Monday, April 30, 2018

Training 4/30-5/6

4/30- AM- 3 miles in 23:56 (7:59 pace).  Very pleased.  I've brought it down already and this was done on 2 scoops.  I hovered just a few seconds over most of the way then rallied at the end.
Checked my weight for the first time in a while and it was 158 lbs.  I'm a little thicker in the waist nowadays but I'm afraid that's inevitable as I get older but I'm only 5 lbs heavier than I was coming out of college so I'd say that's pretty good. Added a half mile cool.

PM- Disappointing step backward.  Hoped to run at least 4.5 on Lakeshore but settled for 2.5 in a weak time of 20:57 (8:23 pace).  I was doing sub-8 early but crashed hard in the last mile and quit early.   I have NOT cheated on my diet.  The smart money is on a temporary spike in my adrenals.  Let's hope it calms down soon.  Before Sarcosine, adrenal spikes lasted about 7 days.

5/1- AM- TEST.  3x3 laps at Gold's
0 Adrenal support- 2:39 (7:57 pace)
3 pills- 2:10 (6:30 pace)
5 pills- 2:02 (6:06 pace)

PM- 5 miles on Lakeshore in 39:19 (7:52 pace).  A bit of a fade on the back half but it was slightly uphill.  Overall, I am pleased with this day.  In the morning session, I was not horrible naked.  If I pulled that stunt before Sarcosine, it would have been over 3.  The more pills I took, the better I got and it was a significant difference between 3 and 5 but it was not a radical shift.  Soon, the adrenal spike will calm down.  As for the evening, I doubled yesterday's session at a faster pace.

5/2- Planned rest day but I did test out my tolerance to Glutamine.  That was the first problem I had when the trouble with Sarcosine started.  It is tolerated once again so there is a good chance that abstinence from sugar and alcohol could do the trick.  Unfortunately, the adrenal spike remains.  It has GOT to calm down by the weekend.  Did the first mile in 7:42 then popped a Glutamine and improved to a 7:37.  I suspect that a 5 miler would have been just about the same as yesterday.

5/3- 3 miles in 23:51 (7:57 pace).  Good news is that I am not collapsing.  Bad news is that I am not seeing any improvement.  In fact, I am slightly worse than I was 2 days ago.  I've been clean for 5 days on the diet so it is possible that the adrenal spike is NOT caffeine related but I am NOT testing that out.  It is possible that since I have solved a MAJOR problem with the Sarcosine, my adrenals have spiked for that reason.  If my Iron has crept up again, blood donation is an easy fix but I'm not doing anything radical until after New England.  I may switch back to Thym-Adren.

5/4- Switched to Thym-Adren and it was the right call.  Again, I labored through 3 miles but my time was down to 22:43 (7:34 pace).  MINUS 23 with an even pace.  That is enough to be considered significant.  I won't know for sure until Sunday but it is looking increasingly clear that the adrenal spike is NOT caffeine related.  Instead it is from solving a MAJOR problem with the enzyme defects.  My body was pushing so hard to produce "normal" energy in spite of being held back for so long that it doesn't know what to do when it's not held back.  The best analogy is that it feels like a bike out of gear.  In this case, after being too tight for so long, I am now too loose.

5/5- Successfully upped the distance to 11.5 miles.  Finished in 97:12 (8:27 pace).  MINUS 6 versus last week with the additional 1.5 miles.  This projects to a 1:51 half mary versus a 1:53 last week.  I'll take it.  Slow but steady improvement is the goal.  Not the wild up and down swings. I may not notice any difference from one day to the next but over the course of several weeks, improvement is evident. I've got 15 days until the goal race in Massachusetts so I think a sub-1:50 is a reasonable goal.

5/6- Canterbury 3.5 mile loop in 28:45 (8:13 pace).  Nothing earth shattering to report.  Feeling about the same as the previous days.  The slow pace is understandable given a hilly route and yesterday's long run.  It has been confirmed that the adrenal spike is NOT caffeine related.  It will eventually calm down but that takes time.  The adrenals spiked after I got an infected root canal out and they spiked after the liver flush as well.  It will be a gradual but steady improvement.  I did cheat a little this weekend but I'll be fine as long as I don't make a habit of it.

-35 miles on the week.  If I can maintain this mileage, I can be competitive again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mexico/South Padre Trip Report

The evening flight into Brownsville, Texas went without a hitch after a brief layover in Dallas but it was midnight by the time I got my rental car and arrived at my hotel.  Still, I woke up earlier than expected and hit the road to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico via US-281.  It was a rural road just about a mile or so north of the Rio Grande with mostly farmland and occasional palm trees.  After about 75 minutes of driving, I arrived at the Progreso International Bridge and parked on the American side for $2.  Another 50 cents allowed me access to the pedestrian bridge and the “portal to another world.”  I snapped a picture of the Rio Grande and border mark.

