Marathons : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

Have you ever run one? Have you ever thought about it? Do you have any advice for me? Am I totally stupid?

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2001


Run it.

Besides, you've got that big bottle of ibuprofen to use up.

And next year you can concentrate on a triathlon.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2001

I once tried to run the Los Angeles Marathon (1990). Key word being "tried". I didn't finish. Having never run one and not knowing what to expect, my training consisted of running 4 miles on two different days just a few weeks before the big event. The race is held in March and, as usual, it rained on and off. I ran the first 10 miles, walked the next 5, which put me near China Town. The other mistake I made was not eating much for breakfast (I think I had a banana). So, when I reached China Town about the time several bakeries were opening up, I was pretty hungary and the smell of the fresh baked goods didn't help. The next shuttle pickup wasn't until mile 20 (another 5 miles), so I called it quits. I definitely regret not training or eating properly. I'm pretty sure I would have finished if I had been properly prepared. Despite not finishing, the whole experience was pretty fun and something I'll never forget. Best of luck to you.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2001

I ran a half-marathon in November, and had ambitions to run the Paris marathon next month, but the move just killed my running schedule. I thought I was set, since I had gotten to 18 miles in early January, and how much slacking off could I do? But between jet lag and a four week apartment search and the need for a medical certificate signed by an official French sports physician (something to do with lawsuits) and a trip back to the U.S. for job interviews and just the general weirdness of moving, I found I could slack off, well, quite a lot.

Anyway, I would do it, assuming you're not moving anytime soon. I found my half-marathon enormously fun, and I still want to run the marathon when I'm back in form, probably in the fall. There are so few objectively-measured accomplishments in life that I really appreciate the chances for the "hey, I did that"'s. Marathon, Ph.D., that kind of thing...

The trainer I talked to about my marathon ambitions suggested that I run at least the full distance 2-4 weeks before the race, and not to do too much speedwork while putting on distance. Those are the only specifics I remember now.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2001

Run it! You will feel so proud after completing a marathon; it will contribute to your personal sense of strength and power, possibly in a way you have yet to experience.

I ran the Anchorage marathon last year and LOVED it. The atmosphere is so encouraging and people cheer you on all through the run. (***TIP: Put your name on your shirt with masking tape and strangers will all be yelling "Go Jen!")

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2001

I've done a half marathon... about ten years ago my brother and I decided to run a marathon together... I had problems training... when my long runs got into the 14 or 15 mile range my knees would kill me... this particular race featured both a half and a full marathon (one lap of the course was a half marathon) so I elected to just run in the half. Race day came. We ran the first ten miles together and then he went on ahead. I finished my race and waited for him to approach the finish line so I could cheer him on. He didn't show and didn't show. They began to put away the traffic pylons and gather people for the awards ceremony. I was just beginning to really worry about him when he came limping into the finish line (to great cheers and applause from the crowd)... he had been struck by severe cramps in both legs about two miles from the finish and had fallen on the shoulder of the road but had managed to pick himself up and struggle to the finish. (Fortunately his wife was not at this race so she didn't see how terrible he looked.)

He went on to run one or two marathons every year for the next several years.

In 1999 he had a pacemaker installed, had a series of complications a week or so later and then even more serious reactions to the cures for the earlier complications... This past Sunday he ran a two mile race in 13:35. Not bad for a guy in his mid-fifties who is battery- powered.

He expects to be able to train up to the point where we can run a ten- miler together. (Uh, let me rephrase that: we both hope to be able to train up to the point where we can run in a ten-miler together.) However, I do not think that he will ever be able to run a marathon again and I know that my knees (and feet) will keep me from ever being able to run twenty-six miles...

You are young and healthy and having recently run a half marathon and being able to do an 18 mile training run, you certainly are within striking distance of being able to do a marathon (just watch out for heat and humidity)... so GO FOR IT! You never know when your body will tell you it's no longer going to allow you to do that kind of thing, so go for it now...

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2001

just as everyone else here says, go for it ! try sneak in 3-4 really long and slow runs before the marathon, in the 25-30 mile range. I have not run a marathon as yet, but maybe the Chicago marathon this October..? Good luck, keep hydrated.

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2001

I'm sensing a theme here, Jen...GO FOR IT! If you're already doing 18, you'll make it to 26.22 no problem. My longest was 20 before Twin Cities '93, and I finished comfortably, only 5 minutes off my "dream time" and way ahead of my goal.

My favorite marathon guide is in Joe Henderson's "Run Farther, Run Faster," which think is now out of print.

As I crossed the finish line in '93, I could only think, "I did it! I'm a marathoner!" And nobody can ever take that away from you.

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2001

Martes, I've been reading quite a bit about marathon training, and everyone says the same thing: your longest training runs should be in the 20-24 mile range, and never longer. Apparently, longer runs damage muscles and raise your risk of injury, so they do more harm than good.

If you want some training tips, my marathon-veteran sister suggested the Runner's World and New York Road Runner's Club marathon training websites.

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2001

Why Jen? Why are you running a marathon? What do you expect to get from it? When that 24th mile hits you may need this answer!

Do you have a need to prove something here? I have no doubt that you could complete it so why should you?

I haven't run a marathon, and I don't intend to. Does that make me less of a person?

