Monday, July 24, 2017

My Experience with Mainstream Medicine

A friend of mine recently asked me why I question what doctors say and wonders why I don’t trust mainstream medicine.  He later advised me that perhaps I should see a psychologist.  He really should know better but he means well so I am not angry with him.  I thought some of my readers might have the same questions so I’ll answer that in this post.

Let’s go back to my days at business school in Clemson.  At the time, I was taking 2 adrenal supplements but was ultra-sensitive.  2 pills would leave me fatigued and lethargic but a 3rd would push me to the opposite side of the spectrum with anxiety and over-stimulation.  2.5 pills were perfect …  for a while.  I was shooting at moving targets depending on my level of stress.  I needed more to get through exam weeks but could not tolerate the dosage when I had less work to do.  After graduation, I could not find a formula that worked for me and thought that surely, blood tests would reveal something way out of balance.

The only abnormality that came up was an elevated homocysteine level, which my doctor brushed off as no big deal and easily treatable with a B-vitamin complex, which I could not tolerate.   I was only 25 years old at the time so the doctors could not use the aging explanation on me.  Instead they tried to convince me that it was all in my head and purely emotional.  To suggest that there is nothing physically wrong with me when I have days in which I cannot run 1 Mile in less than 10 minutes is hurtful and insulting.  I never did buy into that but felt I had no choice other than to go along.  In retrospect, I suppose I can see why they felt that way.  After all, I was unemployed and living with my parents after working so hard to get that MBA.  I tried to explain that I had days at Clemson that were just as bad and snapped out of it only because I found the right adrenal balance with the pills.  It fell on deaf ears.  Everyone was convinced that once I got a job and was living on my own again, I would be okay.  If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that did not happen. 

I was prescribed 2 different anti-depressant drugs (Lexapro-SSRI and Cymbalta-SNRI) and a referral to a psychologist.  In both cases, the results were identical.  The drugs did NOTHING for my sensitivity to the supplements.  The anxiety did diminish a bit. As for the fatigue, I got temporarily relief for a few weeks then was left worse off than I was before.   Part of me could not tell what was real and what was dream. The cycle repeated itself after every dosage increase.  Finally, after 4 rounds of this crap, I decided I had enough and tapered off.  Fortunately, the withdrawal was not severe in my case.  Others are not so lucky.  One person in a Facebook group claimed to have tried 30 different anti-depressants with similar results.  They call me crazy and maybe I am but the true definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results.  Counseling and psychiatry did ZERO to help me.  I had to field ridiculous questions such as whether or not I had magic powers or heard voices in my head.  One person told me that their psychologist said chemical imbalances were a “cop out.”  You’ll get a throat punch if you ever say that to me.  These same practitioners are the one that prescribe powerful drugs intended to alter chemistry.  WHAT THE _____?  I’d like to ask them what they think would happen to them if their supply of adrenaline, dopamine and/or serotonin gets cut off.  After this experience, I was done with mainstream medicine and I have not looked back since.  Four different doctors said the same thing and most everyone else in mainstream medicine would have recommended the same course of action.  

If your blood tests come back normal, why do you feel so bad?  The short answer is the reference range does not reflect good health and tests that would have revealed key information were not ordered.  If the high homocysteine was accompanied by a low SAM-e (not ordered in my case), it would have been a sure sign of a methylation block, which explained the sensitivity.  A drug called Deplin would have been prescribed.  It does contain methyl folate but unless it also contains SAM-e and hydroxyl B-12 in the exact right ratio, it would not work.  Lastly, it would do NOTHING for my adrenal and iron imbalances.  I trust this explains a few things.

Training 7/24-7/30

7/24- Unplanned rest day.  The culprit is Yasko's Ultimate B.  I'll have to go back on PABA to manage MF sensitivity.  Not pleased but not a huge surprise because of the B6 and IP6 content.  B2 as a stand alone may help as well.  I expect this to be a 1-2 day blip.

7/25- AM- First day off the Ultimate B was a success so far.  2 miles in 13:52 (6:56 pace) and felt good in doing so.  A lot left at the end as well.  We'll see what happens in the evening.  I tried to stop Ultimate B after Teton and it did not work.  I was not taking PABA at the time.

PM- Gold's 4 in 31:24 (7:51 pace).  Not horrible on the surface but I faded badly (15:02-16:22).  It looks like I need the Ultimate B after all at a dose of neither more nor less than 1 pill per day.  If I had waited just a few hours longer, it would have been a struggle from the start.  I get an "A" for the morning and a "C" for the evening.  Odds are there is another ingredient in the Ultimate B that I need and another that I can barely tolerate.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=6.0

7/26- CRASH!  Culprit was Ultimate B.  That means there is a magic bullet in there (probably B-2) and something else that is no longer tolerated (probably IP-6).  Iron dysregulation is the reason for the intolerance. Re-ordered the B-2 but it probably won't arrive until Saturday after the group run.  I'm going to lose this week.  Workout was a very poor 3 miler on Lakeshore.  Time was over 26 minutes.  Started off cool and overcast after a storm then the sun came out and made it brutal at the end.  We'll start to get some relief from the humidity in 3-4 weeks.  I am allowed to donate blood again in 3 weeks and I'm leaning towards doing it immediately thereafter.  I want the Ferritin down NOW and am willing to face some instability to get there.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

7/27- AM-Last evening's Ultimate B dose confirmed the culprit but left me worse off than before.  I was worthless this morning and it was worse than I expected.  1 Mile in 9:49 and needed a late rally just to secure the sub-10.  I might be somewhat better by the evening and may even get a brief window of good energy but within 2 days without B-2, the crash will be sure and swift.  Help is on the way.  B-2 plus PABA has worked in the past and I believe it will work again now.  I had hoped to get by on the Ultimate B because it's one less pill but that plan is moot.
EDIT: Not any old B-2 will do.  I need the active form called Ribo-5-Phosphate.

PM- Just as expected for the day after a crash.  Improved to 25:48 for 3 miles (8:36 pace).  If I don't take any Ultimate B tonight, I'll wake up feeling pretty decent but it will be downhill after lunch.  I'll probably take a trace of it and I'll endure a rough day tomorrow and a rough morning on Saturday but should see improvement when the Active B-2 arrives.  One person in the Mag group on Facebook suggested that my sensitivity issues could be allergies, which is treatable a method similar to acupuncture.  I'll look into it but it seems too good to be true.  Again, no more NEW supps.  The B-2 doesn't count because it worked in the past and must replace the Ultimate B.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

Monday, July 17, 2017

Training 7/17-7/23

7/17- AM- MAKE OR BREAK the next 3 weeks.  I am off sugared drinks (day 8) and the adrenal spike has died down.  I am also back to my old formula. Going on 4 weeks since the blood donation, it's high time I start seeing some benefits. So far, I might make it.  3 miles in 21:15 (7:05) with a nice kick at the end.  Still lacked the top gear but this was one of my better efforts.  Narrowly missed my best time of the year.  I hope to be back out this evening.

