WAMtour15 – The Final Stretch

7:50 AM – Team Joe’s got a quick jump on the route and rolled into Mile 25 break stop in no time. Here some of the gang is enjoying a relaxing moment as we refuel. Looking forward to our lunch stop today put on by St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital at Stockbridge High School!
 Team Joe’s fueling up before starting our 3rd and final day. Looking froward to a great day and finish at MIS. Wheels on the road in 15 minutes.

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Day 2 Recap: Let’s Ride

  Like Friday, this morning started nicely with a nice breakfast with the team (Ferris State has the most awesome food service) and then we hit the road promptly at 6:20 a.m. with cool temps and mild winds.

 My how that changed as the day moved on! It wasn’t long before Team Joe’s was facing some headwinds and heat. We hit our lunch stop at 9:30 a.m. (yes, but believe me we were hungry) and then went after the much tougher second half of the ride. For me, things were fine until the last 10 miles of our 109 mile day largely because I didn’t fuel up properly during the ride. Don’t tell Lisa McDowell but I chugged down some major Pepsi on this trip in order to get a quick sugar hit. Of course, our new Wellness Coordinator, Paige, reminded me that better nutrition was available.
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 WAMtour15 – Behind the Handlebars Again

Team Joe’s was up and on the road early this morning starting with a hearty breakfast and then wheels on the road by 6:20 a.m. Nice cool morning and no rain – yet! Now at the Mile 14 break stop and feeling great. Lee Benjamin decides that his bike can dual as a chair! 😄

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WAM15 – Team Joe’s Cruises Through First 100 Miles

What a spectacular day. You could not have ordered better weather for our 6:20 a.m. start out of Traverse City this morning. The temps were mild, the breeze was gentle and our team was geeked. Everyone was anxious to get going so we took off early.

And for the first half of the ride heading into our 9:10 a.m. lunch, we cruised. We have many strong riders who kept the pace brisk. 

Now, the second half of the ride was a bit different. The temps came up into the mid-80’s, the sun was shining strong the winds picked up several MPH. Said another way….it was a much tougher second half.

The first day is our day of hills and they can, with the help of the heat, wear us out and they did! As we rolled into Big Rapids in the early afternoon, most of our team scattered to get bags and shuttles, get to the hotels, take a shower and even nap before dinner. For the day, we rode almost exactly 100 miles with over 3,000 ft of climbing….not bad.
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Team Joe’s Preps for 2015 Wish-a-Mile

IMG_0008On July 23, Team Joe’s traveled north by bus to the starting line of the Wish-a-Mile 300 benefiting the Wish Kids of the Make a Wish Foundation. Throughout the three-day ride, CEO Rob Casalou and 18 Team Joe’s cyclists will post updates, photos and stories to this blog. On Sunday, they will be joined by 19 additional 50-mile riders from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

Join their ride! Words of encouragement will help them push through the pain and exhaustion of the ride.  Post your thoughts here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Here is the first post:

We didn’t push the pedals today but it was a great day just the same as Team Joe’s spent the day en route from the MIS Speedway to Traverse City in preparation for the start of the Wish-A-Mile (WAM) 2015 on Friday.  The air was full of energy and excitement as over 800 riders, including 19 from Team Joe’s, arrived in the early morning at MIS Speedway to check-in and load bikes and bags on buses and head north.

This year, we have 8 new riders on Team Joe’s doing the 3-day, 300 mile ride and and equal number of new riders on the WAM 50 on Sunday.  Our team is growing!   After arriving at the East Traverse Middle School at 3 p.m., we retrieved our bikes and bags and set up for the evening.  It is an IMG_0006amazing scene to see 800 bikes lining fences and fields around the middle school.  Some riders pitch tents, some throw sleeping bags on the gym and hallway floors but most take a shuttle to one of several area hotels.  Once organized, we returned to the school for dinner, an ice cream social and many fun activities.  It is a time to relax and enjoy new friends who we will become very close to over the next 3 days.  We were also blessed to have three of our wish kids with us during dinner.   Once you meet these kids and their families, you truly understand why we do this ride….it is for them.

IMG_0020After the festivities, it was back to our hotels to get ready for a very early morning.  Our plan is to get over to the school for breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and have wheels on the road by 6:15 a.m.  Weather looks great for tomorrow.  We hope to get most of the ride behind us before it gets hot in the afternoon.  The only problem is 100 miles hills and valleys, a projected head wind and 3,000+ feet of climbing.  No problem! 🙂

Good night,


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Positive Energy Fuels Workplace Wellness


By Paige Kyle, Fitness & Wellness Coordinator, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

PaigeAs I mark my one-month anniversary as St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s Fitness & Wellness Coordinator, I’m inspired by the endless possibilities to build a healthier culture of wellness on campus.

When I ask people to define what an employee wellness program means to them, the response tends to be, “Incentivizing employees to eat healthy and exercise more, right?”

It’s true that 12-week diet commitments to the 30-day fitness challenges have their place in a successful program, but we can do so much more. I believe we can start thinking bigger.  In fact, did you know we already have?

In the past five years, St. Joe’s Ann Arbor has made great efforts to become better stewards of our land and resources by using our purchasing power to support healthier, sustainable practices on campus.  In the last three years, our employee benefits have expanded support for preventive services, such as weight loss programs, smoking cessation, and health screenings. The CareBridge colleague assistance program provides access to resources for financial, and work/family life services. 

