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Gosh, where has the time gone!

16 months since my last post… Well, last year did really disappear in a bit of blur.  Most of it was spent learning how to ride a motor bike again, so we could go off on our adventure across Peru.  We also managed to fit in our first skiing holiday for 5 years – my first post-bilateral PAO’s.  I had a blast!  Hips were absolutely A1 – I was tentative to start, but really had nothing to worry about.  Then came the motorbike trip.  We had three weeks on bikes travelling from La Paz in Bolivia, down to Lima in Peru.  Again, hips were A1, even being sat in the saddle for the best part of 8 hours on most days.  We had the most amazing time and it is a trip that will never be forgotten.

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The end of the tour!

Then came a very special day for me – October 6th, in Jersey, a little island off the South coast of the UK, I ran my first marathon post-bilateral PAO’s.  Something my surgeon, Johan Witt had said at our very first meeting that perhaps “no more marathons” when I asked if I would be able to run again.  He didn’t say “definitely”!  The hips, yet again, did me proud – the rest of the body left a lot to be desired!  At 24 miles, I had to stop for the first time – my calves were just screaming and were so tight, I am sure my knees were literally attached to my ankles!  It felt like I had no calves!  My goal had been to finish in under 5 hours, being realistic I didn’t think that would happen as my training, due to the Peru trip and a subsequent holiday in Italy, had meant that my training had not really followed a schedule!  But I managed it – 4:58!!!  I had the biggest grin going.  It was an incredibly emotional moment as I had been waiting for this for over 4 years and had, at times, felt like it would never happen.

Two weeks after my marathon achievement, I was due to run in a 7 mile off road run at night – a real giggle and I was so up for it – mud, mud and lots more mud!  I was just about to leave the house when I stopped to spend a penny – fatal mistake!!! As I sat down on the loo, something tore in my left knee – a rather nasty ripping sound and I could feel it travel about an inch up my knee.  I did the run but after that I knew that something wasn’t right.  I was told by my physio that it was patella tendonitis – I had ruptured a bit of the tendon and needed to REST!  Not what I had planned at all, but if that is what was needed then that is what I would do. I stupidly did (something that I work out a few months down the line) absolutely nothing.  I took the words REST literally.  A big mistake.

Fast forward to Christmas and the Boxing Day run that is a local fun run of 3 1/2 miles off road up hill, down dale, through the Devils Punchbowl, with, for some, a pint of beer at 2 1/2 miles.  My knee felt good, but stamina was out of the window, so I ran some and walked some, which was fine.  Two days later I went out with a friend and did the same, but with different consequences!  That night the burning came, at the side and to the back of my right hip!!!  Waking me throughout the night.  I thought this would ease with rest.  I am not one to take pain killers readily, so didn’t.  But after two weeks of being woken constantly through the night 6/7 times, and being sore during the day, I ventured to my physio, with the thought that I was heading for my first THR!!!  I was really quite nervous of what she would say.

Well, to cut a long story short, I wasn’t up for a THR!  TG!!  Basically, I had inflamed my medial glutes.  My actions following my knee injury had basically caused my glutes to shut down, so when I came to run on Boxing Day, and the subsequent run, wearing my trainers with orthotics in them, which I hadn’t worn for two months, my poor medial glutes didn’t know what to do.  What I should have realised is that even though I had had an injury, I still needed to be doing some form of exercise!  Strength and conditioning stuff, and some form of cardio vascular!   So lots of anti-inflammatories and an arm full of exercises later, I have started running, doing a three mile run without any pain following it!

It has made me realise that this is really not about me and running now, it is about me and being able to walk normally in 10/20/and hopefully 30 years down the line.  It has to become my way of life from here on in.  I need to be keeping the muscles in my hips working 24/7 (well, obviously not quite, but you know what I mean).  I cannot afford to be slack otherwise when the THR does come, it will be 100 times harder to recover, and recover well from.  I have started regular Pilates and Body Balance classes, and I am doing my exercises religiously.

So what next?  A Choclathon in April – 9km with a chocolate stop every 2km, and then the Windsor half-marathon in September.  Sensible choices but with the thought of something a little more next year … another marathon perhaps…we shall see what the body dictates!