PM- Took a 3rd TMG and was noticeable WORSE.  Fortunately, I was not horrible in my evening session.  I brought the Methyl Folate guessing that it could counteract the TMG.  Without it, I came through 2 miles in 15:28 then popped 2 pills and ran the next 2 in 15:20 for an overall time of 30:48 (7:42 pace).  Slightly better with the extra MF despite slightly tired legs but that's not enough to be considered significant.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=7.0

In the past, I needed an exact ratio of MF/TMG.  Thankfully, those days are gone but it does appear that I may be my best at a 1:1 ratio.  By that I mean, 1000 mcg of MF for every 1000 mg of TMG.  It also appears that I must not exceed 2000 mg of TMG per day no matter how much MF I take.  I'm willing to experiment a little with existing pills but I'm done with new ones.  Odds are, the optimal ratio will make a difference of maybe 10-15 ticks per mile, which is not that big of a deal.

7/18- AM- 2x2.5 miles at Gold's.  Opened with 2000 MF and 1000 TMG and finished with a solid 18:20 (7:20 pace) and got stronger as the run progressed.  Popped another TMG hoping to find another gear.  Indeed I did.  Improved to 17:47 (7:07 pace) on the back half and dipped under 7:00 for the last mile.  MINUS 13 with the balanced ratio JUST AS I PREDICTED.  Overall time was a solid 36:07 (7:13 pace) for 5 miles.  If I went non-stop, I believe I can go sub-21 for 3 miles and sub-36 for 5 miles on the balanced ratio. Not half bad for being under-trained for so long.  That's it for today.

PM- Took 2 MF after the run and it left me slightly weakened.  Impromptu 2 on Lakeshore in 14:52 (7:26 pace).  About as expected in 90 degree heat.  A 1:1 ratio is best but if I err on the side of TMG or MF, the results will be about the same.  Not horrible but noticeably weaker.  Added a mile cool.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=8.0

7/19- Trak Shak 5 in the heat.  Dialed back the effort a bit and finished in 39:50 (7:58 pace).  Average performance.  Energy was a little down today but I suppose that's normal considering my workouts the past 2 days.  The only question to be answered regarding my formula is whether I need 1000 MF/TMG or 2000.  I'm betting it's 2000 but I'll give both a shot.  I've got a chance to win this week.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

7/20- 2x1 mile experimental intervals.  Started on 1000 of each and clocked a 6:59 on tempo effort.  Upped it to 2000 and improved to 6:41.  Maybe I turned up the effort a little bit but not 18 seconds worth.  2000 it is.  Added a mile cool and decided to take the evening off.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

SOD supplementation is a non-factor at low doses but if I up it, I am a bit weakened.  I had been taking larger doses to get rid of it but have decided to pitch it along with the Liver pills.  I'll keep the Whole Food C in case I need it after the 2nd blood donation.  That's allowed in 4 weeks time but I'll hold off another week or 2.

7/21- Planned rest day.  I can win this week just by finishing my long run.

7/22- Successful BTC long run.  Watch died so I don't know the time so this will be judged purely by feel.  Anytime you can finish a double digit run in Alabama this time of year, it's a pretty decent day.  I'd guess my pace was in the low-mid 8s and I wasn't completely dead at the end.  This guarantees a win on the week.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=11.0

7/23- Gold's 3 mile in 22:17 (7:26 pace).  Felt surprisingly well after yesterday even after cheating on sugar.  I've decided to allow 1 cheat day per week but it must not become 2-3.  4 or more and I will have to endure the detox and adrenal spike again.  Very even pace.  According to the new Garmin, my average HR was 150.  Max should be around 180-185 so this was far from max effort.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Win #6 on the year.  I am 1 for 1 in make or break territory.  For the last time, if I can train like this consistently, I will turn in respectable race times.  I'll have to turn it up a notch to be competitive again.  So far so good.
Distance=37.0/ GPA= 29.6/9= 3.29
YTD: 843 miles.  6-21 with a 2.11 GPA

Monday, July 10, 2017

Training 7/10-7/16

7/10-AM.  Good start.  2 mile quickie at Gold's in 13:56 with back to back 6:58 splits.  I'll be back out this evening.

PM- Adrenal spike hit HARD this afternoon.  I expect it will last 5-7 days but I can control it with extra ADHS.  Another 2 mile this time at junk pace on Wisteria.  By the weekend, I hope to get a final answer on Liver Beef and Livatone.  MAYBE then, I'll have a formula that I can ride to the FINISH in New Mexico.  Let's say the Ferritin drops by 5 points per week.  It will be under 100 by New Mexico, which is still higher than ideal but not bad enough to produce horrible symptoms.  By Labor Day, it will be in the 130 range and I should see improvements by then.
Grade:C/1 credit/Distance=4.0

7/11- Day 2 is usually the roughest day of a sugar detox.  This is probably as bad as the adrenal spike will get.  4 miles in 34:34 (8:38 pace).  Weak effort.  Miles 2-3 were approaching 9 but came back a little at the end.  I should be better tomorrow.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

7/12- Day 3.  4 miles in 31:36 (7:54 pace) MINUS 44.  A lot better but still no top gear.  Even pace but never did get it much below 7:45.  Livatone did arrive earlier than expected so I added a half mile cool after taking it.  Much poorer after taking just 1 of those pills, which could hurt me tomorrow.  I'm okay with that.  I'd rather get a quick NO on a pill than a false hope.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.5

7/13- AWFUL!  1 Mile in 8:54 plus a half mile cool.  Each lap was markedly slower than the previous one.  Got home to find the culprit was Whole Food C.  The same stuff that kept me afloat the 2 weeks after the donation.  This leaves me with the same formula as before.
Distance=1.5/ Freebie

7/14- Garbage run on Wisteria.  Had to take walk breaks to avoid a mess.  Finished with 1 Mile and no time though I'm sure it was over 10 minutes.  I'll try Liver Beef again tomorrow but I expect a failure and part of me is actually hoping for it.  That would mean no supplement can regulate my Iron.  Blood donation or BUST and I'll get a final answer by October.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

7/15- BTC run was not a total failure this time.  Never did have a good pace and slowed from there but did not collapse or have to walk.  Covered 6 miles in soupy conditions in 59:14 (9:52 pace).  Did the first half with the group in 28:37 then slipped to 30:37 on the back half.  Popped a trace of the Liver pill (less than 1/4) and felt noticeably WORSE within seconds.  That does it!  No more experimentation with supplements.  Blood donation or BUST!
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

7/16- Gold's 4 in 29:33 (7:23 pace).  Solid but not stellar.  Felt strong through the first half in 14:40 then struggled a bit but kept it under 7:30 all the way.  Too much effort for this pace but still decent.
Day 7 off sugared drinks.  Staying strong.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

Weekly summary:
The next 3 weeks will be make or break.  I'm back to my old formula and it's high time I see sustained improvement from the blood donation.
Distance=25.0/ GPA= 9/6= 1.50
YTD: 806 miles.  5-21 with a 2.06 GPA

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dating Part 3

Being single does have its advantages.  I certainly could never take the epic road trip with a young family.  Even as a couple, I cannot simply roll out of bed and hit the road within a few minutes so I'd have to cut back on some of the sight seeing.  That said, given the choice, I'd rather be married at this point in my life.  If the blood donation and liver treatments are successful, I will put myself on the market before the Holidays.  As of now, my biggest problem is lack of confidence but that changes IF HEALTHY!  Like many others, I will open up more quickly to some people than others but I really can't say what it is that makes me feel more comfortable.  I'm convinced that ease of conversation will not be an issue with the right person.

