Running has always been a major source of stress relief in my life. Every time I run, I can feel the mind-clearing endorphins coursing through my body, and whatever was bothering me before I stepped outside simply melts away. Even when I’m on vacation, I still try to find time to run, not just to ease my travel-related nerves, but to also explore the area and learn more about where I’m staying. So, during a recent trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I went out for a spontaneous run, casually forgetting the fact that running at a high altitude is way different from running on my usual street in Long Island. Spoiler alert: This run was the hardest of my entire life, to put it lightly.
I guess I should’ve seen this coming since, as soon as I landed in New Mexico for my four-day trip, I immediately began experiencing the dehydrating and nausea-inducing effects of altitude sickness. I hadn’t thought too much about this before leaving for the trip, so I was pretty confused when I started feeling dizzy and exhausted seemingly out of nowhere. However, according to Altitude.org, it’s actually really common for people to experience these symptoms when spending time up in the mountains.
Running through the clouds is honestly as magical as it sounds — until altitude sickness makes it nearly impossible to breathe, that is.
"Hydration is key. The dry climates can dehydrate you quickly by zapping moisture from your body," he tells Elite Daily. "Moreover, your body is trying to balance the PH in your blood, and this happens through frequent urination. Do your body a favor — drink often, before, during, and after your adventure to [a higher] altitude."
So, even though I almost passed out in the process, I’d say running in the clouds was a great decision, one that I don’t regret at all. Yes, I could have done more to protect myself and my well-being, but looking back, I loved the challenge this gave me, and I know I learned some valuable lessons from this experience.
Plus, athletes often train at higher altitudes to prepare for big events (because "normal" altitudes feel like a piece of cake compared to this kind of training), so I’m definitely curious to see if my first run back in New York will feel easier following my Santa Fe struggles.
I’m no athlete, but I do have a newfound appreciation for my badass body for carrying me through the hardest run of my life.
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