Gillmore’s Groin Diary – days 5-10 – update

Alas the daily diary proved all too much to maintain despite the down time…

So what has happened since the last post?

Apart from Chris Froome destroying the field in spectacular fashion at the Giro d’Italia things have progressed somewhat and I’ve been continuing with the daily walking regime.

The walks have gotten easier and naturally I’ve been walking at a faster pace. I decided to walk more like 3x 25-30mins per day rather than the proposed 4x 20mins. This was logisitical as much as anything. I found with the 4x 20mins it always felt like it was time to go out again before I knew it and 3 walks a day seemed more sensible.

A lot of the bruising has started to dissipate but I am still generally uncomfortable and feel myself tiring quite early on an evening and clearly the body is fighting to repair itself.

Despite that I managed to do some nice and normal things over the Bank Holiday weekend like have a BBQ on Sunday and pop out for some brunch on Monday. Thanks Jasmine for looking after me.

On Tuesday I went to see the surgeon for a post op appointment and it was a very quick one. I got some fresh dressings. He was happy with how things looked. Surprisingly he said it could be up to 6mths before the swelling completely resolves itself(!).

At this point I have to say I am already itching to get back to training but I’ve just got to be patient. This can’t be rushed and I don’t know exactly how long it will take. The not knowing does not sit well with me but I have to trust I am in good hands…

Today I’ve been feeling some nervy type pain on the left side which I expect I will experience for the next couple of weeks at least.

The next landmark is my 2nd physio appointment tomorrow where I hope to move to Phase 2 of the rehab protocol.

From there I should be ok to drive again later this week and go back to work next week. Hopefully that will get things feeling more normal in my life as I feel a bit spacey at the moment. As I explained in an earlier blog I find it difficult to just switch off and rest and I feel ready for something mentally challenging if not physically (yet).

On from there I will see the surgeon again on the 19th June. I would expect to be discharged then and I suppose in my mind I am thinking like I could maybe be back to some kind of jogging or running around then(?). But let’s see what the physio says over the coming weeks in between now and then.

Thanks for reading and for all of the support.


Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 4 – first physio session…

“Remember these days because of course they are tough but they can define you. And when you feel pain in future you know it is only temporary” – short note to self in diary Wednesday 23rd May

The physio asked me how I was getting home today. I said – “I’m thinking about walking home”. He said – “how far is it?”. I said “about 5 or 6 miles”. He said “no you’re not son”.

I suppose I’ve always got my thoughts ahead of the game. I’ve never been good at being in the present. How do you do that? You know, when you’re sitting watching the sun setting and you are already thinking about what time you have to get up in the morning. It’s an affliction!

I’ve considered meditation but I’m scared of it. I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Instead I’m constantly thinking about everything.

At the moment it’s constantly thinking about my rehab. Of course I could be thinking about work but I’m off and I’ve decided to try to shut that down.

So seeing the physio today gave me a whole lot more to think about. It’s perhaps a 6 to 8 week process. Because my operation was bilateral (on both sides) I should be thinking more 8 weeks than 6 weeks.

On my way to the physio in the taxi I tried to think about what my answer would be when the physio asked “how are you?”. In a word I came up with “tender” but in a sentence it was “like a dog that’s just been castrated, a shrinking violet”. It got a laugh but I’m trying to avoid belly laughs at the moment. But I rest assured I’m doing quite well and the physio said he sees quite a spectrum of conditions after this surgery. I’m doing pretty well.

But to be honest it would be difficult to work at the moment even though my job is “desk based” and theoretically I could work from home on my laptop. The problem is it’s bad for me to be sat around at the moment. If I sit I get tight and if I get tight it feels bad. And things are a little tough mentally to get my head round even opening my inbox…

So I prefer to lie for a bit when I’m not out walking.

Today Simon Yates showed some fragility in the Giro d’Italia. I would liken it to the boxer who has outclassed his oponent for 10 rounds and let’s the guard down in the 11th only to finish it off in round 12. The end is in sight and he’s preparing for the killer blow. Give your opponent a glimmer of hope then BAM!!!

The physio has given me a sheet with about 6 or 7 exercises all lying on my back. I need to do them before going out for my walks. He wants the 3*20mins to become 4*20mins. And he wants me to do my exercises before each walk.

What with my exercises, walking and the Giro when would I have time to work anyway???

P.S. thanks to Jasmine who bought me a load of “getting well” clothes from Primark or as I called it Primarki. Jasmine was quick to say “do you mean Primani???” I had to curtail my own belly laugh, ouch!

