Hey, Spike! gets a hip replacement to keep on running (column) | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! gets a hip replacement to keep on running (column)

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

For 40 years, Hey, Spike! has been making nearly daily attempts to out run two guys: the old one and the fat one.

Just last week, it was a third guy, lurking in the shadows, who caught up — the hip one.

After putting off the inevitable for a couple of painful years, your scribe had a total replacement surgery on the left hip at the Joint Replacement Center at Centura Health Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver.

Following urgings of "you'll wonder what took you so long" and recommendations as to whom and where, the surgery was Friday, Oct. 20, under the skilled hands of Dr. Charlie Yang and his team.

The pre-op entry was set for 10:30 a.m., with surgery at noon for a little over an hour. It all went well.

There was only one night in the hospital, a few steps that evening, with post-op instructions on Saturday morning, followed by a hallway walk to climb a few stairs. Just shy of 24 hours there, Spike! was headed home.

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Having continued to be active by slowly riding a bike as Miss Mary still ran, coupled with regular weight machine use, my only physical therapy is "just start walking," Dr. Yang said.

I am.

Sunday started with a daily regimen of five blocks with the walker. We (me and my new hip) are a week out, a day not missed.

Dr. Yang thinks easy slope skiing will be acceptable in three months, while running, although not encouraged, will follow that. It will.

I have never quit running in four decades. It's been seven 26.2-mile marathons (best 3 hours and 28 minutes) to provide goals. There are no regrets.

Starting in 1977 at age 32, it was 30 days straight of a half-mile slog up a looping path outside Alamosa, 10 sit-ups, 10 push-ups and back. It grew from there.

For most of us back then, running had been a swimming or football coach's punishment: "Hey, Porter, take a lap."

With mileages adding up, education and better shoes followed. I learned distance running is the "quickest, surest way to positive addiction."

It has also provided a fun aspect to worldwide travels. I've (with Mary there) run in many states and the countries of France, Norway (north of the Arctic Circle), Germany, Luxembourg, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico (a lot there).

Today, in social gatherings, especially for those of us living active lifestyles in the mountains, talk always gets around to recreational accomplishments and ailments in getting there.

Such an example happened on a recent night while having dinner with Don and Betsy Sather, both very active as well, who now call Copper Mountain home.

They related how their neighbors, Hattit and Buzz Potts, had quickly bounced back from having their right hips replaced by Dr. Todd Minor, also a physician at Porter Adventist with Dr. Yang, along with Dr. Jason Jennings.

Spike! got in touch with them. They were very positive about their surgery experiences.

And it turns out, the Potts have a famous son, Andy, one of the top professional triathletes in the world.

If you've run, biked or walked the local recpath system, he's been out there.

Andy was the top American male finisher recently in the grueling Ironman in Hawaii, an event offering 2.4 miles of open ocean swimming, a 112-mile bike segment, ending in a full marathon.

Andy covered the course in 8 hours, 14 minutes, 43 seconds.

Soon to turn 41, Andy swam for the University of Michigan Wolverines, where he was a team captain and named a six-time NCAA champ.

While still competing, he owns Andy Potts Racing, running triathlon-training camps based in Colorado Springs.

Andy was the USAT's Triathlete of the Year in 2006, '07 and '08. He was on the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team in 2004. He's won numerous full- and half-Ironman events around the globe.

Previously, he had placed as high as fourth at the Kailua-Kona event. He's sponsored by Cannondale, Skechers, TYR, PowerBar, Rudy and Polar. See AndyPottsRacing.com.

Longtime locals, The Potts family had moved out from Princeton, New Jersey.

"We started coming to Copper in 1972 and finally made the move in 1996, so about 22 years at the Legends," Hattit writes. "We love it, we ski to the Super B."

Buzz, 69, is an emergency room doc for Vail Emergency Physicians. He's a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Hattit, 67, also a UV grad, had a career as a middle school teacher. She's still teaching, sharing her knowledge as a fitness instructor Silverthorne Rec Center going on 19 years.

They are runners, play tennis, ski, swim and ride bikes — "you name it."

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com.