West Shewa, Ethiopia
So, nearly five weeks in, here’s my top five ‘things’ about altitude training. I hate, with a passion, univeralisation, where individuals describe their own experience as if it is what everyone feels, but I’m going to do it anyway.
1. You will run much more slowly and the slightest bump will feel like a proper hill
2. Even after a few weeks here, you’ll still find yourself short of breath from time to time. Whilst sitting
3. Recovery is slower, dehydration worse
4. Your heart rate is elevated at all times-mine is about 80 straight after getting out of bed, reckon it is under 60 at home-but doesn’t reach so high as it would normally*
5.. The feeling when finally you hit a pace makes all of the above worthwhile. Though it is probably a transient feeling.
Not that I’ve run yet today, though it is only half two. Last night I was still off food so skipped dinner and generally messed with my system, sleeping in the afternoon then staying up till half one at night when The Empire Struck Back, which helped keep me up till after 4, so I generally got very little sleep. Today I feel much better, make of that what you will (that I was already feeling much better so not eating or sleeping last night didn’t do too much harm would seem sensible). Managed breakfast and then finally got myself over to the primary school on the other side of the road. The Yaya website mentions it, and that pencils, notebooks etc are gratefully received, so I had dutifully patronised Ware stationers before I came out and then lazily not managed to walk across the road until now. A quick wander in, greeted by a couple of smiling but slightly bemused children and I was shown to the director’s office, interrupted his meeting like a true big-footed Westerner and handed over the loot. Easiest good feeling in the world.
I finished the last of Niall Ferguson’s Reith lectures on the bike and then moving to some hand washing gave me a nice moment of pondering public versus private provision and whether the words “I’m a historian” should really give you carte blanche to treat anecdote as data and wilfully conflate subjects all whilst wringing out my pants. Another first.
Quote: “natural flavour could be anything that isn’t man-made. Cat urine could be a natural flavour.”
Summary: 40m bike, 45:11, 9.18k. Book: You Might be a Zombie, Cracked.com. Answer to question I didn’t mean to ask, can you escape David ‘Bloody’ Mercer out here, via Dubai Sports? No.
*Dr Chris’ theory is that it’s a muscle like any other, so with less oxygen it just can’t work as hard.