Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

RN Imelda Tamayo reduces stress with Exercise

We’ve all heard the saying that ‘exercise relieves stress’, but did you know that there is nothing that relieves exercise?

There are no short cuts or substitutes for what is the master of stress relief, exercise.

Having a bad day?  Working long hours?  Feeling down and depressed?  Then choose what will do your body the best, get out for a long walk or take a dip in the ocean.

For registered nurse, Imelda Tamayo, working 12 hour shifts at the Hilo Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Unit can be difficult and stress ridden.

“The cardio unit takes care of patients with heart problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmia’s, heart failure and the like,” Tamayo said.  “Many of our patients need monitoring of their heart and some days can be very stressful, especially when the acuity of the unit is very high.”

Over time Tamayo discovered that if she took walks around Liliuokalani Gardens or the Hilo High track it would relieve her stress levels.

“I didn’t do much exercise until a few years ago,” she said.  “I found myself too stressed from work and I need to relieve that stress so I channeled that stress into exercising.”

For Tamayo those short walks soon progressed into longer walks and eventually into short runs.

“At first I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping to catch my breath,” Tamayo said.  “I eventually worked my way up to running three miles, then signed up for my first 5K (3.1 miles) race.”

A few years ago Tamayo participated in the EMS run in Hilo and then later that same year signed up to do the Volcano 5 mile run in the National Park.

“I had never done a trail run before,” Tamayo said of the Volcano event, “and this race encouraged me to want to do even longer distances.”

With the momentum of exercise success Tamayo found herself continually challenging herself to go further and further with each accomplishment.

In 2008 she completed the Big Island Marathon’s 10.8 mile race and then trained for and successful completed her first full marathon (26.2 miles) in Honolulu that same year.

What’s interesting about this 33 year old RN is she was a late bloomer in the area of exercise as she never participated in any sports while growing up in Hilo.

“My parents are originally from the Philippines, but I was born in Hilo,” she said.  “I don’t think I would be what I am today if it weren’t for my parents as they worked very hard so that I could get the education I needed to have a successful career.”

Tamayo runs each Sunday with a group of medical professionals and gives them a lot of credit for her running success.

“The group encourages everyone, regardless of their ability, and has always been of great support to me and all the other members of the group,” she said.

In 2009 some members of her running group challenged each other to do the “HI 5”, which is to run all five State of Hawaii marathons in the same year.

“I don’t know if it were the drinks that made us do our pact, but we all agreed that we would run the Big Island, Kona, Kauai, Maui and Honolulu marathons for 2010,” Tamayo said.

We’ve all heard the saying that ‘exercise relieves stress’, but did you know that there is nothing that relieves exercise?

There are no short cuts or substitutes for what is the master of stress relief, exercise.

Having a bad day?  Working long hours?  Feeling down and depressed?  Then choose what will do your body the best, get out for a long walk or take a dip in the ocean.

For registered nurse, Imelda Tamayo, working 12 hour shifts at the Hilo Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Unit can be difficult and stress ridden.

“The cardio unit takes care of patients with heart problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmia’s, heart failure and the like,” Tamayo said.  “Many of our patients need monitoring of their heart and some days can be very stressful, especially when the acuity of the unit is very high.”

Over time Tamayo discovered that if she took walks around Liliuokalani Gardens or the Hilo High track it would relieve her stress levels.

“I didn’t do much exercise until a few years ago,” she said.  “I found myself too stressed from work and I need to relieve that stress so I channeled that stress into exercising.”

For Tamayo those short walks soon progressed into longer walks and eventually into short runs.

“At first I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping to catch my breath,” Tamayo said.  “I eventually worked my way up to running three miles, then signed up for my first 5K (3.1 miles) race.”

A few years ago Tamayo participated in the EMS run in Hilo and then later that same year signed up to do the Volcano 5 mile run in the National Park.

“I had never done a trail run before,” Tamayo said of the Volcano event, “and this race encouraged me to want to do even longer distances.”

With the momentum of exercise success Tamayo found herself continually challenging herself to go further and further with each accomplishment.

In 2008 she completed the Big Island Marathon’s 10.8 mile race and then trained for and successful completed her first full marathon (26.2 miles) in Honolulu that same year.

What’s interesting about this 33 year old RN is she was a late bloomer in the area of exercise as she never participated in any sports while growing up in Hilo.

“My parents are originally from the Philippines, but I was born in Hilo,” she said.  “I don’t think I would be what I am today if it weren’t for my parents as they worked very hard so that I could get the education I needed to have a successful career.”

Tamayo runs each Sunday with a group of medical professionals and gives them a lot of credit for her running success.

“The group encourages everyone, regardless of their ability, and has always been of great support to me and all the other members of the group,” she said.

In 2009 some members of her running group challenged each other to do the “HI 5”, which is to run all five State of Hawaii marathons in the same year.

“I don’t know if it were the drinks that made us do our pact, but we all agreed that we would run the Big Island, Kona, Kauai, Maui and Honolulu marathons for 2010,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo lived up to her pact and in 2010 completed all five of the marathons in the state with some of the members of her Sunday running group.

“The trips to these runs was so enjoyable due to the company I had with me,” she said.  “The experience was fun and very memorable and I especially enjoyed the camaraderie we had during our outing together for meals and shopping time.”

Her bond with the group grew stronger as she continues to run each Sunday with them in Hilo if she is off from work.

“I like to run with the Sunday group because they are just so supportive and continue to encourage one another,” she said.  “It doesn’t matter if you run at a slow pace or a fast pace, someone is always there to encourage you on.  They are just a wonderful group of people.”

As an added twist Tamayo and her group have added biking after their long Sunday run as a means of relieving some of the aches and pains of running.

“I think biking after the runs helps to stretch some of my leg muscles and I find that I’m not as sore,” she said.

In 2011 Tamayo is doing a series of half marathon races, starting the year with the Big Island half, with the Volcano and Kauai half marathons to follow and she’ll end the year by doing the Honolulu Marathon.

“As a future goal I would like to do at least one mainland marathon,” Tamayo said.  “If I had to do one I think I would like to do the San Francisco marathon and maybe 2012 will be the year that I do that one.”

Imelda Tamayo is an inspiration of someone with no athletic background stumbling on stress relief by starting a walking program and then slowly increasing to a point where she can now do five marathons in one year.

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states,” Carol Welch wrote.

“Exercise is the medicine for all that ails us,” says the Big Dog.

And someday should you happen to see a regular jogger come passing through the back streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

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April 12, 2011 - Posted by | Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great way to build comraderie with friends.
    Exercise and play together.
    We are all young at heart!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Fleet Feet | April 13, 2011 | Reply


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