trick.  Also, the fact that I needed exactly 2 (either 1 or 3 was disastrous) was unusual and made me feel uneasy about a possible moving target in the future.    Therefore, something else had to be in play. 

I am virtually certain that this something is an ATP deficiency.  You may remember from your high school biology class that ATP stands for Adenosine Tri-Phosphate and is the molecule that provides energy for muscle contraction.  I also have a strong feeling that this deficiency prevents me from reaching my max heart rate and thus access to my highest gear.  My average HR at Magic City was only 138, which is MUCH too low for an all-out effort.   In the past, I was attacked personally and accused of lying about my training because I could come close to race pace then come back for more the next day yet underperformed when it counted.  The truth is that the workouts were really NOT too hard for me but when I tried to dig deep for extra power, it just wasn’t there even though I never felt too uncomfortable.  NADH has been the most effective treatment for me in this area.

I learned a couple very important nuggets of information in the past 2 weeks.  The culprit of the sensitivity is almost definitely an elevated level of benzoic acid.  PABA is a precursor to folic acid and has helped immensely with MTHFR issues and glycine conjugation but it stands for Para-Amino Benzoic Acid.  Thus, it should be no surprise that it worsens the sensitivity and indeed the more PABA is taken, the worse the reactions are to benign supplements.  I’ve also learned that ATP increases tolerance for benzoic acid.  Thus, a patient with a mildly elevated level of benzoic acid but plenty of ATP won’t suffer any ill-effects but a patient with an ATP deficiency could face severe symptoms.  My latest workout confirms beyond doubt that NADH will increase the demand/tolerance for PABA.

Further Questions:
There are still a few issues to be resolved but no matter what, I feel pretty good about the long-term prognosis.  Why did I react so badly to Creatine when it’s supposed to help regenerate ATP?  My urinary creatinine was elevated on a previous test and it probably put too much stress on the kidneys.  Yasko’s SHMT can help with that but I’m still not messing with Creatine again. 

I am going to try taking Cal and Vitamin C on a regular basis.  With the sensitivity gone, it won’t hurt me.  The worst that can happen is that it’s a non-factor and in that case, I’ll finish the bottle and be done with it.  Morley wants ceruloplasmin at 35 but if mine is 28 or higher (80%), I won’t worry about it.  Vitamin C will be taken only if it’s beneficial.  I’m still awfully leery about Liver and its Iron content even though it is certain to raise Cp.  As for the Iron Overload, my numbers are still a little north of ideal and I will continue with blood donation 2-3 times per year to keep that in check.  As for the adrenal support, will I do better on a suppressant (Thym-Adren) or a modulator (ADHS)?  Now, I can make the determination based on effectiveness rather than whether or not it is tolerated.  I will wait on the hair test for about 6 months because an adrenal spike often happens shortly after a major problem is solved. 

Goals for 2018 and Beyond:
In order to come close to my all-time PRs, I’ll need to train at 45 MPW with a lot more quality sessions.  I am really not sure if I will be motivated to do that.  We will see what life has in store.  I do intend to put myself on the dating market before Christmas.  Here are some long-term goals that ought to be realistic on 35-40 MPW with a bit more quality:
Mile: 5:40, 5K: 20:00, 10K: 42:00, Half: 1:34:00
I’ll give myself until 2020 (age 40) then it will gradually get worse from there. 
States that I want to hit are Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Utah.
It’s a bit of a surreal feeling to have this figured out after so many years.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Training 11/27-12/3

11/27- Gold's 5 in 39:49 (7:58 pace).  Not a real good workout but I'll take it.  Stretching a standard issue run from 3 miles to 5 is key to getting the yearly mileage total back up to the 2000 range.  As for the pills, I could tell without running that Ultimate B does not provide enough PABA to take NADH.  There is a sweet spot somewhere between 50 mg-500 mg of stand alone PABA BUT if I miss the mark, I will NOT be horrible.  I have ordered 100 mg stand alone PABA and there will be an interval session when it arrives.  I took 500 today and found a sub-8 pace to be fairly comfortable over this distance in spite of clearly taking too much.  Splits were very even as well but the top 2 gears were inaccessable.  Stay tuned for a 2nd and hopefully LAST final outcome post.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0

11/28-AM- Cut the PABA down to an estimated 400 mg and felt a noticeable improvement over yesterday.  4 miles in 30:45 (7:41 pace) with even splits.  Figure that's worth a MINUS 15 over yesterday so that's enough to be significant but not a night and day difference.  I am closer to the sweet spot but I still think PABA was too high.  I'm betting that it could be as low as 100 mg.  I'd like to increase the NADH but those pills are very expensive.  May or may not be back out this evening.

PM- Just could not waste a beautiful clear 60 degree evening.  There won't be many more like this for a while.  Tacked on 3 more at Lakeshore in 22:50 (7:37 pace) plus a cool.  Pretty much a carbon copy of the morning session but maybe a little better.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.5
I read something from a scholarly article that was very intriguing.  If it's true, it makes a LOT of sense.  Excessive benzoic acid is most probably the cause of the sensitivity.  Though PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) in small quantities helps immensely with MTHFR and glycine conjugation, it most definitely makes the sensitivity to other stuff WORSE.  My lab test results showed it to be mildly elevated but not in the stratosphere as I would have thought based on my reactions to certain pills.  The big nugget of new information is that ATP increases tolerance for benzoic acid.  Thus, an ATP deficiency makes symptoms of a mildly elevated benzoic acid level MUCH WORSE!  That's why NADH has been so effective.  When I take the NADH, I won't be horrible even if I take too much PABA but lowered doses are still better.
Again, more to come later.

