Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Musings: The Dangers of Running


I've been wanting to write more essays on life lately, so every now and then, I'm going to feature a story on the blog.  Please let me know if you like hearing these life tales and if I should include more.

After several weeks of not running, I woke up last Thursday with the determination to get back on track with my workouts. I've been an on and off runner for a long time, but I've never had a consistent routine. My runs usually are in preparation for a race I am ill prepared for, and I usually quit these morning workouts as soon as I cross the finish line. Recently, though, I have been using a couch to 5k app that I like, and I've enjoyed my runs thus far. Well, all except the one where I got chased by a bee and ran around in the middle of the street like I was on fire, but we'll save that for another time.

I laced up my bright yellow shoes at 6:15 and set off. My headphones were blasting Primus, the sun was coming up, and I was feeling great. I got to the end of my street when my stomach rumbled. Hm.. I thought, should I turn around. Not wanting to quit 5 minutes into my first run in 3 weeks, I pressed on. The music kept a consistent beat to my slow plodding, and I began to feel my legs wake up as I rounded another block and set off down a long road. I knew I was reaching the halfway point, and I'd finished each set of running goals, when I first realized I was going to have a problem.

Let me back up and explain to you the immediacy of my morning movements. Yes, I'm talking to you about poop. I'm a vegan, so I can do that. It says it right on my membership card. Hi, I'm Dana, I'm a vegan, and if we have a conversation that lasts more than 7 minutes, I will tell you about my poop. Being as I'm a vegan, it's fantastic, most of the time. An unfortunate downside to the incredible amount of fiber in my diet is that the time line from, “Hm.. it's probably that I will need to poop soon,” to “HOLY FUCK, where is the toilet?!” is about 3 minutes. My husband makes fun of me, because I can't read a full article in New Scientist when pooping. It just doesn't take that long. So, when I tell you that a mile from home, my body gave me the, “yes, pooping is imminent,” signal, I panicked.

So, there I was, alternating between running and walking every minute, when my workout suddenly became less of a desire to increase my stamina and more of a mad dash to get back to my house. Except, when you have to poop badly, it's scary to run. All the bouncing makes you KNOW that you will poop your pants. So, instead of running, I began the clenched art of speed walking only a runner that has to take a dump knows. The rumbling in my stomach was concerning, but I still had faith that I could make it. I looked up the long street and thought, “I can do this.”

About halfway up the street, I wasn't so sure. I started to calculate in my head how long it would take for me to call Josh, wake him up, get him to get dressed, drive the half mile to pick me up, and take me home. I decided it would be faster to walk, so I increased my speed and started doing some weird deep breathing that seemed to help when the wave of “URGE TO POOP” crashed through my body. I have never been pregnant or given birth, but this must be what my girlfriends tell me when I ask them what contractions feel like and they tell me, “It feels like you have to poop, really bad.”

At the end of the street, I was starting to sweat. Not because it was July in Arkansas and even at 6:30 in the morning, it was almost 80 degrees. I started to sweat because I truly started to doubt if I could make it in time. It was at that moment that I realized I wasn't wearing any underwear, because I'd rolled out of bed, pulled on a pair of yoga pants, and stumbled out of the room. So, the thought of pooping my pants in the middle of the street, three blocks from my house, without underwear on, seemed like a terrible way to start a Thursday. The “contractions” as I will call them, were increasing in potency, and every one had to be dealt with my deep breathing and incredible pelvic floor voodoo, clenching as hard as I could for fear of the inevitable, embarrassing outcome.

As I rounded the corner to my street, I wanted to cry. I knew the last wave I'd just experienced was the warning to the impending accident, and I knew I couldn't go through another. At this point, I was full on talking to myself, saying “Oh no, oh god no.” and “Just 5 more houses, WE.CAN.DO.THIS.” I passed the small creek the runs into the culvert behind our row of houses, and I seriously pondered if I could shit in the creek. Of course, this was ridiculous and the thought of my neighbors heading out to work, only to see me shitting in their watershed, was only slightly worse than my urge to poop.

I saw my house, and relief washed over me. I crossed the street with increased urgency, half speed walking, half running, cutting a diagonal across my front yard and to the door. I flung it open and was greeted by two very confused and frightened cats, which I shooed out of my way as I crossed the foyer and slammed the door shut to the bathroom.


I have never known the true meaning of relief until that morning. Don't go running when you have to poop.

Have you ever been in a similar situation?  Would you like to see more stories on the blog?  Leave me a comment!

16 comments:

  1. I have tears running down my face, that was so hilarious! I am not a runner, but I have experienced the "contractions" so to speak, and have considered bushes, alley ways, etc. All that fiber is definitely a blessing and a curse! I would love to read more essays!

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    1. Awesome! So glad you liked it. It really was a terrifying experience! haha.

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  2. Yaaay you made it!!!!!!!!! I was pulling for you while I was reading. We have ALL been there! Thanks for the morning laugh!

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad I made it, too. I was fairly positive it was going to end badly.

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  3. Totally been there. Didn't make it home but luckily an extra big and leafy magnolia tree + winter dark morning = had-to-be-done-never-speak-of-this-again. L:)

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    1. OMG! That's hilarious! If it had been dark and there was an available tree to cover me, this story may have ended differently!

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    2. Yeah - it was just that or do it in the pants and i couldn't stomach the thought of trying to walk/waddle home after. Soooo lucky that tree was there. I went through all of the same stages as you mentioned. I tried sitting on a bench to "force it back" but it didn't work - the pain was so much worse. So glad you have the humor to write about this online! :)

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  4. Bahahahaha, this is AMAZING. I used to struggle with what some runners refer to as "the trots," that feeling that you need to poop that hits about mid-run, on every long run! Luckily, it'd go away on its own somehow. But it was always scary. For me, I realized that it was happening because I was eating sprouted grain toast before those long runs. And my body did not like all that fiber, apparently. I switched to white bread toast (or sometimes multigrain) before runs, and it never happened again.

    I'm glad you made it home though!! I can only imagine the horror!

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    1. That's so interesting! I usually don't eat before my morning runs, but the contents of my stomach from the night before always pose a problem.

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  5. You are so funny and so REAL! Love it!

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    1. Aw, thanks so much! I hope to bring you more stories!

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  6. I'll keep that in mind!! Poop first then go running...this is such a funny post hahahahahaha...

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    1. Thanks! I now don't leave the house without a poop!

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  7. I laughed all the way through this - as a runner, a vegan and a pooper, I totally get it. Keep writing this type of post.

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    1. Thanks! I'm really glad you liked it!

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