Something that makes me feel better

I’ve been feeling like a slug lately.

I know that seems an absurd statement for me to make, having recently run 11 miles.

“You’re lapping everyone on the couch!” my supportive friends say.

True, true. But for many of us runners, our point of comparison is not external. My biggest struggle as a runner is not against that person just ahead of me in a race but rather against myself, against fatigue, seeing how far I can push my own boundaries.

Because I have run a half marathon before, I know where my boundaries lie.

The last time I ran a distance race, in 2007, I completed 13.1 miles at 10:45 pace – while getting over a cold.

I look at that pace and look at my current times in the 12-somethings and start to feel disappointed in myself. I know I can do better than this. I have done better in the past.

I have to keep reminding myself of the differences.

“I am 6 years older now.”

That does not make me feel better.

“I am about 10 pounds heavier now.”

That does not make me feel better.

Then, tonight, on our evening run, Bugman said, “You’re running at a higher altitude now.”

*blink blink*

My 2007 race was run at about 1,000 feet above sea level, with a “feels like” oxygen percentage of 20.1. Here in western Nebraska, I’m often running at an elevation of around 4,000 feet, with a “feels like” oxygen percentage of 17.9.***


Even better, the marathon I’m training for will be at about 250 feet elevation.

THAT makes me feel better!

***As a science nerd, I feel the need to qualify this statement. The percentage of oxygen in the air does not change with elevation. Rather, the density of air molecules decreases with altitude, so the 21% of molecules in the air that are oxygen have a harder time making it into your bloodstream at a high elevation at which they are at lower concentration. This is a fun article¬†on the subject that a hypochondriac / physiogeek would appreciate. I got the “feels like” percentages from this chart (but I am unsure of its validity).

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw


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