Over the past several years, Ryan McGuire has run more miles than most run in a lifetime.
Before last year, the Kindergarten teacher from Middleburg, Pa., had never trained at altitude, however.
Enter the Mancos Project.
After reading about the high-altitude training center in a magazine, McGuire decided to travel to Southwest Colorado.
Kicking off his training last summer with 18-mile daily workouts, McGuire increased his weekly workload to more than 100 miles.
In the best shape of his life by the end of last summer, McGuire returned to the East and immediately put his training to the test.
Beginning last fall with a half marathon, hee registered a personal best time of 1 hour, 7 minutes and felt "comfortable" doing it.
"My half marathon time dropped five minutes," he said.
McGuire then entered the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon in February and despite an injury, finished second with a time of 2:28:21.
"I got hurt for a little bit last winter, and I wasn't in my best form, but I still placed well," said McGuire.
Convinced that another summer of high-altitude training could push him over the top, McGuire returned to Mancos this summer and has trained hard.
Running an average of 130 miles per week, McGuire said that he is in the best shape of his life and excited to race this fall.
"(The high altitude) is unbelievable," McGuire said. "It makes you want to get back to sea level. When I get back, all the hills that we have back east, I just coast up them."
As for his plans this fall, McGuire will compete the Chicago Marathon in October and hopes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. In the event that McGuire did qualify, he plans to return to Mancos next summer and train.
McGuire said that securing a spot on the U.S. team would be a long shot, but he hasn't given up,
"Obviously, it would be a dream to make the team," said McGuire.
Between now and then, McGuire plans to run on local roads and cherish the experience.
"I just forget about stuff, run and enjoy it," McGuire said.