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The Afterburners Ball!

Such an amazing weekend!!!!

The Torchbearers Ball had been spoken about since about February/March time on the Coca-Cola Future Flames facebook page.  It had been an idea from one of the Torchbearers to have a Ball, in the middle of the UK so it would be central for everyone.  This proved to be Leicester, and so the Marriott Hotel in Leicester was reserved for 20th October 2012.

It was the talk of everyone during the Torch Relay, and throughout the Olympics and Paralympics.  It was renamed by the husband of one of the Torchbearers to “The Afterburners Ball” as he had jokingly said we were no longer Torchbearers as the Torch Relay was now finished so we must be Afterburners! We all thought it quite funny, and so it stuck!  Tickets were purchased, hotel rooms booked for the weekend, dresses bought, shoes bought, torches polished and Relay Tracksuits checked and packed into bags.

There was an international theme, with each table named by an Olympic participating country.  Our table was Jamaica.  11 of us were held back from the main throng and after Andy Le Seelleur (head of the Organising Team) had given his speech, we entered the room, one by one carrying our torches high with the flag of the country of our table attached.  The whoops and cheers were deafening, and it was wonderful to have been chosen for that honour.

Carrying the Jamaican National flag!

The torch and flag then became the centre piece on the table.  A montage of all the torchbearers had been put together and was played whilst we ate dinner.  That was followed by a video which told the story of the day it all began for the UK, in France, with the vote that won us the Olympics for 2012, all the way through to the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and Olympics.  It was incredibly moving – especially when they showed ‘the torch kiss’ .  We were then entertained by Judith Hamer, a young Paralympian who plays for the England Ladies Basketball team.  She told us her story, how she became disabled, and how she had gone on to become a member of the team representing her country at the age of 21.  It was very humbling and very inspiring.  It was her first time public speaking – and she held her own in front of 120 people!  Not bad!!!

It was then time to party!!!  And party we did! 🙂 with me managing to stay in my stiletto shoes ALL evening, and I had absolutely no hip pain then or the following day!!! YAY!!!

2012 Olympic Torchbearers

Montage of the Afterburners

Phil and I in Afterburners Ball gear!

Dancing Diva’s Hip Shoes – couldn’t resist the pun!

 

Rendition of “Chasing Cars” taken to new extremes!

Boogieing the night away!

The Olympic Flame – and my very own Olympic Torch! Christchurch, Dorset on 14th July 2012

Saturday 14th July 2012 dawned overcast BUT DRY!!!  So many of the torchbearers had had to endure torrential rain during the flame’s journey towards the Olympic Stadium, but I had prayed for a dry morning, and so far so good!  Having managed to get only a few hours sleep – excitement, nerves and bloody seagulls dawn chorus, which is not a nice noise to be woken by at 3.45 a.m.! – we departed our hotel to head for the collection point.

Here I met with the other Torchbearers on my leg – one lady in particular, Caron Rogers, became an instant friend – we had similar interests, had lived in similar areas and had similar sense of humour.  She also happened to be passing the flame to me!  We were given a run through as to what happens regarding passing the flame from one bearer to the next – this being known affectionately as ‘The Torch Kiss’ .  And then all of a sudden it was a mad dash to the loo for one final pit stop, and then it was on to the bus.  We were in a quiet cul-de-sac off the main road that leads into Boscombe, near Christchurch.  As we boarded the bus, we noticed a few people hanging out of their windows and a couple of people on the street, watching.  They waved as the bus headed off, and then it turned the corner out onto Boscombe High Street – we were not prepared for what we saw – hoards and hoards of people standing cheering, waving, taking photographs and videos – of US!  It was deafening!  It was absolutely amazing and still brings me out in goose bumps when I think of it.  We parked up at the side of the road to wait for the police escort who would lead us to our various drop off points – and then we were off!

