My First Mile-High Long Run

This morning, I handed my ego to the mountains with a sweaty, tired hand.

I had no idea what to expect; with two runs under my belt since our arrival (four days ago), I only knew this would be much harder than my lungs were ready for. Each 5-miler was doable, but the “easy” pace I’m used to doesn’t feel so when Oxygen is available in limited amounts.

That being said, I was lucky to have these three things with me at all times: D, water, and a view of the mountains.

I packed two experimental snacks; if you’ve been here for a while, you know that eating-on-the-run is usually the biggest challenge for me during training. I’ve learned many lessons up to this point, but have yet to find that “magic fuel” (if it exists?) that works with my stomach, my taste-buds, and my energy needs.

On hand today:

I found “Bobo’s Oat Bars” at the coffee shop in Boulder yesterday, and was intrigued. It seemed small enough to carry with me, and that little guy is calorie-dense! What you see is two servings, 180 calories each. Not ideal for a everyday-snack, but perfect for getting calories in when you need them. I cut it into 4 squares, for easy eating.

Clif Shot Bloks, Lemon Lime flavor: I’ve realized that I don’t crave/enjoy “sweet” things during a run, usually Lemon/Lime lends itself to a saltier taste. I relied on that assumption, anyway. πŸ™‚


With me: D on the bike, Water, Accelerade (one scoop in a 16 oz bottle), Snacks, Garmin, HR monitor, new Sony Walkman Runner shirt for a test-run (will be wearing on Marathon day!).

We found a trail that picks up about 1.5 mi from the house, hopping on saved me from a big hill in the early miles. Little did I know this trail would carry us towards the mountains, and help us avoid suburbia, for almost the entire run. I know where I’ll be spending my time in the coming months!

The route wove around open fields, little creeks, hotels, neighborhoods, and busy roads. Not once did we have to stop for traffic, to think about where to go, or to turn around (until it necessary). Here are a few pics (thanks, D!) to show you the view:

(Editing Credit goes to Ivan!)

I turned around at 8 miles; we hit a lake and the trail seemed to dissipate unless I hopped on a nearby road. Cutting an out-and-back short is rarely a good idea, but I would’ve rather added on miles at the end, than spent 2 miles walking home with exhausted lungs and legs.

How I fueled: 2 Shot bloks at mile 6, 1/2 Bobo bar at mile 9, 2 Shot Bloks at mile 12
How I hydrated: Water every ~1-2 miles, Accelerade every ~2 miles

After 9 miles, I took 3 walk breaks (included in total time and distance) for a little rest, but mainly to try and get my HR down. After 13 miles, the “190” beats per minute were getting stubborn. The distance was wearing on me and even with “breaks”, my HR stayed above 180. I took this as a sign that my body was working hard, and I had Amy’s high-altitude warnings in the back of my mind.

In the end, we arrived back at the house with an even “16 miles” and that was all I had in me. D fed my self-confidence by saying “16 in altitude probably took the same toll on you as 18-20 would’ve at Sea Level“. True or not, that’s what I needed to hear. πŸ™‚

16.0 miles, 2:34:04
avg 9:38 m/m, avg 180 bpm


How I REfueled: 2 scrambled Eggs, Sauteed Spinach & a Whole-wheat Pita

Add to that a LOT of water, the rest of my Accelerade (electrolytes!), and a serving of Whole-Wheat tortilla chips to satisfy my salt-tooth.


Next week, as I continue to acclimate, I plan on reinstating speed work and swapping 18 miles for the “20” on deck. Rearranging the Training Plan is no stranger here, you do what you have to do!



Filed under learning, loooong runs, mileage, new things!, Nutrition, running buddy, training

15 responses to “My First Mile-High Long Run

  1. i’m so impressed you did 16! that’s crazy awesome πŸ™‚ did y’all take big dry creek trail? i used to ride that multiple times a week when we first moved here!

    • Heather C

      Sure did! It just goes and goes and goes. It was awesome, but a little hot. πŸ˜‰ We’ll depart earlier, next time.

  2. Congrats on your first mile high long run! You did so well. I’m anxious to hear how recovery goes. I’d love to run that trail with you sometime…

  3. Wow, so amazing! No matter how conditioned you are as a runner, any time you change your environment, especially this significant, it takes a long time for your body to become adjusted. I think it’s incredible that you were able to do 16 miles! DC and Colorado are two completely different worlds in the running aspect.
    Go girl!!

  4. girl, major props and congrats on your first LR at altitude. you’re awesome!

    and, for a not-sweet fuel, try the margarita-flavored shot blocks. I like them a teeny bit better than lemon lime!

  5. What a beautiful place to run! You will be putting in many miles on that trail. Glad you had the support you needed out there – awesome 16-miler! And I have to agree that it was more of an 18-20 effort.

    Have a great weekend now that your long run is out of the way!

  6. I’m impressed! And still super jealous of the views and non-humidity. Although it’s a gorgeous day today in DC πŸ™‚

  7. Awesome run in your new environment! Great photos, too. I was in Lake Tahoe last week and the hills/altitude combo was so challenging…and I was only running 3. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your fueling tips – something I’m always interested in learning more about.

  8. amazing job gf!!! πŸ™‚ you rocked the run!!! love the pics too! keep them coming please!

  9. Wow I can’t imagine running that pace for a LR when you aren’t yet acclimated to the altitude! My times for the WWW were at LEAST a min./mile slower and I was only running 6-8 at a time. You’re going to become even speedier living and running in Colo!

  10. Pingback: Small Victories, Fueled by a Big Burrito « Dietitian on the Run

  11. Pingback: Paying to Run: Taste of Louisville Half Marathon | Dietitian on the Run

  12. Pingback: Going Long in DC: The 18-mile Version | Dietitian on the Run

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