Marching on

I am killing the puns today. March-ing on…get it! March is almost done and I’ve already hit my kind of monthly target for miles. Right now I’m still just running to clear what’s left of the congestion. My body is still slow to recover, it was ill last week. So I’m tired and did not feel great running today, but I kept it up. Right now, I think I’ll just finish off the month, but I have been seriously considering taking tomorrow or Thursday off. My legs just felt like dead weight this morning.
We shall see. Meanwhile, I have huge, major, amazing stuff to share with you today! When I break News, I fix it! (More puns!) No seriously, I am the first to share a story today. Remember in 2015, when I PR’ed at Hartford and made money running Hartford, because I took part in a medical study run by Yale and Quinnipiac Universities? Well, that study gets published today. The findings may not look great, but the fact is, I played a role in furthering humanity’s knowledge of itself, and I’m really proud of that.

Marathon running may cause short-term kidney injury

New Haven, Conn.—According to a new Yale-led study, the physical stress of running a marathon can cause short-term kidney injury. Although kidneys of the examined runners fully recovered within two days post-marathon, the study raises questions concerning potential long-term impacts of this strenuous activity at a time when marathons are increasing in popularity.

The study was published March 28 by the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

More than a half million people participated in marathons in the United States in 2015. While past research has shown that engaging in unusually vigorous activities — such as mine work, harvesting sugarcane, and military training — in warm climates can damage the kidneys, little is known about the effects of marathon running on kidney health.

A team of researchers led by Professor of Medicine Chirag Parikh, M.D. studied a small group of participants in the 2015 Hartford Marathon. The team collected blood and urine samples before and after the 26.2-mile event. They analyzed a variety of markers of kidney injury, including serum creatinine levels, kidney cells on microscopy, and proteins in urine.

The researchers found that 82% of the runners that were studied showed Stage 1 Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) soon after the race. AKI is a condition in which the kidneys fail to filter waste from the blood.

“The kidney responds to the physical stress of marathon running as if it’s injured, in a way that’s similar to what happens in hospitalized patients when the kidney is affected by medical and surgical complications,” said Parikh.

The researchers stated that potential causes of the marathon-related kidney damage could be the sustained rise in core body temperature, dehydration, or decreased blood flow to the kidneys that occur during a marathon.

While the measured kidney injury resolved within two days post-marathon, the study still raises questions about the effects of repeated strenuous activity over time, especially in warm climates.

“We need to investigate this further,” said Parikh. “Research has shown there are also changes in heart function associated with marathon running. Our study adds to the story — even the kidney responds to marathon-related stress.”

Other study authors are Sherry G.  Mansour, Gagan Verma, Rachel W.  Pata, Thomas G. Martin, and Mark A. Perazella.

The study was also supported by the Quinnipiac University Faculty Scholarship grant, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health.

Now this doesn’t mean you’re doing lasting damage to your kidneys, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run marathons, ultras or anything. All they know is that 82% of the people participating in the study (no, I don’t know if I am one of them yet), showed acute kidney damage which healed itself after two days. More studies will have to be done to determine if there are long-term effects, and what all this may mean in the larger picture. This is how science works. Not to mention, this study will have to be replicated to see if there was something wrong with the sample. Since I was part of the sample, there’s a good chance there was something wrong….ahhhh self-deprecating humor.
Overall, this is so cool though. We broke ground, knowledge was gained and research will continue. Am I pleased with the idea I may be damaging my kidneys by running like I do? No, but so be it. There are plenty of people who have run long distances for a long time and never had any major trouble, so I’ll just keep going.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!

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