Rio Grande


Why Mexico?
Many people come across for cheaper meds, food and dental work or to shop the large selection of arts and crafts.  I was there for the sake of visiting another foreign country (#6) as well as to take in some culture and test out my Spanish skills on their turf.  Nuevo Progreso is located just over an hour west of Brownsville and about 3 hours northeast of Monterrey.  If you want to cross the border from the Brownsville area, Nuevo Progreso is the only town that I would recommend.  Word on the street is that Matamoros and Reynosa are not very safe and you have to walk about a mile or so to get into town.  In Nuevo Progreso, you are right in the heart of it as soon as you cross the bridge.

You will see lots of dentist offices, drug stores, restaurants, bars and street vendors along the way and some Spanish signage definitely reminded you that you were indeed in Mexico.  Despite the early hour, the streets were more crowded than I expected and you can expect to see plenty of locals trying to sell you dental work, pharmaceuticals or other items.  I never felt unsafe or threatened but it did seem to get a bit seedier as I got further away from the bridge and I did not venture out to side streets.  I just responded with a polite “No, gracias” or “No lo necesito.” (I don’t need it).  I did end up buying a new wallet for just $8 and a nice embroidered Mexico T-shirt for just $10.

Lunch was a small but tasty filet mignon for another bargain price along with chips and salsa plus a side of guacamole.  As for the language barrier, Spanish is not necessary in a border town but I wanted to show respect.  Nobody laughed at my southern accent and I was able to have a couple brief conversations in Spanish.  One person actually complimented me on my skills.  Still, I need to improve if I am to visit Costa Rica or Ecuador in the future.  I stopped for a 2nd beer at a bar after lunch but that was all I could handle if I was to drive back within the next hour.  I then stopped at a barber shop for a $5 haircut before turning back to the USA.  All told, I spent about 2.5 hours in Mexico.  It was a worthwhile experience but I probably would not go unless there was a nearby US attraction.  Customs was a breeze.  I simply presented my passport and souvenir T-shirt.  The border guard simply asked where I was going next then sent me on my way.  I would not rule out a quick trip to Tijuana or Nogales at a later date. 

I took the Interstate back to South Padre then enjoyed a swim in the Gulf before dinner.  I scored a smokin’ deal on a hotel right on the beach for just $90/night.  In the future, I intend to visit the coast in the late Spring and early Fall more often to get better deals and avoid the crowd while the water is still fairly warm.  Though it cleared up at the end, conditions were overcast most of time at the beach but I didn’t mind.  Air temps were near 80 with water temps in the low 70s.  That’s a little chilly for my taste but after 10-15 minutes to acclimate, it really wasn’t half bad.  The sand was brown and hard near the water’s edge but the water had a nice green tint.  The inlet is very narrow with both the Gulf and the bay visible from my hotel.  On a good day, you can see some nice sunsets and sunrises. 

My hotel

Hotel view

Just me and my shadow

I’ve never been one to enjoy simply laying down in the sand while reading a book or sipping a drink.  I am there for the surf and I like how it feels when a wave crashes on my head or neck.  I actually went down twice but recovered quickly.  Conditions were quite favorable.  It was just rough enough to be an adventure but not nearly enough to be dangerous.  I took an inflatable boogie board that I bought from E-bay.  It wasn’t quite as good as the real thing but it did the job and I got more than a few good rides.  On the best day, if you catch one perfectly, you can ride a chest high wave all the way to the shore.  Man, that’s so much fun!  The board fit easily in my bag and once I figured out how to use the pump, it was easy to inflate.  Deflation was a bit tricky and it took quite a while to squeeze enough air out to fit it back in the bag before the flight back. 

View of the bay

Sunrise run

Great trip overall.  I still prefer the Emerald Coast on the FLA/ALA line but there is a lot to like about the Texas coast as well.  It’s definitely worth it if you are up for something different and being further south, the beach season is a bit longer.  I could very well be back again.  Maybe a Houston/San Antonio/Corpus Christi trip?


Monday, April 23, 2018

Training 4/23-4/29

I will try again to get serious this week.  As of now, it appears that I can handle 1 scoop of Sarcosine and it seems unlikely to evolve into complete intolerance.  If it does, I'm dead.  It also appears that my performances MAY stabilize around the Mendoza line give or take a few ticks with 1 scoop.  As expected, my diet was BAD on this trip and beer was the primary indiscretion.  Still, it was somewhat encouraging that I have not collapsed to the 9-10 minute range for a single Mile.  However, this Mendoza level of performance (3 @ 8:00) is not nearly good enough to be considered acceptable for me.  I thought that perhaps increasing the Sarcosine would mitigate the effects of cheating but that does not appear to be the case.  If anything, cheating may REDUCE the tolerance to Sarcosine and thus perhaps if I stay clean, the tolerance will improve.  It is also possible that it will take time for the tolerance to kick in and I just need to ride it out until it does.  Either way, no more sugared or alcoholic drinks from M-F.

