Walking is the new running. At least for me, for now. After an extended period of self-pity and depression, I dug out my big girl pants. After I washed and ironed them, however, there remained one problem. I couldn’t get them on. It wasn’t that they didn’t fit, just that I could barely move my legs. Osteoarthritis, which usually develops gradually, had washed over me like a tsunami, taking out both hips within a year.
Thanks to the very adept and compassionate orthopedic-surgeon Dr. Guzman, I am now able to move about the world without crippling pain. He performed a TRHR (total right hip replacement) on me in February, then a TLHR in March. I’m already back to work, walking without a cane, and tracking my distance, e.g., 4 miles Saturday and 4.3 on Sunday.
Isn’t it ironic…….when a Titanium Maniac* ends up with titanium hips? Because of course one of the few activities not recommended for folks who’ve had THRs is running. Over the past year, I’ve been cycling through the 5 stages of loss. [Kubler-Ross] They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.
Only recently have I managed to reach “acceptance,” or at least, I think I’m there. Oh, I haven’t closed and locked the door on running. There’s going to be at least one run in my future. I wrote a piece, “Last Things,” wondering if I would recognize my last run. My answer I know now is yes. I will plan out a walk/run when I’m able, to appreciate running one more time.
And I admit to following (and possibly joining) a group, hiprunners, on twitter. The members are runners who have had at least one THR. I like their attitude and determination. That they fly, or run, in the face of medical advice is perhaps not the wisest choice, but most of them have decided to take their chances.
If I do ever run regularly again, it won’t be a marathon or any type of distance event, it won’t be every day, and it will very likely be much slower. And so I am here on walking’s doorstep, leaning on the doorbell in hopes of being welcomed back. My long-term relationship with walking began back when my mom would put on her flats and invite me along on one of her urban rambles. I loved being with her on these jaunts, idly talking about whatever came into our heads, observing the seasons and scenes around us. After I moved away from home, walking, whether with company or alone, became a daily habit.
…Until I started running in earnest. I scorned walking as running’s poor cousin. I stopped appreciating it and didn’t write about it. Now I’m back like an old lover pleading: “I need you.” To be whole, I have to find something I can do outside that I can love. Maybe walking and I can make it this time. “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” – J.K. Rowling
*Marathon Maniacs is a national running club. You can reach Titanium in several ways. I did it by running 30 marathons in one year.