After arriving in Keystone, Colorado the evening before, we got up this morning to start our high altitude training for 2 weeks. Keystone has an elevation of 9000′. I woke up on the verge of getting a headache but felt better after drinking some hot tea. Just unloading our gear the day before felt like a workout and we were breathing heavy. We attempted to get in the pool early for our first session but found out they don’t open till 8. So we went back and figured a bike ride would be good – until we realized that no one brought a tool kit so we could change the seat height for me. I was using one of Kamil’s bikes. That left running which is a for sure thing since all you need to run is a pair of shoes. Yes we brought those.
We thought it would be a good idea to start off our training with a bang by running up the mountain at Keystone. We could compare our times today with our times at the end of our trip to see how much we’ve improved. My heart rate was way up there the first few miles – I think my body was in shock, but it stabilized after a while. We alternated between running and walking depending on the severity of the grade. Kamil had mentioned that he thought it was just a couple of miles to the top… After 5 miles it felt like the 70th mile of an ultra. And it kept going. And going. Finally we got to the top at 7.5 miles. It was nice to use different muscles going down and not have our heart rates skyrocketing – except 7.5 miles of constant downhill wreaks havoc on your feet and quads. We stopped in town and bought a tool kit for the bike so we could get going on the bike after running. The last 2 miles were very tough, we were both bonking at the end of the run. We were burning a lot more calories than normal at this elevation so keeping fueled was to be a top priority. As soon as we got back we made a huge breakfast and took a nap for a couple of hours. Our 15 mile run had taken 3.5 hours including the stop for the tool.
Our nap lasted a little longer than expected but we both knew we needed every bit of it. We both had been running on almost no sleep the week prior to coming out here. We ate again, filled our hydration bladders and adjusted our bikes before heading out. But then Kamil noticed that one of his tire spokes was loose. You guessed it – we didn’t have a spoke wrench. So back to the bike shop for an adjustment and off we went. There are so many bike trails in this area, you could get rid of your car and just bike everywhere. Next to lakes with sailboats, through high mountain passes, this place has it all. Except for oxygen! Our 45 mile bike ride took us 3.5 hours, just before dark. Again we ate when we got back and headed to the pool for our last session of the day.
When we got to the pool, we got in the hot tub which almost proved to be a fatal mistake. We almost bagged the swim session but then decided to just get it done. The pool is only 15 meters long so we tested out a tether for swimming so you can swim in place attached to a bungie cord. We changed to laps instead and got in 1000 meters before getting back in the hot tub. We ate again after that and made our plan for tomorrow’s training sessions. Today was about 8 hours of training but tomorrow we’re planning on 10 hours by starting earlier. So at 5 a.m. we will be starting up again.