4/23- Covered 3 miles on the Texas coast but it was stop and go as I admired the sunrise.  Felt about the same as the past several day.  This would have been around 24 if I went hard.  Caught the flight back to the Ham and it will be back to the real world tomorrow.

4/24- 3 miles at Gold's in 23:55 (7:58 pace).  As I predicted, I was right around the Mendoza line give or take a few seconds.  Good news is that I have stabilized.  Bad news is I am much too slow.  I don't ever expect to come anywhere near a PR again but I certainly should be better than this.  Tonight, I will up the Sarcosine just a tad.  Slightly less than 1.5 scoops.  I expect that it will make a difference.  I am not sure if it will be positive or negative.

4/25- I predicted that extra Sarcosine would make a difference and I was correct.  Problem was it was NOT a positive difference so the tolerance has not ticked up yet.  Only possible solution is to wait for the effects of the abstinence to kick in.  I went to Lakeshore and had seen enough after just 1 Mile in 8:07. A 3 miler would have been 25-26.   If I had taken 2 full scoops, it would have been over 9 for 1 Mile.  Back to 1 tomorrow then I will try to up it again in a few more days.

4/26- Back to the new normal.  3 miles in 23:47 (7:56 pace).  Marginally better than 2 days ago  with a more even pace but not nearly enough to be considered significant.  A half marathon would be just south of 9:00 pace right now and I'd need a relatively flat course just to be under 2 hours.  Either I find some way to tolerate 2+ scoops of Sarcosine or I will have to accept being a jogger.  Also, I have found that I am much more dependent on adrenal and methylation support if I only take 1 scoop.  Going up to 2 scoops tonight and I expect to take a step backward tomorrow.  MUST stay off sugars and alcohol during the week.

4/27- Upped it to 2 scoops and as expected, I took a step backward.  Did 1 mile on Wisteria in 8:23.  I actually thought it would be worse.  Tacked on a half mile cool.  Clean diet and I hope to see some gains tomorrow.

4/28- BTC 10 mile route from Saulter to Lakeshore then back through Brookwood.  Improved to an 85:34 (8:33 pace) and kept the pace fairly even on a route with a few moderate hills.  Well below the Mendoza line for this distance.  This was over 3 minutes faster than last week, which was done on just 1 scoop of Sarcosine so YES, there is a chance that 2+ scoops will work with a clean diet.  HR remains low at 150, which suggests there are more gears to access.  Even if I slipped to 9:00 pace for the last 5K, I still finish a half in 1:53.

4/29- Leisurely 3 mile on Jemison trail in 27:36 (9:12 pace). Did maintain pace.  Step backward because I cheated yesterday.  That confirms it.  Steady progress should start now.

-25 miles on the week

Monday, April 16, 2018

Training 4/16-4/22

4/16- 5 miles in 38:41 (7:44 pace).  Improvement over yesterday but I was hoping to be under 38 today.  Still feel a bit sluggish.  Good start but it was downhill early and my pace fell off to 8:00 by Mile 4 before bouncing back a bit at the end.  1st half- 19:07, 2nd half- 19:34.  I sure hope that 2 scoops of Sarcosine does the trick.  I'm at the concern stage now. If I have to cut it to 1, it's panic time.  If I can't tolerate it, I am doomed.

4/17- As I feared, the Sarcosine must be cut to 1 scoop.  Attempted a workout but quit after just 1 mile.

4/18- 3 miles at the Trak Shak in 25:14 (8:25 pace).  A little better than my usual day after relapse but not by much.  Words cannot describe how angry I am at this nightmarish pattern that repeats itself over and over again.  Yes, I was warned when I ordered Sarcosine that I may have to reduce the dose to prevent negative effects.  This may be only temporary.  If Sarcosine is not taken at all, 100 percent of the pre-glycine symptoms that I had will return with a vengeance probably within just a couple of days.  If Sarcosine is not tolerated at that point, it's all over.

I really don't think the sugars have anything to do with this but I'm starting clean again after I get back from my trip.  Then I will see if the tolerance improves.  According to the company, the full benefits are realized within 6 months so if I am not doing consistently well by the Fall, I'm done.

4/19- Mood was good most of the day but I started fading by the afternoon.  Still, I managed to improve upon yesterday.  4 miles on Jemison in 32:24 (8:06 pace) with hills.  I did not take any Sarcosine this morning and the old symptoms have already begun.  My focus now is to enjoy my trip and THEN figure this out once and for all.

4/20- Took the full day off work so I could run in the morning and have plenty of time to catch my flight to Brownsville.  I was determined to finish a double digit run no matter how ugly it got.  It certainly was not pretty but I did manage to go 10 on Lakeshore in a time of 88:40 (8:52 pace).  Held the pace around 9 for most of the back half and never did have a good pace early.  This is probably worth about a 1:57 for a half mary.  At the moment, 1 scoop of Sarcosine just is not enough to achieve the desired results but I can't tolerate more than that.  It is possible that tolerance will develop in time and it's possible that cleaning up the diet will make a difference.  For now, my focus is the trip to Mexico and South Padre.

