Three years ago today I went in for my hip surgery. At this time three years ago I was in the operating room, after shoveling snow off my car from a rogue snow storm that wreaked havoc upon the Halloween season. It was a major surgery due to a torn labrum. The injury itself had left me in constant pain for six months leading up to the surgery, and post-op I had many months of physical therapy and a very long road to recovery.
If you asked me at the time, I would have told you I thought my life was over. Being on the sidelines, struggling to repair your body, watching everyone live their life and continue to improve while you're feeling left out...it's an awful, lonely feeling. Especially for a "doer". I'm a doer. I like to do things. I like to make things better and fix things. The hardest medicine to take is rest and patience. I remember when the doctor told me how long it would take to recover, I thought, sure, maybe for the average surgical patient. Not an active runner like me. I'll cut that in half. I was wrong. He was right. Of course, all of his surgical patients were active runners so I guess his prognosis made perfect sense. I was too panicky to see it that way back then. I had a major case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and I didn't want to get left behind.
It's easy to get caught up in every day struggles, thinking this is the worst thing in the world and it will never get better. The thing is, it does get better. Sometimes it takes a really long arc to see the progress, and I remember being down on myself for a really long time, feeling like I lost a major part of my identity.
I'm a numbers gal. I like data. It helps tell a story and put solid facts behind what I'm saying. So here's some data to help tell the story of my "life ending hip surgery":
In the last three years following my hip surgery, I have completed:
- 3 full marathons
- 10 half marathons
- A bunch of triathlons, including a half iron distance
- Hundreds of miles on my horse
- Thousands of miles on my bike
Ironically, this is the first "hip anniversary" that I can celebrate with a run. On my first anniversary, I had just stress fractured my foot, forcing me to miss the Newport half marathon. On my second anniversary, I had a torn ligament in my other foot. In both cases I thought it was the end of the world. Luckily I have a habit of being wrong about that. On Sunday I completed a half marathon, and I completed another one the Sunday before that.
I'm here to tell you that if you are struggling with an injury, it will get better. It is not the end of the world, even if it feels that way at the time. You aren't missing out as much as you think you are. Do the work, even if it means rest and patience because that's work too, and remember that it's just a little blip on an otherwise long, enjoyable, journey.
I'll be celebrating this journey and my anniversary with an easy run after work today, shaking the rest of the junk out of my legs from Sunday's race.
It's good to be back.