Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Divide For The Weekend

When I get time off work, I usually head up to a higher elevation. Whether it be Woodland Park or Divide, I never stay long, but long enough for my body to get a red blood cell boost. Coach Scott Simmons is like a mad scientist and his theories are very intriguing to us all. He is very intelligent and will approach every angle of training, never leaving a stone unturned.

So why do we go up to a higher altitude? Well, studies have shown that an increase in altitude will naturally increase EPO production and boosts the red blood cell count. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body's tissues (including the muscles). This is typically why people live at altitude or have altitude tents. Studies have shown that EPO production is greatest the first 2-3 days and usually plateaus and starts to decrease shortly after that time period. If we lived permanently at such high altitude, our bodies wouldn't be able to recover properly and we wouldn't get the boosts in our red blood cells that we are looking for. Due to these factors, we try to get to a higher elevation 2 days a week, if our schedule allows us.

Where do we Stay? Well American distance project has set up several different housing opportunities. Cathedral Ridge in Woodland Park is where I usually stay, but currently I'm at Stonehaven Inn Bed and Breakfast between Divide and Cripple Creek perched on the western slope of Pikes Peak.

Shortly after arriving at Stonehaven, Craig and I were greeted with warm smiles and pleasant conversation by owners Janis and Ferrel. Isolated and remote, this beautiful 3 story cabin is decorated with rustic furniture and would be a lovely get away for anybody looking for a quiet vacation. The hospitality of Janis and Farel is incredible and today after our run we were surprised with a home cooked breakfast. Fruit and yogurt parfait, followed by scrambled eggs, waffles, and sausage with orange juice to wash it all down. YUMMY! I can't help but feel like I am on a small vacation. If I wasn't writing this blog, I would probably be lounging in the hot tub, reading a book (psyche), or playing air hockey with Craig. Instead I am overwhelmed with the luxury of having the world wide web. Ha!

The running is an entire different story. With not a flat surface to run on, it's hard not to be out of breath shortly after stepping out the door. I guess 10,000 ft of elevation will do that to you. Thankfully we have beautiful snowcapped mountains to distract us from our shortness of breath. Easy running is all the doctor ordered!

Craig and I will be here until tomorrow morning before having to return to reality.

Until next time....

Brandon Birdsong

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