Regular readers of this blog will know that, for a fair few months now, my hip has been “playing me up”.
Not my right – metal – hip.
No – that one is soldiering on quite nicely.
My left – fully biological – hip.. that’s the one giving me problems.
Regular readers of this blog will also know that the reasons for the issues with my left hip go all the way back to childhood… and they’ll know that, around 11 years ago, I was informed that, like my right one, it would need to be replaced at some point.
When I was given that news, it was pretty upsetting to say the least – I was full of hope regarding how successful my right hip replacement was turning out to be so “bad news” was not on the agenda… but I resolved to put it to the back of my mind… I wasn’t experiencing any pain or mobility issues so there didn’t seem to be any point worrying about it.
I continued “not experiencing any pain or mobility issues” until earlier this year when, all of a sudden, I became aware of it.
A couple of excruciating runs and a few sleepless nights later, and I was conceding that, finally, the time has come when my left hip was giving up on me.
Which was a shame.
To say the least.
Trying to delay the inevitable, and with one eye firmly on being able to take part in Ironman Hamburg at the end of this month, I started seeing a sports physiotherapist and, honestly, he seems to have been helping.
My 5km runs have been improving and, until a couple of weeks ago, I had been hopeful of returning to the kind of pace I used to be able to maintain without any trouble.
And then – almost two weeks ago, now, with Ironman Hamburg looming up the road, I decided to go out on another run.
A hugely positive first 2 miles bled into a hugely painful final 1.5 miles… and I was in tear inducing agony which lasted for days.
My heart was asking big questions about my ability to complete Ironman Hamburg at the end of this month and my head told me that the only way I could even think of doing so would be to completely revisit my strategy for the run part.
Out of the window went any dreams of “running” the whole 26.2 miles.
In through the front door came the notion of “run/walking” it.
I resolved to try said “run/walk” strategy (running 4 minutes, walking 1, running 4 minutes, walking 1 etc etc etc) over a 10km route just to see how that felt.
I chose last weekend to make the attempt – a full 8 days after the previous, disastrous, run… I wanted my hip to be as fresh as it realistically could be.
But as the day of the attempt approached, I could just feel that it was hopeless.
Even walking without a limp is becoming increasingly difficult and I only ever feel just around the corner from being in pain. I don’t fancy my chances of walking 26 miles… let alone covering the distance any other way.
It’s all very difficult to accept.
With that in mind, the notion of attempting that 10km “run/walk” all seemed a little moot – I already knew the outcome (I could feel it, quite literally, in my bones!) – and the risk was that, by doing it at all, I’d just damage myself even further.
And for what?
A sad moment of realisation followed and, in a flash, Ironman Hamburg was over before I had even reached the start line.
Yes – as bitterly disappointing as it is – I’ve decided that Ironman Hamburg is not going to happen… it would break me… and I do mean “break”… and who knows how long it would take, or what lengths I’d need to go to, in order to be repaired… and that’s if “being repaired” was even an option – it might not be.
It’s doubly disappointing because my 2019 entry was already a deferral from 2018, when severe motivation issues, rather than physical obstacles, got in the way.
I now find myself regretting my decision to defer last year when my hip could have made it ’round.
There’s no other word for it.
Of course, the people who know this decision already have reassured me that it’s the right thing to do.
Lisa has, I feel, breathed a sigh of relief; she was supportive of me going to Hamburg, of course, but she also has my best interests at heart and deciding against lining up on the start line is definitely in my best interests!
She knows that.
I know that.
I daresay that even you know that.
So a hip has scuppered me once again… just as my right one did in my teens (when I was told I might not walk again) and in my early thirties (when, again, I was told that I would need a wheelchair fairly imminently).
I’m going to go away, now, and get on the “pathway” towards the hip replacement I know I need.
That might not happen for a year or two, which is fine – as it stands, I can still swim, cycle and, most importantly, live without any serious issues – it’s only running that I need to stop right now.
My experience with my right hip replacement tells me how amazing I’ll feel again once I’ve had the operation… and that’s something to look forward to! Goodness, the one metal hip I do have managed to get me around Ironman Sweden, after all.
But, since the topic of this blog-site is really pointing straight at my taking part in an Ironman, the deletion from the calendar of the Hamburg event really also means the end of this blog, I guess.
A heartfelt thank you to those who have read it over the months and years – I write it for my own enjoyment… but to know that others read it and take something from my words really has been very special.
And as the most famous two sentences in English commentary go:
“They think it’s all over….
It is now!”
(Except it’s not, really – Lisa has notionally given her blessing for me to do an Ironman once I have two fit and health metal hips…. and, at the same time, I may even resurrect this blog… so this is less of a “goodbye” and more of a “see you later”)