2 Year Anniversary Update – October 27, 2017
Tomorrow will be the 2 year anniversary of my right side BHR with Dr Treacy. And it remains one of the best decisions I ever made and could not be happier.
For me, as a keen triathlete, it’s been all about getting back to the being competitive and racing at the same standard I did before the hip became a problem. I had at times forgotten the more important target of running pain free. Last year I returned to racing but found in the last K or two of a race I would get tired, lose running form and the hip would get sore. As I could walk this of in 50m or so it wasn’t a concern and instead I focused on my 2 targets for this year:
- Running a 5k in under 20 minutes
- Qualify for and take part in the World Triathlon Championship in the 50-54 Age Group at Standard Distance (1.5k swim-40k bike-10k run)
The first half of the year was hampered with a calf injury which I meant no progress at all on either speed or being pain free for the entirety of a race. But then 2 things happened which changed everything:
- I saw a specialist about the calf injury and he advised changing from my maximalist shoe, which I had bought after reading advice on this forum, to a lightweight shoe with a small drop (4mm height difference between heel and toe). He said also that the increased running efficiency of this type of shoe would also help the hip more than the increased cushioning of a maximalist shoe which encourages a more jarring heel strike
- I collapsed and had a fit in the late afternoon after doing one of the Standard distance qualifiers. This was caused by sleep deficit and lack of electrolytes and carbohydrates and of course the effort of racing. The after effects of this was a much improved lifestyle, primarily sleeping more
These two events combined to make me stronger and run more efficiently and just as importantly more regularly. I was able to attend track sessions every week and made sure I kept up my strength and conditioning work and on a balmy August evening at my favorite venue Eton Dorney (the 2012 Olympic rowing venue), in a Sprint distance Tri (750m swim-20k bike-5k run) I dipped under 20 minutes for the first time since the op. To do it in a Triathlon was even sweeter.
Later on in August I did another of my regular races, again a Sprint, at my own Tri club and got within seconds of my PB ad took a minute of my best bike time. Having qualified for the World Champs and it now a couple of weeks away I was in great form and very excited. But then I got a cold/flu virus about 10 days out. I thought I would recover in time but was coughing and spluttering as I stood on the pontoon in Rotterdam at the swim start. Despite not being able to breath properly I had a decent swim and thought I might be OK and on a technical, twisty bike course had settled in to a good rhythm and speed after the 1st of the 2 laps but just after the start of the 2nd lap I got a puncture and my spare wouldn’t inflate. Race over? No, I gambled on wrecking my front wheel and cycled the last 15k on a flat. After what seemed like an eternity I got back to transition, assured my poor worried girlfriend all was OK, and set of on the run with a raging fire inside me to finish with a strong run. 1st K was great, 3.57 minutes, but then the virus took effect and the rest of the race felt like I was running through treacle. I crossed the line absolutely shattered, found the closest wall to sit down against and burst in to tears. This wasn’t how I wanted my 2 year dream to end and it felt like the world had ended. On reflection, I still achieved my dream. I qualified, I wore the GB kit (see pic below from the finishing line) and I raced to my absolute potential on the day with the hand I was dealt. You can never do more than that. As a bonus, astonishingly, I wasn’t last in my Age Group!
How would I have done at those World Champs without that virus? I was never going to be anywhere near the podium but a week later I returned to Eton Dorney for the 10th and final Tri of my season determined to finish on a high. Sprint distance this time and I set of in the 2nd wave with the over 40’s, over 50’s and relay teams. After my best ever swim for that distance and recording the quickest bike leg of the whole field (including wave 1, the under 40’s) I started the run on my own in the lead and held on to win my wave, came 6th oberall and in the process pick up a prize for the 1st over 50. This felt like the reward my hard work deserved.
To run, and more to the point, race pain free there have been two interlinked lessons:
- Regular strength work is essential to good running form
- Regular running is essential to running to your max potential
What I have found linked to these 2 points, and having turned 50 this year age may be a factor too, any absence in running means I deteriorate quicker then I did before. But the fact I have raced 10 triathlons this year, plus other events, means I am not doing too bad at managing this.
Next year I am to qualify for the World Duathlon Championship at Standard Distance (10k run-40k bike-5k run). This is tougher on the hip, and all other joints for that matter, than a Triathlon but only last weekend I did a 4.2k run-20k bike-7.4k run Duathlon and was not only pain free but also won my Age Group. I also hope to finish next season with a return to Half Ironman racing (1.9k Swim-90k bike-21k run). I am optimistic and excited to be taking on these two challenges. And none of this would have been possible without the handy work of Dr Treacy.
Good luck to everybody on the recovery road and those about to take the plunge, you won’t regret it.
December 17, 2015
I am now 48 and have been running marathons and shorter races for 20 years. For the last 7 years I have been concentrating on Triathlons and now refer to myself as a Triathlete rather than a runner. I ticked the Ironman box a few times but with the curiosity settled now concentrate on the shorter distance Tri’s where I have been fortunate enough to represent GB at an Age Group level.
