In December, I saw a Facebook post from my fellow local PAO friend that she was forming a PAO team to do the 2016 Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass, Colorado; which is held over the first weekend in June. Now, I have not ran steadily since I started having some pretty gnarly pain in my hip flexor area, which was in 2012. I was forced to quit running on a regular basis as the pain was debilitating. Since 2012, I gained 34 pounds due to inability to exercise and I had my pelvis sawed apart in to 6 pieces (3 pieces for each surgery) and screwed back together, a surgery called a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO), all with the hopes that I could have a better aligned hip joint and be able to 1) not live in chronic pain and 2) be able to do the physical activities I love, one of them being running. That is a big selling point of PAO surgery: it has no activity restrictions compared to a hip replacement.
So, when I saw this post about being part of a team with fellow PAO Warriors to complete three loops of 3.8, 4, and 6.7 miles on mostly single track trail in the Rocky Mountains over 36 hours, I was intrigued. I posted on my personal Facebook page asking opinions of those who have run this race if it was doable for me with six months of training and most people said “yes!” but there were a few naysayers. For those who know me know its the naysayers that are the most motivating for me as I am very stubborn and determined to prove naysayers wrong. Plus, I needed a goal. At the time, I was one year post-RPAO and I was struggling with losing weight, and I was depressed since losing my fur baby of 14 years and losing a contract on a new home. Something needed to change, I was in a funk! I told the team captain, “give me three months to see if my hips can handle running.” I started running, well – more like walk with some short jogging intervals – several times a week. I was happy to complete a 20 minute walk/jog session! My hips did fine. My lungs burned, my muscles ached, but my hips – those newly aligned hips – were fine.
From December to March, I progressed my mileage carefully, gradually increasing the run time and decreasing the walk time. What I was consistent in was doing my sessions: I ran 3 times a week: rain, shine, wind, snow. I remember bundling up in 10 degree weather and putting on my YakTrax (devices that go on the bottom of running shoes that have metal spikes to provide better traction on snowpack/ice) to do a 30 min run. By mid-March, I committed to our Ragnar team, which is aptly called “All Screwed Up.”
Fast forward to now: yesterday I completed a 10 mile run in the wind, cold, and GI distress (note to fellow runners: do NOT eat Mexican food for dinner the night before a long run! Another piece of advice: know where your toilets are along your route!). I had to tough talk myself through miles 5-9: “Jen, you are doing this because you CAN!” “Jen, you would have no problem running this if it wasn’t for your stomach ache!” “Jen, this is a piece of cake compared to PAO surgery, remember how much pain you were in at the hospital?” In under 2 hours and 15 minutes (which included about 40 minutes walking due to my poor nutritional choices) I got the 10 miles in and my hips were fine! It was the first time since 2006 that I ran 10 miles, 15 miles in a 25 hour period, and 28 miles for the week. And as far as my last weigh in, I have lost 14 pounds.
So, my advice is: do not let the naysayers keep you down. Rise above negativity, work hard, and prove them wrong!
My next post will most likely be a race report of Ragnar: the ULTIMATE PAO WARRIOR GATHERING!!! Its going to be a hell of a party! Onward!