Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Early Week 5 Update

Here is a real-time update. I just woke up. It is 6:45am. I am groggy as hell and alone in my tent at 7500 feet. Kathy had a meeting in Austin, TX - flew out yesterday, so I have two nights alone. I am psyched to workout today but wish I felt more energized. The temperature inside the tent right now is 88° F. Yep, I am soaked from my own sweat but I think I am getting accustomed to sleeping in the heat. Never before could I even bear the slightest heat at night. Now, I can stand it but look forward to cooler days on the glacier. Last night's uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep was one of the best I had so far in the tent.

Yesterday, I emailed Brian Oestrike from hypoxico.com to ask him several questions. He replied last night but I did not have a chance to read the email. Here were my questions with Brian's summarized responses (in blue) and my thoughts following (in red):

  1. What do people do to reduce the temperature inside the tent?  We keep our house at a rather cool 65-68 degrees F at night but the tent gets up to the mid-90's with both of us inside.  Any ideas how we might be able to reduce the inside temp?  Brian suggested we turn the AC down a bit (67 rather than 70), move the generator away from the tent, and use a small fan in the tent to circulate air.  We intend to do all three to reduce our tropical rain forest climate to something more manageable. 
  2. My wife and I both experienced great boosts in our workout performance in just this first week.  I figure most of these gains are just placebo but have you heard of anyone experiencing performance gains this early?  Brian wrote..."Umm, I would love to say yes but its hard to say as no one has studied such a short period of time. Most likely If you are seeing benefits its not hematological but from increased capillary and mitochondrial densities.. You might also be more focused on your all around training which tends to be the case when your training 24-7".  I agree with his remarks.  There is very little empirical evidence for short-term gains.  A few articles suggest immediate effects on spO2 - an obvious one at best - but all of the deeper biomarkers tend to be studied after at least 4 weeks in a hypoxic environment.  Any gains we see now are probably due to some some-term physiological changes and, perhaps, better fitness.  More on this later...
  3. As you know, I plan to keep acclimating to higher altitudes but my wife would like to stop at 9K - perhaps go to 12.5K but not any higher.  What do you recommend we do when we both want the benefits of the hypoxic training - via live high, train low - but require slightly different protocols?  This is a fun question that I can't say is that common.. The best bet would be to vary your daytime activities and crank up your active altitude training as high altitude races draw near.  What have both of your respective oxygen saturations been first thing in the morning? We generically suggest targeting around 92% and so it might be that you can both comfortably sleep around 10k but we'll get a better sense of this as your acclimatization builds and so I'D say we wait and see.  We both seems to be acclimating fine to the slow progression (500 feet per day).  Neither of us dipped below 93% yet so I guess we might be comfortable at higher elevations - a point we shall visit shortly since we are at 7500 ft today.  I still wonder if 12,500 will be sufficient for me later as I get closer to leaving for Everest.  More on this later after I talk with Brian on the phone.  

Now that is what I call great service!  Brian rocks and he is willing to chat with Kathy about her training preparation as well.  Anyone interested in this hypoxic training, I suggest you send Brian a note.  Thanks Brian. 

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