Friday, September 11, 2009

run forest run... but can you go a little faster?

My trip to Alaska was quite eye opening, but probably not in the way you would expect. I was able to keep up with my running and exercise quite easily and was shocked to find myself moving rather quickly during my hikes and runs. I was fast!!

Anyone who has exercised or climbed or raced with me knows this is a big deal - I am not, in any way shape or form, fast. I always warn anyone I'm with that I will most likely slow them down.

But I found that during the trip I was moving uber fast! As in 'leaving everyone behind in the dust' fast. It was so much fun! After much thought and deliberation, I think I finally figured out why... the combination of altitude (Alaska is at about sea level to 2500 feet) and asthma.

I have been struggling with my asthma quite a bit this summer, especially since my race in July. And running is particularly painful - I last about 1 mile (at a painfully slow speed) before I have to slow to a walk. I just can't breath. When I'm hiking, I have to stop every 10 minutes or so to catch my breath. While I know I'm in shape, this has definitely made me question it. I've lived in Colorado all my life, why is altitude such a problem now?

But in Alaska? I FLEW over those trails - a 2.5 mile, 2000 foot climb up a mountain was easy. I could run for 5 miles and not even feel it. So that is how it feels to be fast? I LOVED it!

The question is, how can I get to that point here at the altitude of 7500? My first thought was to not even try, pack all my belongings and move to Alaska. How can you not love a state that has beautiful mountains and seas/ocean, low altitude and no snakes (did you know Alaska has no reptiles in the state?) Why not move?

Then I'm reminded of the whole "no sunlight in winter/100 feet of snow" aspect to Alaska and I rethink that. I have instead come up with a plan that will, hopefully, work.

1. Meet with my asthma Dr. - I have an appt this Tuesday to reevaluate my meds. They just aren't workin.

2. Lose weight - I gained some weight this winter and just haven't gotten it all off yet. Need to work a little harder at that.

3. Keep on running! If it means I have to modify my running for a while, do it.

4. If that doesn't work, go back to the "move to Alaska" option. Or anyplace that has low altitude.. hawaii, washington, california, etc all sound good to me. Anyone know of another place that has large mountains, ocean, low altitude and no snakes?

If this works, you may find me winning races! Well, maybe not winning, but at least placing in a respectable spot.

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