Three years ago, Michael Rix was taking 250 milligrams of codeine a day and waking up in the middle of the night due to extreme pain in his left hip.
Rix, who was 42 at the time, had taken up marathons and was training around his hometown of Sussex, England. He stubbornly ran through the pain, logging between 100 and 120 miles a week, even as it became more acute. Then he woke up one morning and found himself incapable of reaching down to put on his socks.
He paid a visit to orthopedic surgeon Kerry Acton at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, and was told that severe osteoarthritis in his left hip meant that he would need a total hip replacement.
The diagnosis didn’t come as a shock — but he was surprised by what Acton said next.
“I was expecting him to say, after hip replacement, no more running nor more competition,” Rix recalled to Seeker over the phone. “But instead he asked me, what would you like to do? I said, in an ideal world, I’d love to get back to sport — maybe not a marathon, but triathlons. He said, ‘Yeah, we can do that.'”