If Denver is considered the 'mile-high city', then Colorado Springs would be called a 'mile-and-then-some.' I've enjoyed running at sea-level for the past year, and I knew that coming to CO Springs would be a jolt to my system. And yes, I've been huffing and puffing at an unreasonably rapid pace ever since I got here. I can feel my apparently tiny, inefficient red blood cells screaming for more oxygen, which my lungs are currently unable to provide. They say it takes about 3 months for your body to replace my sickly red blood cells with larger, more efficient ones. Three months is about what I've got here, so perhaps there is hope.

There's a reason why the U.S. Olympic Training Center is here. Colorado is considered to be one of the 'fittest' states in the U.S., and it's proven that people who live at altitude tend to live longer (less likely to die of heart disease). And although I've seen plenty of Iron-Man caliber people trotting down the trail like a gazelle (a gazelle with excellent lung capacity and humungous red blood cells), there's also plenty of people gasping for air, just like me. At least I'm not alone. My first few runs were pretty stop-and-go, but I think I can feel my body starting to adjust. I'm not wheezing any more like a cat with a hairball.

I don't know if this has anything to do with Colorado, but my big toe poked through both layers of my left shoe since I've been here. My feet have worn all my running shoes that way (it runs in the family - my sister does that too), but I've never had such a large gaping hole. Since this is the first occurrence, I will assume it is the altitude. I can blame everything on that now.

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