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.

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.

Training 6/12-6/18

6/12- Gold's 3 in 25:49 (8:37 pace) plus a cool.  Body is very tired from all the travel and racing.  No need to panic over this one.  Should be better tomorrow.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.5

6/13- My adrenals have spiked again.  Not a big surprise considering that I binged on sugar after the 2nd race and am now back on track.  I was beyond awful early with 3 laps at Gold's in 3:18 (9:54 pace).  Popped 2 more pills and improved to 6 laps in 5:57 (8:56 pace) then improved to a 7:58 Mile after 2 more pills.  Added a half mile cool.  The next 2 weeks are likely throw away.  The liver flush will be done on Friday then the blood donation as early as the middle of next week.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=2.5

6/14- Adrenals still in hyperdrive but I wasn't half bad because I took mega ADHS  That should calm down by early next week.  5 miles on Lakeshore in 39:27 (7:53 pace).  Slight negative split in spite of humid conditions.  Temp was relatively mild at 85 degrees but the dew point was over 70.  Liver flush will be done on Friday and I expect to know that it was ineffective by the end of the day on Sunday.  Blood donation could be done as early as Wednesday of next week.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

6/15- Gold's 5 in 38:40 (7:44 pace).  MINUS 9 but I should be faster indoors when the humidity is not a factor.  Figure about the same as yesterday.  Cut the ADHS dose by 1 pill and that may not have been the right call just yet.  Still, not bad.  Tomorrow will be a quickie if I do anything at all.  Detox flush starts tomorrow night.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

6/16- Bad call to cut the ADHS.  Just slow jogged 3 miles.  Heart was not into it anyway with the detox upcoming.  It's one of those that I'll be glad I did if I finish just north of 1500 on the year.
No Grade/distance=3.0

6/17- AM-Got through the detox.  It really wasn't that bad.  Come tomorrow, I'll know if it was effective but I expect that answer will be NO.  Even if it is, I will still likely go through with the blood donation.  Maybe, I'll do a junk run this evening to make it easier to hit 30 on the week.

PM- 3 miles at Gold's in 22:54 (7:38 pace) with a slight negative split.  That's exactly 1:40 half pace though that was not the plan.  Body is still a little off from the detox so this is a freebie but I should be back to form tomorrow.  The plan is to run 8-10 miles early then do the experiments to test the results of the detox.  I expect to get a negative reaction from just a trace of IP-6, B-6 and Curcumin just like before the detox, which will leave me with blood donation as the last best hope.  I have not tried Dichotomous Earth (spelling?) but I have little confidence that stuff would be effective.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

6/18- FAILED LONG RUN.  Fortunately, this one was solo.  Trak Shak 3 out and back in 28:36 (9:32 pace).  Opened with an 8:42 and it got worse from there.  I'm not going to panic.  I just got back from a bathroom trip and found more small stones.  That tells me that I am still detoxing and my body is adjusting.

Verdict on the Iron reducing pills including IP-6, B-6 and Curcumin:
The results were identical for each.  I felt no major benefit from any of them but felt no worse after taking them.  What was once poison is now a non-factor.  I suppose that is good news.  The detox did something but I'm not sure what.  I'm still donating next week.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0
Weekly summary:
Expected to lose.  Not a surprise.
Distance=25.0/  GPA= 2.02
YTD: 727 miles.  5-18 with a 2.11 GPA

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Epic Road Trip Part 1 (Teton and Yellowstone)

Pretty much drama free on my flight.  I had a 2 hour layover in Denver and I ate some overpriced ribs before my connection into Helena, Montana.  From there, I got my rental car and got to Motel 6 just before dark.  I hoped to get an early start the next day and rolled out of bed at 6:30 AM and was on the road by 7:00.  I was treated to Big Sky country with snow capped mountains in the distance.  I did take one short detour which allowed me to cut through a corner of Idaho before crossing into Wyoming at the West Yellowstone entrance.  I got a nice shot of a lake with a mountain in the distance but that would pale in comparison to what was to come.

I started on the west side of the Lower Loop and made a few stops at basins to view some geysers where the highlight was Grand Prismatic Spring.

 I made my way to Yellowstone Lake where I was treated to both crystal clear water and snow capped peaks in the distance.

Next, it was south to Jackson Hole, WY where I got a few more shots then headed to the expo to pick up my race number.  After the race, it was on to the Teton Park Road where captured some shots of the 3 peaks of 12,000+ feet and an overlook which offered a panoramic view of Jackson Hole and the Tetons.

 By mid-afternoon, I was back in Yellowstone where I drove around the lake and saw a few more geysers but the highlight was Canyon and a hike to the Lower Falls. which are 3 times taller than Niagra but the volume is not as great.  I had to hike up and down a pretty long and steep hill on tired legs to get there but it was well worth it.  I saw some interesting rock formations and plenty of elk and bison in the Upper Loop on my way to my hotel in Gardiner, MT.

