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The Workout That Worked More Than My Body

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My mom is not your typical personal trainer. First off, she is overweight. Not by a whole lot, but she’s still pretty big. Not to say she doesn’t try to stay in shape. She works out and she eats right, but she was born with dysplasia of the hip. This is a birth defect that causes abnormal development of the hips. It is usually found in both hips, but can sometimes only show symptoms on one side. Its symptoms include weakness in the muscles and ligaments of the hip joints. This causes an instability and malformation of the hip joints. Arthritis tends to be the long term effect of this defect. It is mainly seen in large breed dogs and rarely in humans.

For most of my life, I remember my mom being in pain. She couldn’t walk well or for very long. It got steadily worse as she and I aged. But she never let any of the pain and difficulty stop her. When I was in the third grade, my mom went back to school. At first she was a psychology major. She soon found a love of physical fitness and training. When I was in the seventh grade, my mom graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Physical Education. Soon after this, she had her first total hip replacement. Two years later they did the other side, and all of this at the age of forty-three.

Seven years later, she is doing great. Last month we went to Knott’s Berry Farm and she outlasted me, a girl less than half her age. She has more energy than ever. She even deployed with Operation Iraqi Freedom for a year, running the store at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. A few days ago, she asked me to be her workout partner. So we walked the half-mile to the gym. Once we got there, she went into personal trainer mode. She told me to pick a number. I picked fifteen. She said at each machine we would do fifteen reps at one weight, go up ten pounds, do ten reps, and then go back to the original weight for a final twenty.

My fifty-year-old mother, with two titanium hips, a missing disk in her spine, and 40–50 extra pounds kicked my twenty-two-year-old, 115 pound, Marine ass. There is no better way of putting it. I could not put into words how incredibly proud I was to call that strong woman my mother.


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