Based on personal observations, being married does NOT necessarily make you a better all around person.  In particular, losing touch with single friends is NEVER a good thing.  My 2 best friends got married/engaged last year and not surprisingly, we've drifted apart considerably.  I am quite sure that I never offended them and we still have a good time when we do get to see each other but those times are rare.  One of them turned me down flat out because in his words "nowadays all I want to do is hang out with my girlfriend."  He knew I was struggling at the time and I was hurt.  I've felt this way since back in college.  I knew several people who were almost always super nice but when they got around their significant other, it was as if nobody else at the table existed.  It's great that you like each other so much but you can see each other every day.  I'm not going to be at your table every day especially if you ignore me.  I'm not alone here.  I've talked to many others who are just as bothered by it.  I made myself a promise right then.  Yes, she will be my best friend and the most important person in my life but not the ONLY important person in my life.  I'm afraid that too many people feel pressured into marriage because all of their friends are hitched and it's time to do it themselves.  As a result, they settle for a less than ideal match and end up divorced.

I anticipate that I may make a few rookie mistakes but there is one in particular that I will avoid and I will expect the same in return:  Be honest about your feelings early.

If somebody is into you but you don't have any feelings beyond friendship or don't see it getting serious, you need to say so.  Yes, there might be a little bit of hurt feelings but if you lead somebody on and don't really mean it, it's much worse in the end.  I don't see anything wrong with occasionally hanging out as friends in such cases as long as you enjoy the company.  I've done it a few times myself knowing that there was no dating relationship in our future but it needs to be understood by the other party as well.

Breaking up:
Once the decision has been made by either party, I will NOT go back.  I think I've only see one "off and on" relationship turn out well.  The vast majority of the time, it ends up VERY BADLY for both parties.  I will take the time to mourn then pick myself up.  I've been through worse and believe that I can take that kind of rejection.  If she's just not that into me, that's a lot easier to take than being rejected by someone who actually does love/like me but can't take my chemical issues.  Staying friends with a serious ex-girlfriend?  Usually not a good idea.  The only possible exception is if you were friends prior to dating and mutually decide to end it on good terms.

The 3 non-negotiable issues remain Active Christian, Support my cause, Healthy lifestyle.  I don't think that is too much to ask.  Of course, the one that goes without saying is we must love each other unconditionally.  Here are a few things that are negotiable that might surprise those who know me well:

Could a conservative like me date a Democrat?  It would depend on what kind.  A tax and spend liberal who is moderate on social issues?  Maybe.  An SJW type who would march in a Trump protest?  Hell no!  Then again, those types are rarely active Christians.

I am open to inter-racial dating.  I've had several close friends who are not white and almost never even thought about it.  Of course, dating goes to a much deeper level with the family aspect if we got serious.  I expect that I will naturally gravitate toward somebody with a similar background and life experiences.  I would be surprised if she is not from the South and at least somewhat country.

Again, active Christian is the most non-negotiable of the 3 but I've always been open-minded about theological issues and dislike debates on the subject.  I'm confident that we can work around those differences if they arise.

Divorced with kids:
Given the scope of my situation with a genetic basis to my illness, I've flip flopped in recent years on this issue.  I now believe it might be the best situation for me and believe I could be a darn good mentor to a teenage boy.  I don't think I could date anyone under 30 now and in Alabama, it's hard to find one that age that has never been married.  Still, I will be awfully leery about a woman who initiated a divorce without a good reason (abuse, neglect, adultery, drugs).  70% of divorces are initiated by women and sadly the 2 most common reasons are not among the above.  Rather, the reasons tend to be money and emotional needs.  More on that later. Two previous divorces?  I'm afraid that is a deal breaker unless radical change took place between now and then.

 I am open to dating someone who is less educated.  High school dropout?  I don't think so.  Somebody who did not attend or finish college?  Maybe. Again, I expect to naturally gravitate toward someone with a college degree because that is my experience.  Here, work schedules could present a problem.  I work a regular 8-5 M-F so somebody with different hours will cut into our potential time together.  She's got to have at least 1 weekend day off and the opportunity to join me on a long weekend road trip every now and then.

One of my friends recently had to choose between a relationship with his father and seeing his girlfriend.  He chose the latter.  I've met her before and I approve of the relationship.  I don't have much in common with her but she certainly seems to be a good and caring person who "gets it" when it comes to the nature of my illness.  When I heard about that, I made a pact with my parents that NO source of conflict (girlfriend or other) will EVER ruin our relationship.  Both my mother and father quickly got on board.  I say barring drugs, cheating, abuse or another severe character flaw, parents have got to accept their son or daughter's significant other.

Being married could be a source of great happiness or great misery so I will NOT take the decision lightly.  Nobody is perfect but I will not settle for less than an EXCELLENT match. I want her to bring out the best in me and I hope to bring out the best in her.  I'm not sure I believe in the concept of a soul mate.  Rather, the one that I marry is one of several women out there who COULD be compatible with me.  There will be some compromises on both sides to make it work but other issues are non-negotiable and must be resolved BEFORE the marriage.  Now on to the potential conflicts:

Money- I am a bit on the thrifty side when it comes to material possessions.  I do spend quite a bit on food and supplements but those are necessary to keep me healthy.  All I need to be content is a roof over my head in a safe neighborhood and a reliable car.  I prefer a condo to a house because I dislike yard work.  I'd probably be willing to bend a little in a few areas but will not live beyond our means or go into debt.  Rather, I prefer to spend more on experiences such as an epic road trip or international travel.  If a woman is more interested in material things, it's asking for trouble.

Emotional needs-  I really dislike this one as a reason for divorce.  I suppose it could be valid only in extreme cases such as a man who comes home then barely talks to you for days at a time.  That could cross the line into neglect.  I do need to ask you this:  What about my feelings?  What about my emotional needs?

Coming home to someone who loves me unconditionally and will support and comfort me if I am struggling (which I hope is rarely) is a great source of happiness.  You better believe I'll do everything I can to make sure she is happy as well.  On the other hand, coming home to someone who is sarcastic, verbally abusive and controlling yet thin-skinned herself would be miserable.  That's a toxic combo that must be avoided at all costs for both men and women.  If faced with that situation, I probably would have a tendency to withdraw rather than fight back.  Don't complain about your emotional needs if you treat me badly.  I know that's harsh but it's how I feel.

