Straight off, getting the opportunity to work in Vail, Colorado was pretty sweet. Denver is a short flight away so I grabbed my friend, Frances, to join me for a couple extra days. We had expensive cocktails, laid by the pool, rode a Gondola up to 11,000 feet, sat in the hot tub…the definition of chillax. The scenery of Vail was like a postcard – the mountains surrounded us while we hiked along a rushing river full of extreme paddle boarders.
But when it came to running, the honeymoon ended. My first red flag was our first walk through the village, where I saw several racks of travel oxygen canisters. I made a joke, “Should I get one for my run tomorrow?” The next morning, I realized the joke was on me. At 8,300 feet above sea level, my lungs and body were NOT at peak performance.
Whenever I’m really struggling, I think about Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, where he says it’s just one foot in front of the other. So even if you go slow, you’re still going. Except in this case, where my lungs felt ready to explode. I found that if I stopped to catch my breath, it was almost worse, so instead I did my best to go slow and concentrate on not passing out along the manicured cobblestones of an alpine village.
Walking in Vail is picturesque; it’s nature for rich people. The trails are perfectly maintained and everything is decorated with river rock. You can pause to take in the river rapids, or do some bird-watching. Running in Vail, on the other hand, was so hellacious that I don’t even remember what I passed or how I got there. I was too busy trying not to die so I apologize for not including photos.
Though I did take one, at my half-way point, of this turf circle in the middle of the village. What is this for? I wondered, only to find out later in the afternoon that it’s where the nannies clearly take kids to play while their parents take important conference calls and shop for designer furs.
It took an epic amount of self-discipline to power through this miserable, god-forsaken run. Although a special shoutout goes to Kevin Hart, who’s voice popped in at 2.90 and exclaimed, “You’re 90% finished!” just as I was about to fully give up. (Kevin Hart is the motivational voice on the Nike+ running app on Sundays if you are confused).
Instead, I’ll just show you the topnotch bruschetta and summer shandy I had post-run.
That being said, my running is in full effect back in Portland at sea-level.