A Marathon

Unneasy lies the head that wears a throne

— 1066 and All That

If you’re considering taking up running, there are worse books to have on the shelf than Tim Noake’s The Lore of Running. Somewhere in this monster of a physiology book, are some interviews with top marathoners opining that even the best of the best have, perhaps eight or fewer races at the peak of abilities.

Something gives out after that. They may be fine human specimens but, their conditioning can only generate so many high speed performances for 42 kilometres. There’s a reason why things are compared to marathons, but marathons aren’t compared to anything else. Soldiers sometimes say that every major engagement takes a few months off their old ages. And, each time a prime minister or president is elected, newspapers ask their artists to age the politicians to see what they’ll look like in a few years. (I’ve tried to find a Canadian news article covering the same material but none was to be found. I guess our dickhead politicians don’t go grey because pubic hair keeps its colour for longer.)

Ever notice how athletes often have grey hair? Research indicates adrenaline may be the culprit.

Hollywood tough guy Lee Marvin was mangled in a battle in WW 2. I wonder whether it was that which gave the craggy-faced actor his trademark prematurely white hair.

You may run into the term adrenal fatigue on various web sites but I’d advise a bit of caution because the term is not accepted yet. My advice is to avoid anything you don’t see on PubMed, or wasn’t published by a university in a G7 country. Lots of well-meaning people publish a lot of junk and call it science. The last thing you need, as the care giver of a bipolar adult, is to waste your time on placebos. The plural of anecdote is not data, but overdoing the adrenaline may be connected to intestinal complaints. As for myself, I’ve been responsible for the unadulterated full firehose of my mother’s mental illness since my dad died three years ago and, yep, I’ve been thinking about how long I can keep it up thanks to my marathon training books.

You will have back off at some point. The purpose of this blog is two-fold:

  • For me to get it clear in my mind.
  • And, vanity of vanities, think that what ever rubbish I say may help someone else.

Remember the marathoner — six to eight world-class races — and that’s it. If they can only run so many marathons in peak condition, there’s no shame in you not being able to keep up a high speed pace permanently either.

Lee Marvin

Actor Lee Marvin

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