4/21- Planned rest day.  Visited Mexico then got to South Padre by mid afternoon and took a dip.

4/22- 2 mile junk run on the beach.  Finished in 15:56 (7:58 pace).  Negative split (8:10-7:46) but I was pushing pretty hard at the end.

-25 miles on the week.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rave: Learning Spanish

My South Padre/Mexico trip will be next weekend.  Although I expect to spend only about 2 hours in Mexico, I'm actually looking forward to this part of the trip even more so than the beach at South Padre.  The water will still be on the cool side at around 75 degrees but with air temps over 80 and a 15-20 mph wind, it will be comfortable for swimming and there may be decent surf conditions.

Where in Mexico:
It's a border town called Nuevo Progreso, which is about an hour west of Brownsville, Texas.  I will park on the American side then walk across the foot bridge, which has been described as a portal to another world.  Except for crossing into Canada, which really doesn't look much different, I have never crossed an international border alone. 

Safety Concerns:
I'm really not too worried at all.  Yes, there are travel advisories in place and I would have serious reservations about going to a border town such as Matamoros or Reynosa because of the drug cartels.  Sadly, I've heard reports of violence against tourists in Cancun, which is a damn shame because that is a beautiful area.  The murder rate of Tijijuana is 10 times higher than nearby San Diego so if I am to go there, I must be extremely careful and most definitely limit myself to a few blocks, which are catered to tourists.  However, Nuevo Progreso is considered to be very safe.  There is a strong police and military presence and it is well known that just a few episodes of violence would curtail tourism and cripple the local economy.   Still, I will be smart and stick to the main road.  No wandering about on side streets and residential areas.  I will drink nothing except Coke and beer straight out of the bottle.  I have researched several restaurants and found several with excellent reviews so I figure that it should be okay to eat there as well.  I may get a cheap haircut and bring back a souvenir as well. 

Language Barrier:
I took Spanish in high school and it was one of my best subjects.  Granted, it was nearly 20 years ago but I still remembered the basics such as how certain letter are pronounced.  I've been watching some free tutorials on You Tube and was surprised by how much vocabulary and grammar that I do remember and how quickly I was able to pick it back up again.  The town is gringo friendly so I don't anticipate any problems even if I spoke only English but I believe strongly in making an effort to speak the native language.  Doing so shows respect for the local culture and will be greatly appreciated by the locals. Similarly, I believe that if you live in the United States, English must be learned and should be spoken in public. I've used my Spanish a few times before including once to a taxpayer from Colombia who responded by giving me a hug despite the fact that I had to bill her for back taxes. 

Current Command of the Language:
I'll be fine for a couple of hours in Mexico and I am excited to actually speak some Spanish while I am there but I've got a long way to go to gain any degree of mastery.  I know enough to order a meal as well several key phrases that should enable at least a brief conversation with a local.  Since I would like to visit countries such as Spain, Costa Rica, Chile and Argentina, I would definitely like to learn more before spending time in those countries.  Some people might laugh at my Southern accent but native speakers say that although my speech is much slower, it is clear and able to be understood.
If you are curious as to what my Spanish sounds like, the following video gives you a good idea:
Spanish with a Southern accent

I have a much better grasp of written Spanish than the spoken variety.  In the latter case, I can recognize a few words here and there but usually not enough to discern the subject of the conversation.  The reason is that Spanish is one of the fastest languages spoken in terms of words per minute and many speakers do not fully enunciate their words.  Everybody knows that there are differences between British and American English.  The same is true with Spanish.  Spain is different from Mexico, which is different from South America and so on. 

Advice for Learning:
As with any language, the best way to learn is by immersion.  Try to make friends with a native speaker and talk with them in the language that you seek to learn.  When reading and studying, try to think in Spanish rather than simply translating it to English in your head.  Doing so gives it the feel of a first language.  Good luck. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Rant/Rave- Raising Teenagers

I may never have this responsibility but these guidelines could be useful for parents of teenagers so here goes.  The only time I ever got into any trouble was age 13-14 and my worst year was 8th grade.  IMHO, these guidelines are strict but fair and reasonable.  Nobody is perfect and I certainly don’t expect it from teenagers.  That said, I am not your friend.  I am your step-father.  The age group most likely to get in trouble with the law is age 19-26.  Hopefully, you will leave home at 19 either for college, a trade school or directly to full time employment.  The 6 years from 13-19 are not very long when you have an adult perspective.  My job is to prepare you for the adult world and prevent the common problems among young adults.

School Work:
C grades are not acceptable.  Strive for As and Bs.  When you come out of college, many employers won’t even look at you if you did not have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and entry-level job hunting is hard enough as it is.  If you want to go for a Master’s Degree, you must maintain a 3.0 just to stay in the program.  It’s a tough stance but I’ve got to take it.  Now, if you get a C in a subject like Physics or Trigonometry, that’s understandable because the subject matter is difficult.  A C grade on a spelling, vocabulary or Geography test?  No, that’s because you didn’t study.

