Young and Hip (Replacement)

When I started my blog years ago, I named it “Fit2Farm” with plans of melding my world of farming and my love of fitness which morphed more so into just farming and advocacy. Today I’m sharing a bit of my wellness journey over the past five years.

When I moved home to the farm in 2013, I was at my peak fitness. I had just finished my first triathlon and then ran a personal best half marathon shortly after. I was running 3 days a week, plus strength training and yoga. I was on the top of my game. Then in early 2104, I slipped while running outdoors. I went to Physiotherapy and was initially diagnosed with a glute tear. I did Physio, but the pain never really went away, and I started to lose a lot of my flexibility in my hips. I gained weight. I felt like an impostor in the fitness world, unconditioned and overweight. I kept trying to get better and I kept working out.

In late 2014, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. It was a rough pregnancy. I got fewer work outs in. My mobility further suffered. I had wicked pelvic pain. I started to hobble/limp and figured it was a result of my third pregnancy and age (I was 35). After I had my baby girl, I told my doctor about my concerns and was referred for Physio therapy again. This time was diagnosed with public symphysis disorder and bursitis in my hips. I did 2 years of Physio with 3 different therapists. Some of the exercises were too painful to completely execute but I was assured I just needed time and to keep at it. I hit the gym again and started walking with a friend but by the end of 5 km I was limping significantly. My mobility and pain never improved. I muscled my way through breeding seasons walking 15-20 km/day and the rest of the demands associated with cattle ranching. I started beekeeping and worked through hauling around 100 lb. supers of honey. I did rangeland assessment work, again hiking 10-20 km/day. I figured it was me. I talked with my doctor along the way, but it seemed like this was the proper mode of treatment.

Finally, this December, I went back to my doctor, nearly in tears due to frustration and pain. He referred me to a specialist to get a MRI to figure out a suspected hip ligament tear. As an extra precaution, he also ordered a hip X-ray just in case and for the specialist to speed along the process. The following week in I was back in my doctor’s office for some big news.

My X-ray showed advanced bilateral osteoarthritis. My hips are in bad shape. I received a referral to the orthopedic surgeon in Saskatoon for a consult. My husband and I went to the referral last week. My joints are too degenerated for anything other than hip replacements. I have no cartilage left in either hip, the bones are deteriorated and I developed some pretty impressive bones spurs. We expected the news but hoped for better. I’m 37 years old and in the next year will be having both my hips replaced. I am told that I have hip dysplasia and even four years ago, there wouldn’t have been much to be done.

Left Hip

My left hip, soon to become ceramic and metal.

I worry for my young family and our farm. My kids are 2, 6 and 8 years old. They are quite used to my mobility issues, but I am not sure how 2 major surgeries will treat them. I also have a farm business and consulting company to run. Last year I ran 17 beehives, took on new contract work and helped with the cows as much as possible. I’m feisty. We will make it through, but I am still a bit worried and honestly, a bit angry about the situation. As a farmer, and really in all aspects of my life, I am used to muscling through a rough path. I am told there is no powering through on joints with without cartilage. In my bones, I know my surgery is necessary (pun intended) but it will take a bit of farmer ingenuity to get this figured out and I look forward to getting my mobility back post-surgery.


Tough runs….

Today I had a brutal run.  It was hot. Crazy humid. I am more of a cool weather runner. Scratch that, I’m a COLD weather runner. I’ll merrily run at -20 any day of the week. Anyhow….

Feels like 33 going on a million degrees out.

Feels like 33 going on a million degrees out.

I was lucky enough to have a couple run buddies with me for the first 1 km. There they were running like gazelles while I felt like a sloth. The chatted, I gasped away….At about 1.5 km they went on their merry gazelle-like way. I continued on with my path. No music, just me a hot wind and my thoughts. Oh my thoughts….

So here are things that went through my head on my run today:

  • My god, why do I do this?? Oh right. I like this….Who the hell likes this?
  • Damn you crazy fast runners!
  • So jealous of the topless runners….hmmm…maybe…NOPE. Not happening. So not ever happening!
  • Oh look a topless man coworker- awkward!!
  • Is walk break time yet? Damn you 10 & 1’s!
  • Oh I look pregnant ladies….man, am I glad I’m not prego in this heat!!! See, it could be worse.
  • But wait, mat leave was pretty awesome…
  • What, how did that dude get a 6 pack of beer in the park at noon??
  • I would love a toilet right now….oh, false alarm.
  • Is is walk break time? Please, let it be soon!
  • Thank GOD!! A breeze. A teeny tiny breeze!
  • Why do my feet feel like burning??
  • How the hell can Triathlete Kristen Sweetland ever run and not feel her legs?!? Lucky b*tch.
  • Oh again, it could worse, I’m not out walking in a suit and tie….poor bugger.
  • Almost done
  • Look, you’ve already gone 4.3 km, why not do a full 5K??
  • Heaven! I found a sprinkler!!
  • Why is the last 0.5 km so damn long!
  • Hallelujah I am finished!!

