December 1st, 2004

Hawaii Ironman 2004

I didn't see the race on TV.  But I've been reading about it in my freshly delivered Triathlete magazine, a glossy affair with great photos.  The men's race was interesting - in a technical sort of way.  But the women's race was the human interest story.  The female winner got busted for using a banned drug that enhances the production of red blood cells - and instead of portraying herself as a victim, she confessed!

"I did something stupid. The mistake cannot be rectified. I am going to bear all the consequences. I never really rejoiced over the victory in Hawaii. I was ashamed the entire time, especially in front of my family. I cheated."

It's a funny sort of statement to inspire my admiration.  But it does.  She's willing to "face the music." 

(I almost said she was willing to "take her medicine," but that would be a bad choice of slang in this context.)

The banned drug in question, EPO (or epoetin) is a very helpful drug.  It increases your body's supply of red blood cells.  This is good if you have anemia for some reason. 

An increase in red blood cells also improves performance in endurance events, since it is the red cells that transport oxygen through your body.  But all those red blood cells make your blood thicker too.  If you then get dehydrated, as often happens in endurance events, your blood can get too damn thick and you can drop dead.

Rhyme of the Day:

Helps you go.

(It gets your blood red,
But it might leave you dead.)