Running isn’t work for me….

Every day I drive by a billboard on my way to work.  It is an advertisement for positive changes through hypnosis.  I never really read the billboard closely until yesterday morning.   It was a question that said…..”What if you really liked to exercise?”.  Really?  It actually made me realize that the “thing” that I take for granted, the “thing” that I like to do on a regular basis, the “thing” that keeps me centered… not the “thing” for a lot of people.  Instead its a chore.  Wow….all I can say is lucky me.

I received news from soon-to-be hip brother IRA who just completed his last run before the big day….(Monday)……here’s what he had to say…

I completed my last organized run before surgery and I  was satisfied. It was a brisk, sunny and slightly breezy day that made for good views of the City of Philadelphia and the Camden NJ waterfront from atop the Benjamin Franklin bridge. I finished the Run the Bridge 10k in 1:15:17.  Penguin speed, but not that much off my usual time.  This should hold me over until I am well enough to begin running again.  I will miss the annual Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell runs but I look forward to participating in these and other events with a new and improved hip.”

He is going to keep us posted on how he progresses.  He also asked me if I was put completely under during my hip surgery.  I thought everyone was completely out when they had hip replacements.   Apparently his doctor mentioned something about an epidural?  Wow!  Can you imagine that?  Being awake to see the miracle of a Total Hip Replacement happening right before your eyes?  To hear the sawing….to feel the pounding…..If I could do it all over again….the REBEL in me…….WOULD-STILL-WANT-TO-BE-COMPLETELY-OUT!  There is no FREAKING way I would want to be witness to that.  I posted what REALLY HAPPENS in this post.  IRA.  If you are awake during your surgery….then I am shaving off all of the hair on my chest and mailing it to  you.  Simple as that!  All kidding aside.  IRA, I wish you luck.  As you you know…I’m optimistic that you’ll have a swift recovery……Please let us know how it goes….



Noon Time Workouts

There are few things better than noon-time workouts.  It feels great to go out halfway through the day, burn off some endorphins and come back to work refreshed.  Noon time workouts give me a chance to start my workday all over again.

Today I had the perfect noon workout.  It is November 5th and unseasonably warm.  It was the kind of day that allowed me to forget that I was running.  I ran downtown along the river into Riverfront Park.  The sun was shining down on me…it felt sooo good.  I just soaked up the autumn colors and let my mind wander.   When my workout was finished, I sat and stretched in the warmth of the sun….dripping with sweat……my mind was still wandering.  I was thinking about the race that I committed to this morning.  I will be running in the USATF Open/Masters XC Championships at the end of the month.  It was just 2 years ago that I ran it for the first time.  I was happy to run the 5 mile course in the 29’s on that day.  What will I do this time?  I am an optimist obviously, so the time that I declare is NOT the time that I hope I will get…but it’s a goal.  I am aiming for sub-32.  That’s not terrible, but it’s not terribly fast either.  I also have a goal for 2013 which I will declare on the 1 year anniversary of my hip replacement.  Its nothing too extravagant but it will be a good goal to start training for in 2013.  You know, life is short.  I figure I’ve got a total of 100 years of life to live.  I want to pursue the years that I have left with youthful vigor.  With  a year of rest under my belt, and a new hip to boot,  the youthful optimism in me is telling me that it won’t be long until I will be back to my old running ways.

The hip?  Oh!  The hip!  Well, I have to admit, taking a week off sure felt good.  If I had to guess, I’d say the hip is at 95% now!!  Good thing.  I’ll be playing basketball in a winter league soon – first game at the end of the month.  Things…..are getting back to normal.


Week 44 Report

Without hesitation, I took a week off last week.  I needed to focus on something that was much more important than running.  My wife Colleen (The Quiet Caretaker) had major surgery last week.  The surgery was to relieve pressure in the brain  that caused headaches that she has been dealing with for several years.  The surgery was pretty major, and it was time for me to take care of her.  Needless to say…running was a secondary matter.  She spent one night in the hospital and is now back home recuperating.   The miracles of modern medicine just amaze me.  One day she is having a hole drilled into her head to get a shunt installed and the next, she is home recovering in her own bed.    I am hopeful that the surgery will be just the ticket she needed to relieve all of the pain that she was experiencing.

