Seven Stories from the week of August 8th, 2021
Myths around altitude training fuel most of the economic gains from the Leadville Race Series
I know a few Leadville locals who, for some reason, get frustrated by the fact that the Leadville Race Series brings in thousands of excited outdoorsy bikers and runners to patronize our local economy. “Those stupid bikers!!!” I’ll bet a google search of those exact words will bring you directly to the “Leadville Swap/Sell” on Facebook. I suppose if I had lived here for decades, my opinion would be different about the millionaires arriving in their sprinter vans to set-up shop and bombard the trail system. I mean, really, this town IS more than just a venous trail system! We have a government school kids go to every other day, too!
Yes, Leadville benefits financially from the race. The main driver has little to do with the race, though, and more to do with the myth around performing at and adapting to altitude. Two weeks before the event, that special demographic that is the 58-year old mountain bike addict who is rich enough to take off work for three weeks, pay an $850 race lottery fee, rent an Airbnb for 15 days in Colorado (at $390/day), and fly his $7,500 bike out with him…but NOT wealthy enough to just retire and move to Buena Vista….filter into the highest city in America so that they can ‘adapt to the altitude.’ Oh boy.
Check out this article if you want to learn about the way the body adapts to altitude. I found it to be a great refresher. Sparknotes version: you have two choices – 1) arrive less than 24 hours before your performance and 2) arrive 21-28 days before your performance. In scenario 1, if you’ve practiced pacing at altitude, you may experience a ‘boost’ in performance because of a decrease in your blood volume.
During the first few hours, your blood plasma volume can decrease by 10 to 25%. What’s really neat about this acute response to altitude is that your body does this to intentionally and artificially boost the density of your red blood cells. This is known as haemoconcentration. This, in turn, increases your hematocrit, or the percentage of hemoglobin per unit of blood, which temporarily increases your body’s ability to transport oxygen before it has the chance to produce more red blood cellshttps://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/when-to-arrive-at-elevation-when-racing-at-altitude/
My advice to the crazy people I see biking around 7,8,9 days before the big race: if you have the means to do this, why not just move here? Or, go all in, drive your $175k Sprinter across the country, and arrive in June?
Maybe I don’t want these people to actually move here. (I actually get excited watching the racers and runner around Leadville….it is fun to see people who are as passionate about endurance sports as I am – or more!….but….we had to take a journalistic take, right?)
Instagram season is in full swing….
This is the time of year when nordic skiers, clubs, and coaches are obsessed with trying to “one-up” each other with video of themselves engaged in some ancillary drill. Just a gentle reminder: if you don’t, at some point, engage in a bounding workout, skate karaoke drills on a grass hill, double poling in a line, a rollerski agility course, or accelerations while pulling a teammate behind you, wearing a heart rate monitor and water belt, caught on camera and documented on today’s public online training journal – instagram – then you will NOT, I repeat NOT, reach your full potential at any of this year’s competitions.
They might be the only athletes that think the digs in Tokyo are a heavenly retreat from their home nation.
Sifan Hassan is just like the Seder-Skier
Hassan has been doing the track version of Michael Phelps, attempting the unprecedented 1500, 5000, 10,000 meter triple. The morning of the 5k final, she had to run a 1500 heat, which, despite falling on the final lap, she won. The drama prevented her from preserving energy, however, and left her flat going into the afternoon.
“I used all my energy this morning and I was kind of tired. I couldn’t believe what happened. It was terrible when I tripped. I felt terrible afterwards and I never thought I am going to be Olympic champion.”
For many grinders out there, a bad meeting at work, a misbehaving kid, or a rough parent-teacher email can leave us feeling flat, too. Apparently, Sifan Hassan has the same rescue device as the mere mortals.
“Before the race here I didn’t even care. I was so tired. Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion. I needed all the caffeine. I was so scared I wasn’t going to do it.”nationalpost
In the 1500 meter final, which I watched on the Eurosport broadcast at 6:30 am Friday, this anecdote was referenced early and late in the race. The legend had apparently ballooned to a ’20 cup coffee’ moment before the 5,000. I chuckled. I love the Eurosport broadcasters because they aren’t PC, actually tell you things, and never, ever stop talking…a combination which routinely produces epic zingers like that. As I sipped my own java in delight, happy to not be anxiously awaiting the flurry of pain and nerves dominating the final rush to the finish, I determined to fact check this claim for the Seder Skier Seven…which I have not done.
I nearly spit out my coffe, when on the final lap, as Sifan desperately tried to track down eventual champion, Faith Kipyegon, the lead commentator screamed, “Has she had enough cups of coffee!?!” in between the more expected shouts of “It’s going to be Faith Kipyegon! This is her moment! Chasing greatness. And here comes Sifan…has she got enough left?” It was the best.
Our email to Letsrun.com
Olympic All-Class Team
We missed this on our show. The votes are in:
Sydney McLaughlin, 400H –
She is the best sprinter in the US. I searched long and hard for her post-race interview, but none of the Olympic race/interviews are available. If you saw the Olympic final and the moments afterwards, the quiet, composed, and humble McLaughlin was a joy to behold and an example for all as she talked to Lewis Johnson, NBC trackside reporter.
I no longer run for self recognition, but to reflect His perfect will that is already set in stone. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything. Records come and go. The glory of God is eternal. Thank you Father.
Athing Mu, 800 meters –
Mu carried a heavy burden of expectations when she stepped on the track in January for her first collegiate race. After decimating NCAA records in both the 400 and 800, her fame and prominence grew exponentially through the Olympic trials to the point where, as a 19 year old, she was the favorite for gold. She managed the rounds, the media, and the attention with a bubbly grace. She speaks as if she has been handling journalists for decades, is careful with her words, but retains her natural personality all the while. All class. Like McLaughlin, her faith is a key cornerstone to whom she is. Sederskiersidenote: did you know she was the second US woman to win the 800 at the Olympics? The first: Madeline Manning – one of the all time greatest never-talked-about stories.
Isaiah Jewett, 800 meters
Jewett was striving towards a qualifying place in the final of the mens 800 when, with 175 meters to go, the errant toe of the great Nigel Amos clipped his calf and sent both of them to the ground. The composure on the track was enough to get Jewett this award, and his comments in the post race interview solidified it. Check out this article from the LA Times.
“This is the 800, so it could end wrong,” Jewett said before the ruling on his protest. But I’m super blessed because not a lot of people got to be here. I have to live in that moment, not the moment that just happened. Even if I get another chance to run, I’m just super blessed that I’m here and even able to talk to [reporters]. It’s amazing like I’m able to go onto this stage and show you guys this is me. So that’s just what I want to continue to do, to show who I am. If it wasn’t today, I’ll try again tomorrow. But that’s not going to stop me from trying to be a hero.”Isaiah Jewett
I’ll keep looking to provide ‘honorable mention’ as the games conclude….and maybe I’ll even look away from the track. Maybe.
Mark your calendars…..Christie Sederquist makes a return to Skieologians
After receiving rave reviews – or at least one private facebook message saying they enjoyed the marital banter between my better half and I – we’ve decided to do another Skieologians with the diminutive mother-to-be. Christie Sederquist joins to discuss the first two sections of the Doug Wilson book, Why Children Matter. I’m looking forward to it, and so should you! We’ll put out the bat signal as the date approaches, but it’s looking like sometime next week.
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