Altitude Sickness

Omens sometimes fly, get swallowed

It was an eventful week here in Killington, my week starting with an 11 mile run, the basic, Sherburne Pass to Killington Peak and back. It started with me not feeling well…thinking I might only make it about four  miles. But then, a mile in, I inhaled a rather large moth. I couldn’t cough it out, so I swallowed it, then vomited (the moth, along with all of my morning hydration), and kept running.

In retrospect, I should have taken it as a sign to not keep running. An omen. A harbinger of things to come. A little peek at the future…

By the time I made it to the Pico trail service road overlook, I thought to myself “Well, I’ll just run a bit of the flatter part of the trail (most of the vertical is in the first two miles), and see how I feel.”

Predictably, on the flat part of the trail I felt better. I had my water bladder with me this time, so I kept hydrated, mostly. I did run a bit of a deficit from the upchuck. The nature of the beast.

I muscled my way out to the steeper vertical at Killington Peak, and figured “Hey, I’m here, so I might as well keep going!” and climbed up uneventfully, sat on the peak, breathed, and then came down.

This was when things got interesting.

It started to get hot, and anyone who has been following this series of articles knows full well that I do not do well in heat. The heat really gave me the chance to reap the benefits of vomiting all of my morning water and moth nutrition.

About five miles from the finish, I turned my left ankle. I kept calm, and carried on. About four miles from the finish I caught my right foot on a root and did a full face flop (I even lost a toenail too!). I kept calm and carried on. Three miles from the end, I decided to really nail this ankle thing down, and turned my left ankle again, worse this time (I didn’t stop, but stumbled along yelling “Really???  REALLY???”), and then about 100 yards later caught my right foot again and did another full face flop.  I have, in the case that you are wondering (and I am sure you are), developed a real flair for the nuances of the face flop.

I finally had to completely change my running style. I usually plant my right foot at the top of a large step down, and hop onto my left foot. This was clearly a recipe for failure. Since I have not once yet turned my right ankle trail running (I sprained the left one a bunch in high school soccer, and then broke it very badly doing an ill advised mid-mogul field helicopter on 205cm tele skis with short leather boots in 1993), I switched to a left foot plant-right foot leap.  It worked, but it felt like writing left-handed on a hard boiled egg with an Exacto knife.

I finished out the run with no stellar times, nothing special to report but running up and down nearly 2,900’ of vertical.

The next day I did the first two miles of the Sherburne Trail up and down (about 1,300’ vertical), again, nothing special about the run. I was tuckered from the day before.

The next day was a pullup/burpee/crunch day, and then the following day I did a walk of about 11 miles along the waterfront in Burlington, with frequent stops for yoga in the grass. I went from Oakledge Park to the Boathouse, to North Beach, to past Leddy Beach, and back. Good times, great scenery. My moving average was about 13 minutes per mile, but with yoga and picture stops, I came out at almost 19 minutes a mile.

Yesterday, I did a seven mile walk up Killington road to K1 and back down, clocking in at about 14 minutes per mile, and it was just really nice.  I also threw in a couple hundred pushups, about 50 pull-ups, more burpees than I wanted to do, but less than I should have, and several hundred crunches.

Today was supposed to be a big run day, but life got in the way. I will hit it tomorrow, armed with my new motto: “If you swallow a bug so big that it makes you puke, think about calling it a day.”

In the Pip report, he recovered nicely from his week of being sweet and almost affectionate, by returning so thoroughly back to his Impaler roots that he drew blood from my thumb (I have never before heard of a guinea pig drawing blood), and then within a couple of days, whiplashed his way back to being kind of awesome. I wonder if he is suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder? He is getting quite large, though, and soon he should be able to actually remove my thumb instead of just drawing blood.

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