I woke up on Saturday at 4:30 am mountain time (6:30 eastern time). Whichever time zone you're in, that's still too damn early for a Saturday. The first CrossFit class wasn't until 8 am, so I had some time to kill. I searched on Yelp for the best local breakfast place but none of them opened until 8 or 9 am. My only two options were IHOP (open 24 hours) and the hotel's restaurant, which didn't open until 6:30 am. I decided the better move would be to wait until 6:30 for the hotel's restaurant to open.
Boulder is an interesting town. Technically it's a city but to me it felt like a large town. I had a nice 1.5 mile walk to the box from my hotel which was fine because I still had an hour to kill and the weather was beautiful.
At CrossFit Roots the members were friendly and welcoming and the trainers were awesome and very accommodating. But that's what is so great about this community, no matter where you go in the world if there's a CrossFit box, you know you're with good people. What I did not realize though was that I was about to enter a world of hurt.
In teams of two, complete five rounds for time of:
95 pound squat clean, 30 reps
Run 800 meter
The reps could be split up anyway you wanted but both team members had to run a total of 400 meters each per round.
I was paired up with a guy named Chris. Our team name was Paleo Cheesesteak. It got a few chuckles. Chris wanted to scale the weight of the squat clean to 75 lbs and once we were into round two, I was glad we did. The altitude completely wrecked me. I did the 400 meter run first for our team and by the time I got back my lungs felt like they were closing up. I've never had an asthma attack but I'm pretty sure what I was experiencing was close to it. I tagged Chris and he took off running his 400. I proceeded hunch over gasping for air and grabbing at my shorts like they're going to keep me up - the classic CrossFit rest pose. One of the women in the class asked me where I was from and I told her, "sea level."
After that I was just trying not to pass out. The squat cleans were making me dizzy and I was seeing stars. The running was the worst part though. I wasn't wheezing at all but I had zero air in my lungs. Everyone in the class ended up scaling the workout to four rounds. I'm not even sure what our time was at the end but it was over 30 minutes. Training at altitude is no joke, and at 5,430 ft., I can see why Boulder is home to so many top-level endurance athletes. Thanks again to Nicole, Eric and Stefanie Christensen for letting me drop in, and to another CF Roots member named Chris for giving me a ride back to my hotel.