A Tale of Two Extremes
It would be hard to find two environments more opposite and extreme than those experienced by Luis Carlos Stoute (Panama City, Panama) in the last week. Luis lives in Panama City Panama and often trains along the Panama Canal and along jungle trails in his homeland. Luis stands about 6 feet tall, so his normal training altitude would be—6 feet above sea level. The humidity is rarely under 90+ percent and the temperature at its coolest is still above 70. Last Monday, he began his acclimation process as he prepared to run the Leadville Trail Marathon, a 26 mile rocky, mountainous, technical trail marathon which begins in downtown Leadville, Colorado at 10,000 feet and climbs over Mosquito Pass at 13,188 feet and then comes back down to 10,000 feet. Luis knew the race would be hilly, so he ran hill repeats and incorporated climbing into his regular training routine. He also knew that air was going to be scarce at 10,000 and near non existent at 13,000+ feet. So, his training plan incorporated uphill intervals including strides and shorter repeats, which would attempt to get him used to running with reduced oxygen in his body. On Monday Luis flew into Denver for two days, then drove to Leadville to spend the remainder of the week, just running lightly and trying to keep his head from throbbing with altitude sickness.
Luis’ plan paid off, as he finished the Leadville Trail Marathon in 6:17:47, good for 111th place overall. Luis ran strong through much of the course, finding that he had the leg strength to continue running on much of the grueling uphill. He also found that his training had left him quite capable of handling the thin air and breathing wasn’t too much of a problem. The biggest problem Luis encountered was dealing with the rough, rocky, technical trail, which some people seemed to be able to just glide over, but Luis found himself stumbling, and going slow trying to keep his ankles and knees in their originally designated number of pieces. In Panama, the jungle trails are mostly dirt Jeep trails, so the rocks were foreign and provided the most challenge.
Luis also carried a camera and got quite a number of pictures of the breathtaking views and beautiful terrain. While many runners looked down at their feet continuously, Luis spent “about 20 minutes” taking some pictures and looking around.
When Luis finished the race, he handed his camera to Eric, his buddy from his college days at the Colorado School of Mines, and told him to take his picture finishing and he ran 30 meters back up the course and across the finish line a second time with his hands raised jubilantly and a wide smile.
I would bet that Luis’ legs are a bit sore, but his smile hasn’t diminished any yet.
There’s Gotta Be an Easier Way
Helene Strutko (Harvey’s Lake, PA) doesn’t look for the easy way out when she selects races. Looking at descriptions of her previous races, she doesn’t go for easy, but selects hilly trail races. This past Saturday was no exception. Helene ran the Race Street Run 15K hosted by the Episcopal Parish of St. Mark and St. John in Jim Thorpe, PA. Beginning in town in front of the court house, the race climbed gently nearly a mile before leaving the road and turning onto an old steeper railroad right-of-way. After going along Mauch Chunk Lake and through the park the final 2.5 miles was hard downhill to the finish which might explain why her quads were so sore after the race. Helene won the 25-29 age group and was 4th female overall in 1:13:23.