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					016_019v308 runners        11/20/08      4:54 PM       Page 16




       ‘RUNNING CHANGED MY LIFE’
       5 metro Detroiters tell how lacing up
       got them back on track
       By Nicole Adamson




      F
             orget politics. If you really want to see people take sides, just turn the conversation to running.
             To some, lacing up their sneakers and hitting the pavement is as essential as brushing their teeth
             each day, whether it’s sunny, rainy or snowing outside. To others, it’s a way to decompress and
       get outside, even if it’s only once or twice a week. Then there are those who wouldn’t think of running
       – unless they’re being chased. No matter which group you’re in, there are some things you can’t
       refute. Running is inexpensive and convenient, most people in reasonably good shape can give it a go,
       and its benefits include everything from weight loss to heart health to lifted spirits. Still not inspired?
       Then read these stories from five metro Detroiters who say running transformed their lives.




       Pete Thomas is shown, left, at the start of NBC’s The Biggest Loser 2, where he got into shape with his trainer on the show, Jillian Michaels, center. The show
       aired September through November, 2005. At right, Thomas is all smiles after dropping an additional 102 pounds on his own.

       “Running helped me be a                                running two – almost nonstop.                          ed running and ropped from 269 to 199
       winner on The Biggest Loser.”                             “My mind was like, ‘What are you doing?             pounds in nine months.
       Pete Thomas, 39, Ypsilanti                             You’re too big to be running!’” says Thomas.              Because his job requires a lot of travel,
       Pete Thomas weighed in at 401 pounds                      He’s been running ever since. In fact, he           Thomas says for him the greatest advantage
       when he first arrived on the set of NBC’s The          attributes at least 70 to 80 pounds of his             of running is its accessibility. He makes sure
       Biggest Loser in March 2005. After dropping            additional weight lost – 102 pounds from               to pack running gear in his carry-on bag,
       83 pounds in 62 days at the Biggest Loser              May through November of 2005 – to pound-               and runs laps around hotels.
       Ranch, Thomas was feeling great. But he                ing the pavement. The Biggest Loser 2                     These days, Thomas averages five miles a
       knew he was going to have to make some                 awarded Thomas $100,000 for dropping the               day, four to five days a week. “Some days I
       major lifestyle changes to keep his “losing            most weight, percentage-wise, of all 11 con-           don’t feel like running, and I run anyway,
       streak” going.                                         testants voted off the show.                           because I’m running from the past me,” he
          So after the show’s taping, the 318-pound,             Thomas’ initial running program was                 says. “Sometimes, I do want to run, and
       6-foot-5-inch real estate investor showed up           intense: 90 minutes of running daily, six              those days, I’m running toward the future
       for a beginner’s running class at Tortoise and         days a week. But the results were impres-              me. But wherever I am, I’m running.”
       Hare Running and Fitness Center in Ann                 sive. After he completed his first 5K in July
       Arbor. Thomas skeptically set out to run one           2005, he ran the Detroit Free Press Half
       mile. To his own amazement, he ended up                Marathon that October. His wife, Pam, start-              COOL GEAR
                                                                                                                        FOR RUNNERS PAGE 27
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                                                               “Running with [the Downtown Runners]                 WHAT KIND OF RUNNER
                                                            kept me sane, gave me perspective and                   ARE YOU?
                                                            helped me through those very difficult                  Anyone can run. Take this quiz to
                                                            times,” says Mezza, who ran her first                   learn your ideal running routine.
                                                            marathon in 1993 and has since run nine
                                                            more. “I feel like running changed and saved            1. Your current fitness regimen is:
                                                            my life, physically and emotionally.”                   A. Fun classes where I can meet new people
                                                               It also introduced her to Howell. The two            B. Occasional pickup game of basketball
                                                            bonded during their weekly runs and even-               C. Hiking, kayaking, anything outdoors
                                                            tually started dating. In April 1996, they ran          D. Doing leg lifts while watching Scrubs
                                                            the 100th Boston Marathon together. They                E. What fitness routine? I’m lucky if I can get
                                                            married in July and continue to run together.           in a 10-minute walk at lunch
                                                               “We have some of our best disagreements
                                                            while out on our runs,” Howell says. “By the            2. In high school, you were a member of:
                                                            time we are back home, the problem is                   A. A mix of things – drama club, volleyball,
                                                            always resolved and we feel good again.”                student council, etc.
                                                                                                                    B. Soccer, basketball and tennis teams
                                                            “Running became my source                               C. Ecology club
