I kind of pride myself on not giving in to the heat while many other Louisvillians are hiding indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. So I took this day to be a good opportunity to train in the unseasonably high heat.
After the first mile or so, I felt unusually sluggish and overall like I wasn’t going to be able to finish my distance goal without stopping. Determined that this was one of those mental toughness situations, I figured I should just be able to ignore signals from my body that this might not be a good idea. I did consider that I felt this way due to the heat, rather than just being physically lazy.
After pushing through some dizziness, I finally decided to slow to a walk after the first wave of nausea hit. After a minute of walking I resumed the jogging for probably another mile before I repeated the whole process. Overall I repeated this about three times over the course of three and a half miles until I made my way back to my vehicle. I remember thinking to myself that I must not be as fit as I thought I was. Maybe the heat had something to do with it, but mostly I remember feeling disappointed that I performed so poorly.
The following day I spoke with a co-worker and fellow runner about the situation. He informed me of the Air Quality Alert that was in effect during my time of peril. I was somewhat reluctant to agree that it had anything to do with it. However, I ran the same distance and route again the next day and I felt 100% better. Maybe there is something to this air quality alert stuff that is affecting those of us that don’t usually consider ourselves to be part of a sensitive group.
Editor’s note Ozone peaked at 140 on the AQI (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) on Friday, September 2nd. On the day of Dane’s second run, ozone was back in the Good range.
Healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors are considered a “sensitive group” because they have a higher level of exposure to ozone than people who are less active outdoors. KAIRE recommends that athletes scale back their outdoor exercise on Air Quality Alert days to reduce exposure to ozone. Scheduling a morning run or jog may help, since ozone builds up as the day goes on.
Healthy adults can experience a 15 to 20 percent reduction in lung function from prolonged exposure to low levels of ozone. Damage to lung tissue may be caused by repeated exposure to ozone and this could result in reduced quality of life as people age. Results of animal studies suggest that repeated exposure to ozone for several months or more may produce permanent structural damage to the lungs.