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.
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!