11/29- Planned rest day but I woke up early enough to do a 2 mile quickie.  Finished in a strong 13:44 (6:52 pace).  PABA dose was cut to approximately 300 and I am close to the sweet spot now.  I know that extra NADH will increase tolerance to PABA but will it increase demand?  We'll see.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=2.0

11/30- AM-I read that Creatine aids in the conversion process from useless ADP to ATP so I gave it a shot last night.  For reasons that I don't yet understand, it was a disaster.  It took me nearly 15 minutes to get through a 1.5 mile junk run.  I may be back this evening but unless I am a LOT better, this will be an "F."  My curiosity doesn't seem to end.  I may give Yasko's SHMT another shot because it supposedly does the opposite.

PM- 3 miles in 25:46 (8:35 pace).  Just like always, the first run after a poison pill is beyond awful but the 2nd one is an improvement.  Tomorrow will be better and I should be back to normal by Saturday.  I will need an excellent long run to win.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.5

12/1- VERY INTERESTING.  Half mile Intervals with PABA and 1 NADH pill:
Opener- 4:45 (9:30 pace)
100 mg- 3:54 (7:48 pace)
200 mg- 3:10 (6:20 pace)
300 mg- 3:08 (6:16 pace)
Additional NADH did INDEED increase the demand for PABA.  I didn't do any intervals on 2-3 NADH pills but I was noticeably weaker and treated the next mile as a cool.  I did get better after more PABA.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0
The sweet spot is most probably 250 for 1 NADH pill and if I am to miss the target, it's better to miss high.  I can have a decent workout on 500 but not on 100.  The more NADH I take, the more PABA is needed and it is probably a ratio.  I'm betting that 2 NADH and 500 PABA ought to do me fine.

12/2- Long run disappointment.  2 NADH and 500 PABA did NOT work for me.  Did 8 miles from O'Henry's in 71:46 (8:58 pace) with each mile slower than the previous one.  Dragged on for 2 extra miles on Lakeshore as a cool down.  Simply put, 1 NADH is all that is tolerated right now.  Extra PABA may help but it's not enough.  I'll be glad I did this after Christmas if I'm still short of 1500.
Grade:D+/2 credit/distance=10.0

12/3- 4 miles on Lakeshore in 33:40 (8:25 pace).  Not pretty but I did what I planned.  After taking 3 NADH the previous 2 days, it will just take time to get back to equilibrium.  Today, it was an even pace.  Never felt good but didn't die either.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=4.0

Weekly summary:
Tough loss but I learned a lot with the experiments.  I'm not expecting to be free from trouble from here on out but it should be a pretty safe bet that it will be a lot smoother.  Very respectable mileage total as well.  I need just 100 miles in the final 4 weeks to hit 1500.  Even if I lose a full week, it's still do-able.
Distance= 36.0/ GPA= 2.20
YTD: 1400 miles.  13-33 with a 2.26

Monday, November 20, 2017

Training 11/20-11/26

Let's begin with a couple more thoughts on yesterday's race.  It was my best time in 3 years and faster than my last 3 pre-35 races.  In 5 half marathons this year, I broke 1:50 each time (1:42-1:49) despite the fact that 3 of the 5 were run at altitude.  By comparison, I broke that barrier only once in six tries before that.  With all the ups and downs and the losing record overall, I am clearly headed in the right direction.

11/20- 4 miles at Gold's in a quite comfortable 29:10 (7:18 pace).  Again, this was done THE DAY AFTER A HALF MARATHON!  The evidence is crystal clear now.  I had more to give out there yesterday but there is a missing link that is preventing me from access to my top gear just as I've said all along.  How else do you explain running 30 seconds faster than race pace while actually feeling more comfortable?  I swear that I was NOT dogging it yesterday either.  It really was as fast as I could go.  I did cut the PABA dose a bit, which was likely a good call.  I still need glycine but the Ultimate B is probably no longer necessary.  I believe there is a chance that NADH is the missing link.  According to the bottle, the full benefit is not achieved until 30 days of use.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=4.5

11/21-AM- 3 miles in 21:48 (7:16 pace).  Strong again.  No Ultimate B and it made little difference.  I can definitely feel a shift thanks to the NADH.  I wanted to go longer but was pressed for time and didn't want to push too hard during a shift because it's too unpredictable.  HR is back up to the 150 range, which is probably about where it should be with this kind of effort.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/22- Planned rest day for travel.

11/23- 3 mile trail run in 22:25 (7:28 pace).  HR-144, Cadence-186.  Mildly sluggish but not too worried about it because of the change in routine.  Needed a kick to get the sub-7:30.  It feels like the PABA may be trending down and/or I still need 1 Ultimate B.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.  This was still not bad.  Not looking for high quality this week.  I just want to do enough to stay on target for 1500.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/24- It's been a steady decline since Tuesday and I figure that I really do need the Ultimate B after all.  Perhaps, active B-2 is the key but I'd probably go with the full complex.  Not sure if I need stand alone PABA but if so, it will be low dose.  The workout was the same 3 mile trail run as yesterday and I slipped to 23:18 (7:46 pace).  Comfortably under the Mendoza line but I had to work for it.  I suppose it is good news that the need for the Ultimate B did not hit me all at once.  I didn't even notice anything until the 3rd day when normally, I notice immediately if I forget a pill.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/25- Planned rest day for travel.  I still have the lead but need a half decent showing tomorrow (B-) to get the win and at least a medium-long run to keep pace for 1500.

