Summers in the Pacific Northwest are fantastic. This week, we’re taking some downtime at a local lake just north of town. Known for the birds that nest there, the lake’s name is Loon Lake. It is the perfect size. A run around the entire lake is 9.2 miles (That’s 14.8 Kilometers in metric speak). My days have been tough. Wake up stretch out….go back to bed……wake up again…..go on a run…..swim……play in the sun…….eat…..then swim and play again. Ahhh Vacation…..Hard hard times for me and this hip. I’ve noticed a little soreness in the hipside knee the last few days…..so today…..I’ll take some downtime and keep the run short. Same old story……my mantra……listen to the body…..stay in shape….remain optimistic.
I have played in Hoopfest for 23 straight years. I’ve been there since the beginning. It’s always been fun, even when I’ve occasionally walked away with a few scratches and scrapes. In all those years….I’ve never found myself diving or falling straight on my hip…..let alone a hip that was just replaced 6 months ago…….
So here is the 6 month skinny on the state of my hip. Hopefully this will be good info for you runners out there who are wondering when can you get back to training like the crazy person you were before the hip started limiting your activity. For me….I still need to wait. I don’t think I will be there until I am at least a year out. Right now, the hip occasionally aches if I sit too long. I still can’t dart around or make quick movements without feeling a little bit of discomfort. I try to take a day off after every run, more for allowing the hip to fully heal than for anything else. There is a little bit of soreness after each run…..but as each week goes by, it becomes less and less. While I’m waiting….I’m doing as much as I can to maintain a fitness level that will allow me to get back into that running form that I enjoyed just over a year ago. I have taken to heart what my friend Greg told me in the early weeks after my surgery. I continue to Take it easy, and be patient. It doesn’t hurt to be hopeful and optimistic…and I am trusting that the patience will pay off. So at 6 months….I know I’m not there yet. I’m running…..maybe 20 to 25 miles per week, not pushing too hard….but staying in shape…..knowing stronger days are coming….
So back to hoopfest……
This bracket that I play in, I know many of the teams. For some reason we just can’t shake each other…..and now we’re all friends who meet up once per year at Hoopfest. Every year it is the same old thing; friends prior to the start of the game, and then we punch in and go to work like Wyle E. Coyote and the Sheep Dog. We play hard and we are very competive. What we’ve lost in the quickness and agility, we’ve made up for in body bumping and hard unintentional fouls. So as I was flying through the air parallel to the ground…the only thought going through my mind was getting back up and finding the person I was guarding. There was no time to register what had just happened….there was still some game to be played. But after the game was over and we had clocked out, the sheep dogs and the coyotes came together to make sure my hip was ok. It was more than ok. I’m happy to say that after the weekend, I feel so much better than I did last year when I played with the bad hip. My team went 2 and 2 for the weekend. Next year will be even better……..
If there is one activity that I like more than running (yes even more than running), it is basketball. Every year on the last weekend in June, the streets of downtown Spokane come alive with basketball. The world’s largest 3 on 3 tournament (Hoopfest) takes place in my very own hometown. This event started in 1990, three days after my oldest child was born by C-Section. Crazy me….but if I could get to Hoopfest THAT year, then surely, I could get to the rest of them. And so I have. I have not missed a single Hoopfest. I thought this might be the year that I might have to step aside…..but the basketball gods have been kind to me and my recovery timeline has been on the money. I will be able to play yet again. I won’t be my normal self, but I hope I will at least be able to contribute a few points for the team…..we’ll see. Either way….I’ll have fun. Two of my boys will be playing on their own teams. So between my games, their games, my nephew’s games, my friend’s games, my friend’s friend’s games, and my friend’s friend’s fiend’s games, I’m going to get plenty of basketball in this weekend.
I have never known Eeyore to be a “glass-half-full” kind of guy. Perhaps he made the above statement on an off day. But its true. In many of my posts, I have spoken about my optimism of getting back to a good place with this hip. Each day gets a little better, but I am not there yet. I choose to remain optimistic though. In fact, I’m not just optimistic and hopeful…..I am certain. I am certain that I will get there. Yesterday I was at the Y talking to a couple of older gentleman. One of them had had a hip replacement a year earlier than me. I asked….”does your replaced hip still feel achy sometimes?” He looked at me and said….”It’s as if I never had a hip replacement”. So even though my hip is not 100%, I am going to follow the rare inspiratonal advice of Eeyore and choose to remain positive and optimistic. The alternative…..is simply a waste of good days. Today is a warm day. I will be running at lunchtime. It won’t be fast…but one of the advantages of running slower is that I get more sun…..more vitamin D. The glass I’m drinking from….is more than half full….its overflowing. I am certain.
Last night was my 2nd attempt at basketball since the hip replacement. I participated in year #8 of “Steltfest” a friendly 3 on 3 tournament hosted by Rick Steltenpohl, the organizer of Hoopfest. This year’s theme was the magic 8 ball (since it was year 8 of the tournament). My team’s name was “My Sources Say No”. I played with former NBA star Craig Ehlo and another old basketball buddy. In our first game, we were “lit up” by former GU player Andrew Sorenson which begs me to question, “why didn’t that guy shoot more when he was playing for Gonzaga”. In the end, we were taken out by 2 of the last 3 teams standing. David Pendergraft’s (Another former GU player) team beat Sorenson’s team to win the title. It was fun to be a part of and watch.