In August of 2014, towards the end of what had been my best season, I started to get a pain in my right hip. To be honest it wasn’t too bad and certainly didn’t slow me down. At the end of August I raced a Half Ironman, performed well, including a 1.30 half marathon run. But shortly after the pain got a lot worse as it moved to the groin. Physio made it better and running was on and off but by the time 2015 came round I was slowing dramatically and now limping when walking. In Feb I finally saw a hip surgeon who took an xray and said I needed a THR and my running career was basically over. He never mentioned BHR. Distraught, I went away and with a ton of support from my girlfriend and a lot of research on her part contacted Dr Ronan Treacy who saw me at very short notice and advised I was suitable for BHR.
We outlined a plan to have the surgery at the end of the season and he encouraged me to keep active and run as much as the pain allowed. This I certainly did and managed a total of 14 Tri’s and was racing a Duathlon (run-bike-run) 2 days before surgery. But the big problem was a chronic fear of needles and hospitals in general. At the pre op assessment I passed out twice, once just talking to the Occupational Therapist without a needle in sight anywhere. In the anesthetists room just before surgery I was literally sobbing with fear right up to the point where they put me out. I would like to say the drama ending there but twice whlst trying to get me to walk with the frame post up I passed out with major anxiety issues. I did eventually manage to calm down and a day behind schedule was let home.
I am now 7 weeks post op and as I said whilst this story is in its infancy everything is now going well. Despite the rocky start in hospital the surgeon has told me I am ahead of schedule and I have started swimming and indoor cycling, just for small amounts of time to begin. The surgeons schedule was to start treadmill running at 3 months post op, outdoor running 6 months and racing in the summer. My physio has advised to wait 4 months post op for the treadmill running but to stick to the 6 months outdoor schedule. Generally speaking, I am limp and pain free. From a viewpoint of general day to day life, I couldn’t be happier. I was of the crutches just after 4 weeks and the pain killers too. I was also fortunate enough to be able to cope with just Paracetomel even straight after the op. The pain was not actually that bad at all.
Right now, my biggest obstacle is fear, again. Not this time of needles/hospitals but of stress fracture. With warnings about over doing it from Surgeon and Physio ringing in my ears about over doing things every tiny little twinge sets my mind racing despite me not actually getting that many twinges, them not being painful and me actually being pretty good and following the guidelines in terms of do/dont’s/exercises etc. The return to exercise seems to have set me in to a constant panic mode.
A few important lessons I have learned so far:
Get a second opinion. I am probably preaching to the converted here because if you are on this sight you have already made the right steps but if I hadn’t my life would be very different right now.
If you are afraid to have the procedure done, persevere. I tried to take one day at a time and not think too far ahead. And don’t hide your fear. Tell everybody. Especially in the hospital. Medical staff don’t tend to be sympathetic to needle phobias but at least it stops you feeling ashamed and gives you a degree of control.
Do as your told. Do not rush things. I am beginning to feel it’s the soft tissue and muscle damage which is going to take a while to heal and I need to be patient with that.
January 6, 2016
I am now 9 weeks post op.
I am a few weeks in to swimming, indoor cycling and aqua jogging (which I really don’t like) and after initially taking it really easy have started to up the distances and intensity bit by bit (but still way below my normal levels).
But with this increase in activities, and the addition of lots of new strengthening exercises from my physio, comes more stiffness and sensations around the hip and groin area.
None of this is painful and none of it is constant. And if anything its sitting for long periods that makes it worse. Has anybody been through all of this with similar sensations whilst doing the same activities? Do I need to be concerned or I am worrying for nothing? Are there any particular pains in particular areas that I need to look out for or checks that I can do?
February 11, 2016
There are a lot of variables here and it will be different for everybody. I am a couple of weeks from my first run yet so limited experience but my thoughts are:
- A lot depends on how fit you were going in to surgery
- Get a programme from a physio (I checked with mine that she had previous experience of patients with HR)
- Be diligent with the strengthening exercises before starting dry land running
- Do some aqua jogging before dry land running
- If you have access to an underwater treadmill, use this as well (be warned, its really hard work!)
- I wouldn’t drastically alter your running stride or technique. Take the opportunity to tidy up any bad habits whilst running slowly and low milage but no more than that
- Build a bit of a milage base before trying to add intervals or speed work
My date with the treadmill is 1st March, cant wait!
February 18, 2016
Facebook tells me that it is one year ago today that I was diagnosed with OA on the right hip and as per my original post was told I would need a new one. A year on from that seems like a good time for an update…….
Have been cycling outside since my last update but not pushing too hard, longest ride 1.5 hours. Likewise on the swim, not upping distance too much, 2.5k the longest, but plenty of speedwork and not swimming too badly at all. Have continued with the strength program but upping the ante with weighted squats and lunges to strengthen the legs and added full planks and russian twists to further strengthen the core. Have also added in some underwater treadmill running, up to 15 minutes. I was worried about this as at 6ft 3 in and long legs I have less support than others but has been fine. In summary, no pain whatsoever. Yes, I get the occasional reaction and it doesn’t feel completely normal all the time but I also often forget about it. Have also noticed the scar has started to turn from that red ish colour to white in places which my physio tells me is good.
