Yes, it’s a dirty, filthy word and I really don’t like to be negative but sometimes things need to be said. I am disturbed by some of the images and praise I see from so-called “hard core” athletes and parents out there. Things like how proud they are of their child for throwing up at the end of their race because they pushed so hard (and sometimes they even post a picture of the vomit – are you kidding me?!). I must say, I do plenty of hard workouts and train to race very hard winning many races over the years but I have to admit I have never pushed myself to the point of regurgitation. Maybe you would argue that I don’t push myself hard enough since I don’t throw up, but I would beg to differ. Simply, to me, throwing up is a sign that the body has been pushed too hard; the body is over its’ limits, or it was pushed harder than it was prepared for. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself hard; I do it all the time, but when our body is throwing up, it’s usually not a good sign. It’s a signal that we have overexerted, ate more than we should right before a run or the nutrition product we had isn’t agreeing with us. It could also be a warning of dehydration, low blood sugar, heat stroke and other life threatening conditions. It concerns me when we are now teaching our children by praising them that it is okay to push themselves to the point of vomiting. To me as a coach and mother of four, this is just not okay. This type of behavior could lead to eating disorders and damage the throat and teeth. Sure, there are reasons that we might need to throw up on occasion: food poisoning, the flu, etc… but let’s not praise people or be proud of them for doing it. If a child does happen to throw up because of their effort, let’s not make it the focal point. Throwing up is just not a good thing so don’t get sucked into the popular culture of believing that it’s “cool” or “awesome” to do so. It is not a rite of passage to become a “hardcore” athlete. There are plenty of “hardcore” athletes that do not throw up and there are many more effective ways of showing our brawn than leaving a trail of stomach contents in our wake.
~ Coach Lora Erickson