Ever run over 3,000m?
It’s pretty incredible to think that there can be such big differences in the earth’s landscape. A few days ago, I rolled into Vail, Colorado in preparation for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run…sitting at 2,484m (8,150ft) it’s a bit of a shock coming from pretty much anywhere! As I’ve lived Canmore (1,325m) and trained in the Rockies the past 13 years, my body has had many opportunities to feel the burn caused by high altitude. Dom on the other hand (my running partner) is coming from Vancouver (sea level), and will need every single day between now and race day to acclimatize.
Although it was nice to finally get out for a quick run after sitting in the truck for 3 days driving to Colorado – our excitement quickly faded as the thin air made quick work of our stiff bodies. Physically, I felt good, but the moment I tried to test myself, the breathing got heavier almost instantly. With one week to go until the start of the event, the last thing one wants is to feel like absolute crap for a simple hour run! Needless to say that Dom and I were looking forward to 7 good days training to get the full effect of the acclimatization.For our first run, I decided to take the crew (Dom and Chris Manhard, our team therapist) to the Vail resort, where I’ve run many events in the past (Teva Mountain Games, Vail Hill Climb). The area has tons of beautiful single-track trails that cruise up and down the alpine runs. We ‘warmed-up’ on a few up/down sections and eventually made our way up the hill, eventually crossing the 3,100m mark, still a few hundred metres shy of our Stage 1 finish line (ouch) – It would have been easy to open up the engine and start hammering to test each other out but honestly, Dom and I both agreed to save our energy, and follow the plan…run SLOW. Running at this altitude kills you. Your body is stressed simply trying to adapt to the altitude difference. So if two overactive runners start ducking it out, you can quickly end up nursing tired and heavy legs as opposed to feeling ‘ok’ the next day. Instead, we yapped away like highschool girls, talking shop and getting to know each others running habits and style…oh, didn’t I mention this was our first run together?
Despite our background differences, I’m really excited about our partnership. Call it a gut feeling, a good vibe, whatever…I’m confident we’ll run as well as we can. Personally, I wish I coulda, woulda shoulda – but it’s too late to dwell on the past. We’re here, we’re psyched and the race starts in 4 days! I’m getting nervous…
Tomorrow I’ll test the lungs with a 20min threshold workout – based on the way I felt in this afternoon’s run, all should go as planned.