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When I was eight, I had a severe hip injury and two surgeries, followed by avascular necrosis due to complications.  Immediately after the surgeries, I spent a great deal of time doing physical therapy and learning to walk and run again. But, after a year or so, I was able to be active and play sports. 

In college, I rowed crew and ran about 5-10 miles per week on top of our training. Then, suddenly I was having regular hip pain and limping often. At twenty years old, I visited my orthopedic surgeon and he told me to stop running. He said that I had severe arthritis from my childhood injury and that the more I ran, the closer I was to a hip replacement. And, hip replacements only last fifteen years…

I stopped running for awhile, but of course, I started again. And, the pain and the limp returned. I visited a new doctor in the DC area, had X-rays and an MRI and the images showed severe damage even to my own non-medical eye. I was told “you have an 80 year old woman’s hip”…continue to run, continue to have pain and sooner rather than later, you will need a hip replacement. I cried in the car after that appointment.

Since then I have walked many shorter distance races and have completed two triathlons, walking the run portion.  Do I get jealous of others’ marathon stories and long runs?  Sometimes, sure.  But, do I enjoy walking and having even more time and energy to enjoy my surroundings and my company? Definitely. Its been hard, but I have come to peace with the fact that I will never be a runner. Good thing I love to walk…

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