Communication is key to resolving this source of conflict.  Don't keep your anger bottled up.  If you feel that your spouse's words or actions are hurtful, you need to say so.  Perhaps your spouse is not aware that you are hurt or doesn't know the depth of it.  I know I'm not perfect and I don't mind a little correction especially if it's done in a gentle and loving manner.  Lastly and perhaps most importantly, if you did hurt your spouse, swallow your pride.  Apologize and do your best to set things right.  Nobody is perfect so keep expectations realistic as well.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Iron Panel Results and Reaction

Here are the numbers that I was shooting for:
Serum Iron- 110
Saturation Percentage- 33

Previous Results:
Serum Iron-119
Saturation Percentage-41

Current Results:
Serum Iron-108
Saturation Percentage-37

Both the serum Iron and the Saturation Percentage look pretty darn good but that damn Ferritin (stored Iron) remains stubbornly high EVEN AFTER THE BLOOD DONATION!
What is especially puzzling is the changes in how I feel and how I am reacting to the pills despite the fact that my numbers look very similar across the board:
-B6, IP-6 and Curcumin were tolerated before the donation.  Not so now.
-Whole Food C was NOT tolerated prior to the donation.  Now, it appears to be necessary.
-Jury is still out on the Liver Beef but even if it’s tolerated, I will be very careful with it.

UPDATE: So far so good on the Liver Beef.  I was 24 seconds faster with it than without.  Again, I cannot predict whether or not I will tolerate it 2-3 weeks from now much less 2-3 months.

There's another pill called Livatone that may be worth a shot.  It does have a couple questionable ingredients and will be used in addition to the blood donation rather than a substitute for it.

I would probably feel better now if I had focused solely on methylation for my sensitivity issues starting in the Fall of 2014.  That was a long and difficult fight but since around March of this year, this area is much improved as is the sulfur tolerance.  According to the runworks calculator, my 1:45:31 performance at Teton and its 6300 foot altitude was the equivalent of a 1:39:36 at sea level.  I believe if I had not messed with Iron and Ceruloplasmin, I might still be capable of 1:35 on a good day.   Some people might say that I should have left well enough alone and accepted the high Ferritin level.

In any event, it’s too late to turn back now.  I made the decision to go through with the blood donation and I cannot undo it.  Why not leave well enough alone?  Several reasons.

1-      I’m not sure that I would ever stabilize on a specific formula.  The intolerance to B6 that flared up in the days prior to the epic road trip was both sudden and scary.  If my history is any indication, it will happen again.  If my system ever rejects my adrenal supplement, I am DOOMED.

2-      Although this is no current danger of having a Ferritin level in the 200 range, conservative treatments were not effective and it could continue to creep up.  Suppose it rises by just 1 point per month.  I’m pushing 300 by age 45, which leaves me at higher risk for cancer and heart disease.

3-      IF there is a treatment option out there that provides a chance of a better life for me, I’m going to take it.  There are many success stories out there with very few cases of people who end up worse off than they had been before the donation.   

4. I've also heard that Ferritin lab values could underestimate the damage to organs.  There could be more hidden in tissues that could take time to come out.

Explanation for the Results:
I thought perhaps the blood work is a lagging indicator.  That is, symptoms of low serum Iron will show up before it is reflected in the lab values.  Also. Ferritin might drop only after serum Iron has been low for quite some time.  Morley chimed in when I posed these questions.  The gist of it was that my system is in a state of flux after losing a substantial amount of Iron from the blood loss and the body is still under stress.  I should not have expected much improvement so early.  Rather, the system will stabilize within 2-3 months and THEN, I can expect my Ferritin to drop BIGLY!  Will the Whole Food C and Liver be tolerated in 3 months?  I really don’t know but I would not be shocked if I see another sudden intolerance.  He also added something that I really did not want to hear.  It could take up to 18 months to see the full benefits.

My Reaction:
After the initial shock and disappointment, I feel a little better about it now.  A 10 point drop is barely above the 5% threshold to be considered significant but it’s better than a gain or unchanged result.  I am allowed to donate again in 40 days (August 16).  I’ll probably wait on it a little bit but as of now, I plan to donate again.  I’ve made the commitment to follow this course and I want to see it through for better or worse.  18 months?  I can’t wait that long.  2-3 months away from sustained and steady improvements? Yes, I can live with that.  All I want out of this is stable chemistry and that’s hardly an unreasonable demand.  I will be devastated if this fails after all I’ve been through with the false hopes. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Training 7/3-7/9

7/3- Went in for blood work this morning and will probably get the results on Wednesday.  I've already ordered Liver Beef but it may not come until the end of the week.  It's not available in stores here.  No sign of improvement so I am taking the day off.  Wish I was still on the coast.

7/4- Slept in today.  Hit Vestavia track for some testing around 9 AM.  Did an 800 in 4:39 (9:18 pace) with the previous formula.  Popped 1 Whole Food C and improved to 4:13 (8:26 pace).  MINUS 52. This is further evidence that my serum Iron is too low.  If the Ferritin remains very high, I could be in deep trouble.  Complications from the blood donation is the likely culprit.  I will probably find out tomorrow.  Results will be listed in a separate post.

PM- 3 miles at Gold's in 25:46 (8:35 pace) after another dose of Whole Food C.  BAAAUHD!  On the bright side, I did not collapse after the first half.  1st half was 12:50, 2nd half was 12:56.  Whole Food C is not a night and day difference but at least it picks me up enough to jog.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

7/5- Improved to 24:09 for 3 miles (8:03 pace).  Probably could have broken the Mendoza line today but didn't want it badly enough. Very even pace.  Results came back today.  Both serum Iron and Ferrittin went down but not nearly as much as I hoped or expected.  It will take a few days to digest it.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance- 3.0

7/6- 5 miles in 39:40 (7:56 pace).  Pleased that I broke 40 but faded at the end.  1st half- 19:20, 2nd half-20:20.  Passed 3 miles @ 7:48 so that's a solid MINUS 15 over yesterday.  Liver should arrive tomorrow.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

7/7- 3x1 mile intervals at Gold's.
Mile 1- 7:55 on the base formula
Mile 2- 7:31 on Liver Beef (MINUS 24)
Mile 3- 7:26 on Glutathione (MINUS 5) not significant.
In the past, Liver Beef was not tolerated at all without glutathione.  Towards the end of it, even glutathione didn't help me tolerate it.  Now- So far so good on the Liver Beef but that could change quickly.  In 2-3 weeks, Liver Beef could be necessary, a non-factor or a HELL NO.  I really can't predict what will happen.  2-3 months from now?  The answer could change yet again.  The glutathione may have given me a small boost but it was not enough to be considered significant.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

7/8- BTC Long run FAIL.  1 mile in 10:55 and the culprit was Liver Beef.  Is it okay to take that stuff once a week or is it a HELL NO?  I'll find out next weekend.  I know what's going to happen tomorrow.  It will be 3 miles in 25ish minutes.  I'm going to order the Livatone today.  Glutathione didn't help much if at all.  Livatone won't be a miracle cure but if it helps get Ferritin down, it's worth a shot.  Not sure it will be tolerated because it's got some questionable ingredients.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

