I’m sure this will just provide my mother with more fodder for anxiety, but I thought I’d write about it anyway. I have this very annoying tendency to randomly get dizzy while running. It’s not every time, and it seems to come in stretches. As a doctor, I realize that dizzy is a very vague term, so let me clarify. Usually about 20-25 minutes into a run, I’ll start to feel a little cold and clammy and like I can’t focus well. Then I’ll just start feeling increasingly lightheaded like I’m going to faint. It’s certainly not vertigo because it doesn’t feel like the world is spinning. I just feel very weak and faint and like I need to sit down. Sometimes I can push through it and finish the run but then I need to come home and sit down for a while before the feeling goes away. Sometimes it gets bad enough that I have to stop and walk and once or twice I’ve had to actually sit down. It usually takes about 10 minutes to go away, and then I can usually resume my run without any problems. Very bizarre.
I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what’s causing it. I even went so far as to (gasp!) see a doctor about it. They couldn’t figure it out either, but I did have an EKG and a stress test, both of which were normal. Of course, I didn’t actually feel dizzy during the stress test so it wasn’t particuarly helpful.
For a while, I thought it was because of poor conditioning but it happened even when I was in great shape and training for the marathon. Then I thought maybe it was related to overexertion or runnning in the heat, but it can happen even during easy runs in cool weather (and, interestingly, it even happend a few times while swimming). Then I thought it was because of dehydration or hypoglycemia while running, but eating and drinking well doesn’t make any difference. My current theory is that I’m just crazy, and I should learn to live with it. I’m pretty happy with this theory, but my husband is determined to figure out what’s going on.
The only other thing I can think of is that I somehow have occasional vasovagal episodes (sudden dilation of blood vessels) while running which causes my blood pressure to drop suddenly and makes me feel faint. If this is the case, I suppose I could test it by just taking my blood pressure when I get the feeling, although this seems slightly challenging since I only get the feeling while running. On the other hand, if this does prove to be the cause, I don’t think there’s much I can do about it, which brings me back to my current theory of I should just accept it and learn to live with it.