Exercise at Altitude

I like to think I’m in decent shape. Truthfully, I’m just lying to myself, but I do enjoy running. I am finally back on an exercise program since leaving the States. The problem? I’m at 8,000 feet.

I think I realized I had a problem a few weeks ago. While I was drinking a glass of water, I broke out into a sweat and started huffing and puffing. Since when did drinking become exercise? I mean, yes, curling the beer to your mouth pumps the biceps, but I’ve never had my heart race as fast as it did that night with that glass of water. But, I reminded myself, I am higher than the mile high city. I’m higher that every major city in America (I think), and I’m at the third highest capital in the world. Ok, so I have an excuse to be this out of shape.

Still… I hate that feeling. I hate huffing and puffing as I walk around. Frequently, I have to stop and take a breather as I walk up a small (but intimidating) hill. Time to make a change.

I knew of an outdoor theater near by my apartment. I figured this would be a great place to kick off my workout, run a few stairs, and pump some muscles. For my first intense workout at altitude, I casually walked to where I was going to begin. But, when I got to the stadium, I was already spent. I knew this workout would be interesting.

After stretching, I took off. Sprinting up the stairs, I found the first three seconds surprisingly easy. But then, for some odd reason, my body needed oxygen. That’s when it hit me. No joke, after eight seconds, I was having trouble breathing. Each sprint took me less than twenty seconds, something that was easily accomplished in the States. Here, I was crawling within ten seconds.

I kept going. No pain, no gain. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack after every sprint, but I knew I had to push myself. I kept going and going and going. And then, after an intense 2-hour workout (at least I thought), I decided to call it quits. I looked at my watch. I barely made it twenty minutes.

Since that day, I have kept working, pushing myself harder and harder. I’m now able to run a few miles, but it still kills me. Hopefully, it’ll continue to get easier.

There’s a road I run along in the mountains… overlooking Bogotá. The view is to die for. Expect a photo journey of my run soon.


Filed under Bogota, Colombia

4 responses to “Exercise at Altitude

  1. Craig

    I didn’t notice it in Bogota. But I sure noticed it in La Paz.

  2. Chris

    that altitude can be a killer until you get used to it. i still notice the effects when snowboarding at copper or breckenridge (just under 10K feet elevation) even when living at a mile high.

    keep up the exercise, and when you return to sea level you’ll kick ass.

    i’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures and antics. keep them coming! and more pix, please.

    p.s. brad told me to tell you to stop using his name to pick up girls.

  3. Laz Paz would kill me. And Chris… I can’t wait to return to sea level! I already feel myself kicking ass! Just played futbol for a few hours… can’t move, but hey… I was at least able to keep up… somewhat.

  4. Anonymous

    keep working out and don’t become a fat-ass like your dad….love dad

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