By Matt Aaronson
I had never been physically active prior to 2010. In fact, at one point I weighed more than 200 pounds. But with three kids at home, I needed to make some serious changes in my lifestyle and get healthy for myself and my family.
So I started to run for fitness. I was fortunate and began losing a lot of weight. And as I lost weight, I became a faster runner. I signed up for some races and noticed that I was commonly in the top 10 or even in the top three. I got into triathlons to try something different and realized my results were excellent. I even qualified for the World Championships in 2011, in my first half Ironman.
I ran my first marathon in 2013 in under three hours, during which I qualified for the Boston Marathon. However, while I was training for the Boston Marathon my hip started really bothering me. I thought I would be fine if I just ran a little bit less. Initially for my training I was up to 60 miles a week. But once I injured my hip, I went back down to less than 30 miles a week, even in the mid-20s per week. But the pain still got worse and worse.
Third in a series of posts recognizing American Heart Month
By Kousik Krishnan, MD
Over the past several years, in very high-profile, large-city marathons, there have occasionally been deaths during races. They have occurred during the Chicago Marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon and even the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007. These reports often bring to light an unusual paradox, where seemingly very healthy individuals are dying during athletic pursuits, when these same individuals are ostensibly healthy enough to go through the rigors of training for years without any incident.
Why are these individuals dying? Are they living with an undiagnosed condition that leads to the tragic result? Shouldn’t this condition have warning signs or symptoms? Is there something unique about the actual race that triggers an event that doesn’t become evident during normal training?
In the past, I have written about screening for heart disease prior to beginning a vigorous training program. (Read more about symptoms and risk factors that should prompt physician evaluation.)
With this background, I was very interested in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine that analyzed the Race Associated Cardiac Arrest Event Registry (RACER). This registry collected data from the most recent decade of long-distance running races to determine the incidence, clinical profile, and outcomes of cardiac arrest in these events. The finding of this study show that the rate of cardiac arrest is actually very low (1 per 184,000 runners) and lower than cardiac arrest rates for college athletes, triathletes and previously healthy middle-aged joggers.