What if I’m destroying my body?

I came across some troubling research on the lady-runner front today: A new study found that healthy-weight women who exercised vigorously five or more hours a week (e.g., marathoners) had a harder time getting pregnant than moderate exercisers.

Immediate (and important) disclaimer: I do not want to have a baby any time soon.

However, this still bothers me. Having-the-babies is a normal function of the female human body. If running-the-marathons makes it so you can’t have-the-babies…maybe my “healthy” hobby (and my related “healthy” goal of eventually completing 50 marathons in 50 states) is not so healthy after all.

On the same note, I’ve had some issues with amenorrhea (TMI?), likely brought on or exacerbated by my running. I’m planning to bring this up with my doctor, and I suspect she will say something like, “What are you eating?” (It’s often associated with anorexia.) And I will say something like, “Well, last night I ate an amazing cheeseburger.” (Because I love cheeseburgers and eat them regularly.)

My order from Beefy King in Orlando. That cup holds a cherry milkshake. (Not pictured: The fruits and vegetables I do, on occasion, consume.)

I most certainly don’t have an eating disorder, nor do I have any kind of exercise addiction. I just like to run, and I like to have goals and tackle new challenges.

But, I also like to have a healthy, fully-functioning body. If I have to choose between the two, that one’s going to win.


About Meghan Loftus

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3 Responses to What if I’m destroying my body?

  1. Jen Miller says:

    I have to think that if Kara Goucher can have a baby, I mean jeez. I know of women in their 30s who run less, and not as hard, while they’re trying to conceive, and some try to up their body fat percentage if necessary.

    But that seems to be what this study is saying. So I won’t be freaking out about this any time soon 😉

    • mgloftus says:

      Yes, that’s a good point! And Paula Radcliffe, and plenty of other extremely intense runners.

      I am not terribly worried, but this just kind of reminded me that we didn’t really evolve to run for 4+ hours at a time.

  2. Lydia says:

    “We didn’t really evolve to run for 4+ hours at a time” reminds me of a soundbite I caught once by some elite marathoner who admired slow-polks/mortals/the masses because he ‘could never run for that long’…


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