I don’t believe in complete absolutes in this area.  Let’s say you get all Bs except for 1 C from a teacher who is known to be difficult.  I might take away your phone for one day per week but anything more than that is too harsh.  If you feel that you cannot make grades, prove to me that you are putting forth your best effort and I will cut you some slack.  Come home with Ds and Fs and it will be military style discipline.

School Conduct:
Nowadays, most schools have software that will allow parents to access student grades at any time during the marking period.  When I go to a parent/teacher conference, I will already know exactly how well he or she is doing in the class.  I will want to know whether or not he or she is well-mannered and respectful to both teachers and fellow students.  Unsolicited compliments on their character from adults will be rewarded.  ZERO tolerance for bullying, especially when it comes to racial/ethnic slurs or making fun of someone with a disability.  I would rather have a well behaved C student than an A-B student who is a bully and trouble maker.  If a child is being bullied, it’s not a free pass but I will be more careful about discipline because their self-esteem is shot and I don’t want to make it worse.  I may take a 24 hour cooling off period so there’s less chance I’ll say something that I will regret.

Explicit Music and Movies:
Under some circumstances, I would allow a 13 year old to see an R-rated movie but it would depend on the content.  If it’s rated R for language or violence, I would probably allow it.  There’s not much chance that you will go on a shooting rampage after seeing a movie like Rambo or Die Hard and I don’t believe it de-sensitizes you to real life violence.  Kids hear bad words every day at school so that’s nothing new.  If you start saying them, then we’ve got a problem.  I will tolerate occasional mild cussing up to BS but don’t make a habit of it.   No F bombs however and the nuclear bomb is to take the Lord’s name in vain.

If a movie is rated R for drug and sexual content, it’s going to be a NO unless the characters renounce that lifestyle in the end.  The reason for the different attitude is that when you get to high school, you will definitely have classmates that use drugs and have sex and yes, you could be de-sensitized to it, which could potentially ruin your life.  As for music, I reserve the right to take away any song that you download but as a general rule I will be fairly lenient.  A few bad words will be tolerated as long as it is not noticeable unless I am listening intently.  If every verse contains multiple F-bombs or is blatantly anti-Christian, not so much.  A song from any artist or genre can possibly be acceptable.  Even some of the most controversial artists have some songs that are positive or at least inoffensive.  It’s good that nowadays, you can download individual songs without buying a full album, which could be unacceptable as a whole.

Disagreements about whether or not you should be allowed to do something are inevitable.  State your case to me in a reasonable tone and I will listen with an open mind.  Saying that other kids are doing it (Tide Pods) is NOT an argument. You may get a YES out of it and I may be more trusting if you make grades and stay out of trouble.  That said, if the final answer is NO, that’s the end of it.  Nothing more will be discussed on the subject.  Blatant disrespect will not be tolerated.  Talk such as “I hate you” or “Get out of my life” will be regretted pretty quickly.  If that’s what you want, you get everything that goes with it.  No allowance, no Christmas gifts.  Pack your own lunch.  Do your own laundry.  Cook your own meals.  When you can’t stand that any longer, just apologize, promise to do better and it will be forgiven.  If I feel that I was too harsh with you and say things that I should not have, I will admit it and apologize myself.

ZERO tolerance.  If I find your stash, you are guilty.  Saying that you are just holding it for a friend is about as good of a defense as your dog ate your homework.  One classmate admitted to buying cigarettes but claimed that she didn’t smoke them.  LOL.  What else are you doing with them?  Selling individual cigarettes to other kids is worse and it’s illegal too.  The only one of the 4 that I could give a little ground is alcohol because it is less likely to become addictive if used responsibly.  Still, I realize that there is a high potential for abuse at that age so I am inclined towards zero tolerance in high school.  I did drink underage myself but didn’t start until college.  Maybe I will let you slide for 1 or 2 beers at age 17 or 18 but if you come home legally drunk, we’ve got a big problem.  If I find out that you drove, I’ll treat it just like a DUI.

You are strongly encouraged to play sports but I won’t force you.  The camaraderie with teammates can be extremely fulfilling and you may learn valuable life skills along the way.  I will NEVER punish you for a poor performance on the field.  If you don’t have what it takes to make a team, find some other productive extra-curricular activity.  If you sign up and decide that you don’t like it, stick it out and finish the season.  If you don’t want to play next year, it’s okay but don’t quit mid-season unless you are being severely bullied.  I don’t want to give you the idea that it’s okay to quit anything when circumstances are tough.  I would rather you play sports than work during the school year but you should definitely get a summer job before college.  Yes, that question did come up on a few job interviews as an adult and you’ve got to put a positive spin on it no matter what.

