On a typical morning, Dr. Marc Mihalko wakes up before dawn, laces up his trainers and heads out for a workout—an hour-long run, a master swim class at the Y, or a 20-plus-mile bike ride.
For a physician who balances family life and his practice of orthopaedic medicine at Campbell Clinic with triathlon training, it is one of the most important parts of his day.
“I find that being an athlete lends itself to my profession in a big way. It allows me to get into the mindset of the patient because I understand what they’re going through and how it impacts what they want to accomplish,” Mihalko said. “The aches and pains they feel, I’ve felt.”
“When treating sports injuries, especially those related to running or triathlon training, I often share with the patient my experiences and that usually puts them at ease,” he said. “At that point, they trust that they’re in good hands.”
Dr. Mihalko is one of several physicians at Campbell Clinic who, in addition to treating patients, participates in competitive sports.
Dr. David LaVelle qualified in July for the 2011 Senior Olympics in Houston, Texas in the cycling event and competed alongside Drs. Ben Grear and Matt Busbee in the Memphis in May Triathlon. Drs. Mihalko and Jeffrey Sawyer participated in both the Memphis In May and Chicago Triathlons.
“They are one of a few events you can compete in at any age,” Mihalko explained of his reason for participating in triathlons. “You may compete against hundreds of others, but you’re essentially competing against yourself, setting a goal, and pushing yourself beyond your limits.”
With two triathlons under his belt, Mihalko hopes to compete in a Half Ironman Triathlon or a marathon in an international city, like Paris, where his wife lived for a year.
“For me, triathlons and marathons are about the destination,” he said. “Running in a big city is fun.”
Mihalko’s advice for those interested in competing in a triathlon or marathon is to get out of their comfort zone and avoid overtraining in the beginning.
“It’s easy to let a race overwhelm you if you focus on the total mileage you’re undertaking, but simply take it one mile at a time,” he said. “And, if you’ve never run before, don’t think you can immediately run 20 miles or five miles for that matter. Start out slow or you’ll end up in my office sooner than you’d like.”
Celebrating its milestone 100th year in business, Campbell Clinic is dedicated to the mission of providing unsurpassed patient care while continuing the clinic’s role as the leader in teaching and research in orthopedic surgery. Due to popular demand, Campbell Clinic opened its After Hours Clinic to make its specialized services available to patients Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information on Campbell Clinic, call 901.759.3100 or visit www.campbellclinic.com.