Saturday, January 20, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmm....

Here are some excerpts from Kathleen Nelson's column in the Post-Dispatch today. Seems a website called issued a list of the country's 25 outstanding US marathoners. The only criteria was running at least 3 marathons (!) in a year and consistently finishing near the front of the pack.

Now, I am constantly arguing the necessity of smart weight-bearing activity and strength work for endurance athletes and weekend warriors. This guy's story just blew me away. Fosamax for a man at the age of 31--with an MD?
The spotlight also shone last week on Dr. Thomas Whalen. He described himself as a middling runner at St. Louis University High who barely made the cross country team at Emory University, a Division III school. He had little time to run during medical school and has taken Fosamax for almost a decade because of osteoporosis. Yet the 41-year-old Whalen made the list of 25 outstanding U.S. marathoners, selected by
Whalen ran six marathons in 2006 and two ultras, races beyond the 26.2-mile marathon distance. He earned three top-3 finishes and had a fastest time of 2:44:27.

"There's something romantic about 26 point 2, something magical," he said. "I'm not very fast, so I wouldn't be good at shorter distances."

Following that logic, Whalen has entered a most daunting race next month, the Rocky Raccoon 100-mile trial run in Texas. After that, he'll return to the marathon distance, first in Little Rock in March then at the Spirit of St. Louis Marathon in April.

Whalen trains daily, sometimes twice a day. He credits cross-training, swimming and spinning, for suffering just one stress fracture since his diagnosis with osteoporosis. He credits his wife, Janet, for her displaying unending patience with his training schedule.

"I'm not talented or smart, but I can outwork anybody," he said.

I will comment no further, but just say that truth is often stranger than fiction and stuff like this happens only in America.

Do any of you track guys know if the African distance people (or elite male American runners) show a propensity for low bone density as they age? Just curious. I've heard Pam Hinton's current study on master male cyclists bone density does not bode well for that group of male endurance athletes.

1 comment:

Joe P. said...

Good topic I-M! I could understand why cyclists may have a bone density issue, but runners? I wonder if it is confined to U.S. runners? Could it be a lack of axial loading resistance training in their repertoire? A side effect of performance enhancing drugs? Keep your Fosamax. A good dose of I-M's olympic lifting would do the trick.