All of us know that flying across country can make us feel worn out and exhausted, but while we frequently blame the mysterious "jet lag," what is more often to blame is dehydration.
An airplane's cabin has close to zero humidity in it (a result of cabin pressure and the air conditioning systems), and passengers who are aboard a flight for more than two hours will mostly likely suffer from some dehydration (the degree to which is most likely determined by the individual). I'm flying to Denver this afternoon and our flight is four hours (it's a long way from Ft Lauderdale to the Wild West), so I will most certainly need to drink my water.
Dehydration can have several effects: muscle aches, stiffness, and soreness, headaches, itchy eyes, dry skin, bloody nose, and even constipation. Combine that with the fact that a passenger is generally asked to stay seated the entire flight, and you get people who are walking off the plane with limps and aching backs and pounding headaches. Personally, I have to take Dramamine on a flight because I get motion sick very easily, so I never chance a flight without the drug (projectile vomit is never cute). It knocks me out, so I sleep for most of any flight. Because I sleep most of a flight, I generally don't drink much water and inevitably stay seated during the duration of our air time. Add to that the fact that Dramamine gives you cotton mouth, and it's no wonder that I always feel groggy and sore after I travel by air.
Today, I am trying to hydrate as best I can by drinking lots of water, and I plan to bring a bottle with me on the plane (always drink airplane water from a bottled source; there have been several contaminants found in airline water -- if you get one of those bugs, the explosive diarhea you'll get will certainly dehydrate you). Hydration is one of the key aspects to anyone's health, but especially for a runner, so in order to lessen the effects of such a thirst inducing environment, a runner needs to board a plane prepared.
I don't know if I'll post while away for the next few days, but I return on Sunday, the 4th, and will post then! Talk to everyone soon!