The only motivation I see for running a marathon and subsequently prancing around stating "I'm a marathoner!" as Doug puts it is to cater to one's ego, the mother of all evils.

What do you expect from completing this marathon?

-- Anonymous, March 14, 2001

Catering to one's ego is the root of all evil? If so, I'm in big trouble.

I admit that bragging rights is one reason why I want to do this (although it is one of the more minor ones). Another reason is the sense of accomplishment I get from setting goals and then achieving them. A third reason is the fact that I know running is good for me, and it's a lot easier to do it on a regular basis when I have a goal to motivate me. A fourth reason is that running in big races is a lot of fun--there's a very supportive atmosphere, and the marathon is one of the few big races held here in SF.

Does not running a marathon make you less of a person? Well, I suppose so, in the sense that never having skydived or gotten an M.B.A. makes me less of a person. Doing these things would make me a more experienced person, but I have no desire to do them.

Why are you so defensive?

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

Don't you get a free t-shirt or something?

You know, I'm not an expert on agony or anything, and I've never read a 'how to marathon' type book, but I'm guessing the key to going 'through the wall' is probably a step by step strategy, or moment by moment, or very short term goals of just making it to the next turn and then I'll think about stopping -- that sort of thinking.

Of course, you may not experience that -- or maybe it would be more common among people competing for high stakes where a grueling overall pace was set. I'm just guessing really.

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

Oh yeah, remember the supposed very first marathoner. He ran the distance, delivered his message, and then died.

Though, I suppose, that really shouldn't be your goal.

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

...another thing, should it ever come up for a vote, I'm casting mine for the Olympic competitors going back to being naked

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

From the NYRRC marathon training site:

"You know what happened to the first marathoner-- Pheidippides? He died. Well actually, he didn't die. He only died in the poem Pheidippides written by Robert Browning in 1879--some 1800 years after the Greek's famous run.

"Pheidippides was actually a member of a cult of Greek messengers called a hemerodromoi, or all-day runners. In 409 B.C., his Greek city- state faced a huge Persian Army in the Plains of Marathon, about 22 miles from the city of Athens. Knowing the survival of Athens hung in the balance, the Greeks attacked the Persians and routed the enemy.

"Browning's fictional version of our hero was sent to deliver the victorious news to Athens. Browning claimed that Pheidippides completed his journey, shouted victory, and collapsed dead. In reality, 22 miles would have been a warm-up jog for Pheidippides and other hemerodromoi messengers. Pheidippides actually ran 132 miles--with no apparent problem--to seek military help for the Greeks at neighboring Sparta."

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

Damn revisionists!

but I trump thee (sort of) with:

"A version by the satirist Lucian (second century AD) had Pheidippides run straight back to Marathon to join the battle, then immediately to Athens (twenty-six miles and a bit, hence the modern marathon distance) to announce the victory before -- suitably -- dropping dead.",5744,45821,00.html? query=marathon

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

Anyone who ran to Sparta surely must have been insane.

"Curse this mistress of errors" - Pierre Louys.

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

The mistress of errors being Sparta, of course, and not Jen Wade.

-- Anonymous, March 15, 2001

Thanks for your tip ( and the links ), Jen. Having never run a marathon I do not know. I guess it also depends on one's general running history..a friend of mine is from Kenya, and he says that they used to run 10-15 miles everyday, one way to school when they were young. Altitude could be another factor..maybe one can gradually increase the distance, like after doing a few 20-24 mile runs, add an extra mile...

-- Anonymous, March 16, 2001

This doesn't really apply to you Jen, unless you've been lying about your age. -----------------

Oct. 23, 2001 -- Running a marathon may be too hard on your heart if you haven't trained properly. Researchers are suggesting that this little 26-mile jaunt be left to serious competitors only.

Two studies in the Oct. 17 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology show that marathon runners may be setting themselves up for a heart attack.

"My concern is for people who exercise thinking 'more is better,' and that marathon running will provide ultimate protection against heart disease," says researcher Arthur Siegel, MD, director of internal medicine at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., in a news release.

Siegel and his colleagues looked at 55 finishers of the 100th to 105th Boston Marathons who were otherwise healthy and with an average age of 47. They found that compared to their blood tests before the race, within 4 hours after the race, they had elevated levels of blood clotting factors that are known to set the stage for a heart attack. In fact, abnormalities in the blood were seen as long as the morning after the race.

Does that mean we should abandon running completely?

"No, not at all. But it does mean we need to understand more about marathon training and how the human body reacts to stress," says Charles Schulman, MD, president of the American Running Association, in a news release. "Coupled with poor or improper training, it could lead to consequences much more serious than just the usual running injury."

It is important to note that despite these abnormal blood factors, none of the runners collapsed or experienced any heart problems during or after the races. Siegel believes this is because another trigger, such as a heart rhythm problem, is needed to actually bring on a heart attack.

"The benefits of an active lifestyle are tremendous," says Susan Kalish, executive director of the American Medical Athletic Association, in a news release. "But Dr. Siegel's work shows that marathoning may have its risks.

"If your goal is to improve your health, go for a run ... but perhaps don't train for a marathon. Leave the marathon to those whose goals are competition or maintaining a more heightened level of serious training," she says.

-- Anonymous, November 03, 2001

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