Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The one about the "Trots"

Be afraid, be very afraid!
I will give you this one warning, this post is not for all.   There are a few people that I wanted to warn not to read this, but in retrospect since I'm broadcasting it - I obviously can't control who reads it.

Okay, that's your warning.

I have a problem.  Well I have many problems but this one in particular is a big one.  I've only barely touched on the topic in the last few months but it's time to "come out of the bush".  There's no easy way to talk about it without just.. jumping in.

I crap when I run.

There it is.  The acknowledgement of the problem.  The acceptance, however is still in the process of being worked out.

Can I at least explain my problem in a bit more detail before you run screaming from my blog about poo?

There is something called "runner's trots" which usually effects distance runners.  It is the urgent need to crap mid-run and often on the diarrhea scale of things. I have read that it can be due to restriction of blood supply or also commonly due to mechanical trauma.  Mechanical trauma basically meaning "impact".  Running is an impact sport.  Often diet is to blame but not in my case.

Not pretty huh?

For me?  When I run I often have to make a B-line for any somewhat concealable bushes.  I haven't quite gotten comfortable crapping out in the open so I have to plan my running routes accordingly.  Most often it plows me down within the first 10 minutes.  It is not something I can ignore either, I've tried and it always ends in ....  well you can probably guess.  It is the immediate urgency to go.  It comes on with very little to no warning.  It's always when I'm too far from the house to get back in time.  I cramp and twist and can almost taste it in my throat. There is NO alternative and I can't think of anything else.  I can become very very desperate.

This is also not new to me.  I've been an on and off runner for about 10 years.  Every time I go through my stints of running this has happened.  It's just that previously it wouldn't happen as much as it has been.

The longer the run, the more likely it is to happen to me multiple times.  Sometimes it's twice in 8km.  Thing is, it's very rare if I DON'T go.  Celine, I've been lucky with you ;).  I think the lack of constant pounding of the pavement doing speed and hill intervals has saved me er.. YOU! 

It has actually taken me years to finally come to terms with the fact that I just can't stop this.  I've done my research and I've tried it all. I've tried:

- Reducing caffeine, in fact I quit caffeine for almost a year
- Reducing hot liquids during the day, and before runs, I stopped drinking green tea entirely
- Drinking more water/less water
- Don't eat before a run/eat before a run
- Reducing/eliminating fibre the day before
- Reducing/eliminating dairy the day before
- Going to the bathroom BEFORE, I've actually gone before a run MANY times and STILL crap on my run
- Skipping rope in my backyard before to get things moving
- Taking Immodium

Everything I just listed DIDN'T work.

Which makes me point my finger (just don't pull it) at the "impact" of the sport being the culprit.  I believe this because I don't get it when I am cycling.  I can ride my bike for 6 hours and nothing but 5 minutes into a run? I also get it when I do the stairs.  Almost always by the 2nd rep.  The other day I was on my 3rd rep up and didn't entirely make it back down "un-scathed".  I really pissed off the bush that day not to mention all the poor folks that were climbing behind me for the rest of the workout.  Yeah, I kept going after my bush visit.  What? I had high blood sugar! And you know what? I went to the bathroom RIGHT before I started my workout.  So now WHAT?!

Even Immodium hasn't worked!

There was a month during the winter where I kept track of my bush visits because I wanted to try and nail it down to a certain trigger (which I never did).  For that entire month I didn't crap in a toilet! Not once!  At least I can say one thing, "So long as I'm working out, I'm regular."

But that doesn't make me feel any better.  It's extremely embarrassing, especially when I'm out running with friends which I'm doing a bit more of now.  How do I say, "STOOOOP NOW! excuse me while I go and blow my asshole off in the bushes, be right back!"  You just can't say it nicely.

I used to be concerned but now it's just a part of working out.  I plan for it now on my runs which makes me feel better than walking all the way home looking like a penguin.  Once I realized that nothing I did was helping, it was time to just, go with the flow.  Even if that flow is diarrhea.

Well that was quite embarrassing.  I deliberated on writing this for a long long time until recently I came across someone who DOES write about it.  If there's one thing I've learned about blogging, you never know who's going to come at you with amazing advice.  OR, who you might help by sharing your problem.  I've met a few bloggers where I've said, "Wow, I know exactly how you feel." But until Lindsay recommended I go read Shut Up and Run! did that statement ring totally true.  I emailed her and she wrote back laughing saying "we must be poop soul sisters."

