Running the Steps in Altitude
After hiking through the Red Rock Canyon trails out in Colorado, my friend ilana drove us over to the Red Rock Amphitheater. Having never heard of this place before (yes music is not one of my expertise categories in life), I was intrigued to see this venue carved out in the middle of these beautiful Red Rock Canyons. We toured the “wall of fame” and saw all the artists and bands that performed over the years: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, The Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead, R.E.M., Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Coldplay, and of course local folk rocker John Denver (and hundreds more not listed).
The amphitheater is a rock structure where concerts are given in the open-air amphitheater. There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock angled outwards from stage right, several large outcrops angled outwards from stage left and a seating area for up to 9,450 people in between. This was some sight to see during the daytime, I can only fathom the experience at night under the stars.
Overlooking the railing at the top of the amphitheatre, we saw row after row of seating (no seatbacks, just benches). The rows were spaced apart to the point where you would have to take one very large stride to reach the next row. There were a handful of people running the stairs from bottom to top & top to bottom while other people were running up one row and then down another. And of course, you had a couple characters who were flat out insane doing all sorts of intense pushup’s and lunges from one side to the other in the seating area (it hurt to look at!).
I had every intent on soaking up the surrounding scenery from the impressive architectural layout to standing on a stage where so many legendary performers have played over the years. However, watching people train at this venue quickly became too good an opportunity to pass up. I had to improvise and seize the opportunity…
I asked my friend ilana to film several clips for Run 4 Papa campaign in the amphitheater at altitude. Just like running in the south can help prepare for long distance races due to the heat, the altitude is a solid test of how fit one actually is. Not surprisingly, while running these steps and rows, the altitude attacked my lungs and forced shorter breaths as fatigue set in at a faster rate. The recovery time was far harsher than I envisioned, but another important learning experience that will be invaluable out on The Great Wall of China.
All in all, it was a memorable experience and one which I was appreciative to share with my friends and all of you who continue to support the cause to raise awareness for PPA research on behalf of all patients and families fighting everyday for a cure.
To watch video of this improvised run, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK-THYnggNQ