Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Rock2Rock race in Swanannoa, NC (Northeast of Asheville)
First, I train in North Georgia; although some of the mountains are steep, I really do not get over 2000 feet in altitude. I did not and usually do not consider this factor when I travel to Western North Carolina, but every time I try to run hard to the top of a mountain - over 4000 feet, my lungs explode. - this pattern repeated on Friday night.
Friday night 5pm. The first mile started climbing immediately, but it was a gentle, gentle climb - warmup - (albeit fast) . Then, another mile - manageable climbing. Then, the torture started (I use the word torture purposefully). The grade for climbing shot up vertically at an angle I was not expecting. Then, once my legs recovered from the vertical shock, my lungs had to acclimate, but they could not. My lungs, which I think are pretty good at the transferring of oxygen (not sure the correct name for hte scientific process) failed on Friday night. They could not handle the lack of pressure that comes with the increase in altitude. They could not alter their processes quickly enough. It was torture. I started profusely sweating (see picture); I started sounding as though I had not ever run in my life; I got lightheaded and put my head down to focus on the ground and not my laborious and loud attempt at breathing.
Even the downhill was too steep to gain any amount of time back.
Needless to say, my performance was not as stellar as I would have hoped. BUT, the experience was good - looking back. A reminder that to enjoy running straight up hill at altitude - need to incorporate this into training - And, the views were AMAZING!! at the top (where the picture is), which makes any run worth it - no matter the pain!