"Colorado has 300 days of sun!" Beat would exclaim.
"I get pretty tired of perfect weather," I'd say truthfully, omitting the detail that I've lived through the other extreme and I didn't always tolerate that well, either.
Now I'm experiencing spring in the Colorado Rockies, and so far I've seen a delightful pendulum of snowing - 80 degrees - raining - 80 degrees - fog - snain.
Beat volunteered at a 50-mile trail race, Quadrock, on Saturday. His duties required waking up at 1:30 a.m., so I lazily declined to join. Instead I set out to explore the two major canyons of the Flatirons that I hadn't yet seen, Eldorado and Shadow canyons. The fog was a veritable cream-based soup that descended all the way to the valley floor, so I didn't take many photos. In fact it was a beautiful route, even shrouded in gray. But this didn't stop me from indulging in a pout session during the climb up Shadow Canyon, because I was moving at snail's pace and still having difficulty breathing, and why do all of the trails here have to be rock staircases that gain 1,800 feet per mile?
I think my acclimation is improving. The sleepy/headachy phase is over, and I do feel more clear-headed during the day. I know full acclimation can take months, but I do become frustrated over the fact I'm nearly always out of breath whenever I'm exercising. My legs are basically bored, but my lung capacity is stretched so thin that I'm sucking wind probably 80 percent of the time. This fuels my lung angst — an idea that my lungs were permanently scarred in 2015, and my oxygen-processing capabilities will always be less than they once were (and they were never great to begin with.) This (hopefully unfounded) fear is compounded by the fact that I am no longer taking maintenance asthma medication, so I'm always nervous that an attack is around the corner. So far I've been managing well without the inhaler, but the angst remains.
The problem, I believe, may stem from pushing myself too hard, especially when I don't think what I'm doing should be so hard. What I need to do is accept the fact that here, for now at least, my runs are going to closely resemble hikes, and that's okay. For me, running has always been about finding the most efficient way to travel long distances across variable terrain on foot, rather than push the pace as hard as I possibly can. Sometimes pushing as hard as I possibly can is a 45-minute mile, and that's okay too.