7/9- Better than expected showing.  Lakeshore 2.5 in 19:24 (7:46 pace) plus a half mile cool.  Slept in and had to contend with a bit of heat so that's why it was short.  Starting tomorrow, I will again attempt to drink nothing but water for at least 21 days.  I made it 16 out of 17 last time and feel that it helped but was not a night and day difference.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
This was rough.  Next week could be rough as well with the sugar detox and potential adrenal spike.  We shall see what happens with the Livatone, which should arrive by the end of the week and Liver Beef taken only once a week.
Distance=19.0/GPA= 1.62
YTD: 781 miles.  5-20 with a 2.08 GPA

Monday, June 26, 2017

Training 6/26-7/2

6/26- 5 miles on Lakeshore in a weak time of 41:30 (8:18 pace).  Kept it steady for the first 3 then slipped to the 8:40 range in the last 2.  I believe my adrenals have spiked and that's not a big surprise.  Mood was much improved today but that may be due to good weather for the first time in several days.  Need to increase the ADHS but if my recent history is any indication, that should calm down by the end of the week.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

6/27- Unplanned rest day.  Bad reaction to B6 last night, which was not a big surprise.  Woke up feeling lousy so I didn't even try.  This had better be the last such reaction for a long time.  Pitched that along with the ineffective Bee Pollen so at least my cabinet continues to clear out.  I will finish the SOD, Niacin and All in One but will not re-order any of them.  Ferritin re-test will done early next week.

PM- Forced myself to do a junk mile on Wisteria.  Sucked as expected.  Finished in 8:44.  Can I break the Mendoza line tomorrow?

6/28- Broke the Mendoza line.  3 miles in 23:24 (7:48 pace).  Tried to run without T M G but with MF and was awful early.  First 3 laps were 3:03 (9:09 pace) then popped the pill and improved to 2:30 (7:30 pace) BECAUSE OF 1 PILL!!!  Continued on at a steady pace just under 7:40 for the remainder of the run.
Grade:C plus/1 credit/distance- 3.0
The blood donation has NOT improved my methylation.  I'm worthless if I miss just 1 dose of a key pill.  I'm okay with that as long as it stays CONSISTENT!  On the plus side, it does not appear to have caused any negative side effects or complications.  Status quo is the worst case scenario for my final outcome

6/29- Tempo.  3 miles in 21:11 (7:04 pace) with splits of 6:57-7:06-7:08.  An above average time for the "new normal" but I have broken 21 on several occasions after the relapse.  Still cannot access that top gear.  Added a long cool.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=4.0
The blood donation has not worked a sudden miracle but in truth, I wasn't expecting one.  It may take a few more weeks for the effects to fully kick in.  There are a couple of other pills out there that have a slim chance of being beneficial but I'm going to pass.  When I cross the finish line in New Mexico in late October, I will know the outcome.  I'm riding this current formula to the FINISH.  Ferritin re-test along with serum Iron will be done on Monday.  I'm leaning towards a 1 day trip to the coast.  I'll drive part way tomorrow night then stay as long as I want on Saturday.

6/30- Poor.  2 miles in 15:52 (7:56 pace) but had slipped to the 9 minute range at the end.  Added another mile cool at a glacial pace.  This feels like a sugar detox reaction.  I'll be better in a couple days but the adrenals will spike for about a week.  Going to the coast.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

7/1- GREAT day on the coast.  Ended up at Santa Rosa Beach, FLA between Destin and Panama City.  Stopped at Florala State Park just across the Alabama line for approximately 3 miles around the lake on the way back.  I don't know the exact distance because of poor satellite reception.  Similar to yesterday, I felt decent for the first 15 minutes then faded noticeable at the end.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

7/2- The last 2 days, I felt decent early then faded.  Today, I was awful from the start and knew it before the run.  Just did 1 mile on Wisteria to hit a round number on the week.  I won't even try if I don't feel better tomorrow.  This does NOT feel like a detox.  This may be a complication from the blood donation.  I thought I was safe after 7 days but apparently NOT.  Lab test is tomorrow and I predict a low serum Iron coupled with a moderately high Ferritin.  I'll probably have to wait until Wednesday for the results.  Even after a long day yesterday, there is NO WAY that I should be THIS BAD.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=1.0

Weekly summary:
Not looking good
Distance=20.0/ GPA= 1.86
YTD: 762 miles.  5-19 with a 2.10 GPA

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fall Race pick/ Next Year and Beyond

Assuming it does not interfere with the yearly training at work and I don't think it does, State # 32 will be Duke City in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 22.  This will NOT be an epic road trip and I don't think I'd go there under normal circumstances (no offense) but I've got a friend who is going for #50 in the full marathon and if I'm eventually going to race in New Mexico anyway, now is as good a time as any.  The race date will be about 6 weeks after my 2nd blood donation so by that point, the final outcome should be known one way or the other.  The race is at 5,000 feet altitude but nearly dead flat so even with no improvement in my health, I have a chance to better my recent post-35 PR of 1:44:38.

The preliminary plan is to fly into Albuquerque on Thursday morning then head east to Amarillo, Texas (4 hrs) for a night on the town.  According to wikitravel, they've got some good steak restaurants and some pretty decent night life.  I've never been to West Texas and I expect a different flavor from East Texas.  I'll get back to Albuquerque on Friday evening and will have all day Saturday there before the race on Sunday.  The only attraction that stands out to me as a must see is Sandia Crest at nearly 9.000 feet elevation and I'm sure it will pale in comparison to Beartooth Hwy and Yellowstone.  I'm sure I can find stuff to do downtown as well.

After this one, I will have only 18 states to go plus DC and I can get it done in 11-12 trips.  If I do 3 per year, I'm done in 4 years though realistically, I'm probably looking at 5-6 years before I hit State #50.  Here's what I've got on tap:

First New England Double- Vermont and Massachusetts on back to back days in May.  I'd probably fly into Boston,  Vermont is first then the Mass race is right on the coast near the border of Rhode Island.  I've been told that I've been to CT, RI and MA as a small child but I have only very faint memories so part of me doesn't feel right about counting them among my states visited.  This is the front runner for next year.  Of course, there is a certain race is Boston that I would love to do but my chance of qualifying is remote barring a miracle recovery.

Heartland Double- Iowa and Nebraska in late April or May.  I'd prefer to do a Des Moines and Omaha combo but I won't be too choosy.  If I can find 2 races on back to back days in eastern NE plus just about anywhere in Iowa, I'll do it.  I just recently found out that Des Moines is only 5 hours from Chicago then it's only 2 more to Omaha.  That's certainly doable in a day's drive.  I'd fly into Chicago non-stop and do some touring before and after the 2 races. Not a bad trip there.  I'd definitely want to see the Sears Tower, Rush Street, some parks and the other Lakeshore.  I was there in 2008 but couldn't do much because it rained the whole weekend.  A race on Sunday and the following Saturday could be doable but a Saturday-next Sunday combo is too much time.

