Another one bites the dust! – Who’s responsibility is YOUR well-being?
The last few weeks have again whizzed past and there has been no update from my end. There has been so much going on that I have not been able to take sometime out to sit down and share my opinions on some very disturbing developments in the running space. And today would probably have been the very same until I had an online chat with a sprightly young runner girl about this incident. This chat fueled this post.
Its very clear to see that running, specifically endurance running is picking up pace and being embraced by people eagerly. There are many reasons for this, but that is for another day. What I am worried about is that as the sport comes under the spotlight and the volume of participants increases, so does the number of casualties. It is simple math – but what is not simple math is when we runners unnecessarily push ourselves out of our comfort zone to prove something.
Question: What are we trying to prove and to whom? What is this incessant need to shave off minutes and achieve milestones overnight? Why are we pushing our physical limits without any understanding of the body? And most importantly, why are we taking misinformed decisions for our body?
It would be easy for me to mention specific incidents of things having gone wrong and we can argue at length about who we can point fingers to but that does not change facts. As always, we should be looking at a solution.
Before any of us decided to start running, did we take permission from anyone? Or was this a personal decision – whether it was for the joy of running, weight loss, me-time, boredom or a whole array of reasons. This was not the case for me, and I am guessing that is the general rule amongst us runners. So again, since we took a decision to pick up this masochistic sport, isn’t it our responsibility to ensure that our physical body is in a state to be able to bear the beating that this sport gives it?
So my solution is simple and can be summed up in two words – BE RESPONSIBLE!
Organizers: Be Responsible and have the required medical assistance available at easy access for participants. As part of the organizing committee with the Bengaluru Marathon, I am pleased to inform that I am meeting with my medical team next week for the event to be held in October 2015 to create a detailed Medical plan of the requirements for the event day as well as all the promotional and training runs along the way.
Runners: Be Responsible. Love yourself. Ensure that you go in for a complete and thorough physical before you put your body through the pain of training. Just like a car with an oil leak won’t get very far, your body functioning at less than optimal could be fatal. I believe that it is imperative that all individuals should go through an annual check-up – why do you think that employers make this mandatory for their employees? When it comes down to athletes, I believe they owe themselves a complete body check-up at least twice a year to ensure that everything is OK.
Personally I feel that the following tests are mandatory in every person’s check up:
ECG – Helps detect any irregularities with the heart
Blood Pressure – helps detect if your blood is flowing at the right pressure
Complete Haemogram – This gives you broad picture of all essential blood components like White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells and Platelets. It is a general test asked to be done at the first instance.Reading Haemogram or CBC, a doctor may be able to make a prima facie assessment and may require further specific tests, if any.
Iron/Transferin/ Transferrin Saturation% – checks if the levels of Iron are optimal in your body
Lipid Profile Test – helps understand the cholesterol levels in your body.
Liver Function Test – helps assess liver functions/ injury
Renal Profile Test (Blood Urea Nitrogen/ Creatinine/ Electrolytes/ Calcium)- tests kidney function
Serum Uric Acid – determines how well your body produces and removes uric acid from the body.
Blood testosterone – another diagnostic test, this is used to diagnose several conditions in men, women, girls and boys.
Thyroid Function – measures the thyroid levels in the body to ensure that the hormone is at optimal levels.
Complete Urine Analysis Report ( Glucose / Bilirubin / Ketone / Protein / Uribilinogen / Leucocytes).- The urinalysis is used as a screening and/or diagnostic tool because it can help detect substances or cellular material in the urine associated with different metabolic and kidney disorders. It is ordered widely and routinely to detect any abnormalities that require follow up.
Urogram (Microalbumin/ Creatinine/ Albumin) – screening for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which put an individual at increased risk of kidney disease.
Glycosylated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) – test to check the blood glucose levels which are related to cardivascular disease, nephropathy and retinopathy
Fasting Blood Sugar – used to check blood sugar levels to diagnose diabetes.
Vitamin B 12 levels – check Vitamin B 12 levels
Folic Acid – Folic Acid is a type of Vitamin B. This test checks the levels of folic acid in the blood.
Vitamin D and D3 levels – Check Vitamin D and D3 Levels.
In conclusion, I feel it is important for us as athletes to empower ourselves. We need to love ourselves enough to ensure that we are physically fit and ready to hit the road/trail, jump on the bike or in the canoe for the next adrenaline pumping adventure. It is our responsibility to ensure that we live to rock another day and on that note my message for Valentine’s day – Be your own Valentine, buy yourself a medical checkup.