Stanlee Lu has something of a ritual when he finishes work most days.
Even if it’s dark out, even if he’s tired, the Trios Health physician trades his lab coat for athletic gear.
“No matter what, I put on my running shoes and go,” said the hematologist and oncologist, who treats patients with blood disorders and cancer.
For Lu, running has become an integral part of his life. It’s a way to stay healthy and fit, a way to deal with stress.
It’s challenging. It’s exhilarating. He’s hooked.
On Sunday, he’ll embark on the biggest run of his life.
Lu is taking part in the Trios Health Tri-Cities Rivers & Wine Marathon. It’s his first-ever marathon, and the 26.2 miles will be his longest-ever distance.
He’s doing it because it’s a way to blend two things he cares deeply about — running and helping people with cancer.
Lu is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Running is a passion, and hematology and oncology is a passion. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to do both things, in a run?
Dr. Stanlee Lu, Trios physician
As of Friday morning, he’d raised $1,000, exceeding his goal. And donations still are being taken.
Lu is excited about the marathon. And nervous too.
Running is something he came to as an adult. Growing up, he didn’t care for it much.
In fact, it wasn’t until he moved to New York for residency training — a residency is an intense, hands-on training period after medical school — that he began getting into fitness.
He was walking more, running.
Then when he moved to Washington, D.C., for a fellowship, his affection for running grew. It was a beautiful place to be outside, to run, he said.
He worked his way to eight miles.
Since he’s been preparing for the marathon, his mileage has soared.
Lu, 40, has been with Trios Health for more than three years. He loves his work, and he’s good at it.
“He’s very kind, very optimistic. He does a really great job with the patients — connecting with them,” said Dr. Kirk Blais, Trios Health’s chief internal medicine resident.
He’s very kind, very optimistic. He does a really great job with the patients — connecting with them.
Dr. Kirk Blais, Trios chief internal medicine resident
Blais has multiple marathons under his belt, and he’s been cheering Lu on and sharing advice as Lu prepares for this weekend.
“I think he’ll do great,” Blais said. “He’ll get it done.”
Lisa Teske feels the same way. She’s director of marketing and business development for Trios, and she’s run several marathons. She’s also offered tips and encouragement to Lu.
“You’re ready,” she told him last week, as he talked about his preparation. “You’re ready.”
Lu has been working hard — building up to longer runs and then tapering off to give his body enough rest.
He has plans to load up on carbs before Sunday. He has a marathon music playlist ready, with upbeat and encouraging songs.
He knows it will be difficult — physically and mentally. But that’s kind of the point.
Lu, who lost a grandmother to cancer, will be thinking of her, his patients, the cause.
It’ll be a challenge. It’ll be personal. It’ll feel good to do something big, something good, to help, he said.
“I will feel relief. But more than that, it’s a sense of accomplishment,” Lu said. “I think I will feel really, really accomplished.”
To help out with Lu’s marathon fundraising, go to pages.teamintraining.org/wa/yourway16/slu.