I will be 4 months on the 27th and see the Physio again on the 29th where we will put a run plan together that will start the following day. I hate treadmills but suspect I will have a big smile on my face come 1st March!
March 3, 2016
I did my first run last night! I didn’t have the big smile I thought I would have, was more relieved than happy. But no pain whatsoever and no reaction today.
Session was on a treadmill, 2.5 minutes walking, 2.5 minutes running x 6. Only ran at 6.50 minutes per K so kept it nice and easy. Will decrease the walking time over the next 4 weeks till I can run continuously for 30 minutes. All under the guidance of my physio. After that, we will take it outside and also add in some plyometrics training.
If I was to liken the recovery to a race, I now feel I am on the start line.
March 18, 2016
I will be 5 months on the 27th.But have already started running, on my physio’s advise, at 4 months (surgeon suggested 3 months). Its on a treadmill and a walk/run (this week 1.5 min walk/3.5 min run x 6) but hope to be running 30 mins continuously by the 4th April by gradually decreasing the walking bits. Absolutely pain free so far.
April 4, 2016
30 minutes on the treadmill, 5.07k, 5.56 min per k average pace. No pain at all.
I have just passed the 5 month mark. I have June 1st as a dream date for my first Triathlon but only if I get the blessing of my physio. Certainly wont be rushing anything.
April 13, 2016
Since my last post have got blessing from physio to start running outside and to start to push the pace a little and gently introduce some interval work. Which I did last Thursday and went way better than I could have hoped for. Felt really good and even a little quicker than expected.
But the I had a little incident, on Friday I was knocked of my bike!
Had taken the race bike out for the first time as I wanted to test the aero position on the road and 1.5 hours of riding was fine with no discomfort but then stopped at a roundabout and when after a while I pulled out a young lady drove straight in to the back of me. It was all a bit of a blur but appear to have landed on my sitting bones which are still too sore to run. I got an xray done when the ambulance took me to hospital to get a general check over and purchased a copy to send to my surgeon who has confirmed all is OK with the hip and the implant. Phew!
May 31, 2016
Did my first running race last week!
Was a Relay event for my Tri club with each team member doing 4.44 K of a hilly course and at an average speed of 4.39 per k I was a bit slow but pushed a controlled hard effort all the way round with no pain.
Hoping to do my first Tri this Sunday, a Sprint, and this has a pancake flat run so hopeful I can go a bit faster despite running of the bike.
July 29, 2016
I carried on racing Triathlons and with the help of a program from my physio did a lot of strengthening exercises, lost some weight and it worked very well. I was back running at 4 months and doing Sprint Triathlons at 7 months. Next week I will be doing my first Olympic Triathlon at 9 months.
August 9, 2016
I did another Sprint Triathlon 3 weeks ago. The few week previous to that I had felt better than ever. Get up on the morning of the Tri and it all felt a bit twingey. Anyway, raced and no problems but not as pain free as training had been before hand. But had a decent swim and bike to finish 6th in the over 40’s wave
And this weekend I took a bigger step and plunged in to an Olympic distance race at the London Triathlon. This was my first 10k run of any sort and tried to maintain form rather than push hard but it still proved a slog and I couldn’t leave the venue for a couple of hours after the race as felt to ill to travel so satisfied I pursed to my limits. Results wise, 16th in the 45-49 AG. My swim and run were up to the levels of 2 years ago where I managed 5th so some good news.
October 26, 2016
Tomorrow will be my 1 year anniversary of my right BHR with Ronan Treacy.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the decision to have this procedure. I only discovered this site after the op and had some good fortune to arrive in Ronan’s hands but mostly this was due to the hard work, patience and support of my wonderful partner.
Every day life, I have no discomfort whatsoever. Everything is completely normal and the couple of holidays/short breaks I have had since I have often been on my feet all day and even climbed mountains without a twinge.
In terms of my sporting recovery, on the cycle, I would say this is 99% complete. I only need to get the last bit of speed back but its improving all the time. For anybody that’s ever cycled in Tenerife, 3 recent climbs up Mount Teide (pro cycling teams such as Sky train there every winter) were no problem at all. For my running, there has been a massive improvement since I started a new strengthening program about 5 weeks ago with a new physio. I have found if I can maintain a good upright form, and the strength facilitates this, I can run pain free even at pace. I have taken 2 minutes of my 5k time since starting the program to take me down to 20 mins 30 seconds. I expect to hit my pre xmas target of sub 20 at the next outing.
To celebrate the anniversary I entered a Duathlon last Sunday (run-bike-run) and had the surprise bonus of winning the 45-49 Age Group. It was a small field but was very happy none the less.
Next year I will have the “delight” of turning 50 and as such will compete in the 50-54 Age Group and I will be attempting to qualify to represent GB in the World Age Group Championships which are being held in Rotterdam. Being close to home there will fierce competition to qualify so I will need to improve my swim and bike past pre op standards and get my run close to what it was but I am confident my body, and more importantly my BHR, with sensible scheduling and planning, can take the training load to do so.