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….



I… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

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 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

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!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)


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!

 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)


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.

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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.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

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 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Argue for your weaknesses

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!

 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Let’s Talk about Optimism….

Life’s little surprises come about….because……maybe without realizing it….we are hoping for them.  It’s not to say that we are always hoping and wishing for something better…..but why settle for the status quo?  Why complain about the current situation?  Why not want more?  Better to aim for the stars and get the earth thrown in then just aim for the earth and possibly get nothing right?  When I think of hope and optimism, I think of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.  They went 2 weeks without knowing if anyone even knew that they were alive.  Can you imagine?  I wondered what it would have been like for me to be down there with all of these men.  Would I have cracked?  I think not.  Negativity is like a bad
apple.  If left to mingle with the other good fruits….the good fruits go bad too.
I would want to be so positive that any hint of negativity would be squashed before it was even fully uttered.   When you think of the alternative to being optimistic, why would you choose it?   What is the reward for negative thinking?    Give me HOPE!
Give me OPTIMISM!  I will always wish and hope that another even better day is around the corner because the alternative does NOTHING for my psyche.  It is with THAT mentality that I have been able to ride through these months of recovery.
It is the approach that I take to life in general.   Ask any of my friends.  I prefer looking forward to better days rather than complaining about the current one.   My hip recovery timeline…was optimistic…..but you know what?  I hit those dates….I believed I could get there….and here I am….I’M RUNNING 6:15 MILES FOR GOSH SAKES……6 months after surgery…….not trying to boast….it is just plain fact.  That is what optimism does for you… keeps you going….keeps you believing and keeps you looking forward to that next better day.


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My Sources Say “YES”

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.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Squeaky Hip?

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.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

1 Month until Hoopfest

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.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Long Run Done…..

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 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

This crazy hip…..

This is one crazy hip. I’m listening to it but it is very wishy washy.  One day its telling me to slow down, and the next its like a horse waiting to be let out of the chute.  Today I ran on the treadmill.  A very quick workout….but the final 2 minutes were at 6 minute mile pace.  The hip could have gone farther……When the hip is telling me to slow down….it wears on me.  Little doses of these small achievements help me to remain optimistic.

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Bloomsday 2012…in the books.

What a great day it was.  Mother nature played nice and gave us perfect weather for the 50,000+ runners who ran this awesome event.  I was given the opportunity to ride in the camera truck ahead of the elite men and it was a fantastic experience.  I hiptwitted a picture from each mile mark……sorry they are out of order.   Watching the elites glide their way over this course……just amazing.  Last year’s second place finisher Allan Kiprono, a Kenyan, took the win this year.  Nobody challenged him over the final 2+ miles.  Afterwards….I jumped in with the green group and ran it.  55 and change for me (I think).  I’ll take it ….. for now.  All is well in this runner’s world……

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If I had to guess who coined this statement,  I would have to say this statement belonged to Scott Roy, the founder of the Team Blaze Spokane Triathlon Club here in Spokane Washington.  Scott passed away suddenly this weekend.   I didn’t know him personally, but in reading about him today, he puts life into perspective for me. He was a respected coach/mentor/friend of the running/triathlon community here in Spokane.  Scott had a mechanical valve placed in his heart in 2010.  In 2011 he completed an Ironman triathlon as well as the Portland Marathon.   It is my honest opinion, that although he did not coin the statement above, Scott lived happy.  Hip Shmip!  Scott you truly were an inspiration.

Read here to learn more about the inspiration he was……… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Great Workout with the SDP Boys

I ran with the SDP boys last night.  It was terrific.  The hip still has some pain….kind of like a toothache……but it is manageable.  My goal was simple….don’t make them wait for me.  We had a great out and back workout on the Centennial Trail out by Spokane Falls Community College.  The weather was perfect and I was able to hold my own.  I still have a ways to go before I’m back to where I was at this time last year, but I got a great workout in anyways.  Another 7 miles…under the belt.

I know in time I will be back.  It is more than just hoping… is a fact.   I just have to remain patient and positive.  In the meantime, I’m giving the hip the time it needs to fully recover, not pushing too hard…and backing off when it tells me to.  So far….it is working and my level of optimism is at an all time high.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Jeremy Update

My fellow hip brother Jeremy sent me a status report yesterday.  For those of you who don’t know, Jeremy had his hip replaced 2 weeks after I did.  You can catch up on his posts here.  As you may recall, he is a big softball player.  His hip has been bothering him and he visited the doctor to have it checked out……He let me know how he is progressing…..

Went to the doctor on Thursday   He said that I should probably get involved in P.T. I will check into it this week. A little discouraged that I am not progressing any better.

Fast forward to tonight. Our third softball game (couldn’t make the first two due to Radiohead and my anniversary) and I was eager to play.  I knew I could run very well but I wanted to go anyway.

I pitched both games with zero walks and it felt ok.  As for batting, my worst nightmare was having to run out a ground ball.  What do I do my first time up, well a slow roller towards third.  My mind said run, but my body said what the heck are you thinking.

A pre birthday miracle happened and I beat out the throw. I went 4 for 5 with 2 doubles.

It only reminded me that I have a lot of work to do.  P.T. Here I come.  And a massage and about 20 beers.

Hope all is well.


Your hip brother. J.


Jeremy knows how to just embrace the pain…and enjoy life!  You go Jeremy!

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Embrace the Pain

I got an email from GU Track/XC Coach Pat Tyson that included this picture along with the quote from Forest Braden.  Words to live by.  Somedays……my mental toughness takes a break.  These words are a good reminder that things are hard before they are easy.  I’m struggling to get back to a better place when things weren’t so hard.  This is a reminder to accept the pain, work through it and eventually get to that better place. It goes along with the quote that is on my calendar for today:

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination”

Amen to that!  Forever the optimist….even on my bad days…..I believe I will get there….and this will all be a distant memory.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)


The Bloomsday Course.  Of all of the days to pick to come back to run with the SDP Boys we had to be doing THIS workout.  I remember this workout from last year.  In this workout, we run the Bloomsday Course….with a twist…..every hill is repeated. Once we get to the top of the hill, we turn around, go back down and run it again.  So that makes for a…..hmmm……9 or 10 mile workout day???  My base for the week was supposed to be 5.  Needless to say…..I didn’t do the full workout.  I ran the first hill  and then took a shortcut and met them at the top of Doomsday Hill.  From there, we ran back to our cars at Coeur d’Alene park.  Afterwards we headed to the ELK, a quaint neighborhood bar, and met up with some of the Spokane Swifts for a post workout brew. Today.  My glutes hurt, my hammies hurt and my quads hurt…….AND-I-LOVE-IT!  I couldn’t be happier with how I feel.  The hip is still healing so to say I don’t feel any pain in the hip would be a bit of an exaggeration.  But compared to the old bone on bone running days….it’s not much different and I know that THIS pain will eventually go away.  The hardest part for me was starting the run from a standstill.  Once my hip got moving… felt fantastic.  This was my first real test.  All of the earlier runs that I went on were cautious and slow. I wasn’t running a super fast speed with these guys, but it was much faster than I’d been running.  Boom!  The official “Day 1” was a huge success!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)