Do As I Say And As I Do

Health Care providers share their own strategies for staying active.

Most mornings I am up before the sun, running the cracked pavement of our small Maine island. With the salty ocean air filling my lungs and the calls of birds as a soundtrack, I connect to the world before I head to the office to see patients. Keeping my body and soul in tune helps me to encourage others to do the same. Many of my medical colleagues have a similar approach to physical wellness. Whether they are high-level athletes or simply hiking, paddling, or biking for pleasure, they take advantage of all that our state has to offer so that they can be better at sharing good news about health.

Sheri Piers | Nurse Practitioner, Medical Director for Saint Joseph’s College Student Health Center

“The change of seasons in Maine contributes to healthy living,” says Sheri Piers. She believes that it is worthwhile to experience a diversity of weather—it keeps her challenged. “Although the winters in Maine make it more difficult to run, I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Piers grew up in Westbrook and received an undergraduate degree from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, where she now serves as the medical director for the student health center. A Catholic liberal arts college, Saint Joseph’s has approximately 1,000 undergraduate students on its Sebago Lake campus, many of whom participate in its acclaimed Division III athletic program.

“What inspires me to stay healthy is the way my body feels during and after exercise,” says Piers, who has consistently run 80 to 120 miles per week training for marathons and other races for more than a decade. “I typically exercise as soon as I step foot out of bed in the morning—as early as 4 a.m.,” says Piers. “The endorphins produced from physical activity make me feel awake and alert.” When she was known as Sheri McCarthy, Piers won the Maine state cross-country title as a junior at Westbrook High School, but opted to play basketball at Saint Joseph’s. She began running more competitively again in 2005, after competing in the Cape Elizabeth Turkey Trot, where she met her now longtime training partner, Kristin Barry. A three-time competitor in the United States Olympic marathon trials, Piers was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Piers says that her three teenaged children, Conner, Noah, and Karley, also keep her healthy. “Exercising has always been a very important part of our family,” says Piers, who frequently indulges in basketball, golf, and tennis. “Now that my children are older, we can exercise together. This is a great time for us to talk and spend time together.” Piers, who lives in Falmouth with her significant other, fellow runner Al Bugbee, makes accommodations for the winter by running on a treadmill. The rest of the year, she can often be found training on a nearby golf course. “They are very nice about letting me run on the course—if I get out early enough.”

Piers, who has a master’s degree in nursing from Simmons College in Boston, advises her patients to make space in their day for wellness. “We all have the choice to exercise,” says Piers. “It doesn’t have to be to the extreme that I do to be healthy. It’s about prioritizing and just getting it done.”

Rick Marden | Family Physician at Topsham Family Medicine

“Exercise gets me in a better mindset,” says Dr. Rick Marden. “It helps me be more disciplined and makes me better at my job. It also makes me more effective in my role as a husband and father.” Marden practices at Topsham Family Medicine, which is affiliated with Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Originally from Hamden, Marden played basketball while in high school at Pine Tree Academy in Freeport.

Marden continued with collegiate intramurals at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California, where he earned his medical degree. He now lives in Brunswick with his wife, RaeAnne, and daughters Natalie, Anna, and Dolci. In the Marden household, there is no passive television watching: they have a gym setup in front of the TV. Family members (including the parents) can be found doing push-ups, sit- ups, biking, and jumping to earn screen time.

When Marden was 31, he broke his patella (kneecap) while mountain biking. “This dramatically changed who I am as an athlete,” says Marden. “I went from being more competitive to focused on health and wellness.” Marden now spends his time cycling, hiking, and doing resistance or bodyweight training.

Last fall, Marden completed the 26th annual Cadillac Challenge Century Bicycle Ride, a 100-mile route that ends at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Although winter makes cycling a challenge, the same is not true of hiking. “I love hiking in winter,” says Marden, who shares this pastime with his family year-round in places like Tumbledown Mountain (near Weld), Baxter State Park, and Acadia National Park.

Marden, who teaches young doctors as an adjunct faculty member for the family medicine residency program at Central Maine Medical Center, has always eaten a plant-based diet. “I talk a lot about this with patients,” says Marden. “Many people can’t imagine going vegetarian but can increase fruits and vegetables and decrease processed foods and simple sugars. A number of people go vegan or vegetarian after these conversations.” One middle-aged patient recently proved that this approach works. “He lost 15 pounds, came off his cholesterol medications, and began cycling again.”

Ed Tumavicus | Faculty Physician at the Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program

“My advice to patients is pretty simple: make sure exercise is fun and enjoyable and try to make it a social event with friends,” says Dr. Ed Tumavicus. Tumavicus, who practiced as an attorney for 11 years before getting his medical degree at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, is board certified in both family medicine and obesity medicine. “Maine, and particularly Portland, makes staying fit much easier. The general culture here is health- and fitness-oriented.”

