Monday, March 15, 2010

A cautionary tale


“According to new research, Greek doctors found that marathon runners have increased stiffness of the large arteries, suggesting that some types of high-intensity exercise may actually be bad for the heart, potentially leading to hardening of enlarged arteries, high blood pressure, heart attack and even death.” Yahoo!News

It’s about time the Greeks weighed in. Over the past two decades, I’ve put off serious marathon training in light of their deafening silence. Thanks to my prudence, I won’t need a baby sling for the giant stiff artery.

What saved me from the ravages of intense exercise? The little voice in my head; the little voice I once accused of self-indulgence. I now know it was the voice of self-preservation -- a voice that protested any run in excess of four miles. (Actually, the voice is pretty satisfied with two miles, or on a bad day, just a can of cocktail nuts.)

Clearly, the Greek doctors took their time on this one, as running has been popular for at least 40 years. In the interim, I of course was ready to take any measure that would lead to health and longevity -- 15, 20, 25 miles -- had it not been for the little voice, ever cautioning, “Calm down and eat your Snickers. Wait until we hear from Greece.”

Some people may question the validity of this study, as well as the fact that much of our information comes from Yahoo rather than the Economist these days. The fact that this particular news item mentions no hospital affiliation or even a single doctor’s name. Oh, blah, blah, blah. Go Wiki the research if you don’t believe Yahoo. Better yet, run your marathon. In five years, we’ll see who’s towing their veins around in a Radio Flyer.

As for me, tonight, I turn around at the two-mile mark. Thank you, says Mr. Heart. Thank you, says Mr. Blood pressure. Curses, foiled again, says Mr. Death.

42 comments:

  1. Speaking of running. I just signed up for a 3 mile hike that takes place April 11. I don't run. In fact, jogging a very short distance makes me wheeze in an unattractive fashion. I walk. I'm good at that. I have no idea what I was thinking.

    And now to know that I'm tempting death by running?

    Oh. boy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Greeks are easily led - just look at their balance sheet. And who is this guy named Cocktail?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hee-hee. (Two miles, I ain't sweating. Hope the Greeks are happy.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm, hmm, hmmm. Not only that, but joggers are forced to leave their Pixie Stix behind, unguarded...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Didn't the Greeks invent the marathon? And are they going back on their word now, after all this time? I don't buy it.

    I don't trust a "news source" that calls itself Yahoo! Was there a single citation in the story? A link? Anything? Who knows where this information is coming from? (Bellis knows I'm a stickler for citing sources.) What "new research?" Which "Greek doctors?" The exercise may be bad? Puhlease.

    I'm not giving up my daily marathon run based on such shadowy "statistics."

    ReplyDelete
  7. I saw that research too. Thanks for the reminder, KB

    Everything in moderation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What about climbing stairs? do the Greeks have an opinion on that?
    I have selective hearing it comes to my inner voice. Especially when it comes to the 99 cent store.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I thought "Yahoo!" was just an exclamation of joy at such news. That's good enough for me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't top Paula.

    As pour moi? I don't run. Do you have any idea what running does to a 64 year old body? Way too much loose......stuff flapping in the breeze. Gravity is already doing it's thing here, why speed up the process?

    Pass the nuts and would you mind refilling my wine glass while you're up?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Here here!

    As for all health reports reported in the media, though -- grain of salt. ANything reported by mainstream media comes with a bias toward Big Pharma who pays the bills. Natural health news rarely makes the headlines other than a negative one. The negative vitamin e story a few years back was completely bogus science but it effectively scared a lot of people away from antioxidents.

    I digress.

    I do think moderation is the key in all things. Well, maybe not ALL things. I think I have PA's selective hearing when it comes to chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. And can mother earth have a little more moderation with earthquakes, please? Who was jolted awake this morning? The weirdest part was the flock of squawking parrots it literally shook out of the camphor tree outside our house.

    ReplyDelete
  13. We can rarely top Paula.

    Whoa, that earthquake scared the shit out of me. 4.4, that's pretty big.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really thought it was much bigger since I've been known to sleep through 4.0 ones in the past. In fact, I missed several of the ones during the day that you guys talked about here!

    Jon and I both were startled awake and I sat up for a while wondering why I don't know how to shut off the gas in case of a big one. NOthing like a little reminder of the monster under the surface of paradise, right?

    And I think that earthquake stiffened one or more of MY arteries.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Whew! This news comes in the nick of time. Makes my measly 20 minute runs seem...well...heroic, really.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hmmmm....I'll have some of that chocolate Laurie and raise you with one of V's glasses of wine!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Did you say there was an earthquake? Oh, I hate natural disasters they're so... unnatural.

    wv pronce
    Pronce right on out of there. Get thee to a winery.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not much running for me these days. My one thought after finishing the only marathon I ever ran was "that was so stupid." And, I was really startled this morning by that little shake.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love Paula when she's feeling frisky.

