We’re at something silly like 9,600 feet, and, I tell you, altitude sickness is No Joke. It took me 36 hours to stop feeling utterly lousy. Headachey. Ridden with sinus pain. Breathless after walking for about 10 yards. It was like having a chest infection. I spent a whole day and a half on the sofa, and worried about pulmonary oedema: the coach of the rugby team had that in Peru and landed up in hospital. Not the way you want to spend a holiday. Tanked up with ibuprofen and decongestant. Drinking water like it was going out of fashion. And peeing a Lot (my kidneys are in fine fettle). 

By Friday afternoon I was feeling a bit perkier (and had had about four baths… But can you blame me with that whirlpool?) and decided to hit the gym. Oh. My. God. I really should have checked my peak flow and FEV-1 first, and based the workout round that. But no! 5 miles at a 9min/mile on the “varied” programme on the treadmill. This turned into 3 miles, on the flat (a 2% incline practically totalled me), with some walking and I think an average of 9:30 min/mile when I was actually running. And I was dripping with sweat. 

Things I learned:

  1. It’s impossible to drink water from a normal water bottle while at a run on the treadmill. It is much bouncier and you will nearly knock your teeth out. Either walk and drink, or take the camelbak. 
  2. Use the treadmill on the right as a. There’s no weird break in the mirror which will make one of your legs look twice the size of the other and b. It’s slightly further round the corner so you get perved at less. 
  3. Flat is perfectly fine at altitude. If boring. 
  4. Adjust expectations re distance and behave like you’re getting over a cold for the first couple of runs. 
  5. They aren’t joking when they say drink 3 times as much water as normal. 
  6. Keep a tissue handy in case of nose bleed. 
  7. If the weather forecast says it’s going to be minus 7 as the top temp, give up on the idea of running outside.  

It is very pretty here. And I have now made it out on the slopes. I had a lesson, which was mindbogglingly expensive compare with Europe, but worth every penny. I know what I should be doing, even if I can’t quite manage it yet. 

 Oh yes. I got cookies….  

And knitted the better part of a sock. Eagle eyed readers may recognise a similar sock from January 2009 and the good old days on Xanga. 


3 thoughts on “Altitude 

  1. Totally agree about effects of altitude. I’m living at about 6200 feet and walking back up the hill to get home gets me and I don’t have asthma. Enjoy the snow!

  2. Those pictures look so good!! I am beyond jealous.
    Gosh altitude sickness sounds rough. But on the plus side at least it should make coming back down to sealevel a dream for running right? That’s what the elites do…

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