Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not So Easy

Turns out running at high altitude isn’t so easy. Woody and I landed in Denver late Friday morning for a weekend visit with my aunt and uncle. After asking for advice on Twitter, Sarah Stanley suggested we check out the Big Dry Creek Trail. It sounded like exactly what we were looking for, so Saturday morning we got up bright and early, had some coffee, and headed for the trail. The trail head my uncle suggested was a short drive away and located at City Park, which is a pretty fantastic community fitness center with beautiful soccer fields and a nice pond. It was cool and cloudy, perfect morning for a run.

Well, it didn’t take long for me to figure out it wasn’t going to be a good run. Pretty much right from the start I had trouble breathing. My legs felt great but my lungs were burning. It was really rough. Woody was having some trouble too, but not nearly like I was. I was hoping that the dry air and higher elevation would help my sinus issues, but it seemed to be worse, which I didn’t know was possible. We got to our turn around spot and I kept going, albeit at a slower pace, but eventually I my breathing was so labored that I couldn’t go on. I told Woody I’d meet him at the car and slowed down to a walk. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I walked for a bit and then jogged the rest of the way, but I took a short cut and made it back to the car before Woody. To add insult to injury, a guy pushing a jogging stroller filled with three kids, passed by me twice.

This is how I felt at the end of that non-run:

WP_000272

As defeated as I was by this run, I wasn’t going to give up. Sunday morning we got up early again and headed out for the trail around the neighborhood that winds around a large reservoir. It was a bit warmer out and clear blue skies. While both Woody and I still found it a bit difficult to breathe, I did much better and had a pretty good run. The scenery was beautiful with the mountains in the distance and we were pleasantly surprised by how many other people were out running and walking the trail. Definitely a popular place.

I definitely learned this weekend that running in altitude takes some time to get used to. Thankfully there are a lot of great trails to get practice on so I’ll have more to try out next time we’re out there for another visit! Actually, Colorado State Parks, with the help of Metro Denver communities have a goal to create a continuous trail that will span from New Mexico to Wyoming. Plus, there are 200 city and mountain parks right around Denver. It’s no wonder Colorado is one of the healthiest states!

  • Have you run at high altitude? How did you do?

Well, you know how I did!

  • What’s your favorite weather for running?

Cool (like high 50’s/low 60’s) with a few clouds.

  • Are you as surprised that it’s almost September as I am?

Seriously, where did the summer go?

  • Did you hear Meb is running the ING NYC Marathon again this year?!!!!

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Today’s workout -

  • 10min elliptical
  • 3x10 lateral arm raise
  • 3x10 upright row
  • ab exercises
  • 30min run
  • stretching

4 comments:

Amanda Loudin said...

I can't say I have truly run at altitude b/c I was injured one time while out there, and pregnant another! I need to fix that and try again. It doesn't necessarily sound fun, though!!

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Ah, well, while I had a tough time breathing, it was beautiful, so in that way it was fun! Hope you get to try it sometime!

Terie said...

Good for you for sticking with it. It does take getting used to. I have learned that it takes time to adjust to just about any change in altitude, temperature, terrain, etc. I lived in Guantanamo Bay Cuba where the weather can reach the 100s at 10 am in the summer. I had to learn to run at 5:30 am and it took a while and a lot of hydration, Gu, and anything else I could drink to keep me moving. But I am a stronger runner because of that. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Love this blog.

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