And most recently, with health and wellness as a priority in 2015, the Join Me initiative is igniting our  focus toward improving the health of southeast Michigan communities. By expanding our reach across lifespans, income levels, and community venues, we’re spreading the message of wellness in any way we can.

As your Fitness and Wellness Coordinator, my first goal is to add to the positive energy and help  health and wellness on our campus. For the month of July, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @pekyle as I share my own experience of wellness.  Have fun following me around campus, or better yet, join me and post your own experiences, using @stjoesannarbor and #SJjoinme. Let’s start the conversation of wellness, what it means to practice it, and how we can live healthier lives in our workplace, home and community..

About Paige Kyle, MPH, RDN

Paige YogaPaige believes wellness is anchored to our purpose in life. Whether it’s how we live, work, or play, her mission is to provide SJMAA employees with the opportunity to exist with that same congruency at work. Paige earned her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Colorado State University and her Master’s in Public Health, Nutrition from the University of Michigan. Paige spent time at SJMAA in 2014-15 with the Clinical Nutrition team as part of her Dietetic Internship. She is also an ACSM Personal Trainer and has enjoyed teaching a variety of fitness classes over the years. When Paige isn’t walking the halls of SJMAA, she’s in Ann Arbor connecting people with exercise, enjoying time with her friends, learning more about health and wellness, growing in her faith, and taking on personal fitness challenges. 


The Track to Wellness

As a young man, Mark Layton was an active individual who never struggled with his weight. But as the years passed and Mark spent more and more time at his desk, the weight accumulated. By his late 40s, Mark’s weight reached an all-time high and he was diagnosed with type two diabetes.

In 2011, Mark’s endocrinologist gave him a wake-up call. “He said I was on a collision course for something awful. I was only 54 years old, but with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a need for 200 units of insulin a day, I would be lucky to live a long life.”

That’s when Mark’s endocrinologist recommended the Michigan Bariatric Institute. Mark attended an informational session and started researching bariatric surgery. Together, the Layton’s committed to Mark’s surgery and all it entailed – dieting, exercise and educational seminars before and after surgery.

In June 2012, Mark underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the removal of approximately 75 percent of his stomach, leaving a two to three ounce stomach structured as a narrow tube. Recovery was relatively quick and painless, and Mark’s type two diabetes was gone in the matter of a week.

Mark and his wife committed to daily walking. Mark even bought a bike. The pounds started coming off and Mark was thinner, healthier and happier. He even began to run. In March of 2013, Mark ran his first 5K after a suggestion from his wife.

Over the next year, Mark kept running. He ran several 10K races and completed a 15K. Then, he started doing the math. “I was running a 15K, and I thought, what’s a few more miles? Why not do a half marathon?” Mark trained and completed his first half marathon early in 2014.

In October 2014, Mark ran the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. This time, he had his daughter with him for the first half, the same daughter who followed in her father’s footsteps and had bariatric surgery from the Michigan Bariatric Institute last year.

“My daughter and I have both lost more than 100 pounds,” Mark said. “My golf game has improved, I have more energy and I am much healthier. My diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all gone.” None of this would have been possible without bariatric surgery.

For more information about the Michigan Bariatric Institute, visit www.stmarymercy.org/mbi-livonia or call 877-Why-Weight (877-949-9344).

A Wish List for Dad

My Dad was always bigger than life. As a little girl I loved to put my little feet in his big shoes and walk around the house.   I remember running to the door when he came home from work so I could dance on his feet. Or how he would lift me high onto his shoulders to watch the Thanksgiving parade. How his smile could light up a room— and his never ending repertoire of jokes. I was Daddy’s little girl. It seemed whatever I wished for— no matter how outrageous— he would make it happen.

Like the Pillsbury doughboy, I used to poke my finger in his big belly and tease him about his extra weight. His response was always the same: “There’s more of me to love!”

This year for me is “Father-less Day.” My Dad passed away last year after a long and difficult battle with heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other health issues. His struggles left him with only one foot of the two I used to dance on. He could only move one arm of the two that used to hold me on his shoulders. He spent his last months in a nursing home— a shadow of who he used to be. And the worst part is… it didn’t have to end like that.

Like so many men, when it came to living a healthy life, my Dad buried his head in the sand. Despite the severity of the disease, he was never proactive about his health. He never exercised. He didn’t watch his diet or his weight. If I could go back in time and give my Dad a new list of wishes— it would be so different. Here’s a good list to share with your Dad that I wish my Dad had followed before it was too late:

  • Get Moving: Staying active is so important if you want to maintain your overall health. Just going for a walk will improve your mood, muscle strength and promote a healthy weight.
  • Avoid White Foods and Trans Fats: Eat for health. Foods with white flour and white sugar and processed foods don’t have the vitamins, minerals or natural fiber your body needs. They drive up your blood sugar and lead to health struggles. Avoid the trans fats that raise your risk of heart disease. Stick with the healthful fats that protect your heart like olive oil and omega-3 oils you find in salmon and other cold-water fish. Eat nuts and avocados. Eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Flex your Biceps: Make sure Dad is getting into the weight room. Lifting weights, even just once a week, can improve muscle strength.
  • Watch your Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight helps you reduce your risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes etc. etc. Yes, it may mean there will be less of you to love— but you may be lovable a whole lot longer.
  • Relax: Get more sleep. Read a book. Try learning how to meditate.   Stress is linked to so many diseases from heart disease to cancer. Learn to breathe. Try yoga. I wish my Dad had tried yoga even once.

I miss my dad so much and if I had the opportunity to go back in time, I would give him the above advice.  We may have been able to celebrate another Father’s Day this year.