I was convinced that 2016 would be the year I would qualify for Boston. In 2015 I had taken over an hour off my half iron distance tri. I was conversationally running in the mid 7’s. I was dialed in and focused, it was only a matter of time. I would finally achieve the elusive goal that I had previously toyed with but never really took seriously. The only mild issue was a nagging deep groin pull and pain that I couldn’t shake. At the time I incorrectly thought, this is just par for the course when you’re middle aged. No pain no gain.
I was able to deny the pain for awhile but during a 1/2 marathon BQ speed trial, I was forced to face the music. First 3 miles were right on pace but my hip radiated pain throughout my body with each stride. It was excruciating. I ended up hobbling to the finish line, but was never able to shake the pain.
I knew something was wrong but was in denial about the severity. The first x-ray and MRI conclusively showed FAI and DJD. It took the doctor 0 seconds to blurt out – I’m sorry to say but you need a hip replacement.
He must’ve been speaking Chinese, because I certainly didn’t accept his diagnosis. I spent most of the next year exhausting non surgical options and searching for better doctors who would surely find a different diagnosis and solution. As I searched the pain increased and quality of life decreased.
In many ways the hip diagnosis felt like death. Fear and loss consumed me. I slowly accepted my running days were over and came to terms with the death of my youth. As unpalatable as having my femur amputated and hip replaced was, my first waking thoughts became: I’m in pain, the day is over. I usually had been awake for 15 seconds before this reality arrived.
Once the pain took over the only realistic solution became surgery.
Surgery was 10/3/2016.
I walked that day, climbed stairs the next.
I ditched the walker almost instantly and walked a lot.
As it became medically approved I appropriately added non impact cardio machines and lots of swimming.
This past Saturday I did not intend to run a 5K. I though I might push the kids in the stroller and cheer on my wife and sister. When I found myself at the start I was overcome with excitement and decided to just give it a shot and play it by ear. Running does not feel the the same, but it doesn’t hurt.
I pushed the girls at a 12+ min pace for the first mile. Slow and steady. My sister could see I was itching to go and graciously offered to push. I took off. Adrenaline surged with each person I passed. I settled into a pace, found my breath and it dawned on me – HOLY SHIT – i’m running ! I became a sensory sponge, taking in the beautiful scenery of the park, feeling the crisp air in my lungs, and the glorious warm glow of the sun. Pearl Jam’s Alive came blaring through my brain, like it had been waiting for me to hit play. I chanted the mantra – GET SOME – as I passed more people. I’m still alive. Then as quickly as it started it was over. My new hip PR and final time 29:56.
I couldn’t be happier or feel more complete.
The doctors will tell you that you cant run.
Most other will tell you that you shouldn’t.
Don’t believe them.
You can and you will, if you want too.
You are a HipRunner !! GET SOME !