Author Topic: Flatlanders  (Read 4753 times)


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« on: February 18, 2019, 05:38:30 PM »
I am looking at doing either the ascent or marathon. Have any flat landers finished the race with less than 2 days acclimation? I can only arrive a couple of days before the race.




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Re: Flatlanders
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 10:15:44 PM »
Here's part of the answer from 5 years ago on a Leadville 100 thread- "Basically. Either day/night before or 2-3 weeks before is what most studies indicate is best..."
And increase water consumption.

I hope someone can add to this rambling, but here's one take, to be sure you GET one.

The idea behind getting in right before, if you don't have weeks to spend, is that "It gets worse before it gets better" so come in Friday, and do the Ascent Saturday is the way a LOT of folks do it, because they can't stay long enough to get past the 'it's gets worse first' stage.

I have friends and relatives from Kansas who have done the Ascent, and/or Marathon, many times, some with great success (Placing in Age Group, Top 10 in Marathon, etc.) and they always arrive the day before, get their packet, eat some Carbs, sleep, hit it Sat. morning, and sometimes Double on Sunday (some will double this year).
And let's not get Arkansas folks started- there are TONS of folks who come from flat-lands, who come right before the race.

Coming from Flat-Lands, it's a true commitment to fitness, and Incline Treadmill will really help. But think of Entry Fee as an Add-On Gym Membership, and just GET YOUR MONEY'S WORTH.
As for arrival, most would say getting here Friday, and going up Saturday is probably better than being here just another day or 2 before that- but I can't quote chapter and verse, and if you were to find studies that show otherwise, I would certainly enjoy adding their info to the knowledge base.

I have to mention that not everyone, regardless of fitness, does well going up Pikes Peak. I did know one guy, College Running Team-mate of my brother's in Kansas, who had WON the largest race in KS (at the time at least)- the Wichita River Run 10K, who came out, made it to A-Frame in about an hour and a half (pretty great for 9 miles up), and then the Altitude just destroyed him, and it took him an HOUR a mile the last 3 miles.
When his wife went by him he was so incapacitated he replied to her "Are you ok...?" with a series of head wags and indecipherable blubbering.
To add insult to injury, just when it was all over at the finish-line he projectile vomited- he was truly in the throes of Altitude Cerebral Edema, and got down as fast as he could. He said he would never come back- and he hasn't. So for an unlucky few, 'being fit' simply is not enough.

But most folks 'survive' a lot better than that, and find the challenge of Pikes Peak so alluring they come back again and again if they can. It's very difficult to improve, as any "faster you go down low...", when it's tempting, could mean you'll just be "slower up top" when it so ridiculously hard, so how to balance the energy, over 3+ or 4+ or 5+ hours, is very intriguing. The final hours of challenge, "Keeping your head in the game" at the higher altitudes, and trying to level your "energy output" vs even-speed up high (slowing down when it's steeper, increasing speed ever so slightly when it's not as steep) and getting it all right, can be truly exhilarating.

I'm gonna say start with the Ascent. There's no other Marathon in the World, with a 10 hour cutoff, and I'm just not sure folks should start with that. However I did encounter a "Marathon Maniac" who had signed up for the Pikes Peak Marathon, as his "Marathon in Colorado" at about the 7.5 hour mark as we came down the trail into the W's, which are a brutally steep (mostly 12%) downhill section within a mile and a third of the pavement, who confided in me that "He didn't know this was a Trail Race...". Let THAT sink in for a minute! It's a complicated entry, with qualifications and tons of warning and info about the course all over the Website. But even "America's Ulitmate Challenge" which was a big slogan of the Pikes Peak Marathon at the time, didn't alert him to that the Marathon was NOT in fact, run exclusively on the Pikes Peak Highway. So I guess if you're a Serious Marathoner, you might be able to go for it. Haha.

Below are some new notes I amassed in 2015- I share to give you every chance to make a difference in your journey, and to let you see why it is what it is- Good Luck! The local club that trains for the Ascent and Marathon has been at it since late November, but you've still got time, just don't dally!

I tell a joke at about 12,000 feet, saying to folks hiking when I'm training, "That whole "Will to Live Thing..." It's SO over-rated" with a big smile. People bust up with laughter about it, at that Altitude, because it's perfectly TRUE! It's very hard, no matter what 'Plan' you once had, to maintain any kind of "Race" instinct, when what you're really struggling with, is the will to Live! LOL. That's why folks who live here and train a LOT on the Mtn, as the race approaches, have such a distinct advantage, but you and I won't see them, and it's an Event everyone finds challenge in- I promise.

