Soooo, I am wondering just how difficult it will be for me to go from racing in the Appalachian mountains to the Rockies? Meaning, if I plan to just cruise a race for the finish and not set a big time goal, how badly unprepared will I be? I do realize that altitude at 9K or 10K can present issues, but would it outright shut me down? I have my eye on the Bear for 2015, but wonder what I might need to do "special" to prepare? What has been the experience of those that run at much lower altitudes going to high altitudes for a single race? I wonder if much of what I read and hear about is just meant to frighten the new guys, or if it is a general reality?
Upcoming races: Mt. Cheaha 50K 2/22Georgia Death race 100K 3/15-16Sweetwater 50K 4/12Cruel Jewel 100 5/16-17Make It By Midnight FM 7/XXH9 50 mile 8/9Georgia Jewel 100 9/27Pacing at Pinhoti 100 11/XXDunkin Ridge Trail 50K 11/XXLookout Mtn 50 mile 12/20
You'll ruin your knees!
I ran the Bear in 2009 and trained exclusively in North Texas. Altitude at the Bear is not terribly high and I did not hear of anyone who really battled altitude specifically. The good news is that you never stay up at the higher levels for extended periods of time. The main thing, in my opinion, to work on is hillwork.... definitely get used to power walking or conservation running up the hills... but really work on running the downhills, and plan on some of them to be footing challenged. I had some knee issues and remember wishing I could charge more recklessly downhill.
Best of luck, it is a really fun race!
""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)
I live in Georgia at 1400 ft and have run Bighorn, Elkhorn, and Tahoe. I certainly noticed the altitude. There were many places that I could have run relatively fast at 1300 ft, but I had to slow WAY down at 8-9000 ft (I use a heart rate monitor). At Bighorn 50 which starts at 8800 ft I felt weak and nauseous and really felt like it was a hard effort until I got below about 7000 ft even though the Bighorn 50 is mostly downhill.
"Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"
"To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain
"The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.
√ Javelina Jundred Jalloween 2015
Cruel Jewel 50 mile May 2016
Western States 100 June 2016
I do realize that altitude at 9K or 10K can present issues, but would it outright shut me down?
I live in east Texas, elevation about 85 feet, and as flat as a tortilla. I find that when I go run at higher elevations it helps to go a week or so early (I ran Leadville last summer). Pretty much the only hill training I can do is the stair climber at the gym. I find that when running up at altitude the first mile or so is crazy and panic can set in, all I would think of is "how am I going to be able to go 100 miles in this?" But then if I keep going very slowly, things then start to settle down, kind of a mind-over-matter sort of thing. I will say that I'll never PR up there, but with the scenery, who really cares?
Therefore I don't think that it will "outright shut you down".
(p.s. Good luck at Mt. Cheaha, I did Pinhoti in 2012 and loved those woods.)
UTMF 100 mile, Sept 23
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I'm no help with the racing part, but I do know that response to altitude varies a lot. I appear to be very sensitive -- my sister lives in Fort Collins, and the joke is that I visit her just to nap. I am wiped out. I have a headache for days. We always go hiking, so higher. I love it, but can feel how much harder I work. I'm not the world's fastest runner, but I get in 40-50 miles week in and week out, in addition to being pretty active in daily life (walking and biking instead of driving, standing desk) and liking to hike (in Shenandoah). So I'd wonder what your experience is at altitude?
Thanks Guys. I appreciate the responses much. I get plenty of hill training being that Gray GA has very little flat areas, and so many of my races are vertical. Thinking the Bear is on the radar screen for sure next year as long as I am healthy.
Train on the hills and in the hot humidity of the summer. I have no hard evidence but I've heard that it's the best way for flatlanders to simulate running at altitude.
For me, altitude wasn't a problem when I ran Tahoe. Granted, I wasn't moving all that fast when I was climbing up to the high points, but never had the lightheaded feelings or any other symptoms.