It was beyond incredible, mile after mile of masses of people.  Incredibly emotional!  When I reached my drop off point I was blown away – here was I gaily thinking that as I wasn’t from the local area, that there would be very few, if any, people along my stretch – boy was I wrong.  I was mobbed when I got out of the bus, but I did manage to have a huge hug from my husband who had seen me alighting from the bus and had watched my face crumple with emotion, and had come to the rescue!!!  Daft, I know, but I just couldn’t contain the huge wave of emotion running through me – I was here because of having bloody hip dysplasia!!!  I was here because Dr Sophie West (always in your debt, Soph!) had nominated me for my determination to get back to running!!!  And I was here because my mum had decided she would like a second child – little did she know quite what that would mean, and sadly would never know as she was no longer around to witness it.

“Could I have my picture with you, love?” One of Christchurch Council’s employees who was ‘crowd managing’!

The crowds were just incredible – “Can I have my photo with YOU?” not can I have a picture with the torch – it was me AND the torch – my jaws ached from smiling (memories of my wedding day!).  My poor family and friends were trying to get pictures with me and kept getting shoved out the way by strangers who wanted to get their picture taken, lol!  And even when we did manage a family picture, some random stuck his head into the middle of it, and then congratulated me, stroked the torch and then was off!  I laughed so much – it was really funny!

And then, all of a sudden the TST guy on the bike was at my side, telling me that the flame was on it’s way and that I needed to get ready.  And still people jostled to get a quick pic.  And then there was Caron striding over the brow of the hill with the huge Torchbearer’s bus behind her, and the crowd went wild.  Cheering, shouting – goose bumps again! And then the ‘Kiss’

“The Torch Kiss” with Caron Rogers and Annick Hollins

All of a sudden, that was it – I was on my own (well, sort of!) with the Olympic Flame under my protection – I was, at this moment, the only person carrying the Olympic Flame!!!  I looked at it in awe, and then the gentle arm of  ‘Tomo’, one of the TST’s ‘ was in the crook of my back quietly saying “Shall we run?”  I hadn’t planned to but all of a sudden I thought “Well, this is what it has been all about for me, to get back to running”, so I broke into a gentle run with the Torch held high and the crowds whooping and cheering.

It was over all too quickly.  Soon, I saw Pat, the lady that I would pass to, in the middle of the road, there was the Kiss, and then my flame was extinguished.  I waved Pat off and then boarded the bus – but it wasn’t over just yet – as the bus passed the crowds they were still going mad, cameras held up to the windows, and every time the bus stopped, faces would appear clapping and cheering us.  It was AMAZING!

It was a day that I will never, ever forget – well, especially as I have my torch to keep forever.  Sophie nominated me through Coca-Cola who have just been amazing to their Torchbearers – they set up a Facebook page so we could all get to know each other, from which we have met up with lots of fellow Torchbearers, and which has led to us organizing a Torchbearers Ball on October 20th, they have provided us with cheer banners, special Olympic pins, free photographs and most importantly they have paid for all their Torchbearer’s torches – which is just incredible.

It has been the most incredible part of my hip journey, something that I wouldn’t have dreamed of happening in a million years.  Through this hip journey I have come up with two personal mottos which describe me and how I feel – they are

“Inspiration from others, Determination from within”

“To run is not a given, as merely to walk is a gift”

Hip Sisters united!

I recently met with Dr Sophie and a few ladies off the HipWomen Yahoo Website, which unbeknownst to me at the time of finding the group, would provide my inspiration for ‘returning to normal’ .  Through this website I was able to see how badly others have been affected by Hip Dysplasia and how bloody lucky I had been to have done all I had done without the slightest inkling of what was lurking in my pelvic anatomy.  My recovery from the two PAO’s, although not without it’s problems, has been relatively easy compared to some, and I will be forever grateful for that, and for that fact that I happened upon a superb surgeon, Johan Witt, who I will have on speed dial for the rest of my life!  I will challenge his handywork, but I won’t be irresponsible – just one more marathon during this next year?!  🙂 Well, I turn 50 in a couple of weeks and 10 years ago was when I started to run for my first marathon which I did in April 2003, so I would like to think that over the next year I can train and build up enough strength and stamina to complete the Jersey Marathon next October – we shall see!

We only live once!

Wednesday 30th May, 2012, 3 years and 10 days post LPAO, I ran my first official chip-timed 10k race.

