Thursday, March 11, 2010

You've got to work your way through the pain...

OK so I know this isn't a big deal to most people, but it is to me. I finished one of the book on my aforementioned nightstand pile! Yes, The Complete Book of Running, is now finito. I figured I needed to finish it to get me pumped up for the St. Patrick's Day race I am running in on Saturday. So how has the book helped me? Well, I now know that I am supposed to eat a lot of protein for three days, starting a week before a big run, and carbs for the next three days before the run. I know that it is important to track mileage for the month and not the week, as your body sometimes needs to recover and have lighter weeks. I know I can run basically until I die. Haha

This book was written in the late seventies, so I also learned some things that seem a little funny today. For example, women can run in marathons! There's a brand that makes running shoes just for women now. Wow, Saucony you are a trailblazer. Runners World is a new magazine that has a four color cover.

On a sad note, the book spotlights several people who continue to run when they're elderly, so I wondered about the current state of the author James Fixx. I googled him and discovered he died of a heart attack in 1984. He was only 52. I could not believe it. It's almost chilling how many times he talks about heart attacks in the book. He praises running for aiding in heart health, there's a chapter about runners who have had heart attacks, and he mentions that his wife kept asking him to get a physical. In one chapter, he writes about a well respected doctor who tells him he does not really need a physical, because he believes the body can tell you what it can handle. That part is semi haunting. Heart disease ran in Fixx's family, and before he began running he was an overweight smoker. Some of the damage to his arteries had already been done. Still it seems so unfair that a man who devoted his life to physical fitness died so tragically.

There is a lesson to be learned here. If you have a serious condition that runs in your family, get physicals often. You can't simply rely on your body to tell you some things. Don't be too proud or too busy to see a doctor.

Good book though James, you contributed to some revolutionary ideas that are still guidelines today. Thanks.

1 comment:

Carl said...

It's funny you mention that women can run marathons, because ultramarathons (50+ miles) are actually something that women are better at then men. They think it's because women have more fat reserves which benefit in the later miles, and women have higher pain thresholds because of child birth.

It may be too late, but it's always fun to watch either Prefontaine or Without Limits before a race for inspiration. They get you pretty pumped up for running.

I know you'll do good though. You're a strong runner. Just remember not to let the excitement get to you and go out fast, just run your own race even if you're in last place at the start. You'll start passing people and you get a little boost every time you do. Good luck!