All done!

So what’s my point? Some days runs are hard. Crappy, struggling, panting, sweaty messes. But they are part of the gig. Good runs, bad runs…they are all part of the journey.  But, I guarantee you I feel better after a run. My mind feel fresh, my body is alive and I got to enjoy the outdoors. So take that crappy run 🙂

I am one Sweaty Betty here!

I am one Sweaty Betty here!

Making Hay

The family that hays together stays together!

The family that hays together stays together!

This weekend we made hay and had put it up in the loft.Farming requires a combination of strength and endurance to get the job done.

This weekend we were haying. First, we cleaned out 1/2 the loft pushing out loose hay and straw that had piled up over the years. The kids helped where it was safe to do so and then were relegated to very important jobs likes holding sunglasses and taking pictures. Yes, the bulk of the photos in this post were taken by my 5 yr old on an iPhone. I kept my good camera dust free and helped the kids feel included in our job.  Look at that mound of hay we pushed out of barn.

Mount Haymore.

Mount Haymore.


Moving square bales uses a pile of muscle groups and is a great all over workout. Here’s the lowdown.

Dead lifts- lift bales up to carry. Bales varied in weight from 45-70 lbs, so it’s a varied workout for sure.

Walking with an extra 40-80 lb. Bonus if you can farmer walk with a bale in each hand.

Clean and jerk to place bales

Press – Pushing bales into place on the stack

Quick dash back to the order end of the barn.

Repeat, repeat, repeat until you’re done.


Moving it on a Monday

I treated myself with a new toy yesterday and it totally whooped my butt this morning. 20 lb Kettelbell – 1 Julie-Anne – 0. It was a quick 30 minute workout, but it got the job done.

My workout this AM

 5 Min Warm up on treadmill with 5% incline

15 KB Swings
15 Overhead shoulder presses w 45 lb bar
15 KB Swings
15 Tricep Push up on TRX

Repeat x3


Will be doing a 4.5 km brisk walk a lunch today around the lake. My knee is mostly rehabed from my injury last month, so I’ll be starting interval training again to get back into running shape.

Father’s Day Fun & Fitness.

Meier Football

The family action playing football on Father’s Day.

I’m loving the pics coming through my news feed from my BC Dairy Farming Family. The fam jam took an afternoon off for a Father’s Day BBQ and a good old game of touch football. There are some very great benefits of having a large extended family. I come from a large family – 5 brothers & a sister. I have 24 nieces and nephews from my side of the family alone!!! I grew up with epic games of dodge ball, volley ball and some great mass bike rides. All seven of us played rugby throughout high school. Yes, my mother must  of had nerves of steel and a frequent fly card at the ER. Since we are Swiss Immigrants in BC there was a whole lot of time spent hiking (free fun for a family of 9, yes please!) and skiing in the winter.

Lately the family took it upon themselves to incorporate sports in our family get together. Easter was a great game of base ball, football yesterday, pool parties at my brother’s place over the summer. My family has it’s challenges with a huge love of food and keeping fitness balanced. I love to see how we are evolving to a more fit family. The adults are committing to fitness by running, taking fitness classes, and being involved in sport with their kids (hello Rubgy!!). We recognize that some times hard farm work just isn’t enough or balanced to keep us as healthy as we’d like.

In my corner of the world in SK, we are making great use of a big back yard for soccer games, indoor floor hockey games in the shop over the winter and a hole lot of good times playing chase. I look forward to all the different ways  we can incorporate a healthy outdoor fun into our family time as my kids grow up!!!

Keeping active practicing soccer drills

Keeping active practicing soccer drills

What do you do on your farm or with your family to incorporate fitness and fun in your lives??


Move it Monday- It doesn’t have to be fancy!

It’s stormy out today. A late spring snow squall. So I made myself up a resistance band workout to do over lunch in my office. Nothing fancy, but it got my heart pumping and my shoulders feeling the burn a wee bit.  Just a mat, a resistance band and some tunes. Oh and thank goodness for blinds!!


Office workout set up.

Here’s the run down of I did. It took about 30 minutes:

3 minute warm up – Danced it out

Bicep Curls with band 3 x 15 alternated with  Reverse Chest Flies with band 3 x 15 (i.e a Superset)

2 min fast feet with up downs every 30 seconds or so

Calf Raises 3 x 15  super setted with Sumo Squats 3 x 15

50 Jumping Jacks

Overhead Shoulder Press with band  Overhead Tricep Extensions with band 3 x 15

2 min High Knees

Step Up Lunges 30 x 3 Bent over Rows with Band 3 x 15

Plank to failure 3 time supper setted with Crunches 3 x 25

Stretch and you’re done 🙂