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I am too young not to run

By Karen Manns, Special to CNN
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
After two hip replacement surgeries, Karen Manns says,
After two hip replacement surgeries, Karen Manns says, "I knew I had to get myself together and beat this demon."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Karen Manns had her hip replaced in 2003, then again in 2011
  • After her second surgery she became a runner and now competes
  • Manns is training for her first triathlon with the CNN Fit Nation team

Editor's note: Karen Manns is one of six CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Follow the "Sassy Six" on Twitter and Facebook as they train to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on September 14.

(CNN) -- The doctor's words -- "You won't be able to run again" -- ran through my mind, again and again.

It was 2003, and I had just been told I needed a hip replacement. Bad hips are common in my family, and years of sports and working as a Baltimore city police officer had taken their toll sooner than I expected.

"You won't be able to run again." I knew that one statement could very well cost me my livelihood; as a police officer, you have to be able to run.

I was 34 years young. I had a 2-year-old child.

Sitting in the doctor's office, I cried. I was too young not to run. I had no idea what I was going to do, or if I was even going to get this operation.

My doctor told me that if I didn't have surgery I would be bound to a wheelchair within a couple of months.

Fit Nation team starts journey to tri
Fit Nation team works out with Hawks

So on September 23, 2003, I got my hip replaced.

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Once I recovered from surgery I made up in my mind that this was not going to defeat me. My favorite Bible verse came to mind, Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

So I got up and started walking. If running was out of the question, I was going to do everything in my power to stay active.

Eight years later, in 2011, the same hip started to give me problems once again, and the doctor told me I needed another surgery.

That dying patient could have been me

After my second hip replacement, I knew had to get myself together and beat this demon. I have been competitive all my life. More determined than ever to prove my doctor wrong, I got a trainer and enlisted help from my co-worker.

My trainer started me off with cardio, weight training and a healthier diet. My co-worker and I began to walk outside, then very slowly began to run. Just baby steps. I had a little pain in my hip at times, but nothing stopped me from doing the workouts.

Over time, those baby steps became big girl steps.

Never did I think I would love running as much as I do. In 2013, I ran my very first race: a 10K, which is 6.1 miles. The feeling I had when I crossed that finish line was unbelievable. The joy I felt I can't explain.

I pushed through two hip replacements to run five 5K races and a half marathon. Now I'm training for a triathlon. What's your excuse?

You see, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Do you have something that someone told you you couldn't do? Don't believe them. If I can do it, you can too.

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