    Even though Laurie is quick to dismiss a 4.4 shaker (and it was too small for chieftess to even mention), this one was practically in our backyard, huh Bec?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Woke up dreaming the dog was wagging her tail in my face. Then thought she was scratching herself vigorously on the bed. Then the house made weird rattling noises and it seemed to go on for ages. I felt personally insulted that the USGS called it a LIGHT quake, but thank goodness it was. (All pets slept through it).

    ReplyDelete
  21. You and all your delightful commenting minions are a riot. The Greeks always try and ruin everything. First the EU, now marathon planners everywhere are shaking in their boots at their mighty bumbling. Just one step closer to reconquering the world.

    Who is Cocktail, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Am I nuts? It woke me, but it didn't seem like much of a quake. Maybe my experience in the '94 Northridge quake toughened me up. However, last night I did make a list of tasks to do before the big one, so it was a good reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think the one last June in the afternoon was a 5.0 -- Little Bit and I were at Toys R Us and it was pretty scary to think a wall of electronic Elmos might topple on us.

    Petrea, I was in Venice during the Northridge one. It actually TOSSED ME OUT OF BED. THat was the trippiest thing I've ever been through. A bunch of the houses on my block lost chimneys and our picture windows cracked. I lost my collection of vintage tea sets because they flew out of the cabinets in the kitchen.

    Shutter.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I meant to write Shudder. But come to think of it, Shutter might have helped with those cracked picture windows since it took a week to get my landlord out to replace them!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh yeah. I was in North Hollywood. I've got lots of stories. Suffice it to say it's a good thing I got out of bed because the furniture that landed there would have hurt pretty bad had I stayed. I was required to move out of my building for several days while the inspectors moved about the Valley. A building a few blocks from mine topped, but mine was okay.

    Great story about two couples I knew at the time: one wife said her husband laid on top of her to protect her from falling debris. The other wife said, "That's nothing. My husband ran around in circles to protect me."

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wonder if it makes a difference if you do it bare footed.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 1994. Oh yes. The three of us in Times Media Relations/Communications dept won some national award for our dispatches. Most of what we did was handwritten in magic marker.

    ReplyDelete
  28. From Petrea: "... one wife said her husband laid on top of her to protect her from falling debris."

    The thing about this morning's jolt is that many wives did not wake up. You see, there was only about 10-15 seconds of shaking and then it was over. They just figured it was their husband and slept right through it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hiker, magic marker? Really?

    Petrea, my duplex had a big crack right down the middle of the ceiling but that old wood framed place held up like a charm. They said the shaking in Santa Monica and Venice was particularly bad because of the sandy foundation of the soil. The windows along Santa MOnica Blvd. looked like they'd been bombed. I almost left LA after that.

    We're all a little crazy to be here, you know...

    ReplyDelete
  30. Earl. Hee hee.

    My boyfriend at the time didn't get on top of me to protect me. He was standing in the front doorway shouting, "Woo hoo! THe transformers are blowing! It's the end of the $^%&^ing world!"

    Needless to say, I was younger then.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I knew Mr. E would take it to another level and I couldn't wait! :)
    V

    ReplyDelete
  32. Virg, you're a shameless enabler. Laurie, at certain times in life, an earthquake just has to get in line behind all the other disasters.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hiker, you just summed up my twenties.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well, I bought lots of water for the blogger picnic, but I'm thinking I may have to throw it on myself before I get there.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hee hee, Laurie.

    I don't know about crazy. I left tornado land for this. You know, where when it's not tornado season it's -40 degrees without the wind chill factor. And that's every year, not just every once in a while.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I didn't hear or feel a thing, although Jim said that our window rattled.

    In the 70's in Pasadena, now that was a different story: freight train sounds, mirror swinging, husband pulling me to the floor, water sloshing out of toilet.

    I think we live on rock here, though PA says there is a fault line a couple of blocks down the hill.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Truth is the first Marathoner collapsed and died after zipping from Marathon to Athens to warn the noble Athenians the Eastern Scourge (those Persians)was about to land and do harm to the cradle of Western Civ.

    These Greek docs really are a bit late with this news!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Incontinence-making, bed-ejecting shakers, Greek-Yahoo “news” sources, and half-marathon cocktail nuts. Guess I’ll stay in magical Detroit.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Awwwww, Banjo...but think of all the excitement you're missing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. At least you're running. That beats me. I only walk.

    wv: numcxgsm

    ReplyDelete