My hip held out. My jump shot was terrible…but I was able to get to the ball. I figured if I was going to miss, I’d better be able to get to the ball. I was very pleased with my ability to move, shift, and turn quickly. Today…..the hip is a little tender, but this was to be expected. It was just the confidence booster I needed before Hoopfest starts in 2 weeks.
I went in to Dr. Tim’s office today for a Post Op Checkup. All is well with the hip. The one thing about the hip is since the pain is gone…..it has magnified other areas of my body that seem to ache. One of the nurse’s referred it to the hammer and the thumb syndrome. I wasn’t noticing these other aches because the pain in the hip was so severe. I think I’ll just carry a hammer around with me. That way….I’ll never worry about these aches and pains. All is well on the hip front. I’m supposed to go back in 6 months to a year.
I received some inspiration from a gentleman named Colin who found my blog. He is looking at getting either a replacement or a resurfacing. When you’re a runner or an active person….a bad hip will really kill your quality of life. So I always encourage active people to go for it. The sooner the better. Colin gave me a link to another inspirational testimonial about a guy named Norman who had a double hip replacement in 1998. He is now in his 60’s and is doing 40 miles per week, living the good life of running and staying active. You can read more about Norman here…..
Thanks for the info Colin and good luck to you.
I love hearing my boys giggle. Last night I was helping my youngest, Tommy, with his homework. I had to run upstairs to get a pencil and on the way back down, I noticed that I was squeaking. Very concerned, I started making funny motions trying to reproduce the squeak. Every time I heard it, I would have a fretful look on my face. When Tommy would see me shake, then hear the sound, then see me look fretful….he would start giggling uncontrollably. I had to leave the room so I could try to hear where the squeak was coming from. It sounded like it was coming from my hip, which I thought might indicate a major setback. So off to the living room I went to try to reproduce the squeak. Again I heard it, and again I couldn’t pinpoint it because right behind me was Tommy….giggling out of control. So I decided to employ his listening skills. After jiggling around and making all sorts of contorted moves….I was able to reproduce the squeak. When I asked him where he thought it was coming from…..he giggled out loud again and laughed….”yep! it’s your hip”. We both started laughing. In the end after many more jumps, shakes and jiggles……it turned out to be a false alarm. It was my belt buckle that was causing all the commotion. Still the laughs we got out of it made for a good evening.
So I played hoops on Friday. I wasn’t my normal basketball self, but I held my own against the noontime regulars. I went on a run on Saturday and then another long run on Sunday. Today…..its raining outside and my hip aches. It has GOT to be weather related doesn’t it? So….I’m listening to the hip yet again….. I was going to join the SDP boys for a good workout tonight……”The Handicap Mile”……I’m sure it would have been a good one. I couldn’t join them regularly up until now because I coached track practice. Now that the season is over I can’t wait to get back to running with them. But it will have to wait one-more-week. Besides….I need to be ready for Hoopfest. In fact, I need to be ready for Steltfest. Steltfest is a pre-hoopfest 3 on 3 tourney that is put on by the coordinator of Hoopfest himself. I just got word last night…..I’m in. With that in mind……I really must listen to the hip and save it for the bumping and jostling that I’m sure to see in the next few weeks. Like the quote stated above…..I believe I can do this, I believe I deserve it, and I believe I will do just fine.
Every year on the last weekend in June, basketball takes over the streets of downtown Spokane. On that weekend, I basically live downtown. When I’m not watching one of my kids, nephews or friends, I am playing the game myself. I haven’t missed a single one. There are only about 80-90 of the originals left. I am not going to let a silly hip replacement get in the way of THAT string. So tomorrow, at noon, I will get in a few pick-up games with the regular “noon-ballers” over at the Y. It will be the first real test for my hip to see if is “basktball ready”. After my Long Run on the weekend…….I feel good about my chances.
It has been over 6 months since I went on my “normal” long run. It’s not really long…..11 miles by my estimate…..9.75 by my Garmin. (I don’t trust my Garmin). It was a gift. I stopped running the weekly long run late last November. It just hurt too much. The run takes me from my house, through Riverfront Park towards the west part of Spokane. After a series of railroad tracks and side roads I find myself on the bottom part of the back side of Spokane’s South Hill. I’ve always enjoyed climbing the switchbacks (I call them goat trails) and getting to the top of the South Hill where Bernard meets High Drive. Whether its an early spring day and the sun is rising over the valley, or I am placing the first tracks on the trails after a fresh snow, I have always enjoyed that part of the run. At the top of the bluff when I headed down Bernard, the wheels would fall off. My hip would ache badly. The jarring from the downhill running became too much. Down Bernard, then weaving my way past the Sacred Heart Emergency entrance, and then down the steep hill next to the hospital that led me straight to division. I’m a creature of habit. I ran this run most every Sunday…until it became too much last November. Today….for the first time since my hip replacement surgery I ran it. Not fast…but still….I ran….and it felt awesome. The hip didn’t ache a bit. Not 1 bit. I’m always amazed that one day it will ache, and the next….nothing. So I thought back to what I did during the week. I added some leg work to my lifting routine. I ran on the treadmill and then followed it up with biking. These items were noted….because while I was running…..I was puzzled as to why everything felt so good. It set the tone for the rest of the day.
I’m a running nut…it just resets my state of mind…..not over the top…but I do need it. I knew it would take time….and I continue to believe that my running will get back to where it used to be….