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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

grass-fed or pasture-raised meats, vegetables, fruit and nuts. It excludes grains, dairy products, refined salt and sugar, and processed foods. “I look for replacements for foods not on the diet,” Goswitz adds. “It’s a great alternative and really, I don’t miss anything and can’t see that I have any less energy than usual.” With her future stretching out before her, Jessica believes she is on the right path for a healthy and active life. Meanwhile, high school teacher R. “Don” Ruggles is on the same path, just a few steps ahead. Ruggles, 68, calls himself an endurance athlete. He says: “I’m not a jogger, I’m not a runner. I’m an endurance athlete!” Ruggles has competed in 83 marathons and ultra-marathons, including one 100-mile race, one 100-kilometer race and numerous 50-mile runs. He is the Engineering Academy coordinator for Hightower High School in Missouri City, and has been a teacher for 12 years. At age 42, he says he weighed more than 200 pounds and his cholesterol was skyrocketing. “I had lost control of my health,” he says. “So I made the decision to start running.” A voracious reader, Ruggles sought all the information he could about training plans. He settled on a plan that helped him gradually build up his running mileage. In 1991, he ran his first marathon and tried for more than 10 years before he finally qualified to participate in the Boston Marathon. “It took 12 years of failing in my training methods before I got it right,” he says. “It’s all second nature now.” Ruggles runs five days a week, going various distances and speeds, depending on if he is training for a marathon or not. He frequently has a “long run” of about 20 miles on Sundays. To those who may consider running in his footsteps, Ruggles suggests starting slowly, and building up to various distances. “Don’t sign up for a marathon your first time out,” he says. “Do a 5K (five kilometer race, about 3.1 miles), a 10K or a half marathon. Spread them out. “And find a running friend — someone you can depend on to show up every time. That’s critical; find somebody who is your speed or a little faster,” he adds. Ruggles says he got into running first for his health (which is much better now), for the competition and for the social interaction with others. “It’s evolved into a total lifestyle for me,” he says. “My essence.” Brian Gilliam didn’t really choose his current lifestyle, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything right now. Born with a heart defect, Gilliam was diagnosed with congestive heart failure when he was in his early 40s. His heart weakened continuously and finally, in 2008, Gilliam received a heart transplant at the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center. Since then, he has become an active spokesman for transplant and donor awareness. In 2010, he participated in the National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games as a member of the golf team. This summer, Gilliam captained a team of 86 transplant recipients, living donors and donor family members to participate in the Transplant Games of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Team Texas (with one member from Louisiana) competed in 17 events, including bicycling, track and field, swimming, and golf. “I competed in golf and did some basketball before I pulled a hamstring,” says Gilliam. “It was an amazing event.” With a transplanted heart beating in his now 50-year-old chest, Gilliam must be aware of everything his body tells him at all times. “The biggest obstacle for me is not to overdo it,” he explains. “Even golf, which wouldn’t seem to be that strenuous, can get rough when you’re out in the Texas heat.” Nevertheless, Gilliam also enjoys fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities. He also says it’s important to keep working. “I work in construction and it really keeps me moving,” he adds. WORK HARD, PLAY HARD No matter the source of information, any good advice on activity and athletics will emphasize the importance of rest. Even the ever-running Ruggles takes two days of rest, usually during the week. He says it’s important — the time off gives his body an opportunity to recover. Rice Owl Goswitz builds in downtime so she can complete her studies. They happily take short breaks from their sports because they know they will return to them. Players who are injured have tougher adjustments to make. “It’s really tough to tell an athlete they have to stop,” says Lintner. “They aren’t wired to be inactive, so a kind of depression sets in.” McCulloch explains further, “From a rehabilitation standpoint, it is important for us to recognize this and keep things positive. We mix up workouts to keep them interesting and give (the athlete) concrete goals to work toward in rehab.” Foster, for his part, looks forward to his time off. It’s important to take time to recover, because football is such a physical game. “I just like to relax and take my mind off everything,” he says. Gliding on his Segway helps Foster save his legs for the next game, and he doesn’t really do anything athletic off the football field. “I guess at this level, anything athletic you do, it all goes toward your craft, your profession,” he says. “I’m lucky — I consider my craft to be fun.” n Leading Medicine • Volume 7, Number 1 11


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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