I finally joined the mile high club this past week and I have to admit that it was harder than I thought it would be.

I don’t travel an awful lot whether for business or for family vacations so the opportunity rarely presents itself. And when I do travel, it’s typically to locations either on the east coast (i.e. shores/FL) or LA. This past week though I was sent to Queretaro, Mexico for business so finally had the chance to run over a mile above sea level as it’s located at an elevation of 6,100 feet. My normal runs in southeastern PA are 400-500 feet above sea level and trips over the past couple of years have me to Orlando (82 feet), NJ shore (10 feet), and LA (233 feet). The only places I’ve been with any decent elevations have been Shenandoah National Park and Cloudsplitter 100, however those only topped out in the 4,000-4,500 foot range. So I was excited to get up high and do some training at elevation heading into Old Dominion.

I’m not a fan of treadmills so when I travel I always head out into the surrounding area to get a better feel for the place. There was this short little path next to my hotel so I planned to run on it my first morning. There was a bit of scrub brush between the hotel and it though so it took me a couple minutes to route find my way over there across the rough terrain. [Fun fact: the sun rises later in Mexico than the US at this time of year so I had to bring a headlamp for a 6am run, when it’s usually already light out here in PA.] I must have let my guard down because as soon as I got onto the trail my toe clipped a rock and down I went. Arg. My hands took the brunt of it and while it was a bit painful, it wasn’t so bad that I had to cut my run short. After about a quarter mile, the trail ended and I spent the rest of the 3.5 mile run on sidewalks. I didn’t notice much difference running on flat terrain, however any little hill really got my heart rate up. Overall, I estimate that the higher altitude probably slowed me down about a minute per mile.

I seem to be collecting a lot of battle scars. I wonder if my coordination is getting worse. . .

The runs that followed were about the same. While I explored the streets around the hotel a little bit, I never got more than a mile or so away. There’s a limit to how adventuresome I’m willing to be in a foreign country. Also, the higher altitude was definitely stressing my body based on how much huffing, puffing, and wheezing I was doing on the mere hint of a hill and I didn’t want to go too overboard with Old Dominion now only a week away. Overall, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to go back later this fall and try out some different areas.

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