11/26- Back in Birmingham now.  As expected, I got considerably better after taking some Ultimate B.  Still, I was not quite up for a double digit run so I settled for 6 on Lakeshore in a time of 46:12 (7:42 pace).  Started fast but faded on the back half (22:16/23:56) but that was partly by design because I knew it was too fast early.  Average performance overall.  Legs were tight and sore as if the mileage has been high when in fact, it's one of the lowest of the year.  Trip home was a bit nerve-wracking so I'm not concerned.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
This was what I'd call a cheap win but I'll take it.  I never get much over 20 miles on a holiday week and I know that it would have been better if I was able to take the Ultimate B sooner.  Not much quality or quantity this week but no real collapse either.  I am still on pace for 1500 and need to average 27.2 over the final 5 weeks.  I've got a possible race and another holiday upcoming so that won't be so easy but barring injury or illness, I'd say it's mine to lose.  I'll shoot for near 40 next week.
Distance= 21.0/ GPA= 15.4/5= 3.08
YTD: 1364 miles/  13-32 with a 2.26 GPA

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Magic City Half RR

I've averaged just over 30 MPW in recent months with some decent tempos and 10-13 mile long runs mixed in there.  That's not nearly enough work for a fast time but my current post-35 PR of 1:44:38 was a pretty soft target.  I figured that I didn't even need to have a particularly good day to beat it.  I just needed to avoid a bad one. 

Course and Weather:
It was an interesting tour with some pretty nice views of the Birmingham skyline.  It started and finished at Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons (AA baseball team).  It began heading east to Sloss Furnace then west past the Boutwell Auditorium then past Legion Field before turning back to town for a finish inside the stadium.  Looking at the route on Map My Run, it looked relatively flat except for a nasty stretch in Mile 8 and an even uglier patch in Mile 10.  Mile 11 was a gentle decline while 12 and 13 were basically flat.  A cold front passed through last evening but it dawned clear and chilly with temps in the low 40s.  It did warm to near 50 by the finish.  I went with a long-sleeved compression and shorts.  Probably a good call. 

The early miles contained a few rollers but nothing severe or memorable with the exception of the bridge crossing in Mile 4 on the old Rumpshaker 5K course near Sloss Furnace, the site of one of my greatest triumphs in which I beat my old HS PR by 1 second.  I ran the opening Mile with the 1:40 pace group hoping that they would go out conservative early.  That didn't happen as the first mile passed by in 7:32 via Garmin but since this is not a negative split course, it was probably appropriate.  In any event, I decided it was too fast and let them go.  That proved to be a good call in the end.  Here are the early splits.  I have added 3 seconds to each mile because the course was measured 13.23.  Early miles felt pretty comfortable.  I didn't think I had my best stuff but I didn't need it to PR.

7:35 (7:35)
7:34 (15:09)
7:39 (22:48)
7:38 (30:26)

Heading back through the downtown area, I found myself in a good rhythm and lengthened my strides and picked up a few seconds.  With the 13.23 course, I hit the halfway point right at 50 minutes flat, give or take a couple seconds.  If I can survive the hills and bring it on home strong, I might have a shot at a sub-1:40 but expected to fall a bit short.  That's okay.  I'm going to PR.  I only needed an 8:20ish pace the rest of the way and based on how I felt, there was no way that I was going to fade that badly.

7:39 (38:05)
7:34 (45:39)
7:41 (53:20) slightly uphill

Going past Legion Field, the next mile was almost all uphill though not terribly steep, it certainly slowed the pace.  I was keeping with my pack so I figured I was still doing okay.  Mile 9 was sharply downhill early then became more gradual.  Since there would be a turnaround ahead, I was dreading going back up.  For the time being however, my legs rebounded nicely.  As expected Mile 10 hurt but I only remember being passed once and I knew that after that last steep hill, I would have a nice steady decline followed by a flat last 2 miles.

7:59 (61:19) all uphill
7:36 (68:55) downhill
8:10 (77:05) uphill

Okay, 5K to go now.  The sub-1:40 had slipped away and I was probably looking at a low-mid 1:41, which was still pretty solid.  Legs were trashed after the climbs but I figured after some nice downhill, they'd come back and I could still finish strong.  That didn't happen.  I kept trying to dig but nothing was there.  I got passed a few times but nobody was blowing by me.  I spoke to a few others afterwards who all said they couldn't come back either.  By the end of Mile 12, I had to accept a 1:42:xx but I did my best to stay positive and focused.  Just hang on.  You've got a PR and there's no way you lose it now.  Again, I tried to dig and found nothing until I turned into the stadium for the finish and did close pretty strongly despite not being near anyone down the stretch.

7:59 (85:04) downhill
8:10 (1:33:14)
8:11 (1:41:25)
:59 last bit (1:42:24)
Pace per mile: 7:49, AG: 11/51.  Percentile rank: 78

Final Thought:
I blame insufficient training for the fade at the end but sub-1:40 is clearly in sight.  I went with NADH instead of Ultimate B pills.  I chanced it and it was probably a good call.  Still, I don't think I was quite in equilibrium and a quick attempt at the toe touch test confirmed that I was not.  Still, the fact that I can PR despite the pills being a tad off is encouraging.  Another curious finding was an average HR of only 138.  That is MUCH too low for an all out effort and NADH should help with that in the future.  Cadence of 178 was good.  Word on the street is 180 is ideal.  Unfinished business for the remainder of the year includes a sub-6:00 Mile, another shot at a sub-21 5K and a yearly mileage total above 1500.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Training 11/13-11/19 (Race Week)

This race is the Magic City Half Marathon.  My current post-35 PR is 1:44:38.  It's a pretty soft target and set at 4,000 feet altitude and less than fresh after a half the previous week.  I've beaten that time in training several times and I think I can get close to 1:40 if I have my best stuff.

