I started this site in 2011 just before my hip replacement. At the time, I couldn’t find a whole lot of information associated with success stories related to running after a hip replacement. The site was a simple blog to post my weekly progress. And the more posts I put up, the more responses I received from runners in the same situation. It inspired me to open up the blog to other posters and create a support group for all runners with hip replacements.
One of the key people who inspired me to open up the site was Floridian Dave Whiteside. He was one of the first to contact me and tell me about his running exploits post hip replacement. He became one of my first “Hip Brothers” in the “Hip Runner’s Club”. I always thought of him as a badass. He was a regular poster for many months…until he got injured.
In 2013, Dave was forced to take a leave of absence from running – and as a result of that, he also took a leave of absence from HipRunner. He was experiencing too much pain when he ran and that forced him to stop running for a while. I would periodically email Dave and ask him how he was. He would give me an update on his condition and then I would wait another month or 2 to check in on him again because he still wasn’t posting on Hiprunner. I asked him later, why he stopped posting and he said … “Well I didn’t have anything to write about other than the fact that I wasn’t running due to this injury”. That made sense.
Fast forward to 2015. After all of that pain, Dave is a running madman! He’s completed two ultras and performed well in both (see this post and this post for more information on those Ultras). When it comes to running with a hip replacement….Dave is a true inspiration. Earlier this year, we made plans to run the Spokane Half Marathon here in Spokane on October 15th. I was looking forward to running with a fellow Hip Runner in my hometown. In July, I had to face the fact that my knee was in need of some care and ended up having micro-fracture surgery. I was optimistic that I could bounce back and run the Spokane Half in October with Dave. But as time passed, I knew that my knee would not be ready for the race and I let Dave know. This didn’t deter him. He planned to spend some vacation time in the Pacific Northwest and Spokane would be his final stop before he flew home.
On Friday night 10/09/15, I had the pleasure of meeting Dave and his lovely wife Judy for the very first time. Out of the gate, the first thing I noticed about Dave that I never knew through his posts on Hiprunner was that he spoke with an English accent. This makes total sense as he and his wife are both originally from England. My wife Colleen and I hosted Dave and Judy for a nice meal at our house which was just blocks from the hotel where Dave and Judy were staying. Honestly, Colleen did all of the work with the meal as she is a great cook and former caterer. I simply enjoyed the company of Dave and Judy while she worked her magic in the kitchen. We enjoyed the evening, talking about HipRunner, his plans for the next day and his goals for the half marathon coming up on Sunday. He had hoped to run around 1:31, which was his PR for the half marathon. That would be a challenge given the difficulty of the course. We talked about the course, and the hills and how tough the second part of the race would be (he would have to climb up Bloomsday’s infamous “Doomsday Hill” at mile 9). I wished him well and he and Judy headed off back to their hotel. Saturday he would take it easy and rest in anticipation for the race the next morning. The weather on Saturday couldn’t make up its mind. First it was slightly overcast and sunny, then it got grey and windy and finally in the afternoon, it rained. But on Sunday morning…the sun was out and the starting line was a cool 54 degrees. I biked down to the course from my house and found Dave just a few feet from the starting line waiting for the gun to go off. I wished him luck and within minutes, he was off!
For the first few blocks, I rode alongside Dave, then split off to ride up to mile 2 and get his 2 mile time. When he came through, I looked down at my watch. He had passed through at 11:54.
He was running sub 6:30 pace on one of the hilliest marathon/half marathon courses around. I wasn’t concerned for him, because he looked strong. Through his posts on his ultras, I knew he had the mental toughness to maintain that pace.
Just before mile 7 I let Dave know that he was in 9th place overall. He still looked strong and his pace was well below 7 minutes per mile. I took a moment to recollect back to the days when he had to sit out of running due to injury. I thought about the fact that where he was then, is where I am now. Two years later, at 55, here he is taking Spokane by storm and owning this half marathon….running HipRunner strong. It gave me hope and increased optimism that I would be back at it and competing again.
I caught up with Dave at Mile 9 just before Doomsday Hill. One runner had slipped past him but he was holding 10th place pretty firmly. I figured I would cruise to the top and wait for him there. So I left him him 400 meters before the base of the hill and headed up. Doomsday Hill is not a super long hill. I would say it is just short of a half mile. But it is steeper than any other hill on the course, and it can sap the strength right out of you. I felt myself laboring just riding my bike up the hill. At one point midway up the hill, I looked back and Dave was right on my tail. Yikes. I wanted to get a picture at the top, but Dave was going to beat me to it. Dave was in Mile 10 of this race and he was running strong. After Dave topped Doomsday Hill, I rode with him for a little bit through the neighborhood. The hill had sapped some strength and he was having to work harder, but he still looked strong. He would need to focus so I let him know that I couldn’t see anyone behind him and took a shortcut through the neighborhood to get to mile 11.
At mile 11 downtown Spokane was now in site and as Dave reached the top of yet another hill, I could see a group of runners coming after him. I turned my bike around and caught up with Dave letting him know that there were runners coming from 50 yards back. He let out a groan of determination and buckled down for the final 2 miles. I left him on this mission of determination so that I could park my bike at the finish line and get into position.
When Dave rounded the corner near the finish line, he was still holding his 10th spot. I couldn’t believe his finishing time.
He had run 1:28:08 (a half marathon PR on a very VERY hard course by over 3 minutes!) Less than a minute later, the 11th place finisher crossed the line. Dave was spent and he had to walk off some hip pain for a few minutes. He let me know later that when he pushes hard, he can sometimes feel pain. When he is not pushing, he doesn’t feel it. He was determined to finish in the top 10 so he pushed himself. He told me, “Being in the top 20 is one thing, but being in the top 10 is quite another”. I understood completely.
The awards wouldn’t be for another 45 minutes, so we headed over to O’Doherty’s Irish Pub for a pint and some rest. I had arranged to have fellow Hip Runner Michele Miller meet us there also. It was the first time in the history of HipRunner that 3 HipRunners would meet up for a group pic. Michele is just coming up on a year since her hip replacement. We shared our experiences about where we were with our hip replacements after the first year. Dave’s 10th place finish at this race was an inspiration for Michele.
I was sure to tell everyone about Dave Whiteside and what he had just accomplished. He wore his Hiprunner shirt proudly to the awards ceremony. I looked at the back of it, and thought briefly about changing it from “THR Tough” to “You just got passed by a HipRunner”.
Dave’s performance was gutsy and awe inspiring. HipRunners! I highly encourage you all to find time to get together if you can and run a race. It is so satisfying to see what we are capable of in spite of our THR!
Way to go Dave! Loved meeting you and Judy and watching you tear up Spokane!