                                                            of friendship and support.”                             D. Not much – you had to get home to
       Running changed Doug Howell and Colette Mezza’s      Christine Hughes, 35, Canton                            watch television
       lives, physically and emotionally.                   Any parent knows that keeping up one’s                  E. Every club you could possibly join
                                                            own hobbies while trying to raise children
       “Running saved my life.”                             can be stressful. But for Christine Hughes,             3. You feel most satisfied:
       Doug Howell, 61, and Colette Mezza, 52,              the opposite proved true.                               A. When you’re with positive, upbeat people
       St. Clair Shores                                         After giving birth to her first child,              B. When you’re working toward a goal
       In 1991, Doug Howell was living in Balti-            Kayla, in 1997, Hughes started running                  C. When you’re outside in nature
       more, smoking non-filtered Camels and                with a group of moms in Grand Rapids. In                D. When you’re stimulated and entertained
       drinking two fifths of bourbon a week, and           2000, after her second daughter, Jessica,               E. When you’re productive and busy
       had all but renounced exercise. That year,           was born, Hughes completed her first
       Howell’s father, who shared the same habits,         marathon. The following year, her family                4. If you were an animal, you’d be:
       died of pancreatic cancer.                           moved from Grand Rapids to Canton.                      A. A golden retriever
          “I saw that very same cancer train com-              “I missed the camaraderie and the friend-            B. A Bengal tiger
       ing straight down the tracks at me,” Howell          ship and support I had before, [when I was]             C. An eagle
       recalls. “Same genes. Same smoking and               running with people who are in similar                  D. A Siamese cat
       drinking. Same sedentary lifestyle. I decided        places in their lives,” says Hughes, a respira-         E. A workhorse
       right then and there not to let that happen          tory therapist. “I knew I could bring more
       to me.”                                              people together who wanted the same thing               Mostly A’s: Social butterfly. You crave inter-
          Howell threw away his cigarettes and did          I did.”                                                 action. Joining a group will hook you up with
       the first thing he could think of. He ran.              Hughes started recruiting other runner-              other runners. Go to www.runningnetwork
          “My first day running, I tried to run             moms, and before long, the Dirt Road Divas              .com/clubs/Michigan.html for a group near you.
       around the block. ... I couldn’t do it. I literal-   running club was born. “We started out
       ly sat on the curb and cried,” he says.              small, all moms, and all looking for their              Mostly B’s: Competitor. For you, fitness is a
          As painful as that experience was, it             Continued on page 18                                    sport. Try training for a 5K and setting a goal
       didn’t deter Howell. That summer, he ran nearly                                                              for your finishing time. For a list of upcoming
       every day, losing 30 pounds and becoming             In 2004, Christine Hughes organized Pounding Pavement   races, visit www.runmichigan.com/eventcal
       healthier than he’d been in 20 years.                and Dirt for Postpartum Depression, an annual run to    endar/index.
          But Howell wasn’t just running for physi-         raise money for women suffering from the condition.
       cal health. Troubled by his father’s death                                                                   Mostly C’s: Nature lover. You’re most
       and a collapsing marriage, he had fallen into                                                                energized and inspired by the great outdoors,
       a deep depression. The one thing he could                                                                    so trail running is a great way to get your nat-
       count on was running.                                                                                        ural high. Check out www.michigandnr.com/
          “Running was my therapist, my coun-                                                                       parksandtrails to find a trail near you.
       selor,” he says. “I used to go for 20-mile runs
       all by myself and go through my problems.”                                                                   Mostly D’s: Master of distraction. Turn
          Howell was beginning to piece together                                                                    on the TV, blast the radio and flip open the
       his life when, in 1993, he accepted a posi-                                                                  latest People – anything to keep you from
       tion as a physician assistant in Detroit.                                                                    realizing you’re exercising. Join a gym that has
       There, he found the Downtown Runners, a                                                                      television-equipped treadmills, and schedule
       group that meets Tuesdays after work to run                                                                  your runs around your favorite shows.
       and socialize. He also found Colette Mezza.
          A legal assistant at Chrysler LLC, Mezza                                                                  Mostly E’s: Busy bee. If it’s not in your
       began running in 1983. She credits it with                                                                   BlackBerry, you won’t do it. So make an
       helping her to quit smoking and deal with                                                                    appointment to run! Early-morning runs
       the death of her mother and breakup of                                                                       might be your best bet.
       her marriage.                                                                                                                             – Nicole Adamson

