Stories about: Running

When a rare injury meets steadfast determination

Chris Tilton Thriving lead image running

As just a freshman in high school, Chris was coming off an incredibly successful fall cross-country season. He had regularly placed among the top performers during races — often one of the lone freshmen amongst all upperclassmen — and had even placed first once during the season. He had his sights set on the winter track season, which came with equally high expectations.

But just two days before Christmas, while competing in the 300-meter track event at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Chris’ season was cut short. In the middle of the race, he felt his hamstring go from loose to tight very quickly, culminating in a snapping sensation and a sharp pain in his leg. He fell to the track, unable to continue the race.

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The race against the female athlete triad

Laura on the track

It’s a common belief among female runners: The lighter you are, the faster you are. It’s also believed that menstrual irregularities, or loss of periods, are a healthy part of competitive training. Neither is true.

That’s precisely what Laura Duff, a senior at Colby College and an avid runner, wishes she knew when she was in high school.

It was during the summer before Laura’s senior year of high school that she became more aware of how she looked. “I don’t know what switched,” she says, “I just became very aware, and started to restrict my eating and be more controlling.”

“I wish I could tell my high school self that worrying about your body isn’t worth it”

While part of her diet was intentional, another part was simply due to the structure of high school. Long days of classes and cross-country practice with little scheduled time for snacks and lunch made it hard to focus on getting enough calories. Soon, her weight started to drop.

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Boston Children’s Running Program hosts seminar

If your child—young or old—aspires to be a runner, the Runner’s Program at Boston Children’s can help them get off on the right foot. The Sports Medicine experts that will help your child also deliver the same world-class care to world-class athletes at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

We all know that running is a great way for kids to get exercise and have fun, but since 35 to 75 percent of runners each year need medical treatment for running-related injuries, running safely is important. Pierre d’Hemecourt, MD of Boston Children’s Division of Sports is presenting at the Runners’ Seminar Series for the Boston Marathon, and talks to us about Children’s Running Program, which helps runners of all ages run as safely as possible.

The Running Program mainly focuses on best practices and injury prevention tools for kids, high school and college athletes, as well as adults.

“We want to encourage running,” says d’Hemecourt, “but in doing so, we want to show runners how they can prevent injuries and stay healthy.” The program’s plan does just that, and when a patient comes in for an appointment, they go through four 15-minute stations of clinical help.

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Mini marathoners

In a few hours the leaders in today’s Boston Marathon will be approaching the finish, leaving miles of cheering fans, and other runners, in their wake. The crowd at the finish line is always a mob scene, which goes to show that the sport is widely popular, even if you don’t hear about it in the media very often. And that popularity is on the rise, especially with kids. Membership in USA Track & Field’s 10-and-under category is over 16,000 strong; I even found triathlons for 7-year-olds.

Considering how prevalent childhood obesity has become, many people welcome running’s recent popularity boom. It’s a good workout, and unlike many organized sports, it can be done cheaply, with as many or as few participants as are available, any where in the country. For more on this growing trend among young runners, check out this video and excerpt from a recent Boston Globe article that features, Pierre d’Hemecourt, MD director of primary care sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston and avid runner.

As interest grows, Pierre d’Hemecourt, director of primary care sports medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, regularly hears from parents asking about appropriate distances for different age groups.

“There is no real solid data on that,’’ said d’Hemecourt, who is a runner himself, “but there is a lot of speculation.’’ Children ages 8 to 10 can generallly build up to running 3K races and possibly 5K races, he said, and kindergartners should be fine in distances as long as 100 to 200 meters. “The key is to keep it fun and to stimulate an active lifestyle that will persist.’’

A proponent of the sport, he said parents should keep an eye out for activity-related pain that lasts for a few weeks, such as shin or heel pain, and take children to a doctor if discomfort persists beyond that. He also cautioned against running in severe weather. “Kids have less of an ability to handle heat and cold than adults,’’ he said.

For the full story, click here.

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