Friday, December 08, 2006

What is WRONG with runners?


…HA’s dad was a runner before the word “jogger” was invented. Her sister ran for 20 years (no longer, hip replacement). Her brother’s wife runs, their kid runs long distance.

…Must be the zotz, the high.

…Writing in the NYT (Dec 7, 2006), Gretchen Reynolds talks about overachieving older people who have somehow translated the admonition to exercise vigorously for 30 minutes a day into running the distance between Washington and Baltimore.

…Six marathoners have died of heart attacks in 2006, compared with almost none in past years.

…Of course more people are running these contests than ever. According to marathonguide.com, 80,000 more people ran marathons in 2005 than in 2000.

…Some docs at Mass General tested 60 entrants before the 2005 Boston Marathon. Each got an echocardiogram and were checked for blood markers that indicate possible heart trouble.

…All were normal before the race. Twenty minutes after finishing, though, 60% of them had elevated markers and 40% had markers elevated enough to indicate destruction of heart muscle cells.

…They also had heart rhythm changes.

…All of them felt normal afterward, but the researchers thought their heart muscles might have been “stunned.”

…Can hearts “say” WTF?

…Apparently.

…The docs thought maybe marathons might, repeat might, give symptomless heart disease to introduce itself abruptly, as Reynolds put it.

…People with heart disease in the family should be especially cautious before haring off cross-country. “You can’t outrun your genes,” one researcher said.

…The doctors telling people to run? Runners. One of them even stopped to help one of the stricken runners before completing the marathon himself.

…It’s an addiction.

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