I had a right posterior THR on June 30th. I want to share my return to trading and eventual racing with you all. All of us a different in our journeys so I do this to provoke thought and conversation.
First – where did I start. I started as a competitive swimmer at age of 10. I swam until my freshman year in college. At that point I met several runners and became interested in running. I started racing and eventually joined my college cross country team as a senior. The guys on the team introduced me to the running community in Minneapolis which at the time had some of the fastest marathon runners in the world. They dragged me along to eventually running over 135,000 miles and a 2:25 marathon best. Being 6 ft tall and weighing in at 170 lbs…I couldn’t keep up with he light weight world class runners…so in my late 40s I decided to try triathlons to see if I could be a little more successful. I started with a few in Minnesota to learn the ropes and then went to Texas for an Ironman 70.3 event. I ended up qualifying for the 70.3 world championships and raced that in 2010. I soon decided I would try to qualify for the full distance and the Ironman world championships in Kona. That’s where my hip story starts.
In February 2011 while training for Louisville IM I fell cross country skiing, twist breaking my right leg. After recovering and attempting to race again I started having trouble with my hip flexor which is critical to running off the bike….I saw doctors, PT, massage and chiropractors…..they all gave me exercises….nothing seemed to work. At the end of 2019 a long time friend asked me to run Grandmas marathon with him when he turned 70 in June 2020 (he has run every Grandmas). I told I would and the plan was to run 3:40….but I told him we would run the Atlanta half first in March. Over the winter I started to ramp my mileage from 20 to 30 to 40 miles per week with the goal of hitting 65 by May. As I ramped my mileage I was starting to have more pain in my right knee….and started to research it……I finally figured I must have torn my labrum in my right hip when I twist broke my leg…..I ran the Atlanta half….or should I say slowly limped….and saw an orthopedic the following week.
You all know what he said…bone on bone and it needs to be replaced. With all races canceled I decided let’s do it so I can be removed for 2021 where I once again want to qualify for and race in the 70.3 world championships….I am now 65.
So on June 30th when the surgical centers reopened I had my right hip replaced. Walking the same day with a walker…an over night and out of the center on a cane I started my road to recovery. I sat patiently in my easy chair most of the day but did my 6 minute walks three times per day and my PT exercises. I stuck with ibuprofen only and away from any prescription meds. At the two week mark they removed the staples…big relief and started to walk up to 20 minutes three times per week. My goal was to stick with a set time for 5 days to make sure everything was tracking properly and I was having any unusual pain….I iced every time I came home from my walks. As I progressed my walking time/distance I started carrying my phone to take pictures as a way to slow me down. Once I got up to two miles….after the 6 week mark….I started carrying plastic bags to pick up trash…it slowed my down and made walks feel worthwhile.
At three months I was up to 6 miles once per day along with the adding in alternating days of swimming/biking. I started to feel pretty good swimming so could actually do workouts in the pool, while slowly staring to build easy bike base along with the walks. During my walks I started to do what I call parking lot jogs….meaning the pace I would jog from the car to the store to avoid cars. I would do them for 10 strides 5 times a walk and built them to 100 strides 10 times per walk…..again making sure of no unusual pain. I told myself these were a prep for when I started to run, but first I need to build my swimming and biking.
At 4 months I was swimming very well, was able to sign up for low volume base bike training on TrainerRoad and started running up to 3 miles using low heart rate trading methods to build back my base….I hadn’t run since mid April when the pain shut me down.
Today I am almost done with volume one of the base training (3 x week), swimming the best I have in years (3 x week) and doing daily 3 mile runs slow but mixing in 30 second to 1 minute pick ups or hill repeats once per week…..I am taking it slow and building because triathlon race season doesn’t start until June. I have a modest goal of running a 25 minute 5k in January with maybe a faster one in April/May prior to triathlons if my hip lets me. I am hoping to be able to race a 70.3 qualifying race in August or September which means I must be able to run a sub 2 hr half marathon off the bike….we will see:-)
I hope this helps anyone recovering from or thinking about a THR….I am so glad I had mine replaced…it feels so smooth while riding….no effect while swimming, but still a little tight while running…working on that! Good luck and let me know if you have questions.