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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Longest Run...

DISCLAIMER: If you aren't a runner, then you might not understand this post... and even if you are, you might be disgusted by this post. I will be discussing bodily functions very candidly and if you can't handle poop talk, then you might just want to check back with me later in the week.

(And of course... I've just piqued everyone's interest even more, I'm sure... who doesn't love a good poop story, right??).

It's not a new or unusual thing for me... I've dealt with Runner's Trots before. But, usually... by this point in my training (more than half-way through), I've got the issues worked out. Saturday morning... it became clear about 4 miles into my 20+ training run... that this time around, they're not quite worked out.

First, let's identify how I threw caution to the wind in my preparations and then we'll talk about that came back to bite me in the ass on saturday morning (literally, in fact).

Friday night: I was all pumped for pizza, right? I mean, it's my surefire, lucky pre-long run meal. Well, I got home on Friday night and was feeling rather sloth-like, so I decided to try out the Jillian Michaels Shred work-out on demand. After sweating 3 gallons for 20 minutes (seriously, that is one kick ass workout), pizza just didn't sound good to me. I decided to pick up some sushi (brown rice sushi, in fact) instead. My thoughts? Well, it's got carbs and protein... shouldn't be a bad pick for the night before a long run, right? (I know, I'm an idiot).

Saturday morning: I woke up around 5:00 and immediately headed to the kitchen. I only had an hour till I had to pick up Vandy-Montana, so, I ate two pieces of toast (whole wheat, cause that's all I have) with peanut butter on them, a banana, and a cup of yogurt. I drank some water, took care of some business and felt like I was all ready and prepared for the run.

As soon as I stepped out of my car at the park at 6:25am, I thought... "oh shit... " (literally). I could definitely go, right now. I thought it just might be a nervous stomach... so, I tried to relax and not think about it (because there are no bathrooms at the start of this run). It worked and I was feeling good.

This training run includes the 11.2 loop and then an out and back to another park here in town. I have fallen in love with the 11.2. Like... seriously, I want to make some t-shirts up that say I HEART the 11.2. It's a killer, challenging route, but it's fun and because I'm always dreading the end of the run (mile 9 is a beast and my least favorite hill in the route), so I always seem to get to it quick and then by the time you conquer that beast... you're practically done and it's mostly downhill from there. So, I was happy to be starting out with this course.

Along the way, I got recognized again (I know, I'm getting so famous... I need to start wearing makeup or something on these runs... haha yeah right). Shout out to Matt! Thanks for introducing yourself and nice work on the 11.2!!! Good luck this weekend, too!

So, yeah, things are good. I'm cruising along, enjoying eavesdropping on other conversations, etc. and then around mile 4 I start to feel a little something deep inside. It's not super urgent, so I figure, it'll pass.

By the time we pass 7 mile hill, I'm desperately looking for a porta-potty. And around mile 8, I spot one... but it's fairly far off the trail and I'm not feeling so bad that I feel like it warrants stopping and using it. Plus, I was kind of afraid that it might be like... "breaking the seal." And it was still early in the run. I ran past it and started to regret it fairly soon thereafter.

Once we chugged up 9 mile hill, I finally mentioned to Vandy-Montana that I wasn't feeling quite so well. The mile downhill towards the end of the loop had to be ran at a much slower pace than usual, because the jarring of the downhill steps was not helping my situation. AT ALL. After the 11.2 there was a water station, so I had a little water and a little gatorade and we set out again. I was really struggling at this point. I knew that it was about 4 miles to the visitor center at the next park (where there is a bathroom) and that there would only be houses along the way there.

About a half mile into the out and back, I urged Vandy Montana to go ahead, he told me I was running at a 10:00/mile pace and he took off. I kept him in my sights for a good while, but the urge to go slowed me down significantly at certain points. At one point, I SERIOUSLY thought I was going to crap my pants. Like... here I was, on one of the most expensive streets in Nashville, million dollar homes with long driveways and no inconspicuous places to stop and take a crap ANYWHERE. I had to stop and walk for a couple of minutes and prayed to God that he spare me the humiliation of crapping my pants in the middle of a training run in a residential area with 6 miles left to go. I was clenching my ass tighter than a newbie in the prison shower.