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 3 – keep on keeping on…

I went to bed on the day after the operation feeling very tender and tired.

So I was grateful to get a good nights sleep. I was in bed by about 10ish and I didn’t feel like reading or watching anything so I just tried to get comfy and to lie slightly on my side. I drifted off and didn’t wake up til 3am. I was then able to get on my other side and sleep until about 6.30.

That was pleasing.

Today has been much like yesterday. Same routine. Get out 3 times for a 20 minute walk. I have to say it felt slightly easier getting round. That same strange feeling and certainly tingling at the end but getting it done.

I watched a documentary on Netflix about the tennis player Maria Sharapova about when she was banned for testing positive for a banned substance. I was impressed with her ability to overcome adversity, actually improve herself and come back stronger. Although different to my current experience I could relate to it and there were plenty of takeaways. You can do things differently if you are able to take a step back and look objectively at what you are doing. Sometimes you get “lost in the weeds” and it takes something bad to happen to shake you up. Overall you can become a better person through adversity. Life is there to give lessons, the important thing is to learn from them.

I also watched some more Giro d’Italia. A sprinters stage and I look forward to some GC action tomorrow in the mountains.

It struck me today that a song can get you through. Today for me was about The Deftones. A band I never thought I’d like but one I’ve listened to a lot in the last year or two… The song that got me through walk #3 was “Minerva” from the self titled album released in 2003 –

I get all, numb
When she sings it’s over
Such a strange numb
And it brings my knees to the earth
And God bless you all
For the song you saved us


Onto tomorrow and I will be seeing Kevin Bell Physio to discuss my first phase of recovery. I feel like the operation has gone to plan and now I need to get on track with the rehab. This will be the first step of a multiple week process. I’ve had more than a kick in both groins(!). I have to be prepared for some bumps in the road and keep strong.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 2 – first day after the operation… getting out for walks

So I got through the first night OK.

Unusually I didn’t feel very tired. I went for a lie down around 22.30. I’d taken 2 strong paracetamols and 1 codeine (I had the option to take 2 but wasn’t keen as the pain wasn’t any worse than previous).

I watched some Netflix and read and before I knew it was after midnight. Still didn’t feel tired and I ended up reading until around 2am. I had one more codeine before trying to get some sleep.

I decided to stay lying on my back which is not how I normally sleep. So unsurprisingly I lay there a while.

I think I got to sleep about 3ish and woke up about 5:30.

I decided to have a move around and got a fruit bowl of grapes, banana and apple.

The pain was still OK. Got back into bed to read some more. Plan was to get out for a 20 minute walk at 9am.

Disappointingly the weather was crap compared to yesterday. I could hear the wind through the night and it had definitely been raining. Shame it wasn’t like this the day of the operation… Such is life…

The walk was a bit groggy and gingerly to say the least but it was good to get some fresh air. And I didn’t feel anymore zombie like than the kids who obviously weren’t looking forward to getting to school.

Spot of breakfast and back to some reading and decided to register with Eurosport player as I might as well take the opportunity to watch the Giro d’Italia. It’s not often that Chris Froome is the underdog but Simon Yates seems off the map so far…

I got out for my 2nd walk around midday and felt about the same.

I decided to have a few more paracetamol as I was feeling more pain on getting up and down.

Also had a strong Ibuprofen.

Watched Simon Yates keep the Pink Jersey and looks unbeatable this week now.

Read some more of the Marcia Clark book “Without Doubt” that I got into after watching the American Crime Story series on Netflix.

Felt pretty knackered and probably could have done with a nap but decided to get my final 20 minute walk done.

Overall feeling pretty tender at the moment and expecting tonight/tomorrow to be much the same.

Case of digging in and getting over the hump.

BTW I will be talking about some running stuff in these daily diaries as it is something I’m planning for. I am very keen to take one-day and one step at a time but I’m also keen to do some reading and planning for my return. I don’t actually know at this stage when I could return to jogging and I don’t want to think about competition (yet)! One day at a time but more to follow…

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 1 – day of the operation… Back home quick

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 1 – day of the operation… Back home quick

So the worst part about today so far was waiting from 13.15ish until around 14.30 for my operation.

A fair degree of pacing around the room was done before it was time to walk down to theatre. As always I was well looked after by everyone I met and before long I was receiving the anaesthetic. I came around just before 4pm wondering whether things had even started!!! I was glad to hear everything was done.