11/13 AM- PABA trial intervals.  I went with 1 Ultimate B and no PABA and opened with a 4:26 half mile (8:52 pace).  Hard to believe that just 1 additional Ultimate B carried me to a low-21 5K 2 days ago but I swear it's true.
50 mg PABA plus Cal- Improved to 3:50 (7:40 pace)  MINUS 72
100 mg PABA plus Cal- Slipped to 4:10 (8:20 pace) PLUS 40
Added a half mile cool.
  I'm betting that even the 50 mg was too high.  I still don't know the magic number but that's okay.  I won't be using it.  2 Ultimate B it is.  We'll see how I do on Cal with that.  That's all for today.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=2.0

11/14- Opened with 2 Ultimate B and no additional PABA.  Ran the first mile in a comfortable 7:29 then popped a Cal and actually improved to 7:19.  Excellent news.  Still uneasy because a 3rd Ultimate B would set me back considerably.  Perhaps NADH helps with that.

PM- Basically a junk workout.  This time Whole Food C was tested.  Effort was downgraded from the morning session because of the taper.  Did 1 mile without it in 7:49 then improved to 7:37 with it and felt noticeably better.  Same effort?  I think so.

Again, it is excellent news.  If I had taken another Ultimate B pill however, I would have gone BACKWARDS with both C and Cal.  2 Ultimate B it is and there will be some tweaks.  Neither the Cal nor the C will be life changing but a 10 second improvement per mile would equate to the following improvements at race distances:
5K- 31 seconds, 10K- 62 seconds, Half mary- 2 min 11 sec.
  When I tried PABA, I found that even if I took too much, I STILL got better with 1 Ultimate B so that tells me there is another ingredient in play.  NADH is the only thing left that has potential to be life changing but even if that doesn't work, THIS OUTCOME IS ACCEPTABLE.  BARRING A DISCONTINUED PRODUCT OR RE-FORMULATION, I WILL BE OKAY WITH THIS.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/15- This was a planned rest day but I wanted to try out B-6 and Choline, both of which are involved in glycine metabolism.  I was hurt by both in the past but today both were non-factors which is good news.  Opened with a 4:47 then did a 4:48 on B-6 and a 4:50 on Choline.  Not nearly enough to be considered significant and felt exactly the same on each interval.  I'm tossing both bottles.  On the other hand, I believe the improvements from Whole Food C and Cal were REAL.  I'll try out NADH tomorrow and do want at least 1 semi-quality session before Sunday's race.  CoQ10 and ATP are most likely non-factors but I will finish those bottles and be done with it.
No Grade/distance=2.0

11/16- VERY INTERESTING!  NADH did arrive today and the immediate reaction was DECIDEDLY NEGATIVE!  I did not even have to run to tell.  BUT additional Ultimate B was tolerated AND extra PABA was DECIDEDLY POSITIVE!  AND it did NOT seem to cause an intolerance to Cal or Whole Food C.

Workout was 4 miles at Gold's in a solid 29:51 (7:28 pace) which I believe was sustainable for 8 miles but not 13.  Even pace with moderate effort.  Felt strong overall.  Just like last weekend, I don't need to have a great day to PR, just a decent one.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=4.5
With race day approaching, it's too late and too risky to make a radical shift at this point.  I will go with the 2 Ultimate B until Sunday but this development opens up a much better option.  If I go with the NADH, stand alone PABA will become necessary BUT the dose could be flexible AND the need for Ultimate B may be reduced if not eliminated.  Do I go with the PABA or the Ultimate B?  That depends on how effective each one is.  If that's equal, I will choose the former because I like the flexible dose.  Again, needing exactly 2.0 (neither more nor less) of any pill makes me feel uneasy and if the PABA dose is indeed flexible, that's a lot better.

11/17- Struggled a bit but that was to be expected after taking PABA last night and no NADH today.  Late morning and early afternoon were rough but it did get somewhat better by the evening.  Did 3 miles in 23:09 (7:43 pace) plus a cool but I had to work for it.  It was not an easy effort.  I should hit equilibrium tomorrow but if I don't, NADH is an option.  After the events of today, I am leaning heavily towards NADH over Ultimate B over the long haul.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.5

11/18- I should have hit equilibrium today and planned it so I could have raced well on the day before the big one.  I am still clearly off.  Did 1 mile in 7:40 (roughly goal pace) but it felt much too hard.  Tried to pick it up and found a 7:00 pace to be a strain for just 1 lap.  Got home and found that I still have too much PABA in my system and only NADH can help that.
No grade:distance=2.0
I'm going to chance it and race with the NADH even though I'm not sure if there is a PABA limit or not.  I'll find out soon if not tomorrow.  Score is tied so I'll win if I get a PR.  I'll lose if I fall short.

11/19- NADH came through for me!  I didn't hit the equilibrium perfectly but it was good enough for a 1:42:27 (7:49 pace) and good for a post-35 PR by more than 2 minutes.  Detailed post upcoming.
Grade:B+/4 credit/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
I'm going with the NADH.  I'm still a bit sensitive to PABA but it's not going to be a case of 50 mg off either way being the difference between a PR and a disaster.  This is my 4th win in the last 7 weeks so I've got a chance for a winning record in the 4th quarter.  Still on track for 1500 but next week will be low due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  I still have some unfinished business to accomplish this year.
Distance=32.0/ GPA= 3.15
YTD: 1343 miles/ 12-32 with a 2.24

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Upper Midwest Road Trip Plan

Okay.  I’m really jumping the gun on this one but here it is.  I need Wisconsin and Minnesota, which are neighboring states and Minneapolis holds an annual half marathon on the 4th of July, which falls on a Wednesday next year.  I can then go to Wisconsin and race the following Saturday.  2 races in 4 days will force me to back off a bit but if I am in decent shape, I can do it. 