The next day would be the toughest drive of the trip but perhaps the most scenic.  I went back into Yellowstone and caught most of the rest of the Upper Loop including the highest point on the road near Mt. Washburn at 10,200 feet.  I then exited the park and took Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana.  This was spectacular.  At nearly 11,000 feet elevation with S-curves all the way up, you could see snow piled 10-15 feet high on the side of the road but walk around in a light jacket.  From there, it was roughly 3 more hours to Great Falls.

  With an elevation of  6300 feet, the original plan was to simply cruise this one in about 1:55ish (8:45 pace) and save the energy for next week in Helena, which is only 4000 feet and net downhill.  Interestingly, I met a guy named Jonathan from Birmingham at the starting line who recognized me from the Trak Shak.  I felt surprisingly strong through the first 2 miles and the early pace felt like a stumble.  I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it.  I've raced in Denver (5200 feet) as well as Tahoe (7100 feet) and found that the difference between the 2 was huge.  This time, I was pleasantly surprised that it felt more like Denver than Tahoe though it was a bit harder.  My breathing was pretty well controlled most of the way and the early miles were mostly flat with just a couple of small rollers along the way.
7:54 (15:58)
7:52 (23:50)
7:44 (31:34)
7:42 (39:16)
7:40 (46:56)
7:50 (54:46)

At the halfway point in roughly 51:30, it appeared to be a good bet that I would go under 1:45, which is most definitely worth a sub-1:40 at sea level.  Unfortunately the course, which began in Jackson and traversed through some of the most picturesque country in the world was also 200 feet net uphill.  A climb at altitude is MUCH tougher than at sea level.  What began as just a slight incline in Mile 8 turned fairly steep from Miles 9-10.  I remained in control and it wasn't until the end of Mile 11 that things turned ugly.  There was no corresponding downhill after the long incline.  It merely leveled off.  With 1 mile to go, it still appeared that I had a chance but would need to muster a 7:45 closer plus a strong kick.  The course turned uphill again and I knew it wasn't going to happen.  Still, my time was good enough for a new post-35 PR (previous was 1:45:58 in KC at sea level).  Overall, I was quite pleased with my race.  The GPS clocked in 2 tenths short but it is a certified course and perhaps the mountains messed with the signal.  Even if it was short, it's still worth a low 1:47, which exceeds expectations.  Next week, I would put the question of an accurate measurement to rest.
7:58 (62:44)
8:36 (71:20) aid station
8:20 (79:40)
8:12 (1:27:52)
8:35 (1:36:27)
8:22 (1:44:49)
:48- 1:45:31

Monday, June 5, 2017

Training 6/5-6/11 (race week)

6/5- 3 miles out and back in Great Falls, Montana before leaving for Canada.  Finished in a slow time of 25:19 (8:26 pace).  No need to panic over this one.  2 days after a race, I should be less than fresh but this clearly did not feel right.  I definitely need the Ultimate B but need to limit B-6  Without a B-complex, I cannot take B-12, which is necessary because of my genetics.  Blood donation will be done within the next 2 weeks.  Morley seems to think Iron dysregulation is the source.  We shall see.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=3.0

6/6- Much better.  3 miles through Calgary's Prince's Island Park in a solid 21:56 (7:19 pace).  I was treated to nice river scenery with skyline views.  It reminded me a bit of Denver's Cherry Creek Trail. The only real complaint was a bit of stomach distress.  I had to stop near the end to prevent an unfortunate incident but kept it clean and added a half mile cool back to my hotel.  This was the only day that I really splurged on lodging but it proved to be a good call.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.5

6/7- Another 3 miles this time in Banff. Slipped to 22:30 but that's okay.  Long cool.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

6/8- Junk run. 20- 21 minute run and did not even track the distance. Clear that I need Ultimate B- complex
Grade:C/1 credit/distance- 2.5

6/9- Planned rest day

6/10- Governor's Cup half marathon in 1:44:38 plus a cool.
PM- 1 mile shakeout untimed.
Grade:B/4 credit/distance- 15.0

6/11- Naked 2 mile on Wisteria just to hit a round number.

Weekly summary:
Decent race but not quite good enough to atone for the B-vitamin lapses earlier in the week.  GPA continues to rise however and I remain on pace for 1500 miles.
Distance=30.0/ GPA= 2.75
YTD: 702 miles.  5-17 with a 2.11 GPA

Monday, May 29, 2017

Training 5/29-6/4 (race week)

5/29- Scheduled long run was an abject failure.  I knew it before I started so I just did a naked Mile on Wisteria and called it a day.  My grandfather died last week.  Did this have anything to do with the the funeral over the weekend?  NO!  While I'm certainly sad that it happened, the same was true last week and I still performed.  As always, the pills are to blame.  The culprit this time is B-6.  That's right.  I needed it as a stand alone yesterday but too much is a problem. I felt MUCH WORSE IMMEDIATELY after an extra dose of that stuff.  NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT!