The nurses in the recovery room are amazing and I remembered that from 2014. Just dead canny and making everything feel really normal. Talking about music and perfume(!). I had to chuckle when Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles came on and it sounded as good as ever if not better!

I was given some extra pain killers and after some water back up to my room.

I was delighted to be offered a nice pot of tea and then had some sarnies and more water. I was feeling a bit drowsy but once I was allowed to get up I didn’t sit back down again until it was time to be discharged. I felt happy just pottering around the room.

My amazing “full time carer” Jasmine had arrived and off we went home. What a driver!!!

I’ve eaten some nice salmon and veg and I’ll be taking some more pain killers at 22.00 and hoping for as restful a night as possible.

After the operation the surgeon saw me and confirmed that the tears in the muscle were quite big. So I feel glad the procedure is done.

He also confirmed he wants me out tomorrow doing 3x 20mins walking which I’m looking forward to and hoping I can do that.

I’ll be back in to see him next Tuesday the 29th and I’m also booked in to see Kevin Bell physio (who is an expert in the rehab protocol having been physio at Newcastle United FC for many years in the past) on Thursday to discuss the next steps.

Wish me luck and thanks for all the support! I’d like to personally thank everyone who has reached out to me with a nice message and also thank Ian Pickett from Tyne Bridge Harriers who I haven’t even met but has been a great help of messages – beyond the call of duty!!! I look forward to running with Ian and my other TBH team mates very soon.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 1 – day of the operation…

I started the day with a 5.45am alarm to get some food as I needed to be nil by mouth 6hrs before admission to the hospital at midday.

I didn’t plan it very well so I just ended up with an apple and a slice of toast. Not very exciting.

Then it was back to bed until 9.30am. Didn’t sleep amazing although a few vivid dreams… More to follow later on the come around!

Then it was get some water down me before 10am after which no more fluids were allowed.

I booked a taxi to take me down to the hospital at 11.45am and then a shower and final packing for a potential overnight stay at the hospital although that seemed unlikely from what I had been told.

Arrival at the Nuffield was slick and before I knew it I’d had my blood pressure taken and was in my gown and socks. Also a food and drink order which was teasing as by then I was hungry and thirsty. It was a little bit galling to be told by the nurse that I can’t be that fit judging by my blood pressure and heart rate. Thanks…

Then I saw the anaesthetist and surgeon (Kevin Clark) and was told a bit about what was going to happen and to sign a consent form. 5% chance of continuing pain…

It was enough to make me apprehensive (again) but this is life and sometimes I like to try to smile in situations such as this. Laugh or cry the choice is yours…

What will be will be and see you on the other side…

Gillmores Groin diary – day 0 – day before operation…resting, contemplating

So I’d like to share my experience in a daily diary as, since being diagnosed with Gillmore’s Groin, I’ve found limited info about peoples experiences with the operation and rehabilitation.

I am due to have my operation tomorrow. As I understand it I will have both sides operated on and I am signed off work for 1-2 weeks to recover from the procedure.

The issue is common in active males especially footballers. It involves a tear of the abductor muscle in the area of the pubic bone.

I believe my issue stemmed from a run on snow and ice in early March where I stepped deep into the snow and completely “lost the bottom”. It’s here that I think the initial tear occurred. I distinctly remember then slipping and sliding around and discomfort in my core area for the following days and weeks.

In my mind I had just given my core a serious workout but the symptoms persisted until I saw a physio in April. He suspected that I had GG and recommended I see a local consultant specialising in this field.

The test for GG is not the most pleasant experience. Interestingly the consultant stated that he could feel the muscle tear on the right hand side whereas I was experiencing symptoms on my left hand side. He said this was common. Hence the recommedation to operate on both sides.

So my operation will be completed tomorrow afternoon, Monday 21st May.

I will be nil by mouth from 6am and admitting myself into the hospital at midday.

The procedure is expected to take around 45-60 minutes. I expect to be discharged from hospital the same day to begin my recovery.

It is on the subject of recovery and particularly the immediate days after the operation that I am most apprehensive.

It seems that like many things in life everybody is different and some feel more pain and discomfort than others.

The key I understand is to keep mobile and active to ensure proper healing. I expect to receive more guidance on the day of the operation but I expect to be asked to walk regularly as soon as possible.

I have also booked into see a physio on Thursday 24th May and he will be able to advise me both on my dressings and phase 1 of my rehab.

So it will be important to seek support from those around me (thanks in advance to the ever amazing Jasmine!!!) and perhaps more critically I will be challenging myself to treat this “recovery process like any other athletic challenge and tackle it head-on without giving way to fear and doubt” (The Champions Mind by Jim Afremow).

