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Monday, July 18, 2016

Tips for Enjoying a Vacation at Elevation

 Drinking high gravity beer is a "Don't" not a "Do".
(Ollllld Chub!)

So, for the 3rd year in a row now, The KoB and I have traveled to the absolutely beautiful and charming town of Leadville, CO.
Home of the Leadville 100 and the National Mining Museum.
Also the place in the US where climbing up a
set of stairs will leave you panting and doubled over for 3 minutes.
HELLO life at 10,200 feet!

So, for some, 10,200 feet of elevation might not be anything. But, for a Nashville/Sea-Level girl, it is a huge deal. The obvious thing is that the lack of oxygen renders you panting and gasping at the most ridiculous of things. Like... taking off a sports bra. It's sad. 

It's exhausting.

But, after my 3rd year in a row, I've come up with a few tips on making the elevation a little less troublesome and less noticeable.

Running/Endurance stuff: So, every year, I get out to the Mineral Belt Trail (an awesome 11+ mile loop around the city) and think, okay, I'm just going to run slow and it will be fine. And then I start running and I have to stop to catch my breath after about 90 seconds. SERIOUSLY. It's humbling and annoying. But, I've found, that if I just give myself those breaks and start and stop and walk, after about 25-30 minutes, I find my pace and I'm able to keep running (even on the uphills). I think it just takes my body more time to understand what the hell is happening and adjust. So, give yourself a break and some time, and you'll be fine.

Headaches: The lack of oxygen can give me a wicked headache. So, from the moment the plane touches down in Denver, until I get on the plane going home, I take a dose of Excedrin every 8 hours. It keeps the headaches away.

Bloat: Along with the Excedrin, I take Gas-X pills the same way. It is crazy how bloated I get and I'm not entirely sure how elevation=bloat. But, it's seriously painful and none of my pants fit unless I'm keeping it all under control with the Gas-X. Trust me, it's a life saver. 

Hydrate: So, I try to make sure I'm staying extra hydrated (this is probably more because Colorado is so much drier than I'm used to). And by the same token, I think it's best to stay away from alcohol as much as possible. Did I do that? Nope. But, the elevation definitely makes a hangover about 13X worse.
Highly recommend this local brewery.
Probably should only have one or two if you want to 
feel your best. Do as I say, not as I do.
Because drinking 4 Brown Ales in one sitting wasn't smart.

 Sleep: I haven't quite mastered this one yet. And I find that the mornings are extra hard for me at elevation. Normally, I pop up and am ready to go in the mornings, but I'm always more groggy and still feel tired when I wake up in Leadville. Probably because I don't sleep as well there. But, if anyone has any good sleeping at elevation tips, I'd love to hear them!

Anyway, it's not groundbreaking stuff, but, it's not something I ever considered before my first trip out there, so, maybe it will help someone!

Trip pics and re-caps to come!

1 comment:

Gracie said...

So, since I live 32 feet below sea level, anything over a couple of thousand has me wheezing. For our Peru trip a few years ago we took acetazolamide, and it prevented altitude sickness (and we only reached 12k elevation). My husband did have some headaches, but I didn't notice anything.