Change of Scene

I often begin my blogs with an explanation about my inconsistency. This time, I don’t really have good excuse, other than the fact that the last few months haven’t been that eventful for Nick and I. Truthfully, I’d rather my blogging be sparse and eventful than frequent and boring.

This time of year is typically a quiet time in Nick’s training characterized by lots of miles but not a lot of, for lack of a better term, “fast stuff”. (Yes, I keep the running vocabulary to a minimum in this blog because it’s not Nick’s training diary—it’s a blog about our life.) But this year, we’re trying something different: altitude training. For a lot of professional runners, it’s a staple in their training diet. But Nick has never done it. In fact, I think he’s one of the only Olympic medalists in a distance event that hasn’t trained at altitude before. So, even though he has had good results without training at altitude, we know that we can learn things from others and are excited to give altitude a try. So, we’re here at 6000 feet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the next month.

We’ve done a lot of research about altitude training in preparation for this. The experts we’ve talked to say that the maximum benefits of altitude training are reached after about four weeks. Beyond that, the effects are pretty minimal. So, in total, we’ll be here for five weeks. The first week we were advised to take things pretty easy. We’ve been drinking lots of water and keeping the workouts low key so our bodies can adapt. You might catch that I’m writing a lot of “we”. That’s because I’m training too. Since I have the great opportunity to be here too, I figured I should use it to get really fit. Maybe I’ll even time myself in a 5k when we get back to sea level. I plan to set some insanely fast personal best like 22 minutes (runners, that’s your cue to laugh).

In addition to my goal of getting “really fit” while we’re here, I’ve also decided on another goal: ripped arms. That’s right, I’m going transform my soft, pathetic female arms into beautifully-sculpted, intimidating guns. “Why?” you might ask. For starters, I’ve always wanted to. Secondly, I can’t even do one push up. Seriously. My upper body strength has been pathetic my whole life. I can’t do a pull up; I can barely handle girl pushups; and no one can even tell when I’m flexing. But that’s all about to change. Here’s picture number one of five. I’m going to post a picture each week to show my progress. I’ll admit that this is also a covert way to keep myself accountable to my weight-lifting regime.

As for Nick’s goals, I think he wants to get really fit too. The Boston Indoor games are coming up at the beginning of February and he’s got to defend his title and go for his third straight win at the Reebok event. Yesterday, we stumbled across this video of last year’s race on Facebook. It was fun to relive the race again and got us pumped up for the upcoming season.

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2 thoughts on “Change of Scene

  1. Thanks for the great blog Sierra. We gather from the news (if you can believe the media) that Nick is not yet fully convinced about the benefits of altitude training, but good on him for looking at new ways to lift his performance to a new level. I hope your fitness training regime also goes well Sierra. We live in Lower Hutt, NZ, and were fortunate to catch sight of Nick out on a training run along the Hutt River while we were walking our dogs. He had someone cycling alongside him…trying to keep up! I waved to Nick across the field and he politely waved back, and I was overjoyed (I am now an even more true devoted Nick fan and follower). What a nice guy…but you already know that. I have been a serious jogger (I don’t claim to be a runner) since I was 16 and had to finally give it away at the age of 50 when my knees stopped functioning. Boy I wish I could have glided as effortless as Nick was doing along the Hutt River track that day. It was beautiful to watch.

  2. Good for you! (both of you). Sometimes you need to take a break from the comfortable, past based training and do something new and different.

    I did some altitude training (didn’t know about it then) when I was in the Peace Corps and living in Costa Rica in the late 1960s, early 70s (San Jose is around 5,300 feet) and occasionally training at 7-8,000 (just to run hills and get out of the city). It had quite an impact on my results as I remember and I wasn’t sure if it was the harder running or the altitude. I do remember running a race at close to 10,000 feet and it was hard!

    I suspect (hope) Nick (and you Sierra) will notice the difference on the track in February.

    And as an A2er now I can tell you it is absolutely miserable for running in Ann Arbor (‘A2’) now unless you like snow, ice and brutally low temperatures (tonight’s low is forecast at 6F). At least it’s been sunny…

    Good running, enjoy NM (be sure to visit Santa Fe).

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