Getting High

I’ve been away and loving life for a little bit. Being off from school and free from many of they day-to-day stresses of “normal” life has offered me the opportunity to take really good care of myself and spend time with people I love.

JB and I were lucky enough to spend some time at the Obi-wans’ house in Colorado with some of my siblings. It was a ball and included waking up to a little angel every morning.

Nope. It sure doesn’t get any better.

Fortunately/Unfortunately, being in beautiful Colorado also means running at a mile above sea level. The air is thinner and every run felt like a death march.

Breathtaking. Literally.

Breathtaking. Literally.

I love running back home where there are trails and paths and great, safe places to run all over Colorado. Everyone–I mean EVERYONE, says “good morning” or head nods and traffic actually stops for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Which is good because I’m pretty sure if anything at all had made me stop I would have sat down and given up on every run.

Because there is less oxygen in the air, my blood became more viscous (thicker) and was operating on less “fuel” per breath = I got tired a whole lot faster than I normally do at sea level.

So, what’s a girl (or guy!) to do when getting all “Rocky Mountain hiiiiiiiigh, Coloradooooo” while training?

  1. Bring fluids everywhere. You can get severely dehydrated at altitude in a flash. Even my 6-milers required water. Do it.
  2. Don’t look at your watch.
  3. Try cross-training in addition to your run if you’re really itching for more of a workout.
  4. Run slower. Run shorter. Your body will not function the same at 5280ft. so don’t expect it to. It’s maybe not the time to do your longest run of the season.
  5. Plan runs when the sun is low. You are 5280ft. closer to that burning ball of fire and will get burned/dehydrated much faster. Also, sunscreen.
This is one of those times to just enjoy the run.

This is one of those times to just enjoy the run.

The longest I ended up running in a single stretch was 9 miles. And I was totally spent by the end of it. Good thing I had someone to give me a hug when I got back.

Peanut hugs are the best kind.

Peanut hugs are the best kind.

You can totally keep your training up while traveling above sea level, but be mindful that your body is working much harder up there than it does down here. And if you feel any of the symptoms of altitude sickness, seek medical attention immediately. It’s no joke.

Enjoy the run when you’re up in the mountains. And don’t miss out on those little person hugs. They’re worth more than any finisher’s medal at any marathon in the world.

Now go out and run.

Drop Sets

People hem and haw about treadmill running, but it’s a big part of my training because, well, sometimes I need to be indoors. I won’t gross you out bore you with the details. Anywho, I’m always trying to come up with different ways to pass the time on the Spinning Devil and while on vacation in Colorado on my parents’ treadmill, I came up with this one:

Lots of thinking (and running!) went on in this gym over Christmas

Drop Sets

How to do them:

  1. Warm up for a mile
  2. Find your 10K pace
  3. Every .10 mile on the treadmill, increase your speed by .10 until you’ve run a mile
  4. Recover at moderate pace for 1/2 mile
  5. Repeat two-four times
  6. Cool down 1/2 mile

I like this workout. First of all, the workout makes the time FLY on the treadmill, which is no easy feat.

Time flies = Abby flies!

The other part I love is that I can push just a little bit more each time and it’s always do-able. I don’t even feel the .10 increase in speed but the accumulation of going from running a 7-minute mile to a 6 minute mile over the course of a single mile really adds up and makes me feel super-speedy (even if I’m not…). Runner ego boost!

It’s also a great way to test your speed limits and go for it in a safe environment.

Not quit whining about how running on a treadmill is soooooo boring and try these Drop Sets.

Now go out and run!

Running On Vacation (M.I.A.)

Hello friends!

I know, I’ve been gone so long. I promise I have a very good reason for being away and not sharing workouts with all of you for the past two days. I am busy falling in love. That’s right. And going on dates. And snuggling. It’s pretty serious.

I mean, if you had the choice of either hopping online or holding this little angel, which would you choose? That’s what I thought. So, are we still friends? I hope so. Because I am absolutely going to enjoy every single minute I can get with my sweet baby niece.

Unfortunately, she’s too small for me to strap into a jogging stroller and push along for five miles. No worry, I still got my run in! It’s a challenge when you’re traveling, isn’t it, to find the time to grab a run. Especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. So, how do you make sure you stay on schedule when you’re on the road? The simple answer is: you plan.

#1. Bring your stuff. You don’t need a ton of changes of clothes (if you’re buying the tech stuff) because you can easily rinse it in the sink and hang it out to dry overnight. Hooray for quick-dry fabrics. Your sneakers might be the bulkiest thing you pack so my advice is to wear your sneaks on the plane. It’s a lot easier than trying to stuff them in next to your clothes.

#2. Know your distance. Either map it out on Map My Run or make sure your Garmin is all charged up so you’re sure of your distance and how long you’ll be away. Let others know where you’re going and when you should be expected back and maybe make a mental note of where the bathrooms are along the way (or is that just me…?).

You can’t see it very well, but I got stung by a wasp or something right before I needed to find a bathroom. A successful run it was not because I passed up the bathrooms I saw earlier. Apparently, this was how I was being punished. DOH!

#3. Do an out and back. Run in one direction for half the time you want to workout and and turn around and run back for the rest. See if you can’t run a little faster on the way back and make it a negative splits workouts. Out and backs are great for when you have no idea where you are and you really don’t want to get lost.

#4. Get it done early. When visiting friends and relatives, it’s so easy to let the day get away from you and all of a sudden, your workout is a distant memory. If you’re up because of a time zone switch, sneak out early for a jog and get it done. You’ll be so glad to have the rest of the day to cuddle with cute babies and the like.

Get a manicure before you get there to save time 🙂 Airport spas are the BEST!

Do your best not to let your workouts suffer simply because you’re out of your usual routine. Go out and explore new land! Breathe fresh air (for you New Yorkers)! Meet new people! It’s lots of fun. I’m hoping to get a few more runs in this fresh mountain air before I have to leave my new love.

What are you waiting for? Go out and run!