I could fly in on Monday (7/2) afternoon or Tuesday (7/3) morning.  I’ll probably go with Tuesday morning.   I’ll only get a sample of downtown but that’s okay.  I can’t think of any “must do” attractions but it seems like it’s a nice city and I'll enjoy a walking tour for a few hours.  If it rains, there is an extensive sky way system, which was designed to protect from the cold.  

7/4- Race day in Minneapolis and from there, I’ll head east to Wisconsin.  The main attraction there is Door County, which is a peninsula with Great Lakes on each side and known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.  I expect it to be jammed on the 4th and there are several special events during the day so I will probably stay the night in Green Bay area then get an early start the next morning but if I’m ahead of schedule and feeling good, who knows?

 Thursday-7/5- I could take a dip and soak up some sun on the beaches but the main attractions are state and county parks and a boat tour.  From there, I’ll head north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or simply “the U-P.”  The scenery there looks even better and if I can only do one boat tour, it will be in Michigan.  Part of me is thinking go straight to Michigan from Green Bay because I won’t have a lot of time on Friday.

Friday-7/6- It’ll be a 5.5 hour drive from Marquette, Michigan to the site of the 2nd race in the town of Sauk City, Wisconsin (near Madison).  Fortunately, there is race day pickup so that will give me more time in Michigan.  I could probably get away with leaving around 2 PM.  

7/7- Race day in Wisconsin.  From there, I have the option of going back to Minneapolis and taking an early flight on Sunday or going back to Door County.  If I choose the latter, I won’t go all the way back to Minneapolis that evening but take an afternoon or evening flight on Sunday.  If I've seen enough of Door County, I could tour Madison before heading back.

If I can do this trip along with New England next Spring, it will take me up to 36 race states and 47 with a significant experience. Iowa and Nebraska would still be missing.   Iowa is debatable because I did drive into a real town (Keokuck) and in Nebraska, I did stop at a local grocery store and made light conversation with a couple locals.  Previous visits to Michigan and Wisconsin involved only a visit to McDonald's and a gas station.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Training 11/6-11/12 (Race week)

The race is called 5K at the Junction and located a few miles west of downtown.  Supposedly, it's a flat course and though I've run a couple strong 3 mile time trials, my official post-35 PR at this distance is rather soft at 21:54.  If I have decent stuff, I should beat that time easily.

11/6- Weak 3 miler at Gold's in 25:38 (8:33 pace).  No need to panic just yet.  It's possible that the weekend's workouts hit me today 2 days after the long run.  More than likely however, it was the Cal pills.  1 pill probably won't hurt me but I took 3 yesterday.  Even with the glycine, I'm not bulletproof but as I've said before, a little bit of sensitivity is NOT a bad thing at all.

PM- Improved a bit as the day progressed.  Tacked on 2 miles on Lakeshore in 15:54 (7:57 pace) with a negative split.  Added a half mile cool.  Should be back to normal by tomorrow.  A single dose won't hurt.  Low dose several days in a row will leave me a bit weakened.  A high dose is a significant problem but I was still able to do the workout with a passing grade.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.5

11/7-AM- No running this session but made an important discovery last night.  PABA needs to be reduced but not eliminated.  The more PABA I take, the more glycine is required to knock out the sensitivity because PABA raises benzoate.  BUT due to the overactive GNMT enzyme, my ceiling of glycine tolerance will always be limited.  Cutting the the PABA from 500 to 100 should allow 1000 glycine to be tolerated and that dose will be strong enough to knock out the sensitivity.  The issues with Cal likely had to do with too much PABA.  On 500 PABA, I'll need 2000+ glycine to knock out the sensitivity but I can't tolerate that much.  Let's pray that 100 PABA does the trick once and for all.

PM- Officially concerned.  Only marginally better today.  4 miles at Gold's in 31:52 (7:58 pace) plus a cool and it took a 4th mile rally to get the sub-8 overall.  Got home and found that as expected, just a trace of Cal made things worse.  PABA made it "worser".  Additional glycine would knock out the sensitivity but would also cause other issues.  From now on, I've got to cut WAY back on the PABA.  I've ordered the 100 mg.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.5

11/8- VERY interesting.  There has GOT to be a sweet spot with PABA that will allow me to tolerate the glycine that I need WITHOUT rendering it ineffective in combating the sensitivity to other stuff I may need down the road.  I came pretty close to finding it today in my interval testing session. I opened with just a pinch of PABA, which wasn't enough to tolerate glycine and I knew it before I started.  Here are the splits:
Opener- 2:48 (8:24 pace)
With Cal- 2:40 (8:00 pace)
A 24 second improvement in pace WITH Cal, the same stuff that hurt me just yesterday.  Indeed, that is enough to be significant so it remains an option IF the sensitivity is solved.
More PABA- 2:07 (6:21 pace).  YUGE
More Cal- 2:12 (6:36 pace).
Still not bad but this is a significant difference as well.  I was about even at the halfway point but struggled on the back half.  As expected, more PABA  beyond this left me MUCH worse and a trace of extra Cal made it "worser".  I finished out the day with a 6 lap cool down at a very slow pace.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=2.0
I'm not messing with Cal anymore until after the race.  It will clear in time for that.  The 2nd interval suggests that it could be beneficial IF the sensitivity is solved.  I'm guessing that the sweet spot with PABA is somewhere between 100-300 mg and probably closer to the lower end. I got close on the 3rd interval.  The problem is that the 100 mg PABA  has not arrived yet so I have to break open the 500 and estimate.  Yasko's Ultimate B, which is what I took before the 3rd interval, contains PABA but the amount is listed as part of a proprietary blend so I don't know how much I am getting.  I could go with PABA alone, Ultimate B alone or a combo of both.  The first option is MUCH cheaper but I've got to go with what is most effective.  On race day, if I'm wrong on the PABA dose, I'd rather miss high.  As long as I avoid the questionable supps, it won't hurt me too much.  If I miss low, glycine won't be tolerated.  Detailed post explaining what in the hell this all means is coming soon.

