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  • Writer's pictureBen Farnsworth

The Diagnosis

Three months ago I purchased this domain name and set my sights on blogging and recording all of my training and general day to day life as I approached the biggest challenge of my life – Marathon des Sables.  Shortly after, as I was running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October 2014 I felt a pain in my knee that seared up my leg… and I had to pull out 9 miles. This was the first time I had ever pulled out of a race… and I have done a lot of races. However it wasn’t the last. I eased up on training but a few week’s later at the Human Race Wildman event I again found myself pulling out despite being amongst the race’s leaders.

I knew something wasn’t right. On both occasions I could have pushed on but with the challenge of my life (clearly I don’t have kids yet!) approaching it wasn’t worth the risk. Especially given I had already paid half of the rather large entry fee and had opted NOT to get the insurance which would have covered that deposit in the case of injury. Since regaining my love of endurance sports around 4 years ago I have managed to avoid injury – hence my reluctance to fork out even more money for this insurance.

I went to see my physio who also happens to be a good friend also. However he was unable to diagnose the problem and suggested I go for an MRI scan. The results weren’t great I had a Acetabular labrum tear to the hip bone marrow oedema hip. After a lot of Googling I discovered this basically means I had torn the ligaments within the hip joint. Google confirmed my worst fears… that running wasn’t an option with this injury and that I needed an operation. With MDS just 5 months away there was no chance of recovering in time - my world suddenly became a darker place and negativity overtook my usually positive attitude. However, as much as I love Google, self-diagnosis is not the best way to determine your future! The next day I spoke to Jamie Isherwood, my physio, who told me not to believe everything I read and referred me to one of the leading hip specialists in the UK – Dr Kipps.

After much prodding, poking and stretching Dr Kipps gave me hope. Although obviously I had the injuries that had shown up in the MRI he didn’t think that they were the route of the problem. After a whole variety of exercises designed to test muscle functions he told me that in layman’s terms I have a lazy butt! My glutes are slow to fire and I am over reliant on my hamstrings and lower back. When running the order that your muscles are supposed to fire is first the glute, then the hamstring, followed by the lower back. My body however has decided it wants the hamstring to fire first then the lower back and finally the glute.

I was instructed not to run for another 3 weeks (not ideal when training to run 155 miles in the desert)  was sent to a podiatrist  to look at my running style and also a specialist physio. I now how special innersoles and have experienced acupuncture (but more on that another time!) and on Friday 23rd January, 11 weeks before MDS, I returned to Dr Kipps for the assessment on whether my injury would prevent me from participating in MDS 2015.

The good news is I am back in the game! The bad news – I had to have a 6 inch needle stuck into my hip and have missed out on 4 months training!

So now it is back to training, back to blogging (or time to start it properly!) and back to attempting to fit training for the toughest race in the world around holding down a full time job, a girlfriend and a social life!


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