Maryland- The target here is Ocean City in late April, which is one of my old stomping grounds.  I'd fly to Philadelphia direct and drive all the way up and down the Delmarva peninsula and possible the Chesapeake Tunnel, which is something I've always wanted to do but was not adventurous enough at the time.

Hawaii- There's one in April and another around Memorial Day weekend.  Can't go wrong there.  I'd probably lean towards the latter because it's less time off work.  I'd love to break up an Australia trip here but that may have to wait until I retire from work.

South Dakota- This is probably the front runner for next year.  The race is in July at Spearfish Canyon just outside Rapid City and Mount Rushmore.  I'll road trip into Sasketchewan and Manitoba as well as the Badlands NP leaving me with only Newfoundland to go in Canada.

Utah- 3 options that are basically the same course near Salt Lake City in May, June and September.  I'll fly into SLC and road trip down to Arches NP as well as Moab.  That will be a nice and scenic trip but I doubt it will compare with Teton/Yellowstone.

Washington- RNR Seattle in June.  That's their dry season too.  There will be plenty to see and do in Seattle but I will also see Mt. Ranier NP and Vancouver, BC.  A nice getaway to escape the heat too.

Upper Midwest Double- Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Milwaukee and Minneapolis are only 5 hours apart so that's certainly doable.  I hope I can get to an MLB game too.

Epic New England: Here, I have a chance to check off 4 states in only 8 days with back to back weekend doubles.  The states are Maine and New Hampshire followed by Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In between the two, I'd like to see Montreal, possibly Quebec City and Ottawa before turning south for the next weekend.  I have several airports to choose from and I'll pick whichever is least expensive and most convenient.

Michigan- Detroit Free Press is one that I've wanted to do since 2012 and it could be an option again next year.  This course goes into Windsor, Ontario for 4 miles en route.  Really cool.

Mid Atlantic Double- New Jersey and Delaware in mid-October.  The 2 races are in Dover and Atlantic City, only 3 hours apart with Philadelphia as the hub to do some touring before and after.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blood Donation Done. What's the result?

The answer to the above question is I don't know yet.  It's too soon to assess how I feel.  I can't say I feel strong and I'm certainly not up for any type of strenuous exercise but I was afraid that I would pass out or need somebody to drive me home.  NOT THAT BAD!  My arm is a little sore at the site of the needle mark but that's to be expected.  The only thing that's a little unusual is frequent urination.  That could be a good thing because Iron can be lost in urine and mine does seem to smell of it.   It could be my imagination but it seems like my legs are feeling slightly less heavy than usual.  I could know more tomorrow.

I left work just before 3:00 as planned and it was a 10 minute drive to the nearest Red Cross donation center.  The screening went as expected.  I passed the hemoglobin and blood sugar tests by comfortable margins.  My BP was a little funky at 130/60 and my pulse was a bit elevated at 74 but I can attribute that to nerves.  I wasn't quite visibly shaky but not too far from it.

 It turned out that I had nothing to worry about.  The nurse found my vein with ease and told me to open and close my fist at 5 second intervals.  I was periodically asked how I was feeling and I truthfully answered that I was fine.  I even managed to make small talk about the bad weather and the tropical storm on the coast.  I figured that it would take 10-15 minutes to collect the full pint of blood but it turned out to be less than that.  I was done in not much more than 5 minutes.  When the nurse assured me that the blood was flowing well and I was almost done, I felt relief in knowing that I was going to make it.  I sat up and walked a few steps and reported that I was a little lightheaded but nothing severe.  I think it was more apprehension that anything else.  Oddly, the only thing that felt a little different was bit of a strange feeling in my feet.  It wasn't painful, just a tad numb.

I drank a can of orange juice and ate a small bag of mini oreo cookies then went to the bathroom.  I looked in the mirror and found that I wasn't pale at all.  I asked for permission to leave and got the clearance.  I stopped at Outback for a small NY Strip steak and made it home without a hitch.  I know this hasn't been my most exciting post but if anyone is considering donation but feeling some anxiety about it, I'd say do it!  Both the donor and the recipient can stand to benefit.

Expected Aftermath:
Again, I don't expect a miracle overnight.  I fully expect to remain dependent of adrenal supplements but I would like to test out the methylation.  I want to see how I do without the MF, TMG and B-complex and assess my tolerance for Curcumin and IP-6.  The latter 2 were not tolerated before the detox but were okay before the donation.  If I'm not horrible, that would be great news.  If I miss even ONE dose of any of that stuff, I will be worthless and get better ONLY AFTER I remember to take the missed pill.  Add to that, the magic formula can shift at any time.  I was lucky that Teton was not a week earlier.  Excess Iron can mess with enzyme binding sites so there is a chance of improvement in the sensitivity area.

Readers of this blog know better but many people still think I'm simply dealing with a manageable condition that is treatable with little more than a cup of coffee and the most bothersome symptom is that I can't run as fast or far as I used to.  I could talk until I'm blue in the face and some people just don't get it.  If this procedure is successful, you will see improvements in every area of my life.

In addition to the fear of passing out, I was hesitant because this procedure cannot be undone and I can't predict any possible side effects.  With the pills, I can simply stop taking the culprit and feel better in a few days.  If an unexpected complication comes up now, it could be a long and difficult process to reverse it.  That's why I put this off until I exhausted the conservative options.  I'm not in the clear just yet but early signs indicate this was a good call.

Alternatives to Donation:
The only other plausible option is the Hulda Clark Liver Cleanse, which I just did last weekend.  The theory is that some of the Iron stored in my liver will be dumped into the blood and tissues.  I can take Curcumin and IP-6 to reduce serum Iron, which is most probably effective.  However, serum Iron can get too low, which will suddenly force me off those pills while the stored Iron (Ferritin) remains high.  I would then have to do another Liver Cleanse to allow me to tolerate the aforementioned pills and the cycle repeats itself.  Who knows how long?  I'm not even completely sure that it will significantly lower Ferritin because I've never tested it after a detox.  Given the choice between the 2 procedures, I would opt for the blood donation at least at this point in the process.  As of now, the only way that I do another one of these detoxes is if I see a continued elevated Ferritin combined with a low serum Iron on a blood test.

In about 10-14 days, I will go back to the lab and get my Ferritin and serum Iron tested again.  By that time, if I have improved, it ought to be evident in my running.  We shall see where my numbers stand at that point and whether or not I even need the Curcumin and IP-6.  I won't be racing for at least the next 4 weeks so I picked a good time to experiment a bit.  I am not allowed to donate again for 2 months so I will probably do so again in September and again in December if I am pleased with the results.  After that, it will be only twice a year for maintenance.  I predicted that the outcome will be known by the Fall of this year and it may very well be true this time.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Training 6/19-6/25

6/19- 2 miles in 17:08 (8:34 pace).  I believe the detox did what it was supposed to do.  It removed some Iron from the liver and it has spilled into my blood and tissues.  I could see a similar reaction to blood donation too but it should be only temporary.  This was marginally better than yesterday.  The blood donation appointment has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 PM.  Good call on putting this off until after the epic road trip.

