James Tita, DO, has spent his career caring for lungs. As a pulmonary critical care, sleep specialist and our Toledo market chief clinical officer, he knows the importance of a good night’s sleep and a healthy set of lungs – especially for those who are active.
So, when Dr. Tita signed up for a 10-day hike with his son at the Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s High Adventure™ base in New Mexico, he knew he had better be in good shape to tackle the miles of rugged wilderness he was about to take on.
It was then he decided to start running.
And today, 17 years later, Dr. Tita has run four marathons, about 30 half marathons and is signed up for another 13.1 miles at this year’s Mercy Health Glass City Marathon.
“Running is an activity that you can do virtually anywhere, it doesn’t require any equipment, except a good pair of shoes,” Dr. Tita explains. “Running is also one of the most natural human activities. I mean, we were born to run.”
In existence since 1971, the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon is one of the nation’s marquee races and among the top 25 fastest marathon courses. This year’s marathon takes place on Sunday, April 23.
Dr. Tita will be on the starting line with thousands of others who have spent months gearing up for one of four races – the marathon, half marathon, five-person relay, or 5K. He notes his training for this year’s half marathon consisted of several weeks’ worth of long runs on the weekends as well as tempo runs, or runs that simulate running at speed for long distances. He also did speed work to help his body develop aerobic capacity.
But while sometimes the runs are fast and sometimes they are done at an easy pace, Dr. Tita shares he remains focused on what he enjoys most – letting his mind enjoy the peace of getting outside and running.
“The interesting thing is that 85 percent of your running is done at a pace that is substantially slower than what you are going to run on race day,” he says. “There is this thought that you practice really hard so that you’re ready on gameday, except it’s completely different with running endurance races.”
The goal is to get the miles under the legs so when it’s race day, your body can keep up. Dr. Tita adds that he still remembers his first marathon he ran and how at mile 24 he was mentally and physically done. Thankfully, he ran into a friend who was cheering on the sidelines who wouldn’t let him give up.
“I told him I don’t think I’m going to make it and he said, ‘oh yes you are.’ He ended up pacing me the rest of the way, one foot in front of the other, until the finish line”
Marathon runners know that pain and the mental and physical exhaustion that comes from long-distance running. But what keeps Dr. Tita coming back is the friendships in the running community and the serenity along the route.
This sentiment is especially true for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, which winds past familiar sites in Ottawa Hills, Wildwood Metropark, Sylvania Township and the University Trails Bike Path with a finish line at the University of Toledo Glass Bowl.
“As a runner, you run around virtually all parts of the community, but there is something special about getting out and racing, especially with all the excitement that accompanies that. And to be with your fellow runners and those who have just come to the community for the race, it’s a time to feel proud of what we can do as a community and especially as a running community.”
There are still a few registration spots available! Sign up for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon today.
Also, our orthopedic and sports medicine team of physicians and running medicine specialists are here to help. They are available to assist you during your training and will proudly provide medical aid to runners on site during marathon race weekend.
Learn more about the orthopedic and sports medicine services we offer.