Resident Physician Looks Forward to a Running Adventure

September 15, 2017 by Kavita Sherman, writer

Dr. Christine Aspiotes

Dr. Christine Aspiotes (shown kneeling, third from left) celebrates a win with her kickball team. The team consists of Akron Children's residents and friends from the community. Other Akron Children's resident physicians on the team include (top row, starting 2nd from left) Dr. Brian Reilly, Dr. Kara Weichler, Dr. Stephanie Lam, Dr. Matt Wong and Dr. Chris Sarkis. Bottom row (kneeling from the left) the Akron Children's residents are: Dr. Kara Kwiatowski, Dr. Laura Wingart and Dr. Christine Aspiotes.

It can be hard to stand on the sidelines, especially for a competitive person. Add fun, laughter and a party atmosphere to the sporting event, and Dr. Christine Aspiotes, an Akron Children’s resident physician, knew she had to jump in. Or in Dr. Aspiotes’ case, run in.

This year Dr. Aspiotes, a second-year resident, is participating in the Akron Marathon. After sitting on the sidelines watching other Akron Children’s residents and colleagues run in the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay last year, she decided to be part of the action.

Dr. Christine Aspiotes

Dr. Christine Aspiotes

“There were so many celebrations as people streamed into Canal Park Stadium and crossed the finish line,” she said. “I could see it from where I sat and waited for my friends to finish. It was so exciting. I knew I wanted to be part of that and all the festivities taking place in Akron. Downtown was alive and really busy. It was so much fun.”

One reason Dr. Aspiotes decided to get involved is because of Akron Children’s young patient heroes who are highlighted in specially designated “Hero Zones.” Each of the 16 patients are or have been patients at Akron Children’s and have a unique story to tell.

“The kids were standing out there being real-life superheroes,” she said. “They have shields that the runners could push for ‘power.’ It was so encouraging.”

Dr. Aspiotes is part of a relay team composed of 4 Akron Children’s resident physicians and the fiance of one of the runners. Besides Dr. Aspiotes, the team includes Dr. Kara Kwiatkowski, Dr. Kara Weichler and Dr. Matt Wong, and Clayton Brahier, who is engaged to Dr. Kwiatkowski.

“Our relay team is called ‘The PEWS Exception,’ which comes from a scoring system we use in the hospital to monitor how a patient is doing. It uses the patient’s vital signs, including their cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms,” she said. “The higher the PEWS, the sicker patient. We named ourselves this because we anticipate our PEWS to be high after running!”

The team relay will be Dr. Aspiotes’ first organized race. Unlike the others on her team, she was not a regular runner previously. However, it’s something she’s grown to enjoy.

Dr. Christine Aspiotes with the coaching book she keeps.

“I’ve always been active, and grew up with 2 older brothers in Pittsburgh,” she said. “In high school, I played lacrosse and did competitive cheerleading. Over the years, I’ve tried to find ways to stay active and reduce my stress.”

Dr. Aspiotes knew early on she wanted to get into pediatrics. But working with children who are sometimes very sick can be stressful. That’s where running and fitness helps.

“I run to destress and stay in shape,” she said. “The longest distance I run is 5 miles on the trails by my house. I like the runner’s high I feel after a run.”

In addition to running, Dr. Aspiotes enjoys group exercise classes when she can attend. More recently, she has been playing kickball one evening a week. She formed an Akron Children’s residents kickball team, which competes in a co-ed kickball league in Akron. The team consists of residents, as well as others from the community.

“It wasn’t at all what we expected,” said Dr. Aspiotes, who is the team captain. “We lost our first game because we kicked the ball high and forgot the rules like, if there are 2 outs, run on anything. We’re practicing on the weekends now, and we just won our first game.”

Like many people with busy schedules, Dr. Aspiotes sometimes struggles to find time for exercise. Oftentimes, it’s getting started that is the hardest part.

“I’m very competitive and push myself,” she said. “I know once I exercise how much better I’ll feel. What I strive for is that sense of accomplishment when I finish.”

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