Yes, that’s a celebration. It’s not because having a shirt glued to your back and oxygen rendered nearly unbreathable is a good time. For a flatlander training for an altitude race, however, humidity is a godsend.
That’s what I told myself last year while training for the Pikes Peak Ascent – a half marathon run up Pikes Peak that has 7,800 feet of vertical gain to a finish line at 14,115 feet above sea level. I convinced myself that struggling to breathe during a disgustingly humid summer would prepare me to run in the thin air of Colorado altitude.
The result was a sub-4-hour finish — a full hour faster than I expected to run Pikes Peak.
Now I’m rooting for another humid summer. On July 15 I will compete in another Colorado race: the Leadville Silver Rush 50-Mile Trail Run. It will be my first 50-miler, and the entire race takes place above 10,000 feet with six climbs up to 12,000 feet.
Bring on the altitude! Bring on the humidity!
It’s 10 weeks until race day, and after three weeks of serious training we finally are starting to get thicker humidity in Kansas City.
Saturday presented the first thick humidity of the year. Eight miles on the trails and Ogg Road in 86-degree temperatures reintroduced my lungs to the suffering they need to learn to embrace and enjoy. Then, today’s 4-miler on the Dog Park Loop at Shawnee Mission Park was a steamy slog through sprinkles, puddles and mud. This time, it felt good.
Also feeling good was my lower back, which locked up last Sunday before finding relief thanks to multiple adjustments by the chiropractor. I’m guessing those visits will become a regular event during the next 2 1/2 months as my legs and joints absorb more and more pounding to prepare for Leadville.
With my back on the mend, and everything else feeling good, optimism is high. The most rigorous weeks of training are ahead, but so is the humidity. That’s a good thing. I’m ready for it.
You won’t be alone. Two friends and I are giving this one a go. We’re from central Illinois. Altitude 800ft at best. I have a friend who runs this year after year, and when I asked him about a good 50 miler to do in Colorado, this was the one he suggested. As you said, we can train for everything except the altitude. Good luck with your training! Dave Tapp, Eureka, IL
Here’s my email address if you care to correspond: email@example.com