Sunday, July 12, 2009


My week in Colorado has been amazing with the exception of my race today, but I'll go back to that later. I have gotten to meet so many people during my time here. Susan Nuzam and Bronwyn Morrissey were kind enough to let me stay at their places and include me in activities. Buzz Burrell took me yoga-ing and on a great hike up to Longs Peak, I got to run with Bryon Powell, met a handful of Colorado runners including George Zack, and not to mention, I got to meet a ton of other fellow La Sportiva folks at the Barr Trail. I spent a ton of time practicing yoga, going on short runs, and just doing what I really needed to do, relax. Overall, I am in love with Colorado. I could see myself living here with the exception of missing California trails, oh and the people too!

Ok, so race report. As soon as I stepped out of the car this morning, my chest was already pounding. I found it a bit odd, but me being positive, chose to ignore it. I was eager to run. Being here for a week and not really running like I normally do was hard. As soon as the run started, I felt the altitude big time and it only got progressively stronger. I don't think my heart has ever beat so fast and I just tried to battle through that and a bit of nausea. I tried to keep my breathing as relaxed as I could and broke the race into ten minute increments. When I made it to the top of Barr I figured I'd feel great on the downhill, but my chest kept pounding. In fact quite a bit after I finished my heart rate was still well over 100, dropped to around 90 two hours later, and then finally settled in the next hour or so. Damn altitude. Regardless, great runners out there today and I still did ok considering that I am not acclimated to Colorado elevation. Results from the race can be seen here. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bummed out about my performance today. But glad I pushed through.

Looking forward to being back out in Colorado for Transrockies and glad I got a little taste of how it will feel to race in altitude. Also looking forward to coming back home and running where I can breathe and keep control of my heart.

More thoughts to come on racing, life, and so forth once I get some sleep.

Oh and if you want to read about the Pacifica race last weekend, Leor wrote up a great report here.

Barr Trail Race

Buzz and I @ Longs Peak


GZ said...

Caitlyn - check out Chuckie V's post on HR, altitude ...

I think the science in terms of response to altitude is very general at this point. In other words, I don't think there have been any definitive studies to state responses to altitude - but I think that is because there is very significant variability from individual to individual (what elevation, how they react, etc) and that changes over time (as how they adapt). We are all an experiment of 1 I guess!

Considering what you were dealing with - you ran a great race! Nice job! Again, great meeting you and Will. It'd be great to meet up for some easy miles when you swing back for TR.

Justin Mock said...

C, if you wanted some redemption against altitude, the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race (8K) is in Co Springs on 7/26. It's the 2nd and final selection race for the US mountain running team that will go to Italy for worlds this year. It will surely be a tough course and a competitive field, but could be fun and you should definitely be in the mix.

Hope your recovery and TransRockies prep goes well!

Buzz said...

Good for you to come out and mix it up! Some of the best women in the mountain running world were there -

Altitude effects everyone very differently, as GZ said, but while most people can run at altitude, it's hard to compete effectively w/o 3 weeks of acclimatization. You ran a time that would have won many years.

Cheyenne Canon will be much faster; the course does not really reflect the conditions the National Team will encounter in Italy in September -

A move to Colorado would solve these issues! :-)

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

don't let this race get to you... I think you still did stellar given the conditions and competition. Plus, you'll kick everyone's ass even more this week with all that altitude training under your belt.

robert.blair said...

Thanks for your blog, Caitlyn.

If you want further disappointment and a good tune-up for the AC100, maybe your are signed up for the 50 mile run in the Angeles Crest on August 8th.

They do not call it Mt. Disappointment for nothin'!

See you in the AC100. Only a little over 9 weeks left!

Luis Velasquez said...

See, I told you so.. Not enough air in Colorado... :)

Joking aside, I think that if you had enough acclimation you would have done extremely well.

Glad to have you back.. :)