This morning’s local paper had stories about five participants in the upcoming St. George Marathon. Their experiences were sad, expected, and funny all at once.
One of the competitors entered in the marathon runs 14 miles three days a week on a treadmill, works out two days a week with weights, and bicycles the two days of the week end. Overtrained? Of course. He was out just a few days ago and picked up the pace on a down hill (real as opposed to treadmill) run. He pulled a hamstring muscle. He still plans to compete.
Another competitor has developed a form of asthma that hits long distance runners. They use their aerobic system so extensively that their upper respiratory system takes a beating which sometimes results in an inflammation of the tract and sometimes lower into the lung. She knows she will have a bout with symptoms after the event, but she plans to compete anyway.
Yet another trains at 5AM so she can get her daughters up and off to school in the morning. She gets 4 hours of sleep a night. She didn’t look very good in her picture. Just days ago she sprained a tendon in the front of her foot descending the stairs. She plans to compete nonetheless.
Another has Parkinsons and isn’t sure he will make it. No evidence that he has been helped or harmed by doing marathons. But, I would bet on it that the consquences are negative.
Finally, the other is a paraplegic who does the marathon in a wheel chair. Bravo for him. But, on the other hand there are better and safer things to do. But, it is his choice. Well, he blew a tire on a downhill run and flipped the chair over. It didn’t kill or hurt him. This time. He hopes to have it back together in time for the race. The St. George Marathon has some steep and long downhills.
Are they having fun? Is what they are doing healthful? Do they seem a bit compulsive? I think so. What I do isn’t always safe, but it sure is fun and I have compulsion to set any records. Though, I would like to hit more home runs over the fence this year than last in the Huntsman World Senior Games next week. It shouldn’t be hard, but home run hitting is one of those areas of extreme human accomplishment. My paper on home run hitting and steroids will be up on the site sometime next week.