As I've repeated, a chemical imbalance exists independent of external circumstances (good or bad).  Now, the question is will the B-6 dose stabilize at a lower dose or continue to trend down?  As always, this type of thing happens on race week.  I've read some evidence that it is related to copper and iron dysregulation.  Could blood donation fix the sensitivity?  I'm staying with the sugar restrictions.  This is Day 12.

PM- 2 miles at Vestavia track in 17:16 (8:38 pace).  Felt slightly better by the afternoon but just a trace of B-6 triggered a reaction later in the evening.  I will attempt to cut that stuff out for good.  Off it tomorrow then just a trace on Wednesday.  A negative reaction will confirm it.  I guess it's good news that my cabinet is clearing out.  I've pitched the B-2 and PABA stand alone supps already.  Those are no longer needed because of the success of Ultimate B-complex.  The Lithium and glucosamine will be gone before I leave on 6/1 and now the B-6 is a candidate for the trash.  The SOD, Niacin, All In One and Bee Pollen are all non-factors so I'll finish the bottles but will not re-order.  It's a minor consideration but saving money on supps no longer needed will add up.
Grade:D-/1 credit/distance=3.0

5/30- Just about as expected after a collapse.  3 miles at Gold's in 24:45 (8:15 pace) with a negative split (12:31- 12:14).  It's looking like B6 is a NO but that will be confirmed tomorrow evening.

PM- Continuing to follow the usual pattern.  5 miles in 39:45 (7:57 pace).  Slowed just a bit on the back half (19:42-20:03) but I had the sub-40 all the way.  Tomorrow, I plan to get up early, show more improvement then expect to be triggered by just a trace of B-6, which will confirm that it must be stopped.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=8.0

5/31- AM- 3 miles in 22-flat (7:20 pace).  Everything went as expected.  A decent improvement then after the run, just a MICRO dose of B-6 triggered a negative reaction.  I've had this intolerance before and it was due to Ca/K ratio being way off.  This time, I am nearly certain that it is Iron dysregulation.  It's too late to do anything more radical but as predicted, the sugar restrictions (day 14) probably will not be enough.  Even if the liver flush is successful, I will probably go through with blood donation.  If not, it's a definite.

PM- No workout.  After just a trace of B-6 earlier, I doubt I could break 25 over the same distance.
Leaving for Montana tomorrow.  Given all the events of the previous week, I'm not overly excited but I'm sure I will enjoy the trip.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=3.0

6/1- Lakeshore 4 in 31:08 (7:47 pace).  I'll take it.  With 2 days out, I didn't want to push it too hard even though Grand Teton will not be a serious effort.  Helena will be.  B-6 probably hasn't fully cleared but that should be okay in 2 days.  Even pace despite struggling in humid weather conditions.  That most definitely will NOT be a factor in either race.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=4.0

6/2- Planned rest day

6/3- Grand Teton half in 1:45:31.  Not only was this race at 6300 feet elevation.  It was also 200 feet net uphill with virtually all of the climb in the last 5 miles.  I think this is worth a sub-1:40 at sea level on a flat course.
Grade:A-/3 credit/distance=14.0

Weekly summary:
I am going to be very lenient and take a mulligan on Monday's disaster.  I deserve a win after my performance on race day.
Distance=32.0/ GPA= 22.1/7= 3.16
YTD= 672 miles.  5-16 with a 2.08 GPA

Monday, May 22, 2017

Training 5/22-5/28

5/22- AM- Gold's 5 in 40:48 (8:10 pace).  Took 6 ADHS pills and it wasn't enough.  Still overstimulated and short of breath.  I did manage a negative split (20:33-20:15) and dipped below 8 on the last mile.  I am going to up it to 8 pills but hope it goes back down soon.  It probably will.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0

PM- Same distance, same course.  Time was down to 38:42 (7:44 pace) MINUS 26 because of 2 extra ADHS pills.  I will not go higher than 8 and hope for continued steady improvement with NO relapse.  Would the sugar restrictions have helped if done earlier?  Probably not until I got the methylation under control.  I'd still have extreme sensitivity.  I've got a couple niggles in my hip and Achilles so I've got to be careful tomorrow.  Cannot afford an injury now.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

5/23- 6 miles in 45:27 (7:34 pace).  MINUS 10 over an extra mile.  I can't say that I felt much better overall than yesterday and the adrenal spike has not calmed down yet. Still on mega doses.   It may be awhile before it does calm down.  Still, on tired legs, I ran an even pace with a strong finish.  This pace would bring me home just north of 1:39 flat in a half mary.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

5/24- 5 miles in 36:45 (7:21 pace).  Good job.  Middle section was near 7:30 pace but finished strong with a 7:06 last mile.  Improvements won't be so easy from here.  Added a half mile cool.
Hit 100K page views today.  Thanks again to my readers.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

5/25- l've now made it 8 days sugar free.  Adrenal may be calming down now but I am not cutting the dose until after the weekend. It's a modulator so too much won't hurt.  Did a morning tempo.  3 miles in 20:52 (6:57 pace) with even splits.  I'll take it.  Added a half mile cool and that's it for today.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance-3.5

5/26- Day 9.  5 miles on Jefferson Trail in 37:43 (7:33 pace).  Solid performance.  The streak of significant improvements ended today but I'm fine with this one.  Pace slowed just a tad on the back half but I dialed back the effort a bit.  May not have time for a weekend long run due to family commitments but I can do it on Memorial Day instead and I'm already at 30 on the week.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

5/27- Planned rest day but it was not an easy day.

