The reasons why I run

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By Pam Doebbeling, Registered Nurse


As I sit here writing this, I’m trying to brainstorm the reasons why I exercise and keep active, so let me first fill you in a little bit about myself. I have worked at TCHC for 25 years. I started when my kids, Alison and Brett, were 5 and 10 years old. My husband worked out of town, so I was essentially a single mom most of the time. I worked full time.

I used to consistently exercise, walk and run in the early days, but with two kids, it became a little harder. Walking was OK with the kids but kind of slow. So I went back to running. I could get done quicker. Ha!

Pam and her friend Rachel pose for a photo after finishing a run together. I took classes like Jazzercise and loved the group classes. They kept me accountable. When we moved and there were no classes, I got certified and started teaching. No, I did not have leg warmers, but we did all wear leotards!

I taught for 20 years. So many things have changed and yet remained the same. When I go to classes now, I think, “We use to do that.”

Over the past 15 years, I have gone back to running as my main source of exercise. I know a lot of people think that they can’t run. I felt that way myself, having been a walker for many years.

I started out slowly, which is the key if you want to condition your body for running. I would walk a while, then would find a street sign and run to it. Eventually, I worked my way up to just running.

Running for me has been more than exercise. For instance, if I have a really bad day at work, I will go for a short run, and it is amazing how much just three miles lowers my stress. My kids always teased me that I would leave ready to kick the dog, but when I got home, I was in a much better mood.

I have also joined a running group. I love the people and the different levels of running represented. Our love of running keeps us a tight-knit group, and that makes the time go by so fast.

However, I also prefer to run alone. No music. Just me and the pavement.

Last summer, I experienced a setback with a torn meniscus. Not being able to exercise was devastating to me. I did do more biking after surgery, but it just wasn’t the same.

After my injury, I learned a lot. I now stretch before and after each run and have changed my running form. I choose specially fitted shoes and take it slower. I use a foam roller after long runs.

Now, I am totally back to running and am doing Grandmas Half Marathon this year.Pam Doebbeling poses by the Sunnybrook Stomp sign with co-workers.

Another reason why I prioritize exercising is that my dad died at age 61 of cardiac arrest. Three of his sisters had strokes. I didn’t want to have health issues later in life.

But the main reason I exercise is so that I can be there and be active with my grandkids. I took my granddaughter hiking the other day, and she called her mom and said, “Grandma has me hiking another mountain!” I want to be that kind of grandma, to enjoy life and share my love of fitness.


You can run (or walk) too!

Next Saturday, June 23, you have an opportunity to try some walking or running with the Sunnybrook Stomp hosted by Tri-County Health Care. It’s a 5K walk/run that starts out at Sunnybrook Park in Wadena. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., and the race starts at 8:30 a.m. I ran my first Sunnybrook Stomp in 1988!

It’s a great opportunity to get outside, spend time with friends (and meet some new ones), and see the sights of Wadena.

For more information or to register, click here.


About the Author: Pam Doebbeling is a registered nurse at Tri-County Health Care. She has six grandchildren: Mya, Jack, Abby, Emily, Laynee and James. Besides running, she loves kayaking, paddle boarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing with her grandchildren. She also enjoys reading and took up knitting last winter.

You too can bring home the GOLD!

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By: David Kloss

A triathlon is a fun way to stay active and meet people. It can be a great excuse to travel places you might never go to otherwise, and it gives you an excuse to eat a little bit healthier, to get more sleep at night (a definite health bonus!) and to stay active!

Do I have you hooked in yet? No? Well I was (and still am) a skinny011_09A, nonathletic computer science nerd, who began running tiny little races in medical school in order to socialize with my classmates. Years later a friend “suckered” me in to doing a short “mini” triathlon in a tiny muddy local lake in Connecticut. IT WAS FUN! Sound crazy? No it isn’t! The people at the little local triathlons are fun people, they are full of life, they are happy people to hang around with and the more races you do, the more you learn and the better you get! You feel more alive just like the other people at these races! You can’t help yourself, but feel better about life and about yourself, even if you come in dead last at every race you enter!

“How can it be fun if I come in last?” you ask? I can promise you the crowds will cheer WAY LOUDER for you, the last racer to cross the finish line, than they do for the first person who wins! Everyone at these small races respects you for being there and “just doin’ it”!!!

My first race was 20 years ago now. I still remember running (a 3-mile run at the end of ¼ mile swim and 12-mile bike ride) as hard as I could towards the last mile. I could hear the 10,000 people in the Olympic stadium chanting my name and shouting “USA!” at the top of their voices. The runner from Russia was only 10 yards in front of me…… I could pass him…. The Gold medal within my grasp! He and I fought neck and neck sprinting as hard as we could the last half mile into the finish chute. In the end, he beat me by about 10 feet. The ordinary guy (the “Russian” who I was competing against) who had beat me, turned around and shook my hand. “Thanks for pushing me” he said. Our little mental imaginary Olympics were over for this week. But we had such great fun competing against each other that last mile!

So why is a triathlon (and today I am speaking mostly about the mini-triathlons) so much fun?
This is a sport that doesn’t require super hard training. It doesn’t require super expensive equipment. This is a sport that doesn’t “beat you up” so badly you can’t work the next day! It is fun because you are outside being active and hanging around like-minded people!

What is the training like?

bike pic 2007 musselmanTriathlon combines swimming, biking and running in a variety of different distances. The distances depend upon the race type. A mini-tri is usually a quarter mile swim, 10-15 mile bike ride and 2-5 mile run. Each town will have their own special “flavor” of this race.