Finally... I got to the visitors center and spent about 15-20 minutes in there. I had no concept of time, because I didn't wear a watch or my ipod. By the time I emerged and started running again (an uphill... like, seriously... we couldn't just turn around at the damn water table? Ugh). I am utterly exhausted. It's like... I spent so much energy for so long... holding it in, that my body was just wrecked. My stomach was so sore and achy and though I didn't have the urge to poop anymore (had to be completely empty in there, folks) my stomach was cramping and hurting with every step I took. The last 4 miles back... were the longest 4 miles. I mean, I actually think they were worse than holding it in (granted, there's no way I could have lasted another 4 miles holding it in).

I kept looking down at my Road id thinking... hmmm... I might actually need this, today. I mean seriously. It was bleak for awhile. Finally, I finished and I was proud of getting all the miles in and not dying. But, it was definitely a wake up call that I have to take fueling my body properly a little more seriously from now on. (I mean, when your ass is actually SORE the next day from clenching it tight for so long... you KNOW you have an issue that needs to be addressed).

My ideas on how to correct this issue:
1. Everything in my house is whole wheat/whole grain. I seriously buy nothing that's not. That's a great thing in general... but fiber is something that I should probably be avoiding before a long run, so I should keep some "white stuff" on hand to eat before a long run.
2. I need to fuel up in general better for runs. I need to eat some white pasta, some baked potatoes, etc... Diet or no diet, fueling my body for running is most important right now.
3. I need to either... eat NOTHING before my runs... or, I need to get up 2-4 hours before the run starts and eat something. Even if that means getting up at 2am to eat something. I have to have time to digest it.
4. I need to stop drinking caffeine around 5pm the night before, apparently caffeine can contribute to a "loose bowel" (yeah, that's right... I said it).
5. I need to start working Gu into my routine. I usually try to avoid it because I'm afraid it will mess with my stomach, but I kind of think, I might need it...

Any other ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

8 comments:

Old Man and mid pack runner said...

no caffiene after 3 pm and carry tp on every run, no spot is to sacred for a bm. (poop happens everywhere)

Sarah said...

I was eating a bagel on Sunday morning getting ready for my 13 miler, and happened to look @ the nutritional information. It was a Weight Watchers bagel--I'm not trying to lose weight, but I'm not trying to gain it, either. ANYWAY--NINE GRAMS OF DIETARY FIBER. Gasp! Right before my run. I'm really not sure how I made it through alive...I say stick with the pre-run pizza no matter how sloth-like you're feeling; that's also my pre-run dinner and I *love* it.

Beth said...

I can totally identify with your post. I'm still mentally scarred from a similar incident. I don't think it will help with this particular problem, but you gotta figure out how to work in some gels. I'm worried you're going to hit the wall hard at the marathon without them.

Spike said...

First, your post was amazing. I experienced that exact same feeling during a run last summer, it was awful, especially the downhill (who would have thought a downhill was so dangerous?). Second, use gu, all the cool kids do. Third, runners came up with the expression sometimes "crap" happens because, well...

Lastly, congrats on being famous.

Matt said...

Thanks for the shout out... It was nice meeting you guys. Sorry run was so.. uh.. crappy.

I sometimes eat waffles in the morning before my long runs and usually stick to pasta or pancakes the night before.

Mrs. Duffy said...

Pizza is an awesome pre-long run meal! It's white stuff too. Mostly, though, I just wanted to compliment Old Man and mid pack runner for my favorit quote of the day - "Poop happens everywhere."

StangLuvr said...

I hope you are feeling better. Atleast my stomach starting rumbling on the way home. I made it to the safety of my own bathroom. I hung out for about 30 mins after I finished my 14 miles to try and catch you and Vandy-Montana. Hopefully at the TK 1/2 we can actually talk before the race (and I can get you to sign my shirt....famous running chicks ROCK!!!)

ECrunnergirl said...

This was a great story Amy....my Running Buddy suffers terribly from the trots. I think she always feels like she is the only one in the world that goes through this too....so I am excited to share your story and your solutions with her.

Fueling long runs is definitely an art form!!!