5/28- AM- A bit of testing on the Jefferson trail.  3 mile double out and back route.  Started on just 4 ADHS pills and it was immediately evident that something was missing.  Did the first leg in 11:52 then popped 2 more pills and improved to an 11:51 for an overall time of 23:43 (7:54 pace) so I did beat the Mendoza line.  Needless to say, that's not a significant gain.  I did not fade but the power was out and a sub-8 pace required effort from the start.

  I am nearly certain that lack of B-6 is the culprit.  I wasn't sure if it was necessary as a stand alone but now I know it is.  I'm okay with that.  After an initial spike, the adrenals have calmed down as expected.  That is good news.  Day 11 off sugar.  I did cheat with 1 beer yesterday but that should not hurt at this point.  I may try again this evening but as it is, I've done enough to win.

PM- Energy definitely ticked up after taking B-6 but it must be taken with other B-vitamins.  Tacked on another Mile on Wisteria in 7:29 then added a hilly cool down.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Win #4 on the year.  Still not outstanding but no relapse and that's what's most important.  I'm on pace for over 1500 miles on the year, which would be 200+ miles more than either of the last 2 years.  Despite the dismal record, I am better off than I was last year.
Distance=35.0/ GPA= 21.9/7=3.13
YTD: 640 miles.  4-16 with a 2.03 GPA

Monday, May 15, 2017

Training 5/15-5/21

5/15- AM- Gold's 3 in 26:45 (8:55 pace).  Odds are that both IP-6 and Liver Beef are NO NOs.  I'll confirm it at the end of the week.  I'll probably react badly to micro doses.  That means I am out of conservative options for clearing Ferritin.  It's got to be a Liver flush, blood donation or do nothing.  If I am stable and running respectable times, I will go with option 3.  I was nearly there based on my Coke 10K performance.

PM- Out and back 3 miler on Jemison.  Improved to 24:36 (8:12 pace) and dipped below 8 in Mile 3.  It appears that the Ultimate B is still okay even though it does contain a small amount of IP-6.  IP-6 most likely will not be tolerated as a stand alone.  As for the Ferritin, I cannot risk anything too radical before the epic road trip though I have read that sugar raises Ferritin.  Even the non-caffeinated drinks such as Sprite and Lemonade must be avoided. Stick to water.   If I am better with the sugar restrictions, will Ferritin at least begin to come down?  At least below 150?  Right now, that's my best option.  If it's still bad about a month from now, I must go radical.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.0

5/16- AM- Gold's 5 in 38:34 (7:43 pace).  Solid performance. Found a good rhythm at 7:40 early. Slowed just a tad at the end but still maintained it in the 7:45 range (19:09/19:25).  I know the pattern of steady improvement then you know what.  Another relapse could break me forever.

PM- Feel like I'm back to where I was at the end of last week.  A 7:30 pace felt fairly comfortable even in 90 degree weather but could not pick it up.  The power just isn't there.  Brookwood/Lakeshore 3.5 miler in 27:52 (7:28 pace) plus a half mile cool.  I'll take it.
Grade:B/2 credit/distance=9.0

5/17- Took a sip of Apple Cider Vinegar last night.  STUPID!  I might try some low dose Niacin for methylation but after that, I am officially out of conservative options.  The sugar restrictions start tomorrow. Skipped the Trak Shak workout and settled for a 1 mile junk run on Wisteria.  I'll count this as my rest day.  Dumped the rest of the ACV and pitched the Liver Beef.  I'm not sure if B-6 is needed as a stand alone but I'll finish the bottle.

 In about a month, I'll do a liver flush then test out Curcumin.  If it's effective, that means the stored Iron flushed out.  However, I expect an immediate negative reaction, which guarantees that the Liver flush did not work.  In the past, it dumped copper but not Iron.  At least I'll know in a few days.  Either way, the Ferritin will be re-tested.  If it's still over 150, I must go through with blood donation.  Under 100, I'll leave it alone.  In between those numbers?  It will depend on how I feel.

5/18- I was completely sugar free today and it was no sudden miracle.  Did 4 miles at Gold's in a time of 33:41 (8:25 pace).  Weak effort.  Splits were 16:08/17:33 so that's ugly.  Apple Cider Vinegar still hasn't cleared most likely.  I took JUST ONE SIP!  Ordered low dose Niacin, which is my LAST conservative option.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=4.0

5/19- AM-DISASTER. 1 mile at Gold's in a time over 10 minutes.  Unable to find the culprit back home.  Temporary detox reaction? I hope so.

