I was short of breath just from changing into my running clothes. Beach Copacabana in Bolivia is 3810m above sea level. I didn’t feel like walking, let alone running. But this would be the highest place I have ever run at, and that motivated me enough.
It was one of ours any many spontaneous ideas. While most of the people were paddling a huge duck boat on Titicaca Lake or eating hot dogs on the shore, we went for a run.
Not our regular run. We were almost 4000m above sea level. The air is so thin; it’s hard to breathe just walking the streets. But we like to do unusual things and consider ourselves runners. After spending more than one month in high altitudes of Peru, we were acclimatized. So, how hard could it be?
I saw the way people were looking at us almost saying: “What the hell are they doing?”
There are several trails around Lake Titicaca for biking and running. We chose the flat once along the shore of Lake Titicaca.
The sun was shining strongly but the light breeze made being outside more pleasant.
I was out of breath after one minute of running. Not a good start. I pushed through, as I always do. And I made it worse. So the new plan was run a few minutes, then walk to catch my breath. Then I realized this might not work. And it didn’t. I kept staring at the lake and the sun’s reflection that made the water sparkle.
My sunglasses were not good enough, the sun rays were shining straight into my eyes through the gap slightly above the frame. Sweat or soreness has never been an issue. But to not be able to breathe fully was a new running experience.
I made it as far as I felt I was still having a little bit of fun. That is usually my problem – trying to squeeze out the most of the experience. And this time, I did as well.
With our tongues almost out on the knees, we looked at each other with Michal, smiled and I know we both were thinking the same: It’s fun anyway.
Proud of ourselves, hard earned 8km, we rested along the shore and let the sun dry our sweaty bodies. Our lungs were tired; it was the hardest workout ever for them.
At the end of the day, high altitude running turned out to be an exhausting and fun experience. No matter how tired I was after, I would do it again. It’s experiences like this that make people more resilient to hard situations.
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