This one can be thorny and great care must be taken.  I would prefer it if you do not have a serious relationship until college but will allow it if I approve of the person of interest.  I will explain that the chances of actually marrying somebody that you dated in high school are slim and you are more likely to hate each other within the next year. This does not include people who married former classmates that they did not date in school.   The younger you are, the more likely it is to end badly.   The fact that you find somebody attractive and like their personality does NOT constitute being in love.  Unless you can give me a good answer as to what love is, don’t tell me that you are in love.  In middle school, it will start out with having your date over for dinner before I give my blessing.  No matter what your age, I will ask around about the prospective date to teachers and other kids.  Multiple bad reports or a single observance of poor treatment/bad behavior will constitute a NO.  Teen sex is especially risky not just because of pregnancy and STDs but due to the hormones connected to attachment that are especially dangerous at that age.  As a result, break ups are harder than they have to be and you are more likely to remain in a bad relationship.  Teen suicides have been on the rise in recent years and the breakup of a sexual relationship is always one of the leading culprits.  Don't do it.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Training 4/9-4/15

4/9- AM- One last test before I get serious.  Woke up early and tested myself on Sarcosine only with no other methylation support and no adrenal support.  Finished in 6:53 for 1 Mile with even splits (2:17-2:20-2:16) but no access to higher gears.  HR was only 146 while the Cadence was 186.  I was hoping for a little better but what is more important is how I do with a stacked deck. Skipping the rest of the pills is probably about on par with skipping the Sarcosine and taking the rest.  I'll be significantly weakened but not disabled.  Before the Sarcosine, I would have been over 9 if I tried to pull a stunt like this. Can I go 54 seconds faster with all the pills?  It's going to be close but I'll get there with consistent training if I'm not there already.  I'll be out again this evening.

PM- 4 miles easy on Lakeshore.  Finished in 31:31 (7:53 pace).  Decent energy but sore and stiff.  No need to panic.  This wasn't horrible and it's only my first day on a stable formula.  As for the dietary restrictions, the ill-effects from cheating will not be as severe as before the Sarcosine but still, the sugars, caffeine and possibly the preservatives are not good for me and must be limited.  HR 162, Cadence=178.
Grade:B-/ 1 credit/Distance=5.0

4/10- Junk run on Wisteria.  1 mile in 7:20.  Mostly positive about this one.  I felt markedly worse after drinking a Coke with my lunch today.  I don't know if it's the sugar or the benzoates but either way, I am not bulletproof.  I'm okay with that. FWIW, I did take a PABA pill at the halfway point and was actually 2 ticks better on the back half despite going slightly uphill so I bet it's the sugar.   Even a healthy person loses about 10-15/mile from a daily Coke or Red Bull habit.  Supposedly, the full benefits of Sarcosine don't kick in for 4-6 months.  I've only been on it a week so I've got to be pleased with where I am now.  Once again, if I cheated this much before Sarcosine, today's run would have been over 9 and I would follow the usual pattern.  This counts as a rest day.

4/11- Trak Shak 5 in 38:15 (7:39 pace).  Not bad overall.  Strong start and passed 3 miles in 22:25 but faded to 15:50 over the last 2.  HR-164, Cadence-178.  Decent improvement over Monday but still a little off.  Drank an organic energy drink this morning and I don't think it hurt me but I'm still going clean from now on except for the weekends.  Interestingly, I can tolerate PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) in supplement form but benzoates as a drink preservative will leave me weakened but not disabled.  That could change down the road but that stuff is still not good for me.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

4/12- 3 miles in 23:53 (7:58 pace) at Veteran's Park.  Hilly route with a gravel trail.  That's why it was slow.  Good news is that I am not relapsing.  Bad news is that I still don't feel up to par and I think the caffeine was hurting me even if it is organic.  It will take a couple days for the benefits of abstinence will kick in.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

4/13- Beautiful weather this evening.  Performance was anything but.  Quit after just 2 miles on Lakeshore in 16:30 (8:15 pace) but did have a surprising negative split and added a mile cool.  Feeling very overstimulated.  That could be a healing reaction and is actually common after solving a MAJOR problem as I believe Sarcosine has done.  It's only temporary.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=3.0

4/14- FAILURE- Did not even attempt to run.  The culprit is wait for it....  Sarcosine.  Fortunately, I was warned that this might happen.  It's been a slow fade so that's a good sign.  Most likely, all I need to do is reduce it and I'll be okay.

PM- Here's what I think is happening.  The optimal dose is either 1 or 2 scoops.  Probably 2.  I've been taking 3 most of the week.  A single day in which I overdose or underdose won't present much of a problem.  Keep it up for several days and I will be weakened.  A full week of an overdose and I'll be disabled.  I can live with that and it still beats the hell out of the alternative.  Unfortunately, going back down to 2 will result in a gradual improvement so I'll drop to 1 for a few days.  Stopping it completely?  90% chance I go back to where I was, which was hopeless.  Though the sugars are still not good for me, I do not believe cheating on the diet played much of a role this time.

UPDATE- I've learned that Glutamine appears to be synergistic with Sarcosine.  It likely must be cut.

