Walking at 104

My first time to Park City (5 years ago…time flies!) I remember walking up the stairs in the morning and being sufficiently out of breath by the coffee maker. So the next day I decided to throw my heart rate monitor on to see what my heart rate was while walking up the stairs.  I knew it would be high- I was guessing around 80 beats per minute (as a measure, my resting heart rate is around 52…or something like that).  To my utter shock and somewhat to my dismay, I looked at my watch and had hit triple digits.  Specifically, 104 beats per minute.  So I walked up the second flight of stairs…and I was at 110.  I was literally training just going up stairs.

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Striding up some big canyon.  Photo Liz Arky

Welcome to altitude.  Despite its many benefits (namely a natural boost in your hemoglobin count), altitude has a way of literally taking your breath away.  For one, the scenery up in the mountains is stupendous.  Every evening we can’t believe the sunset has once again outdone itself.

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This sunset is fiery and the norm

But we also have more time to look around because everything moves a little slower at altitude.  The easy skis have to be a little easier, and you have to be extra careful during intensity sessions to not cross the red line.  Because up here there is no coming back.

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Running? Hiking? Walking?  Doesn’t matter, at 9,000 feet everything is training. Erika Flowers Photo.

But since that first trip up the stairs, I’ve finally started to get the hang of altitude.  I’ve had a number of spectacular blow ups the past five years at this fall camp, but this year I think I have things (closer) to dialed.  After finishing up week one of camp, which included some long distance as well as some intervals, I am excited for week two!  We had a time trial on Tuesday (a 10/15K individual classic), and everyone had at least type two fun during the event.  We all remembered what it felt like to have some burning lungs, and couldn’t be more excited to try out the courses on snow this winter.  We have a skate sprint simulation and some threshold bounding left this week, and we will cap it all of with an epic hike of sorts.  Thanks for checking in!

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Post 10K smile (grimace?) and helmet hair. Erika Flowers photo.
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Mid OD water/snack/pee break.  And you guessed it…Erika Flowers photo
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🙂
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