I have now been at altitude for just over a week and have already noticed my fitness improving. The first couple of days were just easy running, with a lot of drills, core, skipping, and hurdle work at the Fairview High School track. The view from the track is unbelievable! You feel nearly on top of the world running there. On Sunday, Dr. Richard Hansen and I paced one of his clients and friends, Neal, through part of the Heart & Sole Half-Marathon at the Boulder Reservoir. Neal was told that he could never run again due to achilles and other leg/foot problems. Neal had never broke 1:40 in the half-marathon and we helped pace him to a 1:36! He was so tough and a big inspiration to anyone who runs. If you set your mind to something, you can do it. After pacing him, Dr. Hansen and I did a couple of 30 seconds repeats and called in a 13.5 miler.
This week, training has finally started. After running 11 miles with fellow Mizuno sponsored athlete Patrick Rizzo on Monday, Tuesday was filled with an easy hour plus over an hour of ancillary work (i.e. drills, skipping, hurdle drills, barefoot running, core, rope stretching). Wednesday was my first run at over 8,000ft on Magnolia Road, one of the most famous running routes in the country. Brent Vaughn and I went out and back for an “easy” 10. Easy is a relative term on this road though. One tough hill every mile makes you winded in about three seconds. Even though the pace only averaged 6:45 per mile, it was easy with a lot of fun conversations. Once again, med ball core routines followed – which at 8,000ft are still an aerobic exercise.
After that run, I drove to meet an old rival high school coach at Panera, Bill Ruth, who now coaches at Estes Park High School about 45 minutes from Boulder. Turns out, Bill was one of the first American athletes ever sponsored by Mizuno! Bill, his wife, and I had an excellent conversation about training, life in Colorado, and taking a risk training full-time. I left inspired and ready to do another run…but that would have to hold off for a day.
Now, I’m headed to watch Dr. Richard Hansen and Bill Ruth’s high school teams compete at an invitational at Lyons high school about 20 minutes away. I love watching competition and look forward to meeting a great group of young athletes. I hope to share with you all some fun stories from this high school meet. In addition, my first workout was yesterday (Friday) and it was also my first double (two runs in a day) of this training cycle. I’ll share with you how much time and effort goes into a difficult day of training! Lastly, I have pretty much finalized my fall and early winter racing schedule! I have a really exciting number of races coming up and look forward to competing well! Hope everyone is doing well and for those of you training, stay healthy and be sure to “take care of the little things.”