Friday, January 01, 2010
LOCATION: Bailey, Colorado -- Burland Ranchettes
TIMED DISTANCE: 5K
5K TIME: 34:28
PACE: 11:71 min/mile
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes (Running + warm-up and Cool-down)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Cloudy, Temperature 28.3 °F, Feels Like 15.9 °F, Wind 16.1 mph, Humidity 34%, Patches of Frozen Snow and Ice.
ELEVATION: 7909 to 8350 Feet above Sea Level (Hilly)
I am finally feeling good. I kicked the nagging case of Bronchitis and can breathe better.
Time to run! Hooray! Or so I thought. My time still sucked! I think I need to lower my expectations. I live in a place where it is kind of hard to run. I have a bunch of excuses, though.
I live in the mountains of Colorado and there are a lot of hills. I decided to do some hill running today. I started my run at 7,838 feet elevation. I finished at 8,350 feet. The total vertical rise was 512 feet in 3.1 miles. The steepest hill had a vertical rise of 220 feet in 0.2 miles. The vertical rise was 20 feet for every 100 feet of running distance. I got to tell you that is a steep hill!
My Garmin told me I was barely moving at a 13 to 14 min/mile pace while I struggled up this brutal hill.
Besides a series of heck-for-steep hills, I got more excuses. The temperature was below freezing and I had to run against a 16 mph wind. I was wearing some pretty heavy winter clothes. I also had studded snow tracks on my shoes so I wouldn’t slip on the hard packed snow and patches of ice.
The excuses just keep coming!
There just ain't a lot of air at 8,000 feet! There are a whole lot of bad things that happen at 8,000 feet to slow you down.
At high altitude the partial pressure of oxygen is reduced. The ability of the lungs to absorb oxygen is dependent upon the pressure exerted by oxygen on the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs). The reduction of oxygen pressure at high altitudes means less oxygen is driven from the lungs into the blood.
Here is a list of the top six bad things that happen due to the reduce pressure of oxygen:
(1) Breathing rate increases during exercise as compared to sea level.
At 8,000 feet the breathing rate has to increase to try to compensate for the smaller number of oxygen molecules in a given amount of air. The higher breathing rate contributes to an earlier onset of fatigue.
(2) Oxygen diffusion decreases.
At sea level the oxygen exchange between the lungs and the blood is unhindered. At 8,000 feet the oxygen saturation in the blood drops to less than 90%. Less oxygen means a reduction in athletic performance.
(3) Exchange of oxygen between the blood and active tissue is reduced (This is really bad!)
At 8,000 feet the partial pressure of oxygen in the arteries is reduced by 70%. Far less oxygen passes (diffuses) from the blood to the active tissue. This means whatever small amount of oxygen is in your blood doesn’t get to the muscles that really need it! I get tingling in my fingers and lips sometimes. My vision blurs and I have trouble running in straight line. These are usually signs I need to walk and catch my breath.
(4) VO2 max decreases.
Maximal oxygen uptake decreases significantly at high altitude. At 8,000 VO2max drops by 11%. VO2max measures the body’s ability to sustain aerobic activity. As VO2max drops endurance also drops.
(5) Maximal cardiac output decreases.
During exhaustive exercise both maximal stroke volume and maximal heart rate decrease with altitude. The reduction of cardio output hinders endurance. You have less oxygen in your blood, and the muscles have trouble absorbing the oxygen. You also have an oxygen delivery system that is slower to boot. This actually is painful. The heart just pounds away and very little blood is getting where it needs to go.
(6) Lactate Accumulation Increases.
Lack of oxygen at altitude causes an increased reliance on the anaerobic system to provide energy. This reliance on the anaerobic energy system results in increased concentrations of lactate. Lactate gives up hydrogen ions which causes increased acidity of in the blood called acidosis. Acidosis slows the ability of the muscles to contract. Slow muscles equal slow running.
In summary, my excuses for my abysmal 5K time are: I was running up steep hills against a 16 mph head wind on a slippery surface in freezing temperatures wearing heavy clothes and snow treads at 8,000 feet elevation with no discernable oxygen getting to my muscles that were nearly paralyzed by acidosis.
Did I also mention I am out of shape?
Studded Snow Tracks
This is cold and Icy. Lots of fun!
My Footprints in the snow. Did I mention that the wind picks up icy snow and sandblasts you?
