Fall, 2012

Marathon Healers: Ultra-Athletes at CMC

Chilton Times-Journal, Calumet Medical Center supplement

Fall, 2012

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Michelle Yandre, Media Relations 
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Chilton, Wis. – Pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles is a feat attempted by a rare breed of individuals. Even the challenge of completing a half marathon at 13.1 miles is a daunting thought quickly dismissed by even a rigorous exerciser. At 614 Memorial Drive, seven medical professionals - two physicians, a family nurse practitioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist, athletic trainer, and cardiac rehabilitation nurse have recently completed long distance races. Six of the seven have repeated the experience over and over with no plans of stopping.

They aren’t Suzy Favor Hamilton’s with corporate sponsors, state and national records but their craving for competition compares. So, why run?
“I train for wellness and to maintain a healthy weight, but my biggest challenge is that I am an asthmatic,” said Heather Day, APNP, family nurse practitioner. “I initially began running for weight loss but found running such a stress reliever for myself. It is my happy place when I’m running and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Day has completed seven marathons and is hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon someday. In the near future, she is looking forward to competing in a different type of race which includes an October haunted trail run.
“I used to hate running,” admits Jessica Schmidt, licensed athletic trainer. She slowly caught the bug as running became easier for her. “I started training for shorter races, 5K’s, and began to win in my age group. Eventually, I took the risk to go further.”
Taking a quick jump from the 5K’s, Schmidt completed three half marathons, all in the past year and will run her first full marathon in September at the Fox Cities Marathon. “I anticipate my next goal to be speed not distance. Distance training can be time consuming and not always enjoyable in the winter,” said Schmidt.
Joining Schmidt at the Fox Cities Marathon for her third half marathon is Katie Schuh, occupational therapist. “I mostly run to stay fit and in shape, but it has also been a great way to discipline myself since it is a time commitment,” said Schuh.
Schuh’s goal for the upcoming marathon is to finish under 2:15. Cross training with biking, elliptical machines, and weights has been added to her workouts to give her that edge. An extra nudge from her training/running partner is also helpful. “I run with a good friend from college, we do not commit to stick together but often do and try to push each other along the way,” said Schuh.
Ten half marathons over a nine year span minus pregnancy down time has put many a mile on Jennifer (Jenny) Schreiter Pethan, physical therapist. “Running helps me to get into what matters to me, it is my down time, quiet and peaceful time, a time of reflection upon everyday issues,” said Pethan. She lives in the country and appreciates the smell of fresh air and the sights of flora and fauna.
“I have no plans for a full marathon; a half is enough for me. With two little kids, I need to balance mom time too,” said Pethan. Annually, she sets a goal of a spring and fall race to keep her sense of “feeling alive.”
Sergey Shyvgin, MD, family physician has run four full marathons in the last two years and has the Chicago Marathon on the to-do for October. Perhaps the most competitive of the CMC running bunch, Shyvgin ran an impressive 3:16 in New Orleans and qualified for the Boston Marathon, a race he plans to run in April. “My first goal was to do something that I liked and to give me a sense of accomplishment. Now I train to keep the stress down and for overall good health,” said Shyvgin.
Winning the race for longevity is Ursula Mueller, RN, cardiac rehabilitation coordinator. “I’ve been running for 36 years and am still going,” said Mueller. She has completed six half marathons over the past eight years and many local shorter races in-between. She admits to stubborn persistence as her initial motivator. “I was hit by a drunk driver and told by my orthopedic surgeon that I most likely would never run again. Two years after the accident I proved him wrong.”
Dedicating her professional life to cardiac rehabilitation, she now sees her patients as motivators. “In good faith, I feel I need to follow what I teach to my patients, no smoking, and healthy eating and exercise,” said Mueller.
Unlike his fellow CMC long distance running cohorts, general surgeon Peter Janu, MD completed his first marathon in May and views the experience in a different light. “Check that off the bucket list,” laughs Janu. The marathon whim began when he and his wife Wendy were planning a trip to Prague and learned that the marathon was taking place during their vacation. “Wendy ran a marathon when she was 23 but I, by no stretch of the imagination had ever run that far.”
Sophisticated training methods went as far as Janu’s fingers could reach. “I went online and got a novice training guide for winter through spring. It wasn’t rocket science following the plan and we needed to be realistic. Our intent was to run together and we finished a little ahead of our goal time.” A secondary positive outcome followed their return home. “A few other couples we know are now training to do the same. It’s cool to spur that kind of thing.”
CMC behavior health counselor Leah Diedrick-Williams, LCS shares her personal experience and professional opinion on running. “In addition to the positive effects on your physical health, research has shown that running releases feel-good endorphins and has a lasting impact on improving your mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Exercise is a vital piece to overall health and wellness. Whether you are working toward running one mile or 26.2 the benefits are numerous and confidence can be gained with each small goal that you reach,” said Diedrick-Williams. 

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About Ministry Health Care
Ministry Health Care is an integrated healthcare delivery network serving more than 1.1 million people across Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Ministry generates nearly $2.2 billion in annual operating revenue with 15 hospitals, 47 clinics, and more than 12,000 associates including 650 physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Ministry Health Care recently joined Ascension Health as the second healthcare ministry in Wisconsin. Ascension is the largest Catholic and not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation.

Ministry is ranked among the top 20 percent of healthcare systems in the country according to Truven Health Analytics and five Ministry hospitals are ranked in the top 10 in Medicare’s Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program in the state. Ministry’s Network Health has again received 4 ½ star recognition by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Medicare Advantage plans.

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