11/9- AM-Junk intervals.  With the Cal still in my system, the times were slow but I saw enough to know that if I go with all Ultimate B, it must be 2 pills.  1 was clearly not enough and I was significantly weakened after a 3rd.  Totaled 1.5 miles this session.

PM- Felt better after lunch as I got some clearance.  Again, extra PABA will only hurt IF I take something questionable.  Track at Gold's was extremely crowded and I had to stop several times because people were 3-4 abreast and I couldn't get by.  Totaled 2.5 miles in 17:45 (7:06 pace).  I came through 1.5 in 11-flat (7:20 pace) then increased it to 6:45.  I figured that was right around race pace for a 5K.  I wasn't wide open.  It was a hard but measured effort.  A 6:45 pace over 3.1 miles will bring me home in 21-flat.  I don't need a great day to get a post-35 PR, just a decent one.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

11/10- 2 mile Junk run on Wisteria on all PABA with no Ultimate B.  I did not time it but saw enough to know it's not the answer.  It's pretty clear now that Ultimate B is needed.  The sweet spot is either 2 of those suckers or 1 + low dose of stand alone PABA.  I'll know by early next week.  Lazy day off work for Veteran's Day and that's probably a good call before race day.
No Grade/distance=2.0

11/11- 5K at the Junction.  My performance was most definitely worth a post-35 PR (21:54) but I along with several others missed a turn and cut the course short by about .15 miles.  Official time was 20:19 but I kept going after the finish and didn't stop until the watch read 3.14.  My watch time was 21:14, which is a 40 second improvement over my previous PR.  I think I would have been just short of a sub-21 with a legit distance.  No real hills but the course was sloped such that most of the back half was a slight incline.  I'm counting it as a 21:14* but I feel that I have unfinished business and may try for the sub-21 at the Jingle Bell in early December.
Grade:B+/3 credit/distance=4.0
I went with 2 Ultimate B and no extra PABA.  Probably a good call and if this is THE formula, I can deal with it.  The only gripe is that it is pricey.  Took Cal and Vitamin C after I got home and felt NO noticeable ill-effects though I obviously did not run.  Still, the fact that I need exactly 2 makes me feel uneasy.  If I had gone with 1.5 or 2.5, it probably would have been ugly.  Either 1 or 3 would have flat out sucked.  Since PABA alone doesn't work, there must be some other missing piece.  I have a strong feeling that it could be NADH, which may explain an ATP deficit.

11/12- Easy 5 on Lakeshore plus a 1 Mile cool.  Finished the 5 mile in 46:44 (9:21 pace).  I intended for it to be slow but not THIS slow.  I tried 500 mg PABA again and confirmed that it alone will NOT allow me to tolerate glycine.  There must be another factor ingredient in Yasko's Ultimate B.  In all likelihood, 2 Ultimate B it is though I will try 1 plus low dose PABA next week.  Perhaps extra NADH will alleviate the sensitivity to that stuff.  Without any PABA, the methylation block issues with MTHFR will kick in bigly so yes, a little PABA is needed.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
Outside of a good race on Saturday, this was a shaky week.  Still, it was enough to keep me on track for 1500 miles and ticked my yearly GPA up.  I need to average 27 MPW the rest of the year, which is no cinch with the holidays ahead.  If 2 Ultimate B does it, I'll win more than I lose going forward.
Distance= 28.0/ GPA= 2.58
YTD: 1309 miles/  11-32 with a 2.22 GPA
I have exceeded last year's mileage total.

With my friend DT Moss after the 5K

Sunday, November 5, 2017

States and Provinces To Visit

What constitutes having "been to" a state or province?  That's a question that has stirred up considerable debate in online discussion forums.  It is generally agreed that airport layovers do NOT count nor do fly overs.  Drive or ride through a state?  That's debatable.  I personally DO count it so long as I am awake and aware.  For example, you can pass through a corner of West Virginia on I-70 or Arizona on I-15 for all of 15 minutes.  I say you can count it unless you were taking a nap at the time but you would definitely be encouraged to do a lot more than that.

Here's another issue:  How about if you were taken to a state when you were a baby or a toddler and have no memory of being there?  I've always counted it before but now, I'm not so sure.  That's part of the reason I want to go to New England next Spring.  I have VERY faint memories of Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts but don't remember being in Connecticut or Rhode Island at all.  If the most lenient standards are applied, I've been to 49 states with only Hawaii missing but if you only count the ones in which I've done something memorable, my total drops to 42.  No doubt that a half marathon race is a significant experience so that's 32 right there.  Here's what I've done in 10 others:

Maine- Flew in Bangor and drove to Nova Scotia.  Also ran on the State University track on the way back.  On a previous visit, I walked on the beach near Kennebunk and spent a night in Portland.

New Hampshire- Rode through the White Mountains and stopped in Concord to tour the State Capitol with an interesting guide.

Vermont- Spent a night in Rutland and had dinner at a local restaurant.  Drove through the Green Mountains.

Maryland- Actually lived and worked there for 3 months and spent many happy hours in Ocean City in the summer of 2000.

Delaware- Crossed the border many times from Maryland and spent some time on these beaches when I wanted something different.

New Jersey- Been here several times because I have in-laws who live there.  Also ran a Junior Olympic track meet here in 100 degree heat.

Minnesota- Flew into Minneapolis and drove to Fargo.  Stopped for pizza at a local restaurant and walked around the Mall of America.

Utah- Spent a night in St. George and hiked/ran in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Washington- Breakfast with an old friend in the Seattle area.  Also spent a night in Spokane and ran on the Centennial trail.