By Saturday, I was able to get back to running.  It was very therapeutic for me to get out into the misty autumn air, tune out everything, and just run.   I didn’t realize how stressed out I was last week until I was able to get out on those runs.   The picture above was taken during the final mile of my 10 mile run on Sunday.  Gotta love the fall.  I’ve rarely  taken the time to really appreciate how special my running routes are.  On Sunday….I did.


Week 42 Report

I am back to running the way I can.  I love it!  On Sunday I headed out on my normal 10 mile run that takes me back behind Spokane’s South Hill.  It is a great run with terrific views that just seem to improve during the long slow climb.  At one point when I joined another trail I looked down to my left and saw another group of runners coming at me.  They were about 50 meters back and I couldn’t make out who they were.  I wondered if they were some of the Gonzaga University Runners who live across the street from me.    But it didn’t look like them….so, with a slight lead, I headed up the trail in the same direction they were running.  I figured, if it’s the GU team, then they will catch up with me and we’ll have a good chat.  For 3 miles, I could hear voices, but they weren’t close.  I kept a brisk pace to prevent them from being slowed down by me on the narrow single track trail.  When I finally turned up off the main trail to climb the last part of the hill, I looked back as they continued on down the main trail.  I gave them a wave saying “Nice Job Fellas”.  That’s when I saw Tate, the senior leader of the GU XC team.  This pleased me.  “I” had outlasted the GU XC team.  They were doing an easy, long, slow run in preparation for the league championships in Portand this weekend.  I, on the other hand was running for my LIFE!  I know I can’t be too overly proud of the accomplishment of staying ahead of them.  But…it was a PR for the year for that run.

The hip is feeling good.  I am optimistic that I am moving out of that 90% rutt that I have been stuck in.

Proceeding with Caution

Over the weekend, I received an email from fellow hip brother Brian out of New Jersey.  Not every doctor takes an optimistic approach to getting back to running after a hip replcement.  Brian’s was adamantly against it.   So he is in a bit of a conundrum.  Here is what he had to say….

Hi Tom, I am 5 weeks into recovery and very pleased with
my progress. In addition to physical therapy I am riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes four times a week and weight training 3-4 days per week. I intend to  begin a swimming regiment after my sixth week of recovery. While  I am encouraged by the running successes reported on this and other websites, my surgeon is adamant about discouraging me from ever running again. My dilemma is that he is a very prominent surgeon with 40 years of experience and can recite many cases of failed hip replacements due to running. He also feels that the success rate for revision hip surgeries is poor and often results in creating other problems that significantly reduce the quality of life. I guess I either have to follow his advice or follow my passion!

Regards, Brian

Dang!  That’s just too bad Brian.  Well I’m certainly not going to tell you to go against doctor’s orders.  I do know though that running brings a certain quality to my life.  And if that means a hip revision is in my future…..I’ll take it.  I am optimistic that that is something I won’t have to worry about for a long time though.  In the meantime, I will enjoy getting out, staying fit and enjoying nature.  Keep us posted on your progress.  You are probably one of the “more sane” members of the group.  It will be great to use you as our baseline in terms of recovery.  And hey….if you fall off the wagon……we’ll be running right along side the wagon with you….




Anything is possible…..

During this last week, I received reports from my Hip Brothers Jeremy and Ira.

Being only 10 months out from his hip replacement did not prevent Jeremy from parttaking in his annual tradition of barefoot waterskiing with his buddies.  Here is what Jeremy had to say…..

So I know that you have not missed the three on three tournament for the last 100 years, but there is something that I have been doing every year since I was 10.

So after a sore, but positive, wake boarding experience a couple of weeks ago I decided to do something while my wife was away at work. I made a plan to go on a stealth barefoot waterski run with the boys. I was surprised how stable my hip was at 50 mph.  Was it smart.  Nope.  But
who cares, I had to keep the tradition going.  So  for all those out there that someone says you can’t do cool stuff  after a hip replacement, I disagree.  Video down below. Still waiting to run, but I try anything else.  Can’t wait for snowboard season.

brother #2

And HERE is the video of Jeremy Barefoot Skiing.  Can you say……B-O-O-M?

