In September of 2016, I committed to hiking the Appalachian Trial, and I knew there was a problem. Several years previously I had learned of a Labral tear in my left hip that had left me injury prone. I’m not sure when the tear happened, but like most things, it was likely a combination of nature and nurture. Years of aggressive physical activity and an imperfect body left me with systemic back and knee injuries that would take me out of commission for months at a time. On top of that, my hip was bone-on-bone and in the early stages of arthritis that likely would result in a full hip replacement before 50.
Before embarking on a 2,200 mile hike, I knew this issue needed to be addressed. So I went to the person that I trust and has been helping me for years, Bryan Graham. He knew exactly what the problem was and got me an appointment with Dr. Carreira right away. We discussed a lot of things, but the number one issue was the recovery. I had planned to start hiking beginning of March and the surgery was now promptly scheduled for end of October. This left me just over 4 months to go from hip surgery to hiking over a marathon a day with 35 lbs. on my back.
I committed to recovery and training full-time, and Bryan gave me every opportunity to succeed. I was diligent about doing the physical therapy exactly as prescribed and not missing a session, particularly the first 4-6 weeks post-op. I had help from friends and family because the early stages of recovery are not easy. I was never in pain, but I needed a lot of help from the people around me early on. Once I was back on my feet, Bryan built a training program that would get me ready for my hike. I was in his gym every day, and by February I had progressed from the Anti-Gravity treadmill to the Force (added resistance) treadmill. I was ready.
On 5 March, I started my hike from Springer Mountain, Georgia and on 9 October (less than one year from surgery) I finished on top of Mt. Katahdin, Maine. I hiked over 2,200 miles. I ate an incomprehensible amount of calories. My biggest day was 33 miles, and every bone and muscle in my body hurt except my hip. I know I would not have been able to complete my goals and live the life I wanted without addressing my hip. I look back now having completed a significant life goal with gratitude for Bryan, Dr. Carreira and all the people that helped for their contributions to my success.