If you are an ultra runner in North Carolina you will probably recognize this as Tom Herbst, a long term ultra runner and member of the Mangum Track Club from Fayetteville, NC. But . . . to me . . . Tom is my competition . . . my next victim!
In truth, Tom is one really nice guy and one hell of an ultra runner with more ultra runs under his belt "then Carter has Liver Pills." This picture was taken at last year's Umstead 100 where Tom had an unsuccessful attempt at yet another 100 miler. I only mention this DNF because the only reason Tom wasn't successful was because he had a nagging hip issue. That's right! Hip problem!
I saw Tom several times since April and his hip continued to be a frustrating, nagging injury. Months later I posted on either this blog or on Facebook about my 'weird' hip problem that just wasn't improving. It was Tom who told me that he thought I likely had a torn labrum and suggested that I read up on a torn labrum to see if I thought this made sense as my hip problem.
After a few days of internet investigation I was certain that Tom was correct! (and it turns out he was!) Tom was experiencing somewhat similar symptoms and had surgery scheduled in October. Tom had had an MRI which shoued a significantly torn labrum. But when the doctor when in . . . SURPRISE!! Tom's labrum was 100% fine . . . no damage at all. BUT it turns out he had a much more difficult problem. Tom had developed a bone spur on the head of his femur and that bone growth had torn up the cartilage on the inside the hip socket (acetabulum). Post surgery Tom was on crutches for ~6 weeks . . . 4 weeks with no weight-bearing. As a result of his extensive recovery period, Tom and I actually started walking within a week of so of each other!
It was really great having someone who REALLY understood what I was going through and he was great all through my process from initial doctor's visit to post surgery rehab. It was great to have someone that was just a few weeks ahead of me to help me understand and deal with what I would soon be facing.
|Stephen Lilly and Tom Herbst finishing the 2010 Medoc Meltdown 50k|
Bottomline: Tom is a great guy. But that really doesn't matter now. No . . . Tom and I have decided to have a spring Geezer's Race where he and I will compete head-to-head to see which one of us can go the farthest distance. Not a time event but a distance event! We haven't firmed up exactly which race we'll use . . . guess we'll both have to see how our rehabs are going before we firm up the competition. The bet is a cold beer and you can bet whoever wins will make the VERY, VERY most out of the ceremony!
But I'm concerned . . . because in Tom's first week of walking he completed a 4.5 mile walk at Weymouth Woods!! My doctor is insistent that I walk no more then .5 miles right now . . . and that is about all I feel like I can complete. So Tom is definitely in the lead today.
So right now I'm focused on how I'm going to beat this young rascal at this ultra game! No way I can let him get these braggin' rights!