Sometimes I do wonder why I bother to continue to lace up my runners.  I must REALLY love running if I'm willing to shit'n go in the bush.  In the end, shit happens.  We all poop, some of us just poop in the bushes.

I can't believe I'm posting this either.  Here we go!


  1. It takes guts to talk about...guts. And I promise you that people are going to read what you wrote and be very grateful that someone finally said it out loud. So good for you.

    I have no great suggestions for how to help but I'm crossing my fingers that someone else does. And, when the day comes that you have to dive in a bush during one of our runs, I will stand guard and think nothing of it.

  2. No helpful suggestions here, but just wanted to say...You're awesome for talking about this! I gush/leak when I run. Neither problem is fun, but we deal with it and keep on going.

  3. Well, at least you warned your readers ... when I posted my 'trotting to the toilet' blog last year, no warning whatsoever, and by the end, oh man, some were wishing for that warning. I feel your pain, believe me, I FEEL IT!!!

    If you want a giggle, you should read my post (http://princessofpavement.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/warning-trotting-to-the-toilet/) which by the way is still my most checked out post on the blog a year later! People apparently like to read about poo :)

  4. I have no advice to offer, but I wanted to share that when the trots strike my household, the afflicted individual usually says "My ass exploded" and I really liked your variation on that theme!

  5. Here is my recommendation...DRINK COFFEE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD...AND...SHIT! I cannot take the lack of caffeine. It drives me nuts to even read about it! LOL.

    BTW, I am back to running ~ WOOT. I am up to 4 milers. Got me some "inserts". My heel still hurts, but not nearly as bad. WOHOOOOOOOOO! Love ya Skulls.

  6. My teacher in high school who was a runner said that the impact thing was an issue for her...she also said that the usage of oxygen in the body was so needed for the lungs...the brain, and caused the body to expel the bowel in order to use less oxygen (something like that, I'm sure it's technically a little different). Anyway, I'm sorry :( That must really suck!

  7. I love your honesty and frankness about it--though I will admit, some of the lines in this post cracked me up. I'm sure many people who come across your blog will be glad that someone has opened up about it--no shame necessary, I think!

  8. I echo Valerie's thoughts above... Very brave and frank, and written with humor which is the only way to go I reckon! I don't know if this will help, but would it be worth checking out a low FODMAP diet? Awesome post :)

  9. Way to go my poop soul sister...don't you feel so light and open now that you put it all out there?? I wish there was an answer. For me I think running jostles my insides around so much and the impact plus gravity makes stuff move down and through the chute!! Also, the blood goes to muscles and not GI hindering digestion. Guess this is more true for some than others. Just know I am out here too struggling with the same shit, so to speak. Run and poop on, friend!!

  10. Dude!!! I am with Reyna on this, go back to caffene, if you are going to get a visit from the gingerbread man no matter you might as well have a cup of joe. -Tara

  11. You are so brave to post this, I love that you did. Hey, on your blog you are totally among friends, so why not?!?!?

    Hope you find something that helps, wish I knew what to tell you. Keep doing what you love, the running you do is awesome, and as you say..."shit happens". :D

  12. ...you're right! Sometimes it's NOT always rainbows and unicorns....it's CRAP! Without a doubt, one of the shittiest Blogs i have ever read...originally i wanted to be the second person to post a comment....that would have made me 'number 2'....now THAT really is a crappy joke!...and the topic...well now, THAT's no joke.

    At the very least...it's nice to know that every single one of your Blog followers and friends would happily and gladly 'jog in place' while you make a 'deposit'...

    i was thinking of some t-shirts with sayings...

    "been there...DUNG that!"

    "WILL run for....Bathroom!"

    ....ahh crap!....whatever!

    - GSt

  13. Great post - and you know what - at least you don't have problems going - HECK - some folks need a fork put up their you know where to pull it out (my Dad used to threaten this to me as a child - or even worse - take me to the ER and have a cute male GP do this procedure for me) - scared the crap out of me!! I've heard of the same thing happening - that many runners go off side to do their business.

    Keep on running !!!! I'm the same as Reyna - don't give up the coffee!!!!! Noooo !!!!!


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