Running a different kind of race Running: Scott Eden went from track star to busy family physician. But he hasn't hung up his sneakers.

Fitness Profile

October 18, 1998|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Twenty-five years ago, before medical school and residency, before a family and family practice, Scott Eden was a track star.

Back then he ran to win. At Duke University, he was an NCAA All-American in 1973 and 1974. A distance runner, he won the prestigious Penn Relays six-mile run, placing him among the nation's track elite. In 1978, he won the Marine Corps Marathon with a time of two hours and 18 minutes, and he shaved two minutes off that time in the Houston Marathon in 1979.

But now, with an old Achilles tendon injury that prevents him from running marathons, and a family practice in Annapolis, Eden runs for a different reason.

"When you change from competition to running slowly for your health, it's difficult to stay motivated," he says. "But being a doctor, I see a parade of unhealthy people in front of me, and I take care of them with their heart attacks. I see there's more

than winning races."

He runs a leisurely five miles four times a week, taking 35 to 45 minutes; often runs 10 miles on the weekend; and sometimes enters 10-mile races. He also likes to lift weights three times a week. How does a busy doctor have the time?

"I focus on it and make it a big priority in my day," he says. "I will always have a big stack of phone calls to return and paperwork to do, and if I wait until that's all done, I'll be retired."

He also makes time for running by volunteering: Two days a week he helps coach his daughter's track team at Annapolis High School. While there, he runs with the team, then lifts weights before heading home.

When making time to stay fit, Eden points out an important distinction between being physically tired and mentally exhausted. "My staff has always been surprised that I could change clothes and run at the end of the day," he says. "I was mentally exhausted, but my legs weren't tired." For those who feel whipped by a day's work even though the labor is not physical, he suggests exercise to cope with stress.

Knowing how tough it is to stay motivated, he recommends to his patients that they exercise with a friend. "It's harder to back out because someone is expecting you."

Rather than tell patients with high cholesterol to exercise four times a week, he tells them to do it daily. "If you tell them to try for four times a week, it will be down to two because of bad weather or someone visiting; so try for seven out of seven. Your quality of life is so much better if you're in shape."

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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