6/20- Westeria Mile in 7:48.  That's it for today.  Taking it easy in preparation for the blood donation tomorrow.

6/21- Planned rest day.  Blood donation was not bad at all.  Full report upcoming.

6/22- Testing.  3x3 laps at Gold's.  Didn't really push just yet.  It was clear upon rising that ADHS is needed.  So is B12 with molybdenum.  Opened without methylation and clocked a 2:38.0 (7:54 pace).  Popped Curcumin and IP6 then improved to 2:31.5 (7:34 pace). After the methylation, I was down to 2:09.5 (6:28 pace).
Pleased.  The improvement from IP6 and Curcumin was significant but not night and day.  Methylation is most definitely still needed but I was less horrible without it.  I'm going with this formula until my next test results come back.

PM- First real workout post donation was a split decision.  Totaled 3 miles in 22:27 (7:29 pace).  Felt very strong early with a 7:01 opening mile but began faltering after 1.5.  I was still at 18:07 at 2.5 (7:15 pace) but had some pretty serious discomfort in the pit of my stomach and had to slow down.  Treated the last half mile (4:20) as a cool down and had a NASTY diarrhea attack.  Perhaps that's more Iron loss, which is a good thing.  Overall, I probably pushed too hard today and stupidly binged on sugar.  I may struggle the next few days but I will not panic.

6/23- Step backward.  Another 3 miler in 23:48 (7:57 pace).  Splits were 7:21-8:00-8:27 so that's ugly.  I suspected a problem from the Curcumin and it turned out to be true when I got home.  Serum Iron has likely fallen since the donation.  That detox the previous weekend was a good call.  I'm going to stay on IP-6 until further notice.  We'll see what the blood test says.  If the serum Iron is low and Ferritin is high, another detox could be an option but I'd prefer not to do that.  Ferritin often drops BIGLY after a donation so there may be no need.  No panic but I am concerned after this one.  Morley says it may take up to 6 weeks before I feel the full benefit of the donation.

6/24- Junk run testing.  Half mile in 4:20 without IP6 then slipped to 4:36 with it so that is a significant slow down.  I am neither surprised nor disappointed by this development.  Pills tolerated before the donation have become NOs after it just as I predicted.  I will toss both the IP6 and the Curcumin.  The ineffective Bee Pollen will be next after I finish that bottle.  My cabinet is beginning to clear out a bit.

6/25- Lakeshore 4 in 31:16 (7:49 pace) with even splits.  Not half bad for the day after a crash.  It's back to work starting tomorrow.

Weekly summary:
No grading this week.  I didn't know how I would react to the blood donation so this was a throw away from the beginning.  Did manage to chalk up 15 miles, which pulls me up to 747 on the year.  Mulligan #2 on the year so if I can't run for any reason later in the year, it's an automatic zero.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blood Donation Preview

I am planning to make an appointment with a local blood donation center this Wednesday and my boss will give me 2 hours of leave for the occasion so I will go late in the afternoon.  I haven't made the appointment yet but I don't expect that to be a problem.

What can I expect when I show up?
First, I will be asked several screening questions but I fully expect that I meet all the physical and lifestyle requirements.  I won't discuss those here but none of them are an issue for me.  Next, I will have to submit to a blood test for hemoglobin and blood sugar which will require only a couple drops of blood from my finger.  I'll get the results within minutes.  There is a slight chance that I will not pass those tests but I expect that I will.  The minimum threshold for hemoglobin is actually below the lab's normal range and lab normal does NOT equal healthy.  I cannot imagine having a high ferritin level combined with a low hemoglobin as both are related to Iron.  As for the blood sugar test, I've had it done several times at work and have always passed it easily.  Nevertheless, I will up my Magnesium and possibly take some Taurine in the days leading up to it.  As for the meal beforehand, some suggest beef to boost Iron levels but I will probably go with pizza to raise the blood sugar.  Caffeine and sugar must be avoided.  If in the unlikely event that my blood levels are too low, I will do whatever is necessary to get them up and make another appointment.

Actual Procedure:
I've been stuck with a needle countless times on blood tests.  That's never been a problem but I have only filled a couple of test tube vials.  This time, I'll be losing a whole pint of blood (16 oz).  I don't expect that it will be terribly painful.  I'll just sit back and try to relax.  It will last 10-15 minutes.  After it's over, I will be given juice and cookies then examined after 15-30 minutes to make sure that I am okay to drive home.  The worst case scenario is that I get dizzy or faint and I have to call somebody to take me home.  The potential benefit to my health as well as that of somebody else is worth the risk.  I will be advised to avoid strenuous activity for the next few days and I should probably take it easy in the days leading up to it as well.

What happens after the procedure is what is most important to me.  I MUST lower my Ferritin levels.  Morley wants it as close to zero as possible.  While I'm not sure that I'd go that far, my levels have tested consistently between 168-204.  Cardiologists want it under 50 and most knowledgeable practitioners agree that a value over 100 is BAD despite the fact that the lab "normal" is usually 300.  My latest test was a 186 so I am nearly twice the upper limit and nearly 4 times higher than the cardiologists' recommendation.  Organ damage is likely when Ferritin gets close to 200.  Morley has consistently warned the Mag group that while copper toxicity is annoying, Iron toxicity can kill you.  Could my levels have potentially deadly consequences?  NO.  Not anytime soon at least but if it rises much above 300, I could be in big trouble. I've developed unsightly horizontal ridges on my thumbnails in recent years and everything I've read suggests that's a sign of organ damage.

Why go radical? Could I leave well enough alone after 2 decent races?
Not a good idea.  There is a chance that I could stabilize around 1:40 if remain meticulous about taking all the pills I need and avoid that ones I don't all while strictly restricting sugar consumption.  Maybe I could manage a hair better if I can ramp the volume back up to the 40 MPW range.  However, there is just as much chance that I will ALWAYS remain vulnerable to energy crashes and the foul moods that go along with that.

The biggest misconception about me is that I am going to such great lengths ONLY because I want to run faster.  Simply not true.  All areas of my life are affected by this condition.  I have tried conservative options such as IP-6 and Curcumin.  In both cases, I had some initial success then developed a sudden intolerance.  The latest detox may allow me to tolerate them again if some of the Iron was dumped into the blood and tissues but again, I expect the tolerance will be only temporary.  The week before I left on my epic road trip, I became intolerant to B-6 without any warning.  If the Teton race had been just 1 week earlier, I would have bombed it. Since 2015, I've been crashing on average every 10 days or so.  It takes 3-5 days to recover then I am due for another crash soon.  Nobody could be happy with this condition.  I am thankful for the ability to work, travel and live independently but I will not settle for less than the best this life has to offer.

