Fun Times at Altitude

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Not too long ago, I took a trip out to Colorado Springs; home of the US Olympic Training Center and Pikes Peak.  What a blast!  Even though I usually felt out of breath because of the altitude!  I also had the chance to meet up with some fellow coaches in the area.

If you’re thinking of getting in some altitude training, this is the place to be.  The air is clean and with an altitude of 6,035 feet, it’s at a higher altitude than Denver, the mile high city.

If you do visit, remember to stay hydrated.  This is the most important thing you can do, so keep a water bottle with you.  Besides the high altitude, Colorado Springs is a semi-arid climate.  Staying hydrated will ensure you don’t get altitude sickness.

One of the great things about this city is that there are plenty of options for trail running and hiking.  Just be sure to get a map of the trails beforehand (a good thing to do no matter what trails you run).  I’m used to running on blazed trails, but not all of them are marked in Colorado.  So a map came in very handy…and so did a sense of direction!

It seemed like no matter where I looked, the view was amazing!

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Thanks to Coach Dave, I had the chance to swim at the Olympic Training Center.   Woohoo!  A 50 meter pool and the best pool I have ever swum in.  There’s a reason the Olympians train here.  Coach Dave did an awesome job of coaching the Master’s Swim group that I jumped in on and I had a great time.

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While I was out there, I also met Coach Wes, who was having a camp with his group from Utah.   So I got to lend a hand and met a nice group of triathletes.

Another coach, Justin, suggested I try the Manitou Incline, which climbs 2,000 feet in a mile (from an elevation of about 6,500 ft to about 8,500 ft).  I guess he figured since I like trails that I would enjoy this.  Either that or he thought it would be fun to send someone from sea-level up there 🙂  All kidding aside, it was great.

Apparently, the record for going up is about 15 min.  Obviously, I expected to get nothing near that (after all, I’m a coach, not an elite athlete!).  I was breathing hard just walking to the start of the trail, yet I still couldn’t resist the urge to start running when I got there (but that didn’t last long).  Yeah, I know, I’ve got a trail running problem.  I’m sure some of you can relate 🙂

I learned the hard way that it’s better to get out there in the morning when it’s cooler.  So what does a sea-level athlete get for going on a warm afternoon with not enough water?

It gets me half way up… WP_000684

with a view like this… WP_000586

The bonus about that was that the next day I bought myself a souvenir…a hydration race vest which is perfect for trail running.  Something I’ve been looking for anyway 🙂

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