An Olympic distance race is 0.9 mile swim (about 68 lengths of the standard pool), a 25-mile bike ride and a six-mile run. Longer distance races include the Half Iron Man race and the “Full Iron”. The Iron Man race is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon. You can tell an Iron Man vehicle by the “140.6” bumper sticker on their cars! Look for it, honk at them and give a “thumbs up” as you pass!

Of course, the training for a full Iron Man is more intense. But for a mini triathlon, you can spend a little bit of time in your local pool or lake practice gentle swimming. You can practice perhaps once or twice a week (depending upon how good of a natural swimmer you are). A quarter mile swim is 16 lengths of the standard pool. Can’t swim even two lengths? Well, with gentle, slow, persistent practice YOU WILL GET THERE! I did! The 10-mile bike ride can be done in an hour or so. For the first timer, be sure you know your bike is in good working order! Check the tires! Check the brakes!! Make sure your seat is comfortable. Remember, the idea is NOT TO WIN, but to FINIIMG_0541SH!

The hardest part of triathlon is called “T2” (the transition from the bike to the run). It takes a few tries on a Saturday morning, or  a Thursday night, to practice getting off the bike (your legs are a little bit tired) and then to take off jogging! It is OK to walk! But you will find as you practice this once or twice, your body will respond! That is known as conditioning! YOU ARE NOW AN ATHLETE! Keep practicing! Don’t give up! You will slowly get better and stronger (like the bionic man from the 70’s TV show!)
Tri-Wadena Reg Form Art 0216

Here in Wadena, on June 18, starting at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center (aka The Mas) you will have your chance to take home the GOLD medal! “TRIWADENA, No Spandex Necessary” is our extra small, mini-triathlon geared especially for beginners! Check out our website, and then call the MAS to register! Your kids and family will be impressed! And most importantly you will have fun!

Keep Calm


I’ll see you at the starting line on June 18, at 8:30 a.m. at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center in Wadena!

David Kloss

Why I decided to run in a 5K…

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By: Medley Shamp

What is a 5K?

Medley running in a 5K

Medley running in a 5K

Prior to 2010, I had no desire to know what a 5k was, what it entailed or even speaking the words 5K. Since then, I’ve taken up this sport as a way to maintain my health, manage stress and meet new people.

The #1 question I hear is: WHY? Why would you want to do this? My answer is simple. Health. You see, most 5K participants are not high school track stars. Now, this is not to say your old high school buddy won’t be at this event, I’m saying that these local events are typically filled with people just like you and I. People who are ready to take charge of their health, possibly lose a little weight, spend time with others who enjoy running and sponsor the cause the event is recognizing.

Some frequently asked questions about 5K’s:

What is a 5K? A 5K is an event where the participant walks or runs 3.1 miles.

Where does a 5K occur? Everywhere! More commonly a 5K is held during town festivities (i.e. June Jubilee) or events focused on raising awareness (such as cancer awareness). 5K’s are also held year-round…yes, people actually run outside during our Minnesota winters!

What occurs at a 5K? The participant usually registers for the event in advance. On the day of the event you check in, collect your bib (participant number) and receive your goody bag. A goody bag? Yes! The organization holding the event usually includes a T-shirt and maybe even coupons to upcoming races, discounts to area businesses, granola bars, umbrellas, water bottles, headbands or stocking hats.

Am I timed? Yes, most events time the runner with a large time clock or through a small chip in their bib. Most participants are usually only concerned with their time. Something many non-runners don’t know and that is, that we really aren’t competing with each other, but with ourselves, aiming to beat our best and get a “PR” or personal record.

How much does a 5k cost? Typically, the cost of a traditional 5K run/walk is between $20-30. Fun runs, mud runs and obstacle course events usually cost a little more.

Do I need to train? To an extent yes. If you plan to run a 5K and do not currently run, a helpful training tool called “Couch to 5K” may help you. If you plan to walk a 5K, which by the way nearly 1/3 of participants are walkers, you do not need to train if you can walk a leisurely 2-3 miles now.

Finally where do I find a 5K? I thought you’d never ask…here are some upcoming local races…

Sunnybrook Stomp in Wadena on Friday, June 19 (sign-up now to join me at

Sebeka Red River Eye Days 5K on Saturday, June 20 at 9 a.m.

Henning 5K on Saturday, July 11, registration at 7 a.m.

Ruth’s Rainbow Run on Saturday July 11 in New York Mills

Deer Creek 5K on Saturday, July 25.

Bertha 5K on Saturday, July 11.

Never Give UP 5K Walk/Run (Suicide Awareness) Saturday, August 29.

Nimrod 5K on Saturday, September 5

Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl on Saturday, September 26

Medley & her family

Medley & her family

Now you know what a 5K is, I challenge you to try one this summer!



About Medley: I am a mother of two teenagers Cody 13, Taylor 17, my husband Adam and I are both employees of TCHC. In March I transitioned from Outreach Orthopedics to Care Coordination. We are lifelong residents of Bertha, enjoy attending our kids sporting events, hunting, fishing and camping.

You may ask what keeps me going with a packed schedule? A big motivator for me is a 7 year old boy I met through a running group called IR4 where runners log miles for their physically disabled buddies. Dean has a very rare disease called Pancreatic Agenesis where he is not able to be as active as other kids his age.

I may not be the fastest runner, or the most athletic person for that matter, but I run because I have a heart to be the very best version of myself each and everyday.

*For more information on IR4 visit There is no cost to participate.