There is a whole class of people that have been ignored by this blog but deserve better: the compulsive overexerciser. I’ve even lived in my own denial for years, but I think I finally reached the acceptance stage.
I have always been careful to finish my run before sunrise, especially in summer. But because of a scheduling mishap, I found myself strapping my headphones on today around noon. I’ve long been fascinated by joggers who manage to pound the asphalt under a brutal sun. Well, it turns out that heat stroke’s numbing effect can carry you quite far.
In fairness, training under extreme conditions is way macho. Olympic athletes sleep in oxygen-deprived tents to simulate the effect of high altitude. And who can forget Rocky Balboa’s courageous workouts in the Siberian wilderness prior to knocking out Ivan Drago? Now don’t tell me that’s just a movie. I have a relative who ran his last marathon on the North Pole, and we’re convinced his next race will be 26.2 straight up Mt. Everest.
What’s not funny is the collection of injuries that follow from this kind of regimen. Long-distance runners suffer from the same joint problems as professional football players. They sometimes find blood in their urine. And triathletes occasionally show scarring on their hearts – exactly what you’d expect from any severely overtrained muscle.
There are also those folks who aren’t trying to swim the English Channel, but still freak out over taking a day off. I know someone who fit in a workout on the day of her mother’s funeral. In the same bloodline is also a guy who often claims he “didn’t like” his first workout, and promptly heads back to the gym.
Speaking of which, I’ve had a big lunch. I think it’s time for a brisk walk.