Thursday, January 12, 2012

Running a Marathon

Last year, I ran the Philly marathon while 9 weeks pregnant with kiddo #3.  Nuts... I know.  Well, it was on my bucket list and I figured I'd run for a cause.  I blogged about it here.  Since I had been training long hours for months and was raising funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I figured it'd be much harder to postpone the race a year and re-train with 3 small kiddos at home.  I also figured if I liked it enough maybe I'll run another one... maybe next time with kiddo #3 outside of my tummy instead of inside!  Hm... if I wait for him to be around 18 I'll be in my 50's!

So I was sad when I read that 2 runners died in the Philadelphia Marathon this year.  An article today from MedPage Today claims that marathons pose little risk to the heart.  Bottom line when they look at the number of people who run and the number of people who actually have heart events, the incidence rate of a coronary event is 0.54 per 100,000 participants.  Some other key interesting points from the article:
  • in 2010 about 2 million people in the US ran long distance (doubled from 10 years ago)
  • out of 10.9 million runners only 59 had cardiac arrests and 71% of those were fatal
  • cardiac arrest more likely in marathons than half-marathons
  • men are more likely to have an event than women
  • if there is a cardiac event, better survival rate is among participants older than 40 (younger participants tend to have hypertrophic  cardiomyopathy where resuscitation is less successful)

I thought another interesting point is some higher risk heart folks may be attracted to long distance running thinking it is good for them.. but ultimately it will backfire.

So if you are thinking of running a marathon or something crazy like that.. make sure you get a check up with your physician.