I also heard from Ira who is just a few weeks out from his hip replacement.  He’s continuing to run….because that-is-what-runners-do…..Here is what Ira had to say:

Glad to see your hammie is better and you’re up and running.   So you’re at about 90% after 9+ months post surgery.  Sounds good.

My hip date is 26 days away.  I’m getting nervous about the
unknown.  However, your blog and other research have helped.  I’m still running, albeit slowly.  My knees are bothering me.   Not sure if it’s related to the different running form due the my sore hip but I only have a handful of days left to go.  I did 5.5 miles at serious penguin speed on Saturday and I have a 5k planned for Sunday.

I’ll stay in touch.

Happy Running.

Ira “gets” it.  The impending hip replacement is just a “blip” on the radar screen of life.  He will be out of running during recovery for a little while, but with his attitude, it is clear that running will continue to be a part of his fitness regimen for years to come.

Week 41 Report

A quiet week off was just the trick for my hammy.  There was bruising again when it finally loosened up.  It’s very wierd how tight it gets, but the bruise was a good indicator for me that I REALLY DID need to take a break.   Went on my runs this weekend (6.2 on Saturday, 10 on Sunday) without incident.

Today was just one of those days that define why I need to get out and run. The stresses build up and I need a release.  It will be nice to  workout with the SDP boys tonight.  The scheduled workout is….”Finish bursts with increasing run-ins”.  Hmmmmmm sounds fun.  Not EXACTLY sure what that means, but I know I will be with 10 or 15 other guys who don’t know what it means either.  We’ll suffer together.  At the very least, with the changing fall colors in Comstock Park, it will be scenic.

Week 40 Report

Pssst! Do you want to know how to completely forget that you are recovering from a hip replacement?  Injure yourself in another area where that pain exceeds anything that you are feeling in your hip.  That’s me….I strained my hammy.  And for the last week…..I haven’t given much thought to the hip.

Wow!  Tough Week! After a good fast 5K on Sunday last week, followed the next day by some quality hills with my XC team, my legs were NOT ready for a third straight day of intensity with the SDP boys.  Halfway through last week’s SDP workout, my left hammy tightened up big time.  I may have strained it.  If you could have seen me on Friday running around the XC course hobbling around from place to place, cheering on my runners, you would have thought I needed another hip replacement.  One week later and I can still feel it.  This last week, I have spent so much time focusing on my hamstring that I hardly thought about the hip.  In fact, at one point I wondered….have I moved up from the 90% threshold that I’ve been sitting at for far too long?  Am I finally getting past that last 10%?  I won’t know for sure until this hamstring distraction settles down.  Spent the weekend cross-training, dividing my workout time between spin bike, situps and lifting.  The tight hammy has allowed me to give the hip a rest.  Back at it tonight with the SDP boys.  We’ll see.

Hip? What Hip?

I got an email from my fellow hip brother Jeremy.  He’s doing well and it shows!  I’ve included video of how well he’s doing.   This should be proof to all of you wondering….”Should I? or Shouldn’t I?”  why live with the pain when you know you can get back to being active….  Here is what Jeremy had to say….

Here is a little vid of me trying to get back into what I
love.  I am still not able to run very far.  I have a lot of
soreness in my tendons surrounding my hip.  Other than when I do stupid things and over use it, it has been a blessing.  It never hurts at night anymore, or even just sitting in the office.  I am glad to see you running more and more.  I think that will be in my future, maybe this coming year.  I have been playing softball, volleyball, and a little
basketball (mostly half court) this summer, and the hip has held up well.  Just waiting to be able to run long distance again.

Here is the link to the video of the number 2 man of The Hip Runner’s Club getting back to what he likes to do.

Just more confirmation that getting back to what you want to do is very possible after a hip replacement.  Way to Go Jeremy!