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.

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