A native of Wrentham, Massachusetts, Tumavicus moved to Portland in 2002 to learn family medicine in the program at which he now teaches. He has compelling reasons for staying fit: his father had his first heart attack at the age of 42. “I always wanted to foil my genetics,” says Tumavicus. In 2003 his first wife, 38-year- old Amy Hewitt, died unexpectedly of a previously undetected heart problem—less than 18 hours after completing the Maine Marathon in Portland. Their daughters, Lucy and Grace, were two and four. “I swore to myself I would not let their father die until he was a very old man,” says Tumavicus. His daughters are now students at Deering High School. “They are very athletic, and I love being able to keep up with them.”

Tumavicus likes running, mountain biking, rock climbing, and light weightlifting. He tries to incorporate exercise into his daily routine in a variety of ways. “Upon returning from work I only allow myself to watch Game of Thrones when I’m lifting. It’s a nice way to decompress.” Tumavicus and his wife, Dr. Megan Staton Tumavicus, often bike to dinner with friends. “We go to four different restaurants in Portland, have an appetizer and a drink at each place, and get a good bike ride in between,” he says. They also like to climb at Evo Rock and Fitness and sea kayak in Casco Bay.

Tumavicus particularly likes the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, the Trail to Ale 10K Race/Walk organized by Portland Trails, and the Gorham Savings Bank Maine Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay. Several times a week, Tumavicus and his wife run with a group of other doctors. Last winter the group trained for the Maine Coast Marathon, which begins in Biddeford. “Our best training run was down in Kennebunkport, running 20 miles at 5 degrees with a killer headwind,” says Tumavicus. “It made us feel so badass to be out in that kind of weather—my beard was covered in ice. We rewarded ourselves with a great brunch at Federal Jack’s [Restaurant and Brew Pub in Kennebunk].” Tumavicus wants his patients to have fun staying healthy. “We all need to recognize that exercise is actually a treat for us, not a chore.”

Cameron Trubey | Head Team Physician for the University of Maine Athletic Program

“I believe that are bodies are temples,” says sports medicine specialist Dr. Cameron Trubey. “How they feel and perform, both physically and mentally, are directly affected by what we eat and how we use them.” Trubey, who serves as the head team physician for the University of Maine athletic program, cares for patients at DownEast Orthopedic Associates in Bangor.

“Maine is a special place because of our varied topography and our many natural play-places,” says Trubey. “I love Baxter State Park in the summer, fall, and winter. It is a true treasure, and it is beautiful to experience by canoeing, skiing, or hiking.” Trubey and his wife, Ellie, live in Orrington with their young daughters, Daphne, Mabel, and Henrietta. “A lot of our family weekend activities are exercise related,” says Trubey, who mentions hiking as a favorite. “That is one way to get quality time and stay active.”

Raised in Brunswick, Trubey graduated from Pine Tree Academy, continuing his education at Andrews University and Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Trubey enjoys being outside, hiking, paddling the St. Croix River, or fat biking—his new favorite activity. “Riding a fat bike is like riding a light tank,” says Trubey. “Snow, dirt, mud, even swampy regions can’t hold you back. I like to ride the local snowmobile trails in the winter and the power lines in the summer.”

Trubey wants to run all of Maine’s marathons—he ran his most recent one in Millinocket. “There’s no creature quite as well designed for distance running as we are,” says Trubey. “On foot you get such a different experience traveling the road than you would in a car.” His five- and three-year-old daughters, Daphne and Mabel, joined him last Fourth of July in the L.L.Bean 1-Mile Family Fun Run/Walk in Freeport. “Many members of my family, like me, found running
later in life,” says Trubey. “It has been fun to run with my wife, brother, sister, and two brothers-in-law as they have accomplished their marathon goals.”

Trubey tries to help his patients identify their barriers to exercise—from time limitations to difficulty with self- motivation—so that they may reach their own goals. “Living your healthiest life will help get you closer to living your happiest life,” he says.

Megan Staton Tumavicus | Family Physician at Intermed

“While I do run outdoors year-round, I do not love winter running,” says Dr. Megan Staton Tumavicus. “It takes more to motivate me in the cold dark months. I definitely do more hot yoga in the winter.”

Originally from Oregon, Wisconsin (outside of Madison), Staton Tumavicus completed her undergraduate degree at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and her medical degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She moved to Portland 15 years ago to become a resident in family medicine at Maine Medical Center. “Portland is very runner-friendly,” says Staton Tumavicus. “The trail system in Portland is amazing, and I generally find I run longer and more often when the trails are accessible. The fact that it’s not crazy- hot here in the summer also makes it easier to keep up running in the warmer days.” Staton Tumavicus likes local events such as the Portland Sea Dogs’ Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 5Ks and the Peaks Island Road Race and also has a fondness for the trails at Bradbury Mountain in Pownal.

Staton Tumavicus says she is inspired by—and wants to remain a role model to— her daughters, Lucy and Grace, who are members of the Deering High School cross- country team. “I stopped running with a watch a long time ago, so that I was less focused on my pace and more able to enjoy it,” says Staton Tumavicus. “I’ve learned to cross-train more to help avoid injuries,” she adds. Staton Tumavicus advises her patients to “start small, make incremental changes, get a workout buddy, and try to find something you enjoy.”