Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

May 2012
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Altitude nerd

LizaLiza

If I had to list a “happy place,” Leadville at the end of May would be that place.  Here’s our outdoor classroom:


I brought my pulse oximeter along on this trip to track my o2 sats — because I’m just that nerdy.  And because I’ve read and heard how it’s better to show up the night before a race at altitude than try to acclimatize over two or three days — and I wanted to see if that was true for me.
So I flew from DC to Denver and drove directly to Leadville.  My 02 sat was 96% at 4pm when I headed out to run along Turquoise Lake.  (I’m regularly 99% in San Antonio.)  I was 94% the following morning. By 5pm I’d dropped to 89% and 12 miles around Turquoise Lake felt harder than the day before.  This morning I was back up to 93%.  I’m curious to see how the run will feel this evening.  I’ve heard the third day is the worst day as far as running performance goes during acclimatization.  I hope I don’t run too much more slowly than yesterday because I’ve got a lot of work to get done tonight.

So I wasn’t planning to show up the day before the Leadville 100, but it’ll be fun to see how much my sats increase over the next week — and how quickly.

Gotta get a cup of coffee to fuel the afternoon now.

Comments 8
  • Alison Bryant
    Posted on

    Alison Bryant Alison Bryant

    Reply Author

    Glad to hear that other people enjoy checking their O2 sats as well.  I like to check it when I am having asthma trouble, I would have loved to see what it was when I finished Jemez half marathon.  Looking forward to talking to you


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Same!  about the talking.  
      My students are having a lot of fun with the pulse ox too.  The 02 sats drop throughout the day — I was back to 90% tonight.  I wonder why that is.
      Good grief it’s beautiful here.  


  • Mike Whitenton
    Posted on

    Mike Whitenton Mike Whitenton

    Reply Author

    Keep us posted on the pulse O2 progress. I have a running vacation to the Sangre De Cristo mountains in July. Seven days and I’m deciding when to insert my 40 miler – right away or day 6? Leaning toward day 6 so I can acclimate as much as possible.


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      That sounds like a wonderful trip.  This morning my O2 sat was 93% (3.5 days total at altitude.)  My run felt about the same as it did the first afternoon I was here.  I felt and ran much slower on the Day 2 and Day 3.


  • Paige
    Posted on

    Paige Paige

    Reply Author

    Very cool!


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Hope you are having a wonderful day today.  Congratulations on the big move!  


  • Steph
    Posted on

    Steph Steph

    Reply Author

    that looks way funner than the indoor class I’m in for part of the summer… students sleeping, checking their phones, texting. Yikes.
    Would much rather be outside, even if I would still be learning calculus! haha 


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      I am glad I’m not teaching calculus right now Steph!  Wish you could be out here taking this class.