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.


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.

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!


A new fall day in the smoky Pacific Northwest
On my XC practice days, I have to get to work early.  This gives me a chance to get some great views of the morning sunrises.  The one above is just a typical example of what I get to experience on a daily basis.  With the forest fires that have been burning in Central Washington, the smoky air gives the morning sunrise an extra POW!

I like POW!

Just like in Tuesday’s workout with the SDP Boys……A tough hill workout with a tempo mile thrown into the middle of it…..5:46…..POW!

Last night I hosted an XC Meet in which my kids won 4 of the 8 team races and were overall winners in 4 of the 8 races as well…..POW!

I belong to the “HIP” runners club…..POW!



They show up at practice ready to run.  It’s funny.  I remember being their age.  They come to run.  I admire them.  Running?  Our sport is every other sport’s punishment.  Yet here they are.  Ready to listen and ready to take on the workout I have planned.  Since I base my workout system on what I learned both as a collegiate runner, then as a coach, I am confident with the direction that I am leading them.   They are like soldiers.  They do what I ask with little or no complaint.  I could include cartwheels in the workout and they’d do it.  These are the kinds of kids that I have the privilege to coach.  My numbers are down to 45 or so from an all time high of 70 just 2 years ago.  But the heart is just as big.  These kids work hard.  I can see it in every repeat that is run, every Oregon drill that is assigned, every workout that is finally finished.  As the season continues, they’ll be tired.  They will sleep.  But they will also improve.  And when race day comes….they will deliver.  For me…..”delivering” means running a better race……achieving a new personal record (PR).  I don’t care as much about winning races, as I care about seeing improvement.  Because with improvement comes confidence…and you can see it in their faces.  It makes the task of coaching… incredible joy.  Combine that attitude with an army of other volunteer coaches who are there for the kids, and to help me, and you have a winning combination.  I feed off of the positive energy.  First meet is next week.  Needless to say…I’m optimistic.

The 10% Rule

In running terms, the 10% rule states:

 “Never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent as compared to the previous week. “

Well I don’t have to worry about that.  My maintenance mode keeps me right around 25 to 30 miles per week and no more.  The last couple of days I have taken some time off from running.  This is partly because the Cross-Country season is starting and I am focusing my efforts on coaching my grade school Cross Country team.  But I’m also feeling it in the hip a little more than normal.  Its funny.  One day….it feels so good its as if I didn’t have a hip replacement, and the next… aches enough to remind me that its still not fully healed.  This leads me to another 10% rule that is suitable for my situation:

“The final 10% of the job takes 90% of the time”

I first experienced this rule after putting an addition on my house.  While the major portion of the project was finished in about a year,  there are still a few places that require a final coat of paint or some other minor amount of work.  The same rule applies to my hip.  I would say at this time, it is at 90%.  The last 10% seems to be taking forever.  Sometimes it is frustrating.  So to remain upbeat and hopeful, I have to remind myself that it has only been 8 months; just a drop in the bucket for these hundred years of life or more that I have in me (yes…forever the optimist).  This last 10% of the healing journey is driving me bananas.  I am so impatient!   But when those down days of impatience come…..I picture myself at the young age of 80…….fully healed in the hips….maybe not as fast (maybe)…..still enjoying all of the rewards of running……happy.

Hammy Shmammy

Usually, I am a creature of habit.  My weekend runs are typically always the same routes.  6.2 on Saturday, 10 miles on Sunday.  But this weekend I ran outside of the box.  On Saturday I went on a 7 and a half miler through downtown and into Riveride State Park.  It felt great.  On Sunday, instead of my normal 10 miler, I tackled Beacon hill, a hill not far from my house.  The route is shorter, but the hill is tougher and I have been trying to improve my leg strength.   Through the first half of the Sunday run, all went well. The view from the top of Beacon Hill is always worth the effort (you can see a picture of it in this post here).  About 5 and a half miles into the run, just after I came down off of the hill, my hamstring started acting up again.  The pain was enough for me to have to force myself to walk-jog the rest of the way home.  I’m not crazy.  I would have never left the house if my hamstring felt that way on the way out of the house.  But since it happened in the middle of the run….I had no choice but to finish the run.

I have a Big race coming up on Wednesday.  It is the last of the TriFusion summer series races.  Challenges have been made and goals have been set.  I have a runner or two who have already told me they are gunnin’ for me.  I like the fact that I have people gunning for me.  I fully intend to run.  But for the next 3 days….I am taking on a completely different point of view……there will be NO running.    Instead, I will sit on the bike….and nurse this tight muscle back to competitive health.  This hammy needs a break.  I don’t run for the joy of racing….I run because it balances me out….it resets me on a hard day….it allows me to get rid of the stresses that occasionally pile up on me.   To not be able to run for a day or two….doesn’t kill me.  Consecutive day running streaks are not important to me.  What is important to me is staying fit and being healthy……and providing a challenge to all comers who are gunning for me.  Despite the tight hammy, I’m optimistic that the race will go well.


Argue for your weaknesses

Me and some of the SDP Boys... (L to R Skylar, me, Alex, Dave and Fitz)

I like quotes.  I use them all of the time.  Ask my boys.  Ask the grade school XC Team that I coach.  I like to motivate with quotes.  They are not mine…but I like to own them and share them.  One of my favorites that I use on my kids all of the time is “Argue for your weaknesses….and they are yours”.  When one of my little XC runners is anxious about a race and says something like….”I’m feeling sore today….I’m not going to do well”…..or “I Can’t do this..I have a cold”…. I look at them and say…..”Argue for your weaknesses…and they are yours”.  I want them to know that negative thoughts hinder their ability.  I want them thinking positive and being optimistic.

So last night I ran the first of another series of weekly 5k’s sponsored by the Tri-Fusion Triathlon Club.  Some of my friends had asked me how I was going to do…and guess what I said?  “Well…this course is a little tougher….so it will be harder to beat my times from the previous series of 5k’s I’ve been doing”.   So last night when the race started….I settled into a comfortable pace.  With less than a mile to go….I hit the hill that I was anticipating would slow down my time.  As I trudged up this hill……my friend Frederick…..a runner I had beaten in previous weeks…..zipped right by.  He easily beat me by 20+ seconds.  I settled for a 19:29.  My little XC Team of runners would have been so disappointed in their coach.  The point is…..I “talked” myself into believing I would be running slower……and Frederick did not.  It was a reminder to stay positive and avoid the thoughts that prevent me from achieving what I want to achieve.

At any rate…it was good to be back with my running club….the SDP boys.  Next week…..that hill is mine!