Wow! Just Wow! Hip replacement or not, I just completed the single-most-difficult-thing-I-have-ever-done-in-my-life. I….ran…..The Rut; a 28k course that took me over Lone Peak, the 11,000 foot mountain pictured above. There are 2 races over this mountain; a 50k and a 28k (17.4 Miles). The 28k race was on Saturday and the 50k was on Sunday. I am thankful I didn’t run the 50k on Sunday because the course had to be diverted from the top due to bad weather.
I am happy to be done. For me, it was a great accomplishment and I couldn’t have done it without some help along the way. I had the help of my Zero Runner, my understanding family, my SDP training buddies and some advice from my friend who is a physical therapist.
In order to train for the Rut, I needed elevation. To do this, I spent a lot of time training with my SDP buddies away from the city. One of the places we trained regularly was on Mount Spokane, the closest mountain to Spokane. The runs were long and the travel time kept me out even longer. Half of my weekend days were devoted to this, which meant less time with the family. I am very lucky to have a family that understands my desire to run. When they’d see me walk through the door after a dirty and dusty day on the mountain, they’d give me big smiles and tell me “I’m Crazy”. So thankful for them.
Earlier in the year, my THR hip was hurting. I am pretty sure this was due to the knee surgery I had had in July of 2015. As I trained, I favored it keeping the weight off of it while I ran. This put more stress on my THR on my left side. Enter the Zero Runner. When I first learned about this machine, my body felt completely broken. After seeing the endorsments it received from running greats like Alberto Salazar, Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher, I was sold. I began to run on this machine in mid-May and it changed my life. Half of the miles that I put in getting ready for this run, were put in on this machine. It allowed me to workout in a full running motion with zero impact on my joints. It was instrumental in my ability to come back from what felt like a point of no return.
I also had been using gel inserts in my right shoe to accomodate for the leg length difference that I had (around 3/4″). One of my running buddies who is also a physical therapist, gave me a real insert and suggested I move to a different shoe for trail running. I had been training in Hoka One Ones (which are great for road running), but I kept tripping on the trails. The Hokas with their extra cushioning gave me less ground clearance, and I was constantly tripping. So I switched to the Brooks Cascadia, a shoe with a much lower profile, and I stopped tripping on the trails.
In the days leading up to races, I usually get a little quiet and a little cranky. My wife Colleen noticed this wasn’t the case with this run. On the morning that the team left for Montana, I was whistling and feeling good. This attitude took me right to the starting line on Saturday morning. Initially I had agreed to run with my buddies who were planning on taking their time and enjoy the Rut experience. But when I saw the age group results from the previous year, I had second thoughts. When the Elk Bugle (that’s what they used for the starting gun) went off, I abandoned my buddies and took off. I worked my tail off, but I was able to take a few pics along the way……
I remember when I finally arranged for my hip replacement. There was no doubt (even before speaking with the doctor….even after speaking with the doctor) that I would run again. This race reminded me that the only thing that stops anyone from achieving anything, is themselves. I am crazy. This race was crazy. But at the end of my life, all I will have are my cherished memories and this one is now a part of them.
I’ll close with my motto which many of you have seen before…..
“You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing….”