South Dakota- Parents took me here on vacation.  I was only 8 years old but that's definitely old enough to remember specifically Mt. Rushmore, hiking and fishing.

Clearly, all 10 of these meet the requirements of something significant but there are 7 others that don't.  In addition to the aforementioned 3 in New England, I did very little in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Iowa.  In all 4, I did nothing other than stop at a grocery store, a gas station or McDonald's just across the border.  All 4 have a lot more to offer than this.

Now on to Canada:
I've been to 7 of the 10 provinces.  For the record, my favorite is Alberta but there's a lot to like in all of them so far.  I think I meet the "tough requirements" in all of them.

British Columbia- Spent a night here and hiked through 2 beautiful national parks on the epic road trip in the summer of 2017.

Alberta- Toured Calgary and Banff.  2 nights spent and saw some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth on the same epic road trip.

Ontario- At least 3 different visits here, most notably a day and night in Toronto.

Quebec- This is my most questionable province.  I was only about 6 years old but I do remember a couple details such as a hike up steep stairs in QBC and being greeted with a "Bonjour" by our waiter at breakfast.  As an aside, I encountered a few French Canadians in Alberta who appreciated that I greeted them in French.  I intend to be back when I race in Maine/New Hampshire.

New Brunswick- I did not spend a night here but did tour the town of St. John by foot as well as the Bay of Fundy NP and ate at a local restaurant so that's definitely enough.

PEI- Walk on beach, night in Charlottetown with a meal and walking tour.

Nova Scotia- Race in Halifax.

Missing 3:
A drive from South Dakota to Sasketchewan will be tough but do-able and I can come back through Manitoba.  Most likely, I will spend the night in the former but not the latter.

Newfoundland will be tough and the best chance is to break up a trip to Europe and slowly adjust to the time change.  I hear St. John's is worth the visit.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thoughts on MGTOW and Dating

MGTOW is an acronym which stands for Men Going Their Own Way.  It is primarily an online community composed of straight men who choose not to marry and in some cases, exit the dating scene altogether arguing that a relationship with a woman is likely to be a negative experience.  The group does raise important points in which I find some agreement.  First, the wage gap shrinks to 5% or less when the occupation, experience and hours worked are factored into the equation.  Second, there are several aspects of American society in which women actually have the upper hand over men.  This is most notably true in the criminal justice system, workplace safety and divorce settlements.  I feel strongly that the alimony and child support system is in need of reform to dis-incentivize divorce.  Still, with that being said, I must reject the MGTOW movement as a whole.  Some of the content is blatantly sexist and I suppose you could say that it is the male equivalent of radical feminism.  A relationship with a woman can be a TREMENDOUS positive but you've got to be choosy about your life partner and much heartache can be avoided by following some guidelines and screening.

I might be accused of sexism for this post but it is not my intention.  My defense is that the red flags that I have listed can apply to both men and women.  If a woman makes a post about poor qualities among men that ought to be deal breakers in a relationship, it does not make her a man-hater.  The purpose of this post is to provide advice to BOTH men and women in hopes that it will prevent a few people from getting in/staying in a bad relationship or from marrying someone who is not a good match.  Here it comes.

I hate divorce especially when children are involved.  I’ve seen the negative effects it has on other families and in a perfect world in which I was 10 years younger and never got sick, I would only consider women who have not been married before.  The reality is that I am 37 years old and don’t think I could date anyone under 30 at this point in my life.  Finding a woman in Alabama that is over 30 and never married will be a VERY tall order.  Another factor is the knowledge of genetic defects that could be passed on to my children.  Seeing my own child face the same health problems knowing that my genetics caused it would be too much for my heart to bear.  Instead, I will be a darn good mentor and stepfather to a school aged child.

MGTOW is correct that there are reasons to have some reservations about getting married.  Half of marriages fail and the success rate for a 2nd marriage is in the 30-35% range.  I will have to beat the odds in order to be successful but I still intend to give it a shot.  70% of divorces are initiated by women yet child custody and alimony usually favor the mother.  I’m not making judgments here.  That is a fact and many men will balk at marriage for that reason.  I do recognize that there are some situations in which divorce is an acceptable or even necessary decision.  Among the valid reasons are abuse, abandonment, adultery and other compulsive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse or a gambling addiction.  I have no specific data but everything I have read about reasons for a divorce suggests that the “hard cases” listed above are in the minority.  I heard of cases in which the wife admitted that the husband did nothing seriously wrong but that she was simply “not happy” and grew tired of her man.  It happened to one of the guys in my Bible study.  Of course, I am just as upset when a man does the same thing for no good reason.  I have a pair of cousins who suffered greatly after their father left his wife for another woman. 

Recent divorce:
Before I get serious with any divorced woman, I will need to know what happened, specifically who initiated the divorce, for what reason and when it occurred.  If it was within 2-3 years, I’d give it the green light if a). Wife got dumped for an invalid reason, and b). Husband got dumped for a valid reason.  The other 2 cases are red flags.  If the divorce occurred more than 3 years ago, it becomes a yellow flag.  Proceed with caution.  Some people change and if they repent, a 2nd chance can be given but not without a significant waiting period.  A 3rd chance?  Unless there was radical change in the meantime, 2 previous divorces would be a deal breaker.

There was one particularly disturbing case on my news feed about a year ago.  A FB friend who claimed to be Christian announced herself as Divorced.  The appropriate response would be “Sorry it happened.  I’m here for you if you want to talk.”  Nope.  Her post got over 200 likes and over 80% of the comments were congratulatory and “You will be so much happier.”  I withheld judgment because I didn’t know what happened but 3 months later, she was married to another man and moved across the country.  It’s pretty obvious that the divorce was obtained for the purpose of marrying another man.  That’s the same as adultery for both parties and Jesus said it Himself.  In the unlikely event that there is a married woman who wants to divorce her husband to marry me, it’s not a red flag, it’s a BLACK FLAG.  I’d respond by cutting off the friendship altogether.

