Surprisingly, I didn't feel the altitude as much as I thought I would. This is the best I've ever handled it. The only time that you could notice a big difference was whenever you went up a hill. No matter the size, even if it was a speed bump, going uphills sucked. The only run that I felt like complete crap on was one of our long runs. It was a 16 miler (two 8 mile loops) with a long (2.5mi or so) stretch of uphill that killed. The second loop was brutal, even though we were hardly moving.
Other than that, the training went really well. My complete week up there was 109mi for the week with 2.5 "workouts". I did one long tempo with Carlos at a bit under 5:30 pace at 7k feet, a fartlek session w/ carlos, and a short hill sprint session. The tempo run we kind of messed up by going at in 2:26 for the first 800 (a big no-no at altitude) but we chilled and recovered and got the work in. The fartlek session was basically 1min speed variations.
I've been back at sea level for a couple of days now and we've continued to get in some good quality work. On Saturday, I joined Carlos for a 2x4mile threshold session. We ended up running 20:53 and 20:20 for our 4mi segments on a slightly uphill road.
That's about it for training.
What an Olympics. I'm going to have withdrawal for a while. I just don't know about Bolt, and that's all I'll say on that subject. The distance races were amazing, especially the men's 5k and marathon. That was one hell of a run by Wanjiru. To run that kind of pace in those kinds of conditions is amazing. The whole time I thought Gharib was done for, but looking back I think his falling off the pack several times had more to do with little surges by the leaders than him slowing down. I think he ran a very smart race in not following those little surges and running more evenly. The Africans LOVE throwing in very subtle surges throughout the race so that it's almost like a fartlek. I've been a victim to that kind of strategy before. You saw that in almost every race and sometimes it occured but you couldn't tell by watching it.
Americans in general don't do enough speed variation or tempo change workouts. We're not prepared for that kind of pace change. When we do workouts we generally try and hit the fastest splits that we can for that particular workout. The pacing within each rep is not considered. This is a big mistake for those trying to race on the world scene. There has to be more pace variation within the workout itself. Sure the overall rep will be slower and won't sound as impressive, but the end results will probably be better in championship races.
Lastly, the HS cross country season started up and just wanted to throw out a congrats to the Klein Oak team. They won their first meet with 31 points(1,3,4,10,13..14) and Ryan took the individual victory. Great way to start the season, especially with no specific work being done yet.
We drove up here on Sunday and it took a little while longer than we hoped. One of the vans broke down, so we were stuck in the middle of nowhere in the desert for about an hour. Once we got here though, we forgot all about the travel troubles.
I can see why Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, and all of those other pro's live and train up here. The scenery is amazing and the places too train are great too. I'll upload some photos/video sometime when I have a chance (we have no internet unless we go to the library).
I'm putting in about 16 a day up here and have had some good runs. On monday, me and Carlos did a fartlek at 9,000 feet. It actually felt a lot better than I expected. For those of you who are track nuts, we did the workout around Lake Mary, which is where Ryan Hall does some of his faster stuff.
That's about all I have time for now. More later.
In total, I had 4 days of constant testing where a whole assortment of doctors poked and prodded me looking for every single thing that could be wrong with me. It kind of felt like going back to school again. Every day I was at the hospital from about 7:45 until 5pm. I had to run before and after, which was pretty tough because it meant getting up extra early or running when I'm exhausted. The fact that it was at altitude didn't help. Also, since I couldn't eat before many of the tests that meant not eating anything after a couple runs which absolutely killed my recovery. At least it reinforced how important recovery meals/drinks are after running!
Below is a sampling of the tests I had to go through.
-pulmonary spirometry about 20 times.
-CT scan of chest/nasal passages
-Pulmonary Function Test
-Exercise test on bike with catheter in artery, VO2max mask, and EKG stuff. Plus spirometry every 5min after and a laryngoscopy (stick a camera through your nose, down your throat)
- walk oximetry
-Esophagram w/ barrium swallow
-Tailored Barrium Swallow
- Methacholine Bronchial Provocation with Laryngoscopy
- Resting Echocardiogram
-Echocardiogram w/ saline agitant
-Echocardiogram w/ exercise and saline agitant. meaning exercise to near max HR w/ an IV line
-Blood work like crazy
and about 10 visits with various doctors and probably some other tests I'm forgetting about.
The exercise stuff sucked the most because of several reasons. It was at altitude, number 1, and secondly I've never exercised with soo much stuff on me. It was a weird feeling exercising with either an IV or catheter in your vein/arterie.
Anyways, I have about 30 pages with the results of all of this. Basically, the conclusion is I have Vocal Chord dysfunction. My allergies are horrible. My nose has a severe deviated septum w/ spurs on both sides that block any air coming in. My asthma is very weird.
Hopefully, the solutions work... b/c I was sure tested enough.
Once I got home from the wonderful vacation, I headed down to UofH to help pace Kara Goucher for a hard 5 miler she was doing. The tests/travel got to me more than I thought it was, so it was a struggle to pace which is sad, haha. But I helped out a little bit, so it wasn't worthless. I think the biggest thing that got me was the provocation test and barium swallow. One messed up my stomach beyond belief, and the other messed up my lungs. Hopefully it goes away in a couple days. She ran really well, especially in the heat ( in fact Rupp had a good one too), so I think big things are going to come for her in Beijing. The next few days, I'm taking really easy because I'm run down like crazy.
On the 5th, I'm headed back out to California to train with the guys. And a couple days after I get there we head out to Mammoth for some good old Altitude training. I'll give more info on that next time, but if you want a quick run down, visit my teammates (and roomates) blog http://jcexperience.blogspot.com
The first race will probably be the US 5k road championships in September.