When the concept of using my running to support the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) came to my mind, I didn’t know the direction it would take. My initial plan was to train and run this race and see if I could elicit some friends and families to support my cause. But when people in the hip dysplasia community and at the IHDI shared my enthusiasm, my mind started wandering about the possibilities.
Early on the question came up from the team at IHDI: what are you going to call yourself?
I had no clue!
One of the team members proposed the name “PAO Runner.” For a little while I thought it was going to stick, but it just wasn’t right. There were a few reasons I had trouble latching on to it. One was that I have struggled with the identity of being a “runner” since my hip dysplasia diagnosis, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the stress of a name I didn’t know that I could live up to. Another reason was that I didn’t like the idea of being defined by my PAOs. Although the experiences of hip dysplasia and PAO surgery have become a part of my identity, I don’t want them to BE my identity. Finally, even early on, I didn’t want this initiative to be about me. One of the greatest things to come out of these experiences for me has been the people I’ve met. Hip dysplasia affects so many lives, from newborns through adults. I’ve encountered parents of infants being treated with harnesses, casts, and surgeries, children who are undergoing orthopedic surgeries for correction of congenital and acquired hip dysplasias, and adolescents and adults who are managing hip dysplasia through various interventions including conservative management like physical therapy and activity modification and surgical procedures such as hip arthroscopies, various pelvic and femoral osteotomies, and total hip replacements. And it is not just their lives that are affected, but also those of their partners, parents, siblings, children, and friends. I wanted something that was about more than me running a race and that would, instead, relate to many others whose lives have been affected by hip dysplasia.
I sent a few possible names back to the team at IHDI and they chose Miles4Hips. At first it just sounded good. But the more I’ve thought and reflected on it, the more I realize that it was a fateful choice, and I have an incredible appreciation for the vision it holds.
When I think about the “miles” I’ve accumulated for hips, I realized that they go far beyond my running miles. There were the miles I drove and flew to get multiple opinions when I was first diagnosed. There were miles I put in on with an electric scooter around Target a few days after surgery (anything to get out of the house!) There were the miles I crutched through city streets to get to follow-up appointments post-operatively and mental health/fresh air miles I crutched up and down the street by my house in the weeks following surgery. There were many driving miles to and from physical therapy. There were miles biked and miles swum. There were hundreds of hiking miles logged on trails with crutches and hiking poles. There were attempts at running even just a few 100 feet that ended in defeat. There was hope in the first mile run without pain.
Everyone I know who has been affected by hip dysplasia puts on many miles for their hips. There are miles put on in cars, trains, planes, and buses – sometimes hours or days of travel- for consults and surgeries. There are miles logged by parents and spouses and friends driving loved ones to physical therapy and medical appointments. There are miles logged on strollers and crutches and walkers and wheelchairs. There are recovery miles logged in the pool and on the treadmill and on bikes. Some miles are practical, some are dreaded, some are painful, some are expensive, and some are positively liberating.
What are your Miles 4 Hips?