It was a fabulous evening, sun shining, cool breeze blowing in the beautiful grounds of Petworth Park, West Sussex.  It wasn’t flat, it was undulating – the up bits causing me the most difficulty, but I ran for the first 18 minutes, before the up bit started to get too much, so I walked for 2 minutes, till it leveled out and then continued.  I ran what I could and walked when I needed to but I still managed to keep to an 11 minute mile pace throughout, and finished in a not too disastrous time of 1 hour, 7 minutes and 33 seconds.  I had set myself a goal of 1 hour and 15 minutes, so was able to give myself a good pat on the back.  Haslemere Border AC had a contingency of 14 runners out that evening and they all cheered, whooped and clapped as I ran past them to the finish line – that was special, really special.

It has been 4 years since I was last really part of the club, but I am back now and it will only get better.  The ghost has been put to bed!

WOW!

Well, It’s midnight on 16th March, 2012, and today I had confirmation that I WILL BE CARRYING THE TORCH!!!!!!!!  So excited!  I am still waiting to hear about the Ceremonies auditions (was exploding with anticipation this morning that I e-mailed them – they said “within the next week!” Sooo !  We wait) – not too hopeful as by the end of three hours dancing I was knackered, legs were shot, but am pleased to say that hips did good! 🙂  Haven’t danced so solidly for years, but it was SOOOOOOO much fun!  Loved every minute and even if I don’t get in, I will hold that in the memory bank for many a year ahead.

But the TORCH – soooooo bloody brilliant – will be in Christchurch, Dorset – a little way from home, but I don’t care.  So proud, just wish Mum and Dad were here to be a part of it.  Can’t wait, and we get to keep it, possibly – how awesome is that.

To all my hippy friends, this is for you.  We have come one darned long way over the past few years (Lord – never thought I would be saying that when all this started!  A few weeks more like! Lol!)  It is for my family (my husband, three children, and my MIL) who have had to put up with my bloody mindedness, my determination, my independence, and my competitiveness – all of which have made me a nightmare to live with!  It is for my friends, who have supported me throughout, most of whom haven’t really a clue what the operations entail, just that I needed a bit of time off from running! I wouldn’t want it any other way!  It is also for my surgeon and his crew, Mr Johan Witt, of the London Clinic.  He is an awesome surgeon, and nice with it!  You don’t often get that all in one package!  And, lastly, it is for those in the world who are putting up a much greater fight than I have – you inspire me.

 

Well, maybe not quite! Lol!  Yes, we have been recalled to a second audition, and this time I think I will be terrified!  Managed to fluff my routine in the ‘easy’ audition, but somehow was asked back, so heaven help me in the next one.  I am thankfully being put in a group that “they feel I would be more suited to”!  Thought I had gone a step too far when I put my name down for being able to do ‘pointe’ work.  Realisation dawned on me on the way home that I hadn’t done pointe work for 30 years, but, and I would like people to note this, I went home, dug out my old pointe shoes (yes, I still have them and, in fact, Jenna wore them for her last pointe exam!), put them on and danced ‘en pointe’ around the kitchen.  Bloody killed my feet for the all of 3 seconds that I managed, but I was able to do it.  So I was extremely grateful when I got the e-mail this morning saying that I wasn’t being put forward for the pointe group.  Jenna, on the other hand, was!  Having nearly pooped herself, she contacted them and told them she didn’t have any pointes at the moment, so they, phew, have put her into a ‘general dance group’, like mother!  What a giggle!

Well, my audition is on Wednesday 22nd at 6 p.m. so lots and lots of zumba is going to take place between now and then!

Shakin’ our booties!

Well, yesterday, my elder daughter, Jenna, and I, plus my bestest friend who I have known since I was 2, headed up to London to audition for the Olympic Opening and Closing ceremonies, and what a hoot we had!  We gave it our all and came out grinning from ear to ear.  The people were wonderful, all the auditionees were so friendly, and my hips didn’t hold me back – not once did I give them a thought.  Even if we don’t get in, I know I can boogie with the best of them and not have my hips let me down! Lol!

 

Will update whether we get to go for a second audition as soon as we know!