Monday, March 15, 2010

Is Running a Marathon a Health Risk?

Running tip: Always carry an ID with you when you run. Road I.D. is a great option, but a driver's license or any identification card will do. You just never know what might happen out there.


Did you guys hear about the report that came out today saying that marathoning is a health risk because it stiffens the arteries, thereby stressing the heart? Basically, the study contends that running is VERY good for you - to a point - then it can be dangerous. Despina Kardara, author of the report states, "The cardiovascular system is like a sports car engine. If you do not use it, it will decay, but if you run it too fast for too long, you might burn out."

Take a look at my Examiner article about this study and let me know what you think. Does it change your mind about running long distances, or do you think that this is just one random study that does not apply to you and that the odds are in your favor?

I'm of the opinion that the benefits of running far outweigh the risks. I tend to live my life doing what I love, rather than fretting about every little thing that could happen. This especially applies to something like running that is so advantageous both mentally and physically. I truly don't think I'll die running a marathon. But, I will always go for yearly physicals and blood work and continue to take care of myself in a responsible way. These days it seems you can find any statistic to support or undermine what you do, eat, or drink. Everyone has to find what works for them.

And, to those of you who asked if the paparazzi follows me around me house since I have so many pictures of myself doing odd things, the answer is "yes." I have a paparazzi comprised of my two children who have their own cameras and are bored. That's why I have tons of memories like this (yes, indeed that is me dancing in a French maid's costume. Go figure):


Random pool shot:

Doing what moms do:

Taken by my husband, 'nuf said:

Can't I get some privacy? I mean EVER?


Drinking: H2O

57 comments:

  1. i think i'm going to trust the study with 100K people more than the one with 50. maybe i'm crazy like that. it's probably from all the running i do.

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  2. Hmm..? You have two different studies with different outcomes on the surface, at least in your Examiner article. Was the first saying any person running at least one or two marathons a year will have this issue? Plus the outcome also is nothing new for male runners. Enlarged heart and stiff arota's has already been documentated previous to this LD Male runners.

    I will need to see both reports to make and apple to apple, apples to orange look. Looking at the summary and the data. It is a truism with most excerise - moderation has been found to be the best approach. Yet we all have slightly different DNA. Moderaton for one might be 12 miles a week running, while 30 miles is moderation for another.

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  3. I liked your reference and link re the National Runners' Health Study completed in 2009. Testing 107,000 runners vs 49 is significant.

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  4. I am hardly concerned with marathoning being a health risk. There are so many other worse things i could be doing that have much more stress on the body. Granted it is dangerous and you need to make sure you get your physical and that your doctor knows what your into, but life is life. If your meant to have something insane happen, it would happen either way- just a matter of when.

    that pic of your ass and you sitting on the toilet make my day! your effing hilarious!

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  5. Only you would post a picture of yourself on the toilet. LMAO!!!

    This "study" definitely doesn't change my opinion on long distance running. The way I see it, people can likely prove in one way or another that absolutely EVERYTHING is bad for you... but also god for you.

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  6. I would not change my behavior based on the results of one study. The best advice is what you suggested in your article regarding consulting a physician throughout your training. Thanks for sharing the study results!
    BTW, cute picture of you in the French maid's outfit!

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  7. It's pretty fuzzy but I seem to remember it is possible to have high centralized blood pressure and low peripheral blood pressure (the cuff measures peripheral, which usual is indicative of central, but not always). This is really bad news, since it means the studies do not contradict each other. I am a marathoner with high blood pressure....however, not the kind referred to in either study. Eyes glazed over yet?
    E
    BTW, great blog!

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  8. OMG on the toliet seriously funny, but not at my house! Ok so I hate these reports about marathons being bad for people

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  9. It's a small study and I am not sure of the details - was it crossectional or prospective, how much were the 49 runners actually running, etc, any covariates? I do think that running changes our bodies a lot, I just don't know how! I don't think the more running the better. Just like anything else, moderation is key. But moderation in my book is anything below 70-80 miles:) Oh, and a bigger sample study is not necessarily better; with a large enough sample anything can become statistically significant!

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  10. I do think that the body has limits and that it's different for everyone. I was training for my first half until I got to a point where I was just burnt out and I was feeling an injury coming on. Maybe I'm not meant to run that far or maybe I'm just not ready yet. But I do think others are built to do it and can do it just fine. Different strokes for different folks. ;-)

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  11. Now there is another study reporting a greater incidence of coronary artery calcification in marathon runners- http://www.daveelger.net/2010/03/marathon-runners-found-to-have-more.html

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  12. I have to say that the study done in '09 had significantly more test subjects then this newer study. I keep hearing so many contradicting verdicts when studies are done that at this point I just have to take them with a grain of salt. Running has helped people lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and have better quality of life. I think that running marathons, if trained for correctly, can have a positive impact on a person's health.