Pikes Peak New Notes

For every 1000 feet above 5000 feet will lose 3% of your VO2. So on top of the Peak there is a 27% reduction in your bodys ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles.
However, this is AFTER training at altitude so most people are going to suffer even more.

In dealing with Altitude, in general, you can follow the 2 day, 2 week, 2 month plan or the 3 As.
Lots of neat little things happen in the first 2 days: Increased pulse, breathing etc. This is the Adjust phase.
Lots of cool bigger things happen over the next two weeks. Red blood cell count, hematocrit etc. This is the Acclimation phase.
Over the next 2 months most of whatever else is going to happen, will happen and level out, including refinements to those things mentioned above as well as neurological responses and hormone levels. This is the Adaptation phase.

Oxygen Availability Difference of Altitude
Pikes Peak has 61% of the 02 availability at Sea Level. Pikes Peak has 74% of the Oxygen availability of 6,000ft.
In general during high pressure it will feel like you are running at a lower altitude, and during low pressure it will feel like you are running at a higher altitude.

Brooks, B. A., Roberts, A. C., Butterfield, G. E., Wolfel, E. E., & Reeves, J. T. (1994). Altitude exposure increases reliance on glucose. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), Supplement abstract 120.
Altitude exposure increases the utilization of blood glucose at both rest and in exercise. Active skeletal muscle is the predominant site of glucose disposal during high altitude exercise.

Brooks, B. A., Roberts, A. C., Butterfield, G. E., Wolfel, E. E., & Reeves, J. T. (1994). Acclimatization to 4,300 m altitude decreases reliance on fat as a substrate and increases dependency on blood glucose. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), Supplement abstract 121.
Altitude decreases reliance on free fatty acids as a fuel and increases the use of blood glucose in both rest and exercise.

Butterfield, G. E., Mazzeo, R. S., Reeves, J. T., Wolfel, E. E., & Brookes, G. A. (1996). Exercise responses at high altitude: The Pikes Peak 1991 experiment. Medicine and Science in Exercise and Sports, 28(5), Supplement abstract 1.
Performance at high altitude (4,300 m - ~14,107Ft) primarily uses carbohydrate, rather than lipids (fats), for fuel. Since carbohydrate is not as abundant as fat in the body, constant and sufficient carbohydrate replenishment is necessary, just for survival let alone athletic endeavor.

Implication. The demand for carbohydrate is modified at altitude, fluid and carbohydrate replenishment should be emphasized more than at sea-level.

Jasper's Note- So you gotta TAKE, and Take IN, MORE "GO JUICE"(as my kids like to call it) THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD FOR THE "TIME" that YOU'LL BE (AT THE HIGHEST ALTITUDES) Above Treeline. Of course here's another situation where getting the balance right is a big deal- because it's hard to estimate your exertion level, which will decrease your ability to 'Take In' in that Sport-Drink, but just know you 'Need' more Simple Carbs than for a similar time doing other kinds of running/hiking, at low altitude.
And use "TIME" BECAUSE DISTANCE AT 12,000FT-14,115FT IS really IRRELEVANT to anything at lower altitudes- those last 3 miles are 30mins each, until proven otherwise! So the question is, how much "CytoMax" or "Tailwind" or "Gu" or "Cranked" or "Skratch" or "Base Performance" or whatever, do you need, for An hour and a half, NOT for 3 miles of flat pavement at sea level!

Lastly, Beet Juice the night before, and before the event (if you practice and know your gut can handle it), is free oxygen, by reducing Oxygen Consumption during sub-maximal exercise. But you better start at 1hour 11% Treadmill on weekends now, go to 2Hour late in March and into April, 3hour in May/June, and 4 hours on Treadmill, at a combo of 11% and 15% in July into August, if you think Beet Juice is going to really help if you're not in shape! Actually once you've done 4 Hours a few times on Treadmill at 11% and 15%, you KNOW you're as ready as you can be coming from even Sea Level. Just load those drinks into a 6-pack bottle holder you keep close, and bring a nice big towel!

Best of Luck- Jasper.


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Re: Flatlanders
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 11:16:36 AM »
Thank you Jasper
Great info

FYI - I am going to try this theory out in June when I attempt the Mt Evans Ascent - Get there the day before

Otis Jame

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Re: Flatlanders
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2022, 07:14:01 PM »
If you're looking to do either the ascent among us or marathon, it's important to have a good amount of flat landers completed the race with less than 2 days acclimation. This will help you to be more prepared for the harder parts of the race, and you'll be able to focus on the easier parts more easily.