PM- 2 miles in 17:54 (8:57 pace).  There is a chance this is a detox reaction.  I've made it over 50 hours without sugar.  We'll see tomorrow but I'll take any improvement.  Probably will not attempt a group run.
Grade:F+/1 credit/distance=3.0

5/20- This feels like a detox reaction.  Slept 10+ hours and dreamed about having to give a fraudulent report about something to Congress.  I don't remember what it was about.  There was also a car crash involved.  It was way too hot to run outside with any kind of effort.  It's starting to feel like summer now.  90 degree temps with dew points pushing 70.  Still, the early mornings and evenings remain pleasant.  Workout was 4 miles at Gold's in a time of 32:48 (8:12 pace) with even splits.  MINUS 45 over double the distance but I know the pattern.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=4.0

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit.  As of noon today, I've made it 3 days without sugar.  I may have to drink a little Gatorade if I go long tomorrow but that doesn't count.  Low dose Niacin should arrive early next week but I don't expect it to be a game changer.  Abstinence from sugar can only help long-term but will it significantly lower my Ferritin?  I don't know.  I'm leaning heavily towards going through with blood donation.

5/21- Day 4 and another step backward.  Lakeshore 3 in 28:54 (9:38 pace).  1st half was 12:35 but I saw the collapse coming and turned around and finished in 16:19.  My best guess is a temporary spike in adrenal activity.  Extra ADHS did help but Curcumin and IP-6 remain NOs.  It seems unlikely that Iron is spilling into the blood or tissues.

PM- Another 3 miler this time at Gold's.  Came through Mile 1 working hard for an 8:55 split then popped 3 extra ADHS and improved to 16:58 (8:29 pace) over the last 2 miles for an overall time of 25:53.  Hardly a sudden miracle but the explanation of an adrenal spike is plausible.  It should be only temporary and I ought to be better tomorrow.
Grade:F+/2 credits/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
In the past, I would drown my sorrows with a Red Bull after a day like Sunday but I am determined to see this through for better or worse.  I may drink a couple beers when in Calgary on Day 19ish but one slip up should not hurt at that point.  When I get back home, it's time to go radical.  I said earlier that I'd get a resolution one way or the other by Spring.  That didn't happen but I do expect it by early Fall for sure.  If I am not feeling better after 2 blood donations and my numbers don't look much better, that is the end of the line.
Distance=33.0.  GPA= 11.9/8= 1.49
YTD: 605 miles.  3-16 with a 1.98 GPA

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ceruloplasmin, Iron Dysregulation and Liver Beef

Let's go back to the Fall of 2014.  I had shown flashes of the form that made me a sub-40/sub-90 performer just 2 years earlier but was EXTREMELY sensitive and unstable.  Here's what I needed at the time:
-Mega doses of adrenal suppressants
-Exact 1:1 ratio of Calcium/Magnesium with up and down doses
-Exact 20:1 ratio of Zinc/Copper
-Need for methyl folate but at unknown dose

  I got my Ceruloplasmin tested and my first result was very low at 17.9.  Though my lab's "normal" was 15-30, knowledgeable practitioners are well aware that anything below 20 is a serious problem. Morley Robbins wants it between 30-35.   I thought at the time that the low ceruloplasmin was the proverbial "smoking gun" that was responsible for the extreme sensitivity.  I was wrong about that.  I needed to fix a methylation block with MF and Sam-e and open up the sulfur pathways with molybdenum and B-12.  Still, improving my ceruloplasmin should have certainly helped my situation.  The most effective way to do that in my experience is a Liver glandular.  I took Liver Beef from Nutricology almost every day for several months.  HUGE mistake and I paid for it BIGLY in 2015.

The result:
  I improved initially but it did nothing for the sensitivity.  I found when my level got up to around 20, I probably felt about my best since 2012 but it was sharply downhill from there.  The last time it was tested, I scored a 25.9 and declared myself sub-optimal but close enough that it should not produce significant symptoms.  Yet, I felt MUCH WORSE than before upping the ceruloplasmin. WHY?
Liver Beef will definitely raise your level.  I found that each pill that I took raised it by roughly 0.1 points or about 2 points every 3 weeks.  That's YUGE!  However, while bioavailable copper went up. it also CRASHED my zinc and raised my already sky high Iron levels.  I know believe that my extreme adrenal over-activity was due at least in part to Iron overload.  Liver is very high in Iron.  I don't know what my Iron levels were 2014 but 2 years later even after being off the Liver for 18 months, it was SIGNIFICANTLY elevated.  Bad enough to be flagged as high by the lab.

My Treatments:
I initially went with Curcumin and had some problems with it because of its sulfur content.  Fortunately, molybdenum solved that.  Though unconfirmed, I believe that I have gone too far with lowering the serum Iron now.  Why else would I react so badly to Curcumin and now IP-6?  However, my Ferritin level (stored Iron) remains stubbornly high (186 vs ideal of 50).  That means that I have too much Iron stored in my organs and not enough in my blood.  Not good.  For a while, it looked like IP-6 could be the answer but that stuff  failed me today.

