Lab rat for a week

Australia, December 14, 2004

This week I am staying at the AIS in the altitude chamber. For seven days I will sleep at the equivalent of 2800m and train hard at sea level (well actually Canberra is about 600m).

My body will be closely monitored everyday by the expert scientists at the AIS by taking blood and undergoing strenuous fitness testing. Some of the tests include body weight, skinfolds, blood tests, heart rate and the awful hypoxic ventilatory response test. The HVR test requires you to sit comfortably wearing a mask that will increase the percent of nitrogen you breathe over approx. 10 minutes. I cracked and pulled the mask off at 7500m altitude - before the end of the test! I started sweating, spinning and seeing stars!

The purpose of all this testing is to try and find the best possible preparation program in order to maximise my performance potential on the day of the Commonwealth Games competition. We are trying to find out what program is most likely to work for me as an individual, so that there is a higher chance of me having a good day, on the right day!

I will attack a fitness test on the ergo this Saturday after a specific six days of preparation and compare it to the test I attempted on Monday.

We have several more specific camps scheduled at the AIS this year, so even if we have not got it exactly right this time - we will have time to try new things.

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