I’ve started to focus my runs lately on preparing myself for the torturous Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon in early August which has an elevation profile that resembles your 401K as of late (see here). The scenic route, made all that much more scenic when I am running on it, winds gently down the Clear Creek Valley and drops nearly 1000 feet between the start and finish. According to the race website it is “one of the most pleasurable races in the western US and one of the fastest,” what they don’t tell you is that it will completely shred your quads.
I’ve been getting myself ready for Georgetown by running a lot of the hills in and around our neighborhood. One evening last week whilst running the hills I had an epiphany, or maybe I just sharted, it’s so hard to tell the difference, but all of a sudden I realized why they named that MTV show The Hills: It is just as insufferable and uppity as actually running the hills. Both are equally painful, although I do feel good about myself after running the hills and that definitely cannot be said after watching The Hills.
In the hopes of staving off the quad shredding as long as possible I’m focusing on running down the hills during my training runs, but the crappy thing about running down a hill is that it usually means that at some point you’re going to have to run ‘uppity’ one. I suppose you could say that my training has been up and down, but not figuratively, literally. The other aspect of this race is that it is run at a high altitude which you might think that I would be used to since I’m in Denver but I just like to remind you all every now and then that I run at high altitude and you don’t. Although, even in Denver we’re only at an altitude of 5280 feet, and this race starts at 8500 feet and doesn’t get below 8000 feet until past the half way mark.
In order to better acclimate myself to the higher altitude I’ve been doing all my runs using only one lung. When I told Candis this she looked at me incredulously and said “what do you mean that you’re only using one of your lungs?” so I had to explain to her that there was less oxygen at higher altitudes and she was like “I know that, but how are you only using one of your lungs?” which completely surprised me that she didn’t know how to use only one of her lungs. I mean everyone knows that your right nostril goes to your right lung and your left nostril goes to your left lung. So I told her that I just breath in through one nostril instead of both and she rolled her eyes and called me an idiot, but she was the one that didn’t know how to breath into just one lung. Then, as if that wasn’t enough she tells me that using one nostril sends the air to both lungs and I cracked up laughing because clearly she thinks that people only have two lungs and I was like “well if we only have two lungs, one for each nostril, then where does the air go when I breathe in through my mouth?” She just shook her head and walked off, obviously realizing that she was wrong and couldn’t argue with my superior logic. So yeah, I’ve been practicing breathing with just one lung, that way when I run the race using all three lungs it will feel the same because there’s less oxygen at higher altitudes (because oxygen is afraid of heights).