Possible solutions:
-Continue to mix and match with Liver Beef and IP-6.  Liver Beef was well tolerated today, which is another sign that my serum Iron is indeed low.  I already know that Liver Beef is NOT a long-term every day supplement.  If I do take it every day, it won't be long until my blood Iron levels get too high again.  I will use it only on the weekends even if it continues to be effective.  Will I be able to tolerate IP-6 again if I take the Liver Beef occasionally?  We shall see.  If that answer is NO, I am out of conservative options.  EDIT- The 2nd dose of Liver Beef ended in disaster.  IP-6 as a stand alone is likely a NO as well.  SCRATCH THIS OPTION!

Option 2- Liver flush- I have little confidence in this one.  The theory is that it will dump the Iron from my Liver into my blood and put me back on IP-6 or Curcumin and leave me intolerant to the Liver Beef.  Fortunately, I will get a quick YES or NO answer on this one.  I'll know within a few days whether or not it has the desired effect.

Option 3-Blood donation- This is Morley's preferred option.  It is pretty much guaranteed to lower Ferritin BUT it will also lower serum Iron.  Until the latter is up to snuff, this is NOT an option.  Fortunately, the Liver Beef should raise it both quickly and bigly.

I'm staying conservative until after the epic road trip.  By that time, I will have several doses of the Liver Beef in my system.  If I can't tolerate it after the Liver flush, I stay on the IP-6, which should in time, get the Ferritin down.  If the Liver Beef is tolerated after the flush, that means it didn't work but by that time with several additional doses, the serum Iron should be high enough to go through with the blood donation.

Option 4- Take no further action.  I've always been more concerned with how I feel than my lab results.  If I am relatively stable and running respectable times, I will accept a high Ferritin level.

EDIT:  Given recent events, I have become convinced that blood donation is my best option.  Iron overload may still be present even if serum Iron is low.  Ferrittin is what matters.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Training 5/8-5/14

5/8- Lakeshore 5 in 38:45 (7:45 pace) with even splits.  Felt good but this is a bit puzzling.  This was only 25 seconds slower than 10K race pace and probably about even with half marathon pace yet it felt easy today.  I actually slowed down to the 8:15 range at the very end and it felt like a stumble.    Maybe the Taurine did slow me down in Corinth.  I still feel like something is missing in my formula.  I've re-ordered the Liver Beef but even if it's tolerated, it will only be taken 1-2 times per week.  Added a mile cool.  Good job.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

5/9- Pyramid workout at Vestavia.  I don't think I've done a decent interval workout since November of 2015 so expectations weren't real high.  Workout was 400-800-1200-800-400 plus a final 400 all out.  I was expecting a 90-95 second pace per lap and came in right in the middle of that range.
Splits were 94-3:07-4:43-3:08-93-81 with an R of 1 minute per lap.  That's an overall pace of 6:11.  Next time, I'll shoot for 6:08.  Decent workout but I still think there's something missing in my formula and unless it's found, I will plateau even with steady training.  Tomorrow may be our first 90 degree day but with low humidity, I can still push it.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=3.0

5/10- Trak Shak 5 in 38:25 (7:41 pace).  Tried to go hard early but didn't have a tempo in me today so I was content with the standard issue workout.  This one was hard.  Temp didn't quite hit 90 but it was sunny and more humid than I expected.  Faded to the 7:50 range on the back half but still not bad overall.  We'll see if I can go hard tomorrow.  Either way, I'll win with a decent long run.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

5/11- Gold's 5 in 37:34 (7:31 pace).  Just like yesterday, standard issue pace felt fine.  I set the cruise control to 7:30 and felt just as fresh in Mile 4 as I did in Mile 1.  Granted, it was indoors and on a dead flat track so it would have been more like 7:40 on the Trak Shak route in 85 degree heat.  Still, I felt a lot more comfortable overall in doing so.  In Mile 5, I made a brief attempt to pick up the pace and held it for just 2 laps in the low-7 range before slowing down at the end.
Big question: Why is it that I can feel so comfortable at 7:30 pace yet if I drop down to 7:15, it's almost a race effort?  I believe it could be a mitochondrial issue and better Iron and copper regulation could be the answer.  The Liver Beef will arrive either Saturday or Monday.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.5

5/12- Planned rest day.  Weather looks iffy for tomorrow

5/13- AM- Another FAILED group run and made a fool of myself again by going out with the lead pack then dropping out less than 2 miles in.  Turned around at 1.75 and slow jogged it home.  Passed 3 miles just over 27 then treated the last half mile as a cool down.  The culprit was IP-6.  Things went from bad to worse after I took more of that stuff.  Tacked on another junk mile in over 11 minutes.