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  13. Always enjoy your posts and always laugh, no matter how serious you get.

    Say what they want to say, I believe the benefits of running outweigh the negatives.
    I feel happy, I fuss less at my significant other. He won't get so fed up with me and have me murdered. :)

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  14. My husband has taken so many of those ass shots - I'm glad I'm not the only one married to a dork! I don't know what I'm going to when Sophie learns how to work a camera. I'm sure I'll have the toilet shots then too. :)

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  15. Oh...my...gosh...I cannot believe you actually posted a picture of yourself on the toilet. Oh wait, I guess I can...only you. :)

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  16. I can only hope that when "my" time comes, I'm either running, biking, swimming or swinging my kettlebell........
    love the pics!

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  17. I definitely agree that the benefits outweigh the risks and I am not concerned about death from running at all! How many people do you know have died from running? How many have health problems and/or have died because of being unhealthy? Enough said.

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  18. I am laughing...You totally rock for posting the picture on the toilet...so funny! I can't wait for my kids to be old enought to take pictures. How fun are you guys.

    Love your training tips too...They are always really good.

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  19. i am totally cracking up at your pictures and the fact that you posted them!! i love your sense of humor :) and yeah even if it might cause problems, i am still going to run long runs and marathons!

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  20. omgosh i am DYING at your pics LOL

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  21. for the report, wasn't the study with only ~50 peeps, not a very big pool for results. so i'm sticking with the running is good for you camp.

    and my kids would love seeing you go 'pee pee on the potty'.

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  22. A study of only 50 people including only 7 women is not big enough in my opinion. I just don't think it's a big enough sampling to get real results.

    That said, like anything, I think there can be too much. It's up to us to listen to our bodies and decide what that is.

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  23. Some say it's okay to drink red wine and others say don't. Some say eat chocolate and others oppose. This is just one more controversial do and don't.
    I think what is important is that individuals do what is right for them. You just have to get your body ready for it (and I love getting mine ready for chocolate).

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  24. Your pictures made me laugh out loud. :P

    As for running, I'm just going to do my best to make sure I'm preparing as best I can when I train for my marathon later this year. Living increases your risk of dying, so I'm not too concerned.

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  25. WOW. Thanks for calling attention to sample size. If this study is getting any attention at all their sample needs to be representative of the total population. With 7 women.. I don't think so. Isn't that Statistics 101?

    Stories like this Greek study really annoy me. There really could be a chance of developing a condition...BUT I'm guessing the majority of the people who are going to be interested in this story are non-runners...many of whom probably have high blood pressure/weight issues already :-/

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  26. Thank god I finished eating my oatmeal before seeing that last photo or else it might have come back up through my nose.

    You are a brave woman. Or crazy. Eh, I'll go with brave.

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  27. Gotta love poorly sampled small studies. Outrageously contradictory results and their first assumption is that the rest of the world is wrong.

    Unfortunately, no matter how small the study was, rags like RW, Men's Health, and Shape, will be all over it, and headline it right on the front cover. You'll see.

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  28. I put more credibility in a study that involved over 100,000 people versus 49.

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  29. What? No tramp stamp? Call me disappointed - well, mildly.

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  30. 49 people studied? That's all? Now that is hardly a representative sample. I am surprised anyone would call it research.

    Love your pics. You are one gutsy lady. High five!

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  31. you are too much! love the toilet pic!

    and no, the study doesn't change my attitude about running. i'd rather run long and hard then sit on my fat azz and let my arteries get blocked.

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  32. I agree with Denise...the rewards of running far out weight the feeling of doing nothing my life while I sit on the couch and grow larger.

    Your pics are HILARIOUS!!!

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  33. You are TOO funny! I mean seriously, every time I read your blog, something shocks me and makes me laugh out loud!!!

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  34. I just ran the dallas RnR 1/2 this past sunday, and a 32 yr old male died after crossing the finish line. (this is the second one I have heard about in the past few months.) It is sad and scary. RUN SAFE MY FOLLOW RUNNERS!