This is a hill.
Home again! Nice warm house. The ladder is a permanent fixture during the winter so I can knock snow out of the satellite disk!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
LOCATION: Bailey, Colorado -- Platte Canyon High School Track
TIMED DISTANCE: 2 miles
2 MILE TIME: 19:48
PACE: 9:45 min/mile
COMPANY: Sons - Ben 29 yrs, Scott 23 yrs.
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes (Stretching, Running and Walking)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny, Temperature 29.2 °F, Feels Like 29.2 °F, Wind Calm, Humidity 41%, Patches of Frozen Snow.
ELEVATION: 8047 Feet
I am nearly cured of Bronchitis but not quite. I still had a little difficulty breathing. I had to walk more than I wanted to. Even with a bit of walking, my training pace has improved. I think if I pushed it a little more I could have been a little closer to a 9 min/mile pace. But I decided to take it easy. Taking so much time off has really impacted my ability to run.
I am still trying to figure out a good training regime. I think I am back.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
After my ill-advised attempt at running yesterday, I had a major relapsed of Bronchitis symptoms. So I did what any reasonable man would do. I made Chicken soup! This special chicken soup is highly prized by my family members as a cure-all for colds, Flu, Pneumonia and, now, Bronchitis.
This soup was recommended by a Doctor on a local Denver news program (CBS affiliate). Here it is:
Special Chicken Soup Recipe
(CBS4) Homemade chicken soup has been making people feel better since the 12th century which is probably why your grandmother made it for you.
* * *
Chicken soup recipe from Dr. Stephen Rennard, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center:
1 5 lb chicken
3 large onions
1 large sweet potato
12 large carrots
6 celery stalks
1 bunch parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean chicken, put in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil.
Add onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots.
Boil for 1.5 hours. Skim fat off as develops.
Add parsley, celery and cook an additional 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken, put vegetables in a food processor, chop until very fine and add back into broth. Serve.
This is pretty tasty soup. It does work!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
LOCATION: Bailey, Colorado -- Platte Canyon High School Track and Cross-Country Trail
TIMED DISTANCE: 5K
5K TIME: 34:12
PACE: 11 min/mile
COMPANY: Alone (As Always)
TOTAL TIME: 65 minutes (Stretching, Running and Walking)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Cloudy, Temperature 29.2 °F, Feels Like 12.8 °F, Wind 18.4 mph SSW, Humidity 50%, Patches of Frozen Snow.
ELEVATION: 8047 Feet
For the past couple of weeks I have had some chest congestion. I went to the doctor on Thursday. She diagnosed me with Acute Bronchitis. She prescribed a couple of different drugs. End of story.
What the heck is Bronchitis? Maybe I should have asked!
I had been working out on my elliptical trainer and lifting some weights. No problem. I felt fine. For the past week, the temperature had been in the single digits. It was just too cold to run. Today the temperature got above freezing.
Time to run!
I grabbed my brand new Garmin 305 timer and headed for the local high school track. When I got to the high school the temperature had dropped and the wind had picked up. I warmed up by walking 400 meters, then jogging 400 meters. I did some gentle stretching. I then got ready to blast-off for a quick 5K. In retrospect I was quite delusional.
I took off at a good clip and ran about 100 yards.
Then it happened! I couldn’t breathe. I struggled to get some air. My legs felt like lead. I pushed as hard as I could for a mile. My timer told me my pace was well over 10 minutes per mile. My fingers and toes were tingling! I couldn’t run any further. I started walking while trying to gulp some air. I was hacking and wheezing. My lungs hurt! I walked 200M trying to catch my breath. I started to run again but slowed to a steady jog. I ran out of breath after 400M. I had to walk. I walked about ˝ mile.
I was starting to figure out what Bronchitis was all about. I was doing a timed run and couldn’t breathe. Call me Stupid! Maybe my brain was frozen! I was determined to run 5K no matter what! I knew my legs could go faster, but I couldn’t make them go faster. It was like trying to run while holding your breath! The minutes flew by -- the ground did not! I passed the 5k mark at 34:12. Finally it was over! I will spare you the details of my post run coughing fit.
I suppose I need to learn when to give up. Maybe I should have stopped after the first 100M when I ran out of air. The thing is I really enjoyed this run! I didn’t need to be fast. I just needed to finish! All things considered, 34:12 was a miracle!
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