Well, Since You Asked–I’m Running Again

“Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all the animals that returned the questionnaire.” – Robert Brault

A follower woke me up recently. Runner500 asked how my personal running was going. I looked back and was stunned I hadn’t written about my own running in six weeks. And this is supposed to be running blog? Those who follow me know they are as likely to read about art, cycling, hiking and writing as they are about running, though running and health the foundation of everything I do. So thanks for getting me back on track, Runner500, and here’s my running update.

To make a long story short, I sustained the worst injury I’d suffered in more than five years back in December. A slip on the ice (while running, of course) caused inflammation of the bone marrow in my hip. Every time I tried to come back, I’d get a sharp pain in my hip when my foot struck the ground. I was out of commission for nearly four months. Weird injury!

Three previous knee surgeries hadn’t been as painful or as frustrating as rehabbing the hip injury. In fact, I rehabbed my knee after surgery and qualified for the Boston Marathon the same year in 2004. Weeks before the injury, I finished my fastest marathon in ten years, and then registered for my first ultra-marathon on January 4th. I had to bail out because of my hip. An optimist by nature, I was getting freaked that my running days might be over.

Finally in mid-April I was able to tolerate a slow two-mile run, and by the end of the month I stretched it to five miles on the trails of the Wissahickon in Philly. I trained on hills three times a week and by the end of May I completed an excruciating seven hilly miles. Last week I upped the mileage to nine strong miles. Yesterday I got a little crazy and ran fourteen, on the hills. It was slow and I had to cheat the last three miles, nevertheless I finished fourteen. So I guess you could say I’m back.

The lesson from all of this is that the body doesn’t heal at sixty the way it did at thirty, or even fifty for that matter. The thing that helped me most rehabbing an injury? Yoga, cycling (non-impact cardio,) soft surface (trails,) and my mantra “make the hills your friend.”

I just found an ultra-marathon in November. Maybe I won’t have to scrap that 2014 ultra after all.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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16 Responses to Well, Since You Asked–I’m Running Again

  1. great mantra Jim! Glad to hear that you are on the move. Don’t try too hard! 😉


  2. That’s so awesome Jim – best possible news! I hope you get to do that ultra in 2014 😀 What distance are you aiming for? Perhaps I can “join you in spirit” and enter a similar length ultra in this part of the world. I know we’ve talked about it before, and I really quite like the idea! 😀


  3. LB says:

    WOW! You’ve done it! 6 months later you are out and running! It is a difficult thing to realize that we do indeed heal differently as we grow up. But we do heal!!
    Question: does it feel good to be back? Or better yet … how does it feel (after the run, I mean)


    • Jim Brennan says:

      It feels great to be back on the trail again, LB. And the hip is good. A point of clarification – I am getting older, but those closest to me would contend that I’m not growing up (at least I hope not.)


  4. Mark Smidt says:

    Glad to read you’re doing better!


  5. Mark Mangan says:

    Sounds like you’re back on track. Run on!


  6. aaronwest says:

    I was wondering about that. Glad to see you are back. Take it from me, hips are not something to be messed with, but it sounds like your comeback has been smart.


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Aaron, I’ve followed the story of your long, frustrating rehab from hip surgery on your blog. In fact I mentioned you in a blog a while back. You deserve a lot of credit for your determination and optimism. It’s people like you who inspire many of us going through injuries of our own and give us hope that we will one day play again. Thanks!


  7. runner500 says:

    So glad that you are back running again, speed doesn’t matter so much at this stage it is the miles that count; thanks for for the mention by the way!


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