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  35. I have not laughed out loud like that in a long time. Love the pictures :-)

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  36. LMAO! Thanks for sharing - my hubbs, ahem, likes the camera, too :)
    I am sure your article is really well written, actually I know so because I read all the others. But I can't bring myself to read the ones about how bad marathoning is or isn't for us. I get too worked up about it. There are alot of things in our lives that we do everyday that are risky - just driving a car has major odds against us. The way I look at it, it does more good than harm for us, and I don't want the non-marathoning Katie back - she was just a looser. Plus, I tell myself, at least I am addicted to running and not crack - that has to count for something, right?

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  37. I gotta know - did the husband later try on the French Maid outfit?

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  38. Too funny. I was looking at each picture and thinking "where is the poop shot?" then there it was. HAHAHA

    Actually, after reading the article I am more convinced that running marathons are healthy. While the Greece doctor studied 49 people, the other study they talk about studied thousands. The results were good on the larger study.

    Imagine that...marathon runners have lower heart rates!!! Who would have thought?

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  39. Well, if something is going to do us in, it might as well be a marathon.

    Guess there is not one ounce of privacy in your house...I'd go nuts! Give me my space, at least in the toilet!

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  40. Lordy you go for shock value, dontcha?!? I love your face on the toilet ... I would probably have the same face ... maybe a bit more strained.

    Well, since running is so un-healthy, I guess I'll just pick up couch-potato-ing ... right?

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  41. Good grief..if we didn't do all the things "they" say we should do, all we'd have left is your last picture...

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  42. hey beth!! thanks for the comment :)
    I didnt know that you wrote for the examiner-- awesome. and awesome article too- definitely something interesting to think about- but Im on your side- that the benefits outweigh the risks--- but definitely a good idea to have regular visits to the doctor to make sure we are okay! especially as I get older. hopefully im fine now being that im 21 yrs old but you never know haha..
    such great photos by your paparozzi crew! especially the maid costume hahah classic

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  43. Run, Forrest run! It saved his life - caused his braces to disintegrate right before our eyes and give us Nike. Risks?! Sure, each time you breath in your could pull in toxins from the environment we HAVE to do that. Lighten up Greek researchers! Go have some Sambuca and dance in a French Maid outfit. Is there a tramp stamp in your future?

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  44. Hahaha! The look on your face in that last pic is priceless.

    Don't worry - they'll come out with a contradictory study in the next year.

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  45. Ha! I love that you posted the last photo.

    Those studies are coming out all the time, aren't they? It doesn't really affect how I feel about running. I am going to keep doing it ;)

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  46. I'm going back to read the studies but had to say I love you more each time I visit your blog... only you would put a pic of you on the toilet and I think every mother will completely get it... not a moment to ourselves!!

    hilarious!!!
    xoxo

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  47. You really rock the french maid outfit...and yet, you have a deep side with all of your "numerology" knowledge and experience. I loved the adjectives that represented my Boston bib number. Wait, what is the number for runs frinkin' fast? That's the bib number I want!!!
    Hugs to you funny lady...

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  48. AWESOME final pitcure!!! Ok, I have a question for you...this is random; Do you have a tip on how to improve one's time on runs?

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  49. Very funny pics!

    I'm not too impressed with the study. I couldn't find the details, but studies can be tricky. It really depends on how they conducted it to reduce other random variables. It certainly doesn't change the way I feel about running. I'm sure running can be bad, but I have no idea how to define those upper limits. It probably varies from person to person, and I don't believe that most marathon training comes close to those limits (but that's just my guess).

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  50. You have the best photos! I love em!

    I really liked this whole post but what resonates with me most is the "I am not going to fret over everything that can happen" part because I am a firm believer that living like that is not living, it is exsisting. And I want to live even if it is at my limits!

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  51. Meh, I mean if you do ANYTHING a lot you're at risk of something. I'm willing to take that risk.

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  52. Hahaha! I love the toilet shot, it's definitely my favorite.

    I hadn't read that new study, but it certainly doesn't shock me. I'm with you, I'm going to spend my life doing what I love and the joy that running brings me far outweighs the risks.

    Where's the tramp stamp?

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  53. you did NOT just post a photo of you sitting on a can!!!!!

    hahahahahaah! you brightened up my day by like gazillion points, hahaha!

    speaking of the whole dying b/c of running thing - i can now say that i ran for 6 years and i freaking SURVIVED, bitches!

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  54. Now that's a good response to a question! And point taken...never give my son a working camera :)

    As for running, I'll choose to ignore any reports of possible negative effects to any type of running. Ignorance is blissssssss! Woohoo!

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