PM- The Liver Beef did arrive and I rebounded a bit.  Sneaked under the Mendoza line with a 23:54 performance in the Gold's 3 mile (7:58 pace).  Got off to a good start but faded to the 8:15 range late.  Still had the sub-8 pace all the way.  I can still get a win this week with a decent long run tomorrow.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=7.5

5/14- I need to preface this by saying that I did take a 2nd Liver pill yesterday evening.  I did not run afterwards but did feel a little off.  I started out today on Lakeshore with neither the Liver nor the IP-6 and ran the first 1.5 mile leg in a pathetic 14:48 (9:52 pace) then popped a Liver and got WORSE.  I could not run at all after that.  I then tried some more IP-6 and got a small boost.  The next half mile was 4:48 (9:36 pace) then I quit.

PM- Tacked on another junk mile on Wisteria in 9:04.  Took the evening dose of IP-6 after the run and got noticeably WORSE.  That answers all the questions.  Both IP-6 AND LIVER ARE NO NOs!  It's gotta be a liver flush, blood donation or no further action.
Grade:F/2 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
Distance =30 miles.  GPA= 2.24
YTD: 572 miles.  3-15 with a 2.01 GPA

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Coke 10K and Memphis Trip Report

Why this race:
 I don't mind a little regional travel.  I've raced only 1 10K since turning 35, which was a disaster at Peachtree last year (54:40).  By comparison, my 10K split at NYC was 48:15 and I managed to drag on for another 6.9 miles after that.  This would be a pretty easy age group PR at the very least.  If there is a polar opposite of NYC, Corinth, Miss would probably be it.

  I've had some pretty decent workouts in recent weeks but overall it's still not very good.  Thankfully, adding a B-complex in addition to B-12 as a stand alone has boosted my energy levels but I still could not shake the abnormal sore muscles.  I gambled with Taurine in an effort to improve mineral transport.  It did knock out the soreness but too much will cause the malaise to re-appear.  Probably a wash overall.  Fortunately, a single ill-advised pill won't spell total disaster now that my methylation has improved.  Based on a few recent workouts, I predicted that I would be able to hold a pace between 7:15-7:25 per mile for the 6.2 mile route on a rolling course.  I would finish right in the middle of that range.

I worked half a day on Friday then hit the road.  I found that my GPS watch was not charging so I stopped at the Trak Shak and got that fixed.  Thank you to Jeff Martinez.  I took the interstate up to Cullman then picked up AL-157 to US-72 to Corinth, Miss Sippy.  That's the correct pronunciation of the state to my west.  It was a chilly rain most of the way but it began clearing as I approached Corinth and the next day was a beautiful sunny and 75 in the afternoon.  Race morning dawned still a bit chilly but clear with light winds.  It warmed to about 55 degrees and start and just over 60 by the finish.  Can't ask for much better than that.

After the race, I hit the road again on my way to Memphis.  I didn't plan on going initially but I figured I was only a little over an hour and half away so Why not?  I have been there several times before including one of my favorite half marathons (Memphis St. Jude).  You really need at least a full weekend to do it justice.  I would highly recommend the Rock and Soul Museum, Beale Street and Graceland just for starters.

AAA stadium and finish for
 St. Jude Half mary


I took the scenic route so I could drive through the suburbs of Collierville and Germantown.  I applied for a few jobs in that area years ago and it seems like a real nice area but I'm happy with where I am.  As planned, I arrived in downtown Memphis around lunch time and it was jammed.  I had to park in a public lot a few blocks away and had to circle around on foot to get back to Beale Street, which is a long strip of about 30 restaurants and bars with big crowds and live music.  I ended up at a place called the Blues City Cafe, where I got to see a decent local band while enjoying some ribs and a drink.

Memphis skyline

Crowded Beale St.

From there, it was a short walk down to the Mississippi River then back to my car.  I crossed the river into Arkansas just because I felt like it then turned back to Memphis to tour the Stax Museum of American Soul music.  This genre is secular but has roots in gospel music and reached its peak in popularity in the 1960s and early '70s.  That's a little before my time but I still had an appreciation of it.  What struck me most was that during the 1960s in the South, blacks and whites worked together side by side in the studio and were often part of the same band.  Nobody cared about skin color and everyone was treated as equals.  Somebody called it the embodiment of Dr. King's dream.  Amen to that. I left Memphis just after 5 and got home around 9:30 even with a stop in Tupelo for dinner.

Mississippi River

  I've driven through northeast MS many times so I knew what to expect.  It would be a constantly rolling course with very few flat spots.  None of the hills were particularly steep or long but the cumulative effects will take a toll in time.  It seemed to me that most of the uphills were longer and more gradual while the downs were a bit shorter and steeper, which is what I prefer.  Though it started and finished in town, most of the course was residential.  I was treated to numerous cheering fans, tree lined streets and some pretty nice homes.

I'd say I paced it pretty well.  I aimed for a 7:15 opening mile and came in just a few ticks south of that despite a largely uphill first mile then kept it steady on a mostly downhill 2nd mile.  I felt just okay here and fears of a collapse started to set in.  Fortunately, it was just a 10K so it wouldn't get too ugly and I figured if I could get to halfway still in control, it would be a decent finish.  Mile 3 was gradually uphill until a nice long downhill stretch stretch from about 2.75 to 3.0.  My watch read 21:52 so figure I was near 22:40 at the half.  The "A" goal of a sub-45 is not to be but I'm in good shape to be under 46.