4/15- AM- Same song, different verse.  The usual for a day after relapse.  3 miles in 25:43 (8:34 pace).  Even pace but no energy and this was about as fast as I could go.  Maybe an evening session is on tap.

PM- Repeated the 3 miler and my time is down to 23:39 (7:53 pace) with a slight negative split.  HR-157, Cadence-174.  I'm going with the 2 scoops of Sarcosine (no more) AND NO GLUTAMINE!

-22 miles on the week.

Friday, April 6, 2018

More Improvement on Sarcosine

Day 3 on the Sarcosine-
I woke up in the morning and did not feel half bad.  Still, I took all of the usual pills except for the Sarcosine then headed out the door to Gold’s for more junk intervals.  This time, it was 3x3 laps or (1/3 mile).  I was encouraged by a 2:16 opener (6:48 pace) and figured that it would have been around 3:30 for a half mile.  That’s slightly better than yesterday despite having not taken the Sarcosine for 24 hours.  Next, I took my first scoop and improved to 2:05 (6:15 pace) then a 2nd scoop brought me down to 1:54 (5:42 pace).  That’s a MINUS 33 per scoop!  Pressed for time, I went back home and declared that was it for today.  More good news was that the glutamine, glycine and Vitamin C all appeared to be tolerated last night.  If anything, I may have gotten slight benefits from them. 

Questions to be answered:
How much faster can I go with more scoops?  It’s possible that I see additional gains from a 3rd or 4th scoop but eventually I will level off.  Let’s hope it is not a sweet spot in which a certain dose yields optimal results but anything beyond that will result in losses.  Let us further hope that in that scenario, the magic number stays consistent and I will not face fluctuations.  Judging by the early success and greatly reduced sensitivity to other stuff, I have reason for at least some optimism. 

Tomorrow, I will attempt to run without any pills.  A non-horrible performance would be a great lift for me at this stage.  I know very well that the supplements are needed long-term or else my adrenal and mineral imbalances will spiral out of control.  Before the sarcosine, it was as if a night’s sleep reset everything.  If I took too much one morning, I would be lethargic the rest of the day.  Then, I woke up the next morning horribly overstimulated with the need for the same pill but at a lower dose.  Once again, I could not exceed the “magic number” which fluctuated with time.  OUCH!  Simply getting through a morning feeling halfway decent without any pills would be strong evidence that this is getting under control and I can start living.

Day 4-
3 miles in 23:26 (7:49 pace).  Certainly no cause for celebration under normal circumstances but today, I went straight from bed to the gym without taking ANY pills.  I hoped to beat the Mendoza line and did so by a comfortable margin.  Even pace with a bit left at the end.  Again, if I did this every day, things would go downhill in a hurry but this is a tremendous lift for me at this stage.  It means that although I will always need the pills long-term, if I happen to miss count or forget to take one of the key pills in my cocktail, I will be okay for at least a day or two.  Most people take that for granted but for me, it is YUGE!  If this continues, then very soon I will declare my condition to be "under control" and I can put myself on the dating market.

Day 5- Another junk interval workout.  This time, I repeated Day 3 starting with all the usual pills except for Sarcosine.
Opener- 2:07.1 (6:21 pace)
1 scoop- 1:55.4 (5:46 pace) MINUS 35
2 scoops- 1:48.8 (5:26 pace) MINUS 20
4 scoops- 1:48.0 (5:24 pace) NEGLIGIBLE
Overall, this is excellent news.  Indeed I did level off after 2 scoops but I know that if I accidentally take extra, I will NOT lose anything.  I maintained a 5:24 pace (81 seconds per standard track lap) over a distance about 150 yards longer than a 400.  Gold's has a fairly long straightaway but tight turns which will slow you down at full speed.  I figure that's worth at least a 75 outdoors for a 400, which is probably as fast as I can go with my current fitness level.  I think I can break 6:00 for 1 Mile right now.  The only area of concern is the large gap (nearly 60 sec/mile) as a direct result of taking the Sarcosine.  Hopefully, once my system gets accustomed to receiving it every day, the gap will begin to close and a single day off it won't be as noticeable.  Though the Sarcosine may not make me any faster or add to my natural talent, if it allows me to train consistently, I will quickly realize the gains. 

-Totaled just 9 miles this week.  Time to get serious tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Early Response to Sarcosine

It arrived in my mailbox a day earlier than expected, which was a welcome sight because I have been BEYOND HORRIBLE these last 3 days. I need glycine or one of its precursors but glycine itself is not tolerated so I was DOOMED if this failed.  It's not to be taken in pill form.  Instead, it came in bag in powdered form with a scoop.  I prefer pills so I know exactly how much I am getting but IF it resolves the sensitivity, that will be a non-issue.