                                                                                                                                                   March 2008 17
016_019v308 runners     11/20/08    4:54 PM    Page 18




       Continued from page 17                                                                                A runner since eighth grade, Krzyzanowski
       healthy out, where they could get a break                                                         had set a goal to run a marathon in every state
       and make it worth their time,” says Hughes.                                                       with her husband, Roman. (She’s already cov-
          In fall 2003, Hughes learned she was                                                           ered 21 states, he’s done 20.) Determined not to
       pregnant with her third child. After giving                                                       let cancer get in the way, she kept running
       birth to Ava, she was eager to run another                                                        throughout 12 weeks of chemotherapy and 30
       marathon with her friends, but three months                                                       treatments of radiation.
       later, Hughes was diagnosed with postpar-                                                             “It helped me stay strong, especially men-
       tum depression. Though she needed medical                                                         tally,” says Krzyzanowski, a fifth-grade
       intervention, Hughes says running with the                                                        teacher at Holcomb Elementary School in
       Divas was a big part of her recovery.         Amy Krzyzanowski credits running with helping her   Detroit. “If you do what makes you feel nor-
          “I stopped sleeping and could barely       recover from breast cancer.                         mal, you feel better.”
       eat, but I never missed a run with my                                                                 She had to make adjustments: slowing her
       friends,” she says. “They got me out of       “Running helped me beat                             pace, shortening distances and resting more
       bed in the morning; they helped me rise       breast cancer.”                                     days than usual. But Krzyzanowski believes
       from this sadness.”                           Amy Krzyzanowski, 39, Plymouth                      running also improved her physical strength.
          Today, Hughes is busy, working and         Each year, thousands of people across the           “It helped my body sustain itself,” she says.
       raising her 3-, 7- and 10-year-old daugh-     country run or walk in events to fight breast       “My doctor said exercise is good, that people
       ters, but running with the Divas is           cancer. But for Amy Krzyzanowski, running           actually recover between treatments better if
       always one of her priorities. “I think        was more than a philanthropic endeavor –            they’re active.”
       everyone benefits – just ask my husband       it was part of her recovery.                            Three weeks after her last round of chemo,
       and kids,” she says. “They’ll tell you,          Last June, Krzyzanowski, 39, was diag-           Krzyzanowski, who has been cancer-free since
       ‘Mommy needs to go running’ if I’m on         nosed with stage 1, grade 3 breast cancer,          November, ran the Susan B. Komen Race for
       the crabbier side!”                           despite having no family history of the dis-        the Cure in Grand Rapids.
          For more information on the Dirt Road      ease. The cancer was aggressive. But so                 And the feisty teacher will be back. She
       Divas or this year’s Pounding Pavement        was Krzyzanowski.                                   plans to run her next marathon in the fall –
       and Dirt for Postpartum Depression run,          “I remember being really [ticked] off, think-    and you can bet she’ll give it all she’s got, and
       visit www.dirtroaddivas.com.                  ing, ‘I have marathons to run,’ ” she says.         then some.




         WALK THIS WAY                                                         Get shoes that were                  eral minutes and counting the
                                                                               made for walkin’. It’s               beats per minute.
                                                                               important to wear a good                Sarafa says the talk test is
                                                                               pair of shoes, whether you’re        a good indication of whether
         How to take your                                                      walking for 10 minutes or an
                                                                               hour. Sarafa suggests going
                                                                                                                    you’re working hard enough.
                                                                                                                    If you can’t carry on a conver-

         strolls to the next level                                             to a specialty walking shoe
                                                                               store, where professionals can
                                                                                                                    sation without gasping for air,
                                                                                                                    you’re walking too fast. If you
                                                                               assist you in finding a com-         can belt out Beyoncé, you