Wish me good luck and a speedy recovery!!!

P.S. I will try to blog daily…

Running goals on hold (again)!

From Wikipedia –

Déjà vu is a feeling of familiarity, and déjà vécu (the feeling of having “already lived through” something) is a feeling of recollection.

On the 28th May 2014 I was nil by mouth, admitting myself into the hospital for an operation that would see me recovering slowly back to running over the following weeks and months.

As it happened I came back strongly, running a 5k PB in July 2014 (my first sub 19min 5k at that time),

Roll forward 4 years and it’ll be a case of deja vu as I check myself into the exact same hospital again on 21st May for a double Gillmores groin operation.

I must admit I’m a little apprehensive.

My running has been extremely frustrating since November 2017.

Having ran my best cross country race at Aykley Heads in the North East Harrier League I suffered a freak fall on the Town Moor a day later which led to a broken rib.

That had me out once detected until early 2018.

I was then able to build back up to a 10k PB of 35:23 in early February.

Disappointingly that was found to be “not official distance” and from there fresh injury woes emerged.

Indeed on my warm down I felt a pain in my right shin which developed into a stress reaction. Continuing to train led to issues in my left ankle and lower shin.

And then in early March another freak incident out on the Town Moor…

My training diary states “core wrecked”.

Unbeknownst to me I had probably torn something in my groin area causing suspected Gillmores Groin.

In hindsight I feel this was done on the snow and ice. The Town Moor was bottomless that day and I recall a moment where my left foot sunk deep and that, coupled with the constant slipping and sliding, probably caused the injury.

Again I continued to train until eventually admitting defeat.

Incidentally around this time I was pleased to confirm my best ever finish in the Individual Grand Prix of the North East Harrier League, finishing 23rd senior man overall despite missing the last fixture and failing to follow up my excellent start to the season in the two 2018 fixtures I did show up in.

Things came to a head at a training session with my new club Tyne Bridge Harriers on 13th March. In hindsight stupid, at the time clinging on to a dream to run in the North Eastern 12 stage relays. Ruefully not heeding the alarm bells…

A couple of weeks of walking followed and a few different physios opinions, mainly focussing on the lower leg issues and masking the abdominal problem underlying it all.

It finally dawned on me on a weekend break to Girona, where the lower leg issues were slowly resolving themselves with rest but the groin issue not, that I may have a hernia type issue.

Finally I saw a physio who had seen this before and felt pretty confident I had Gillmores Groin AKA Sportsmans hernia. He recommended I see the consultant Kevin Clark.

Skip forward and last week I finally saw Dr Clark and was quickly assessed as needing a double Gillmores Groin operation procedure which I will have on 21st May.

At this point I must say how grateful I am for having access to private medical insurance through my employer.

From there I will need at least 4-8wks trying to rehab and return to running.

As I said earlier, I am apprehensive I will admit

I am still running a little and I don’t suffer pain as such. Certainly nothing close to sharp or continuous pain. Basically I would describe the issue as a stitch that will not resolve itself (mainly during running) and it makes it hard to “stride out” or train properly. Other times I am aware of the issue are during the night, turning in bed or getting out of bed in the morning.

So I am resigned to an operation that will lead to pain but hopefully and eventually a resolution to the issue so that I can train properly.

Mentally I have to accept the summer season is a write off.

The consultant surgeon has suggested I will need at least 1 week and preferably 2 off work and driving.

I have to really consider a return for the next cross country season.

Although in many ways that could be considered slightly depressing(!) I have to be as positive as possible and keep motivated.

What this has done is allow me to assess (again) where my running priorities lie.

I can’t help feel a little bit unlucky with the recent injuries I have suffered.

Both the rib injury and this Gillmores Groin were not genuine training errors as such – a little foolish maybe and I have to take responsibility for not fully listening to the signals my body gave me. Frustratingly both injuries have been difficult to both diagnose and resolve. Difficult to diagnose (and at times quite subtle) meaning I continued to train and therefore exacerbate and lengthen the recuperation.

All that said I remain motivated to return stronger and focussed on what I really want to achieve.

I will focus all of my attention on 5 and 10k and Cross Country. I’d also like to try out some shorter distances on the track.

In the meantime finding the key to unlock my potential continues. And I’ll be working on that during my rehab over the coming weeks.

And this blog remains a therapy of a kind so thanks for reading.

As always happy running to you.