As expected, I was AWFUL without it. Came through a half mile in 4:54 (9:48 pace) and I was getting slower with every step.  Over a full mile, it would have been WELL over 10 minutes.  Took half a scoop to be cautious and guard against a detox reaction.  The suggested dose is 2 scoops.  In any event, I did notice an improvement within seconds of swallowing this stuff and it was evident before the next interval.  Ran the next half mile in a less anemic 3:52 (7:44 pace) and this time, I felt like I could have kept going at this pace.  Hardly a sudden miracle but it is enough to keep a tiny flicker of hope alive.

I wanted to test out my tolerance to Vitamin C and glycine.  So far so good.  Although I did not test it out in a run, I did not feel any noticeable ill-effects after taking either one of them.  That is excellent news.  I did not try out the Syntol probiotics or the glutamine but will do so tomorrow.

  The Sarcosine will open up the blocked pathway.  I WILL need glycine and/or one of its intermediaries (sarcosine) because of my enzyme defects.  What I HOPE to see is that while I do need at least a specific dose of sarcosine with or without plain glycine, there will be NO SIGNIFICANT GAIN OR LOSS from going beyond the required dose as is the case with Methylfolate and ADHS.

Given my history, it is WAY too early to celebrate.  Once again, if this fails, I am screwed.  I've been so bad the past 3 days that I am not sure that I can even work my current job long-term if every day is like this recent nightmare.  I will have no choice other than to go back to anti-depressants.   SSRIs and SNRIs were total failures so the only one that I would agree to take is Wellbutrin or something similar (dopamine based). 

There is nearly ZERO chance that's the answer but it might relieve the symptoms enough for me to function at a higher level.   Risks are involved with that approach as well.  I could face fluctuating doses as well as sensitivity and/or horrifying withdrawal symptoms.  It's bad enough to react that way to supplements.  What could happen if I react badly to a powerful mind altering drug?  If the Sarcosine (which also has anti-depressant properties) is successful, I won't have to consider the alternative, which is pretty darn scary but it's the truth.

Day 2- 3x800 on S. Lakeshore. Opened with a 3:39 (7:18 pace).  Popped a probiotic and did a 3:41 (7:22 pace).  Popped a PABA and repeated the 3:41.  Those times are still awfully slow by my standards but it was a significant improvement over yesterday.  This is still excellent news overall.  Both the probiotic and the PABA were non-factors so I am betting that the problems with food preservatives have been solved.  Both glycine and glutamine appear to be tolerated as well.  Next up is to find the optimal dose of Sarcosine.  I upped it to a full scoop today and that's probably the reason for the improvement.  Pace per mile was 26 seconds faster than yesterday. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ordered Sarcosine

Update: 4/3- I have been unable to run at all the last 3 days.  If this plan fails, it's all over.

Since I discovered Glycine last Fall, I have experienced the following situations:
-Complete intolerance
-Glycine must be taken with PABA at a specific ratio
-Complete intolerance to PABA except for 1 day flares.
-Needed mega doses of Glycine but had an unlimited tolerance.
-Forced to Reduce dosage of Glycine due to limited tolerance yet the need remained present.
-Complete intolerance to glycine again.

Regular readers know that the exact cocktail was necessary and one too many pills for even a single day can trigger a relapse in which I have a flu-like malaise that lingered for several days.

Just to refresh your memory, before glycine, I would get the same type of reactions from something as benign as Calcium or Vitamin C.  I said repeatedly that there is NO REASON why a minute dose (often as small as just a few specks) should trigger such a horrible reaction even if it takes my chemistry in the wrong direction. Yesterday's medicine could be tomorrow's poison so I had to constantly adjust.   Glycine solved that problem but now I cannot tolerate the solution, which is the ULTIMATE IN CRUELTY!  I have little doubt that I still need glycine or else the extreme sensitivity will kick back in with a vengeance after just 1-2 days off it.  It's happened every time I have tried to stop glycine.  I have now come to the conclusion that I need some type of intermediary that aids in the transport and metabolism of glycine.  Sarcosine is the only option left.  Here's what I've found on my research:

"Sarcosine, also known as N-methylglycine, is an intermediate and byproduct in glycine synthesis and degradation. Sarcosine is metabolized to glycine by the enzyme sarcosine dehydrogenase, while glycine-N-methyl transferase generates sarcosine from glycine.

Sarcosine appears to be a glycine transporter 1 inhibitor (GlyT1; present on glial cells and helps regulate glycine concentrations), blocking the reuptake of glycine."

I do not yet fully understand the science behind all of this but as for the first point, I have a strong feeling that one or both enzymes in the synthesis and degradation of glycine are defective.  Perhaps an intermediary amino acid will fix it.  As for the second point, if true, it's exactly what I am looking for.  Regulation of glycine concentrations will enable me to take either small or large doses without seeing much change from an additional pill.

For the last time, all I want out of this is a stable cocktail and adequate energy every day.  Everything else is a bonus.  I have read reports of increased natural testosterone and improved cognitive function.  That would be nice as well.  I will endure another rough week then report back when the Sarcosine arrives.  Again, I do not believe another possible solution will present itself if this plan fails.