Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The road to Doha!

Since I last posted a few weeks ago I had done a few runs and was feeling ok but not fully right! I pushed through the pain barrier until I got to the stage where I had to stop all exercise completely. Even walking became painful. I knew there was something else going on.....not another injury to add to my already disabling condition !?
I was due a 2 week break from work which would be an ideal opportunity to get to the bottom of this injury. Little did I know it would take separate visits to 4 different hospitals around the country.
First stop was the limerick clinic for an MRI of the hip / pelvis. This revealed 'intense osteitis pubis'.
Bone marrow odema or in other words inflammation around the pubic bone.
According to the radiologists report this would be greatly improved by a cortisone injection into the pubic symphysis.....only the problem with this is steroid injections,while they sort the inflammation they also weaken the bones.
So do I take the injection to become pain free,while risking to further weaken my bones and worsen my osteoporosis ??

Next stop was euromedic clinic in dundrum,Dublin for an emergency consultation with professor O Brien(my treating consultant for the osteoporosis). I received a phone call the previous evening from the professor informing me to attend the clinic to discuss an irregularity in my blood tests.
When I arrived in dundrum fasting from the previous day I was then sent to St Vincent's hospital for urgent bloods.
On my return to see the professor I asked her whether it would be advisable for me to get a steroid injection to clear up my injury and the ramifications it could have on the osteoporosis. Steroid injections are one of the main causes of osteoporosis so for her to give her consent to something like this would go against everything she stands for!

I needed to weigh up the pros and cons and consulted various specialists in the area. The overwhelming response I got was that the inflammation I had in the pubic symphysis needed to be reduced and steroid injection was the best method. One injection would do very minimal damage to the bones and the advantages of the injection would by far outweigh the possible side effects to the bones.

I thought long and hard and finally came to the decision to get the injection.

Next stop was the Galway clinic....

My instructions after the injection where to rest for one week. After that when I was pain free it would be time to strengthen the core area while beginning to resume light training.
It's now over a month since the injection and I'm back running 4 weeks and the pain in my pubic bone is completely gone!
Along with the training I'm supplementing with a lot of core work thanks to my Physio Leon Raath who has guided me through a thorough rehab plan.
Weekly treatments from Leon are giving me great relief and the core exercises are adding a lot of strength to previously weakened muscles.
My coach Howard Nippert has also been a great help and has steadily re introduced me to training again. One of the advantages of having a coach is being able to bounce ideas and questions off. After the injection it would have been very tempting for me to go back training again gung-ho but Howard has very carefully managed my condition and ensured that my return to sport has been gradual but smooth. Howard himself who knows full well the torment of facing career threatening injuries has first hand experience of coming out the other side and achieving great things,none less than his fifth place finish at the world 100k and multiple American national titles,so that gives me great hope and
motivation to win my own battle and come out the other end even stronger.

It's just less than 14 weeks to the World 100k in Doha and I am fit and ready to begin my training plan specific to this race.
I have the qualifying time in the bag so it's just a matter of waiting to see if I will be selected??


  1. I really hope it works out for you, Keith.
    We'll miss you in Dingle in 2 weeks' time! Mind, I think your CR is safe.

  2. Thanks Thomas. I'd love to be there in Dingle with ye. It's one of my favourite races. I hope it goes well for you.