         W
                    e know what you’re thinking: “This                         fortable shoe with proper            need to kick it up a notch.
                                                                               arch support.
                    running stuff sounds great, but physi-                                                          Know your limits.
                    cally, I’m not ready to start pounding Stretch it out. Start by                                 Talk to your doctor before
                                                           walking for five minutes to                              beginning a vigorous walking
         the pavement.” The good news is, you can get      warm up your muscles, then                               routine. Also, heed warning
         many of the same benefits from walking as you stretch for five to 10 minutes.                              signs, such as lightheaded-
         can from running.                                 After you walk, stretch for                              ness or a racing heartbeat.
                                                           another five to 10.
           Walking can help lower blood pressure,                                                                   Make it a habit.
         reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, man- Don’t dawdle. For car-                                     According to the American
                                                           diovascular benefits, the key                            Heart Association, healthy
         age weight, improve attitude, and keep you        for the novice is to walk fast                           adults should exercise at
         strong and active as you get older. And it’s a    enough to get your heart rate                            moderate intensity at least 30
                                                                 at least 20% above
         low-impact activity, so almost anyone can do it. up toresting heart rate. One
                                                           your
                                                                                                                    minutes a day, five days a
                                                                                                                    week, or at vigorous intensity
           “Walking is the ultimate form of exercise in    way to determine this is with                            at least 20 minutes a day,
         terms of cost-effectiveness, low risk of injury   a heart-rate monitor. You can                            three days a week. Don’t
                                                           find your resting heart rate by                          worry if you can’t do this
         and minimal startup,” says Gary Sarafa, M.D., an taking your pulse with your                               right away. “Any amount of
         associate professor in family medicine and physi- finger (not your thumb,                                  walking is going to give you
                                                           which also has a pulse) on                               health benefits,” Sarafa says.
         cian at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He offers your neck or wrist after
         the following five steps for beginning walkers.   you’ve been lying still for sev-                                       – Nicole Adamson



      18 vitalmichigan.com
016_019v308 runners      11/20/08      4:54 PM     Page 19




                                                                                                                                                Peter’s Principles


      Good Health for Each Stage of Life
      Find the right blend of nutrition and exercise
      Question: What is the best advice on nutrition and exercise you can give for me, my daughter and my mother? – Peggy, Waterford
      Answer: Well, Peggy, those               Another vitamin women need             with spinach, turnip greens and             lar work after your weight train-
      are three different stages in life,   is folate, also called folic acid. It’s   cheese, and spice things up with            ing to burn fat, for 45 to 60 min-
      and each stage is different, so I’m   most known for its importance             some cinnamon. You also want                utes four to five days per week.
                         going to break     during pregnancy because it               to take calcium with vitamin D,                Along with proper exercise
                         it down. No        helps prevent birth defects.              which helps your body absorb                and nutrition, you should be get-
                         matter what        Folate allows for complete devel-         the nutrient.                               ting regular medical checkups,
                         stage of life      opment of red blood cells, which             Women, you also need to                  and when you hit middle age,
                         you’re in, you     carry oxygen to the body.                 exercise. I recommend cardio-               get a mammogram.
                         need to exercise   Females 14 years or older need            vascular exercise along with                   “Women should be screened
                         and eat right.     400 micrograms per day, and               weight training. Remember,                  for breast cancer starting at age
                             Let’s start    pregnant women need 600. To               weight training develops mus-               40 or earlier, based on their
      Peter Nielsen      with nutrition.    get folate, eat romaine lettuce,          cles, and muscles burn twice as             family history,” advises Angela
      Every woman needs to make             spinach, asparagus and broccoli.          many calories as fat. You should            Bully, M.D. of DMC Harper
      sure she gets enough iron. It            And you probably hear this             weight train three days a week              University Hospital.
      helps enhance oxygen distribu-        one a lot: Women need calcium.            on nonconsecutive days. Do two                 Nutrition, exercise and proper
      tion, keeps your immune system        It helps maintain strong bones,           exercises per body part for 10 to           health screenings will help keep
      healthy and helps your body pro-      supports proper functioning of            15 repetitions. Do cardiovascu-             you healthy and strong.
      duce energy. Teens need 15 mil-       nerves and muscles, and helps
      ligrams of iron a day. As women       your blood clot. Women older
                                                                                       If you have questions on nutrition or exercise, you can reach Peter Nielsen and his
      get older, that jumps to 18. After    than age 51 need 1,200 mil-
                                                                                       staff by calling 888.763.4808. Listen to Peter on News/Talk 760 WJR Detroit, daily at
      age 51, you need only 8 mil-          ligrams of calcium a day.
                                                                                       11:25 a.m. and every Sunday from 3-4 p.m., and check your local listings for Peter’s
      ligrams a day. Good sources           Younger women need about
                                                                                       nationally syndicated TV series, Peter’s Principles, seen locally on WDIV-TV (Channel
      include spinach, broccoli, brus-      1,000 and teens need 1,300 mil-
                                                                                       4). For more information on his programs or products, visit www.peternielsen.com.
      sels sprouts and tofu.                ligrams a day. Stack your plate            Have a question for Peter? E-mail it to cmnelson@dnps.com or nielsenfit@aol.com.

				
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