Each month I am amazed when I learn more about the incredible Race Guards team members that we have throughout the country. This month was no exception as I interviewed Jacob Szmuilowicz. He has been a Race Guards member since 2012.
One of the fascinating facts about Race Guards is that we have medical professionals as well as endurance athletes that make up our team. Some of our members are BOTH a medical professional AND an endurance athlete. Dr. Szmuilowicz has all the bases covered.
Q. How did you first become interested in Race Guards and how long have you been a member?
A. I was in the process of completing my EMT training and was looking for more opportunities to get involved with emergency medical care. My friend, Michael Buxton, told me about this group he was a part of that was providing on-course emergency care for endurance events. Seeing that I was a competitive triathlete at the time, Race Guards was the perfect combination of my two interests--emergency medicine and endurance racing. So I signed up. I have been with Race Guards since 2012.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your career path and how becoming a doctor impacts being a Race Guards member?
A. After working as an engineer at a medical device company for a few years, I found that I really enjoyed the experience of interacting directly with our customer patients. Helping them feel better and decreasing their pain was extremely rewarding. My best friend was applying to medical school at the time, and he convinced me to apply as well. I was accepted at UCSD, recently graduated this past June, and just started residency as an Emergency Medicine Doctor.
As a physician, I love having the opportunity to talk and teach medicine with anyone interested in learning. My favorite part of being a veteran Race Guard is when I get teamed up with a new member, especially if they have little or no medical background. I get to use our time together during a race to educate them on common race-related injuries.
Q. What has been your favorite Race Guards event?
A. I have two favorite races. “Finish Chelsea's Run” is always a special event, as it was Race Guards inaugural race. I also really enjoy the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. The music and energy of the competitors always makes for an entertaining day.
Q. What moment sticks out for you in terms of helping someone during a race?
A. My most memorable moment as a Race Guards team member was during a half marathon on a really hot day. My partner and I came upon a relatively young competitor that was sitting on the side of the road. He didn't look particularly bad, but we stopped to see if he was okay or needed anything. When he couldn't remember his name or where he was, we knew the guy was in bad shape. I laid him on the ground and lifted up his legs to increase blood circulation to his core and brain while my partner called 911 and then ran a half mile back to get help from a medical tent. The volunteers from the medical tent brought bags of ice, which we used to cool him down. The paramedics showed up, started an IV line and gave him some fluids. After about a half liter, the guy snapped out of it and returned back to his normal mental state. I'll never forget that one.
Q. What is your favorite post race or training pig-out food?
A. The perfect meal after a race or tough work out is a Carlsbad pizza from Pizza Port and a cold beer (preferably a red ale). I'm also a big fan of plain tart frozen yogurt.
Q. What is your fitness background and have you had any physical challenges or injuries along the way?
A. My first endurance event was an Olympic distance triathlon in 2008. Since then, I have raced in many sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, a few Half Ironmans, and completed one ful Ironman. I have also raced many 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. I have no interest in running a marathon (unless it is the end of an Ironman😁). Luckily, I have not experienced any significant injuries.
Q. How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?
A. I have 2 one-line philosophies: "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "Learn at least one new thing every day."
Thank you, Jacob for taking the time to do an interview with us. As a medical resident, I know that every second of your day is valuable. We are so lucky to have you on our Race Guards team!