I’m a full-time firefighter in San Diego and interestingly enough we have America’s only all female fire crew. After I did a number of years of Ironman distance triathlons with 2.4 mile swim,112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run that’s how I got into endurance racing. I did that for about 10 years and then switched over to the sport that became the love of my life I suppose, which is adventure racing. It’s all completely non-motorized transportation so its all human powered stuff, mountain biking, kayaking, white water rafting, mountaineering, camel riding, trekking through deserts for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Basically in essence, non-stop for 6-10 days with these three people. It really is, not only an adventure into the most extreme ultra endurance races that you can do. It’s also an adventure in teamwork, leadership, and creating synergy and making you a better human being. I love that combination of it, not just being how about how fast you were, but being about how well you could build your team. I’ve done about forty of them now over the past 15 years and we’ve been world champions several times and that’s probably how I ran out cartilage. I discovered that I had stage four osteoarthritis in both of my hips, which was a compete shock to me, I thought I had pulled a hip flexor or something.
It took a few weeks for me to wrap my brain around the fact that I was this perfectly healthy athlete to all the sudden somebody who was having a hip replacement or hip resurfacing. Your first thought is I think my grandma had one of those. I started coming around to realizing that this was the only way to get my life back, and it wasn’t the end of my athletic life, it was the only way to get it back. When I started thinking of it in that positive direction this was the way to get back in the game that’s when I started getting pretty motivated to get it done.
I was basically back to my normal operations in about six weeks and I’ve been riding every other day when I’m off shift. When I’m on shift at the station I have a dry land kayak that I paddle and I do the stair climber. I’m able to basically do sets of stairs, running up and down sets of stadium stairs and I’m about almost 5.5 months out now and I just started running. Knock on wood, so far so good. In a way, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not something far worse and it is something today, today with doctors like Dr. Schmalzried at the Joint Replacement Institute at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, it can be fixed.