Pre-marital sex:
I am saving myself for marriage.  Finding a divorced woman who will agree to that will be a VERY tall order and probably impossible if she is not a Christian but I MUST NOT give in on that issue.  I’ve heard the sermons on the subject but there are plenty of secular reasons for it as well.  Besides the obvious risks of STDs and unplanned pregnancies, it releases hormones connected with attachment that are just not healthy outside of marriage.  I know several people who stay in bad relationships because they don’t want to give up sex and it makes a break up so much harder than it has to be.  Moreover, research has shown that the more sexual partners you have prior to marriage, the more likely you are to end up divorced.  Don’t do it.  As for children out of wedlock, one youthful indiscretion is a yellow flag but multiple children with more than one man in which there was no marriage is a red flag.

Unrealistic Expectations:
I’m not perfect but neither are you.  Nobody is.  Yes, it will take effort on both side to make it work but I know of one guy who repeatedly bends over backwards for his girlfriend but it’s never enough to keep her happy over the long haul.  Yes, I’ll buy her gifts and take her out to a nice restaurant on occasion but that stuff should NOT be necessary to keep her happy.  Instead, I want a woman who can be happy just by being around me.  Let’s suppose I’m sitting on the couch with the woman I love.  Her arm is around my shoulder and we share smiles and pleasant conversation throughout the evening.  That’s more than enough to make me happy even if I’m watching a chick flick or a TV show that I don’t really care about.   If you can’t make your significant other consistently happy in dating, you would be strongly advised not to marry them unless you want to be dumped for no good reason.  One such case occurred because the husband committed the terrible sin of leaving dishes in the sink too often and I'm sure men have had reasons just as stupid. 

Trashing Their Ex:
If you consistently speak negatively about your ex, it is a sign of bitterness and is often a warning sign of verbal abuse down the road.  A former friend of mine made repeated posts about KILLING her ex and even provided details of her preferred method.  Granted he was a cheater so some anger is to be expected but that’s way over the top.  As I got to know her better, I found that she was sharply critical yet thin-skinned and overly emotional herself.  That’s a double whammy for me.  Joseph thought Mary had cheated and because he was a righteous man, he intended to divorce her quietly and avoid exposing her to public shame.  That’s what you’ve got to do.  Several people that have hurt me in the past have suffered misfortune shortly thereafter.  Don’t gloat over it and don’t be upset if they have success.

Overly Critical:
If I had a rough day, I want to come home to somebody who will speak words that are loving and comforting.  Of course, she has every right to expect the same from me.   Coming home to a person who is sarcastic and seems to find fault in everything I do or say would be sheer misery.  I’d probably have a tendency to withdraw but I want to encourage you NOT to tolerate verbal abuse.  Stand up for yourself.  This applies to both men and women.  I’m not suggesting getting into a shouting match.  The next morning, just calmly say that their words and tone of voice was inappropriate and hurtful last night.  If the situation were reversed and the same words and tone were used by me, it would never fly.    If they apologize and promise to do better, accept it and things will be okay.  If they become defensive, get out of the relationship before marriage is considered.  An apology means you value the relationship over your ego.  Seeing a person that you supposedly love walk around hurt knowing that it was you that caused it ought to cause heartache even if you think you were right.  If it doesn’t, you don’t have much of a heart.  Sad but true. 

Although she should be my number 1 fan, I don’t expect her to accept everything I do if I am clearly in the wrong.  If she gives me a list of things I need to improve upon, I will NOT be upset.  She should not be upset either if I do it.  I want her happy, which will in turn affect my happiness.  I would much rather her gently tell me that something is wrong early rather than see her keep the anger bottled up. Then I’d get blindsided by an angry attack or worse down the road.  Communication is key.  The earlier a conflict is addressed, the better the chance of it being resolved amicably.

Control Freak:
Disagreements will be inevitable.  Listen to and consider your significant other’s point of view.  Make the compromises when appropriate and/or do something special in return.  Build consensus, meet in the middle and ask for their input when making a decision.  If you find that your girlfriend/boyfriend MUST get their own way at all costs, it is sure to create resentment and weaken the bonds. Break up.  Again, communication is the key.  If my girlfriend has a cause and/or something that she really wants to do, I might try to talk her out of it if I have reservations but I will never tell her NO point blank.  It is perfectly reasonable to have the same expectations myself.

It will take a special person to be compatible with me and it could take an act of God.  If after several years of dating, I decide it’s not going to happen, how will I react?  I won’t go as far as to say that I’ll be okay with it but it’s not the end of the world for me.  There are some advantages to being single and I don’t need a woman to make me happy.  As long as I am healthy, I can be content to be single.  If a woman adds to my happiness, then I’m all in.  I really don’t think my red flags are unreasonable either.  All I want is an equal partnership in which neither party feels dominated or unappreciated.

I’m not in a rush.  I don’t want to treat a first date as a job interview to determine if she is wife material.  Instead, I’ll focus on enjoying her company and we’ll see how things proceed.  I figure within 3-4 dates, I’ll know if she is girlfriend material.  A long courtship is fine and preferable in your 20s.  In your 30s, I’d say 12-18 months is sufficient to make the decision to break up or get married and a 6 month engagement seems about right.  All the cards should be revealed by then.  If the decision is to break up, don’t look back.  If it’s to get married, you should have definitive plans and a date picked out within 2 years of the first date.  Don’t stay engaged indefinitely and don’t live together before marriage.