For most of the midsection of the race, I found myself in a pack of about 5 runners, one of which was a well known local kid named Parker who looked to be no older than 13.  I found out later that he is the school's top middle school cross-country runner.  On the uphill in Mile 4, I made a move ahead but I felt my legs go dead with about 2 miles to go.  Then again, nobody feels good at this point of a 10K.  Keep pushing.  The pace slowed but remained respectable as I passed 5 miles in 37-flat.  I was still on track to break 46 and there would be only 1 more uphill stretch to go.  Unfortunately, the pack pulled away from me again but I had increased the pace as well.  By the homestretch into town, I found another gear and unleashed a big league finishing kick that reeled in 2 runners.  Overall, this was about what I expected.  Times will continue to improve with steady training.
7:12 (7:12)
7:14 (14:26) downhill
7:26 (21:52)
7:36 (29:28) uphill
7:32 (37:00)
7:20 (44:20)
1:20 (45:40) 6:40 pace for .2
Age group: 10th out of 56.
Percentile rank: 82
  As I was heading back to my car, a random woman stopped me on the street just to say Thanks for coming to town.  Stuff like that I what I love about the South.

Next up:
 I may do the Cotton Row 5K in Huntsville on Memorial Day and I think I've got a shot at another age group PR there (21:54) but the epic road trip is 4 weeks away.  I'll just jog the Teton half but the one in Helena, Montana the following week will be a serious effort.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Training 5/1-5/7 (possible race)

The race option is the Coca-Cola 10K in Corinth, Miss'Sippy on Saturday.  I want a decent time on the board at that distance since turning 35.

5/1- AM- Felt decent early but it got real ugly late.  Finished with 3 miles in 24:57 (8:19 pace) with a last mile just south of 9.  Extra Ultimate B made me feel slightly worse when I got home.  It's probably the NADH as the one ingredient that's bad.  I do think I can tolerate it as an ingredient in due time but never again as a stand alone.  I will cut the dose to 1 pill and take it in the evening.  If I cannot take it, that could once again be the end of the line. With it, the B-12 as a stand alone will be both necessary and well tolerated.  Without it, the B-12 is still necessary but the intolerance to it will kick in with a VENGEANCE! The only other option is other B-vitamins as a stand alone.

PM- Slightly better.  This time, I never did feel strong but did a lot better in holding the pace.  Another 3 miles in 23:33 (7:51 pace).  MINUS 28.  Splits were nearly dead even but this was just about as fast as I could go.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.0

5/2- 4 miles on Lakeshore on a picture perfect day.  80 degrees with low humidity and barely a cloud in the sky.  Put out tempo effort and finished in 29:07 (7:17 pace) plus a half mile cool.  MINUS 34 over an extra mile.  Even pace but not much kick left.  This would bring me home in a low-45 for 10K.  Further improvements are possible between now and Saturday so I'm leaning towards doing it.  Took no Ultimate B this morning but could still be reeling from yesterday's 4 pills.  From now on, it's 1 only in the evening.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=4.5

5/3- AM- 3 mile tempo at Gold's in 20:35 (6:52 pace).  I believe this is my best time of the year at this distance.  Just like yesterday, I ran even splits but was pretty much wide open at the end and could not pick up the pace.  Still, this was better than yesterday.  Figure with an extra mile, add 10 seconds so that's still a MINUS 15.  I'll plan on doing the 10K barring a relapse but I'll keep the expectations low.  I'll shoot for around 46 on a rolling course (7:25 ish pace)

PM- Trak Shak 7.5 loop in 59:40 (7:57 pace).  Felt free and easy for the first 5 but struggled in the last third, which is understandable especially on this route.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow.  If my body demands an extra rest day, I will obey.  Still planning on racing on Saturday.
Grade:A-/2 credit/distance=10.5

5/4- Gold's 3 in 22:15 (7:25 pace) then stepped on the gas and clocked an 84 quarter mile (5:36 pace) despite the tight turns.  I have no doubt that I can hold this pace for 6.2, which would bring me home just north of 46-flat.  I think I can get into the 45s but breaking it will be tough.  Added a 6 lap cool.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.0

5/5- Planned rest day

5/6- Coca-Cola 10K in 45:40 (7:20 pace).  Just about what I expected to do.
Grade:B+/3 credit/distance=7.0

5/7- 3 mile recovery jog at Gold's.  Who cares about the time?  It was apparent that the 2nd dose of taurine yesterday after the race was a bad call and it may have cost me a bit on the course.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Win #3 on the year.  Solid but unspectacular most of the week but I'll take it.
Distance=35.0/ GPA= 3.09
YTD: 542 miles.  Record: 3-14 with a 2.00