Possible Side Effects:
I do not expect a simple one shot cure.  Not by a long shot.  While it is nearly certain that I will see a significant drop in my Ferritin levels, I cannot predict what may happen to some of the other lab values. Just how and why Ferritin drops as a result of blood loss is something that I do not fully understand but I trust that it will happen.

 My ceruloplasmin came up nicely in 2014-15 but I felt worse overall.  I know now the reason was a corresponding rise in my already sky high Iron levels.  Upon seeing my Iron panel results, Morley was amazed by how my mitochondria could function well enough for me to run at all.  In cases of blood loss, virtually everybody who has posted said that their numbers looked better all around.  Perhaps if I had done the blood donation BEFORE upping my ceruloplasmin, much of the current nightmare could have been averted.

It is possible that some of the pills that I currently cannot tolerate could become necessary.  The change could be permanent or only temporary.  Also, pills that are currently needed may become less of a factor and maybe even cause harm.  I cannot envision not having to take adrenal or methylation support but it sure would be nice to be able to forget it ONCE and not feel totally worthless until I remember to take it later in the day.  Long term, that is a realistic expectation.  Mercola has suggested that I will probably have to do this maybe 2-3 more times over the next 6-9 months then twice a year for maintenance to keep the Ferritin in check.  Let's hope the procedure is not so bad and I can see that as the best and most effective treatment.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Epic Road Trip Part 2 (Canada and Glacier)

After the night in Great Falls, I woke up early and ran a slow 3 miles then got cleaned up.  The hotel actually provided a small free breakfast, which included an egg with toast.  That was a nice touch.  I was on the road just before 9 AM.  It was just under 2 hours to the Canadian border then another 3 into Calgary.  Most of this drive was a flat plateau and prairies with the mountains barely visible in the distance.  By mid-afternoon, I was in Calgary and I found it to be quite a nice city.  Despite its large population, the downtown area is very compact and it is possible to walk from one side to the other in just over an hour.  I checked out Stephen Avenue, home to numerous restaurants and bars plus a 4 story shopping mall then Prince’s Island Park, which provided nice riverside and city skyline views.  Dinner was a tasty rack of dry rub ribs in the 17th Avenue District. 

Representing USA

Again, I woke up early the next morning for a faster run through the aforementioned park.  By the time I showered up, I was ready to tour the Calgary Tower, which offered panoramic views of the city with a glass floor.  Since it was a clear day, I was able to see the mountains in the distance.  I met a nice girl named Hazel who featured me in her video.  My southern accent created a minor buzz on occasion and everybody thought I was from Texas.  LOL.  

From Calgary, it was only 1 hour into Banff National Park.  The town featured a lot of nice restaurants and hotels along with the usual tourist shops.  After lunch, I embarked on a challenging hike up Tunnel Mountain then took the cable up to Sulphur Mountain, where I got perhaps my best shots of the trip.  After a long day, it was back a few miles east to Canmore to save money on lodging.

The next day was perhaps the most scenic of the trip.  It began with a moderate hike up Johnston Canyon just west of Banff where I saw 2 more waterfalls and an emerald colored riverside.  Next stop was Lake Louise.  Pictures just don’t do it justice but the clear turquoise water with the snow-capped mountains was breathtakingly beautiful.  Next, I crossed from Alberta to British Columbia and Yoho National Park, which featured another beautiful mountain lake with a more emerald tint.  I did go into Glacier Canada Park and found that most of the trails were either closed or too long but I did get a nice shot from the road.  My hotel was in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia.  I’ve now visited 7 of 10 provinces.  Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland to go.

I got a small sample of Koontenay National Park then turned south back to the USA.  Glacier National Park was the next stop.  Unfortunately, Going to the Sun Road was closed at peak elevation due to a recent snowfall.  I still got several beautiful shots of lake shores and snow-capped peaks. 

From Glacier, it was 3 hours into Helena, the site of my 2nd half marathon in 7 days.  With the whirlwind travel and bad diet over the week, my expectations were somewhat low balled but I still felt reasonably well early.  This race was at 4000 feet elevation, which was only slightly noticeable but probably cost me about 10-12 ticks per mile.  Though it was net downhill by about 150 feet, the last 4 miles of the route gave back more than half of the lost elevation of the previous 9 miles.  Mile 13 into town was the steepest of all.  Figure it was on par with a tough rolling course at sea level.  Mile 1, 2 and Mile 8 were the only ones with any significant downhill.  The others were dead flat if not a few feet uphill through rural cow pastures with scenic mountain views in the distance.

The “A” goal was a sub-1:43 which would be my fastest time since 2014 before the symptoms became unmanageable without methylation support.  “B” goal was a sub-1:45 (overall sub-8 pace) with the “C” was to beat last week’s time, which was 2000 feet higher and net uphill.    I maintained a steady pace just south of 8:00 on the flats and picked up some decent time on the downs.  In the early miles, it looked like I was well on my way to the “A” goal but when the course flattened in Mile 3, the pace slowed.  I passed halfway in 50:40 still on pace for the “A” but the back half at sub-8:00 pace with the climbs was a tough ask. 
7:28 (15:04) downhill
7:48 (22:52)
7:51 (30:43)
7:53 (38:36)
7:54 (46:30)
7:52 (54:22)
7:28 (61:50) downhill

I passed 8.1 in roughly 62:40 so I needed a 40:20 (8:04 pace) the rest of the way for the “A” goal.  Though not unrealistic, I knew it would be tough with the climbs ahead.  I hoped that it would be a gradual incline and that did indeed appear to be the case early and though the pace was slowing a bit, I was still in control and capable of unleashing a kick if I went a few seconds in the red. 
8:05 (69:55)
8:12 (78:07)

After Mile 10, we made another small climb up to Centennial Park just outside of town.  Again there was no corresponding downhill and it became clear that I was losing it.  The incline was barely perceptible through the park and though my pace was slowing, I was keeping with my pack so everyone else was hurting as well.  It was not until Mile 12 that it became ugly.  To make matters worse, the mile markers were consistently short by up to a tenth of a mile.  Was my GPS short due to the mountains or were the markers off?  I passed the 11 Mile mark at 10.91 but 12 came through at 12.01.  All splits are GPS splits but any hope of an “A” was all gone with a Mile to go.  The last mile was the toughest of all and fortunately, I had a nice cushion on the “B” goal.  With not much left to give, I cruised it home with a safe 1:44:38 finish.
8:15 (86:22)
8:28 (1:34:50)
8:58 (1:43:48) uphill
:50- 1:44:38- New post-35 PR

It was a lazy afternoon back in the hotel.  I did take a walk downtown to see the State Capitol then went out for a drink a half mile away from the room just down the road.  There, I met a real nice older couple who took a strong interest in my travel exploits and got multiple hugs on my way out.  The trip back home went without a hitch.  Though my time was faster in the 2nd race, I would rate this performance as a notch or 2 lower than at Teton.  I suppose that’s understandable given that I was less than fresh and worn out from the travel.  With my current state of health, it will be difficult to get much below 1:40.  Blood donation to regulate my Iron levels is my best chance at improvement.