Marathons – No Guarantee of a Clean Bill of Health

I love when gossip turns out to be “fact”. I recall the old telephone trick where you whisper in someone’s ear “the teachers may be going on strike” and by the time it reaches the last person the message is “the teachers are on strike – purple monkey dishwasher”. The same goes for stories about people’s unexpected disease or demise. It’s normally a complete fabrication by the time you hear about it.

Marathon Health Myth

One of my personal favorites is the marathon health myth. I have heard it countless times.”well, I can’t believe that Mary Huffnpuffs just keeled over in her home at age 52. She was a marathon runner you know.”

So what.

“Well, I mean she ran marathons and as far as I know she ate pretty well so it just goes to show you that you never know when your time is just up”.

That’s code for “I’m not really sure what she ate or what her lifestyle was and what other factors that may have contributed (other than what I saw when I went to lunch with her twice), but I’m pretty sure the fact she ran marathons pretty much gives her a clean slate of health”.

Herein lies the problem.

We believe the gossip is gospel and that in turn determines that our health is really out of our control and we should just “live it up” (code for “party” for us, and “disaster” for our liver) because you just never know when the person upstairs is going to pull the plug on us.

This breeds the thought that we have about as much control as a tent in a tornado.

Behind the Scenes

Just like a great live production, the real story is behind the scenes and the rest is just make up and back up dancers.

It may be true that the person was a marathon runner (which ultimately has very little bearing in your health. In fact, many would consider it unhealthy to put your body through that type of joint torture), but what kind of lifestyle did they really lead?

Did they eat organic or chemical free food? Did they use chemical household cleaners? What about heavy metals – did they have silver fillings? Did they enjoy too much wine? Did they have any stress? How many diet cokes did they have each day? Was a pot of coffee a staple in their diet? Were hydrogenated fats in those crackers they had as a snack everyday?

How do you really know what went inside their bodies?

The answer is you don’t. However, what we do know is that people do not just get “taken” of a heart attack or disease without violating some basic principles of life. That is, that stress and unnatural food has several detrimental combinations and permutations that the naked eye can never see or understand. Exacerbating it by slinging untrue statements only gets us further away from addressing the issue.

Just because they were a marathon runner doesn’t allow them to escape these basic principles. In fact, it could actually lead them to it through depletion of nutrients and minerals through unnecessary physical exertion beyond the body’s ability to cope, especially given the traditional diet.

They’ve literally run themselves into the ground. Seriously – why are you learning how to keep pace with a migrating gazelle?

Now, I’m not here to take out marathon runners (although the fact that many do it for charities with a good heart, and don’t understand where the funnel leads to is disheartening). I’m simply using a modern day example that you cannot make assumptions about people, their lifestyle, and ultimately their state of health through one of several thousands of facets that affect it. To do so is extremely short sighted.

So the next time you hear an unexpected disease or death, don’t look for reasons that it was out of their control (with exception of an on-foot African safari). Try to learn from their health mistakes so you don’t check out before the front desk requires.

Otherwise you just might drop dead during a disco marathon.

Stayin’ Alive indeed.

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