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Scott Harris

New York, NY
  • Scott Harris in the photo 1
  • Scott Harris in the photo 2

I experienced pain in my right hip for the first time in the fall of 2014, after many years of marathon running. I finally decided to do something about it after additional pain in January 2015. The diagnosis of hip impingement in both hips was, in many ways, a huge relief, because there was an option to do something about it. The alternative was years of discomfort and an end to my running, so I decided to proceed with two hip surgeries, one in May of 2015 and one at the end of June 2015. During these surgeries, Dr. Kelly and his team also cleaned up labral tears in both hips.

The initial recovery, time on crutches in Manhattan where I live, was challenging and humbling. But after 2 weeks or so I was off crutches after each surgery. The second surgery was even better than the first, with less discomfort and probably a bit more optimism, knowing that I would be off crutches soon enough.

Before any of the surgeries, Dr. Kelly told me that my chances of returning to marathon running were about 95%. I was determined to get there, not only to be pain-free, but with a goal of running the 2016 NYC Marathon.

The summer of 2015 was hard in so many ways, unable to help out my wife with our kids, unable to do much exercise, having to be super careful at the beach, unable to share long runs or train with my friends for any running races. I couldn't help my daughter learn to ride her bike. Pretty upsetting. However, in the fall of 2015, I was surprised when Dr. Kelly allowed me to return to running about a month earlier than I expected. This was truly a godsend.

The recovery plan began with two minutes of running, followed by walking. And I was overjoyed at any pain-free amount of running! By Thanksgiving of 2015, sharing so many mini-successes along the way with family and friends, I was up to 4 miles of running. Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner having done that run earlier in the day gave me much to be thankful for!

Between then and March of 2016, I was determined to begin training in earnest for a longer run- a half marathon. The E. Murray Todd Half Marathon runs through horse country in NJ, and gave me enough time to very slowly train up to that distance, increasing about a half a mile to a mile of distance per week. Some of the excitement was also that not only was I running longer, but my pace was improving, too.

March 6th was a terrific, cool, and sunny day, and I was able to run a half marathon in a respectable time, too! The joy of crossing the finish line also motivated me to diet to lose some of the weight I had put on from lack of exercise those many months.

From there, it was off to the races, as it were. The spring and summer of this year were full of victories, losing 15 pounds, running faster and faster through the summer, incorporating speed work into my workouts, completing longer and longer runs, too. My first 20-mile run in August meant that I probably had what I needed to finish the marathon this November.

There were definitely challenges along the way. My knees and ankles, and leg muscles were adjusting to new biomechanics. There was so much less soreness after long runs. Running became even more of a pleasure. The old hips left me incredibly tight and creaky for full days, which I never knew wasn't "normal." Now, with cleaned up hips and hip sockets, I realized that running wouldn't take me out of my comfort zone anymore.

The weeks approached for my first marathon back. I must admit I was very nervous. What if my muscles gave out? What if my hips didn't support me for the full distance? My running partner told me to trust the training, and my wife and kids celebrated each milestone as I reached it. But lurking in the background was a lot of nerves, for sure.

November 6th finally arrived, and while I knew I still had work to do- a week left hip flexor and left hamstring were still nagging me a bit- I was confident I would finish. I set a bold time of 3:40:00 for my first marathon back, which would have been my best New York Marathon finish (my best had been 3:41:15 in 2014).

I was strong for the first 21 miles, holding to my 8:23/mile pace very well. Then, as it happens to many marathon runners, my legs definitely were cooperating less, and I slowed down to accommodate- fearful of doing any injury to my legs. With a smile on my face, I saw my family at mile 22, stopped, kissed my children (we had a third child in April), and was overjoyed. My wife said, "Don't stop! Keep running!" But I had wanted to savor getting this far. As I set out to do the last real hill of the race, the gentle slope from 110th to 90th street down 5th avenue, I knew that I wouldn't stop, that I had the strength to keep going without walking. Ironically, before the surgeries, I had had to walk on more than one occasion to finish this marathon.

But not this year. I slowed my pace to just a bit slower than 9:10's, and crossed the finish line in 3:44:38, which was phenomenal. I was so proud, tears in my eyes, able to reach this goal without any injury.

My recovery since the marathon has been easier than the other 17 marathons I did before. My body has definitely felt so much better since the marathon. I never knew it could or would be this way! I am ready to buckle down and do the work to get my legs back to full strength, so that I can aim to better my personal best marathon times of 2012. But I can only run one step and one mile at a time. I have learned that patience and persistence, which I employed to such a large degree over the last 18 months, are the best ways to reach those goals.

I am so grateful for the work of HSS and Dr. Kelly's team. Eilish with her laughter and support, Gena and the office staff for helping me organize the appointments, x-rays, MRI's etc, the nursing staff who made me feel welcome and cared for, having never had surgery before, for anything, ever.

Dr. Kelly and Jeremy Rinsler, his PA, were amazing. They are no-nonsense, very straightforward. Honest about the process, optimistic, and confidence-building. They are truly top of their field, and that shines through all of their work. I could not be happier at the result, and tell everyone I can about how wonderful my experience was at HSS.