Thursday, March 10, 2011

Butt-kicking

It's a double butt topic day...

First off, let me say that interval runs kick my butt like nothing else, but man they hurt so good. :) I did six half mile intervals today with the first five at a 7:19 pace and the last one at a 7:13 pace, with a quarter-mile recovery jog in between (and a half mile warm up). It was five miles total and I finished in 41 minutes and a couple of seconds. My legs were tired but I felt really good. Tomorrow is a day off and then I have 10 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. The weather has really warmed up so I am fingers crossed it will last and I will be able to get my miles all done outside this weekend. Yay!

Now on to a different "butt-related" topic... I normally am the one begging people in the house to stop with the "potty talk" (not bad language, just literally talk/jokes about anything bathroom related) but today I have a potty topic. Nothing is sacred amongst runners, right? If you aren't in the mood for a TMI topic, feel free to stop reading now.

I have mentioned on here how I think my biggest strength as a runner is my mental toughness and drive... I never quit during a run, I don't struggle with being motivated, I don't back down from challenges (in fact I love them) and I never say "I can't". That said, my biggest challenge as a runner is definitely my GI tract. For crying out loud, my stomach drives me crazy when I run. Most days after 5-6 miles or so I NEED to have a potty stop or there is no more running (without a highly embarrassing accident. Haven't had an accident yet... don't want to). I always carry toilet paper with me, I know where all of the accessible bathrooms are on my runs, and I am the master at ducking behind a bush or into a culvert when needs be on a long run (lucky for me I live in the country). Peeing is not the issue... for some reason my normally-hamster-sized-super-wimpy-bladder turns to steel when I run.

I have played with my fueling, and Hammer gels and drink are the nicest to me and get along with my GI tract the best. (GU and Clifbloks are disasterous).I have experimented with eating before I run, and pretty much I can't. For my marathons I can eat some plain oatmeal, but it has to be a good 3 1/2 hours before race time. For the rest of my runs I just run early and eat when I am done (and fuel with Hammer products for long runs).  I stay well hydrated. I have tried cutting out dairy (didn't help). I avoid greens and ruffage and anything with fiber before races and long runs which helps, but doesn't completely stop the problem.

I have tried Immodium and other things, but they haven't helped and I don't like the idea of taking something like that regularly.

Sometimes I get lucky... In my first marathon (Vegas, Dec. 2010) I only had to stop at the porta-potties ONCE during the race. I couldn't believe it. For me, it was a running miracle. But then at Disney, I had to stop THREE times, and lost over 10 minutes in the dang porta-potties. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be able to go out and race and not have to worry about my stomach and potty stops.

I am at the point where I have just accepted it and deal with it (on the flip side I have trained for three marathons so far without injury...knocking on wood....) and figure we all have some kind of "pain in the butt" to deal with, metaphorically speaking of course. :)  But I am lying if I say it isn't frustrating. 

I know this is common among runners...Anyone else out there have chronic stomach issues when they run? Anyone else ducking behind bushes and into culverts? Anyone have any magical advice?

Don't forget to enter my "Unbroken" giveaway and help spread the word. It is an awesome read and I am excited to send it to someone. :)

8 comments:

Kerrie T. said...

That sucks. Is it only when you run? Do you think you might have an allergy?

SupermomE12 said...

Yup, only when I run. Don't think it's an allergy...

Holly said...

I have the opposite problem, I have a bladder the size of a walnut!! It is Horrible and causes me to run slower than I can. It's not a problem in the gym, just outside! Good luck on finding a solution to your problem!

Terzah said...

I wish I could tell you I've solved this problem for myself! Eating relatively blandly and avoiding fiber before long runs seems to have helped--my husband makes white pasta with a plain tomato sauce on Friday nights and it seems to be working OK. I didn't have to go during my 15-miler (but I did have to run into the bathroom really fast afterward). Historically, I don't eat much before races. Lately, though, I'm trying to eat breakfast on race morning--so we'll see how it goes during my half in 2 weeks. And I do plan to look at any advice you get in these comments too! :^)

Caroline said...

Hmmm... This is a big bummer. While you may just have a sensitive system, I think the types of sugars in the gels/drink could be part of the problem... those types of manufactured sugars drive my stomach crazy when I'm running or not. I'm not sure what the solution would be though, since you probably need the energy and might just lose more time without them, on account of bonking. What about trying pure honey products and and/or some more natural form of energy drink for one longish run? For someone with a sensitive system, the Hammer products might just put you over the edge, even if they are better than others for you. Also, I would cut that other Hammer drink that you use during the day and see if that helps. Even though they claim that's all natural, it isn't really. There are a lot of dubiously-natural sugar subs in there that can bother people's stomachs (at least one "all natural" sugar substitute is used as a baby laxative).

Good luck! I hope you can find a way to alleviate the problem. I know it's common.

Caroline

SupermomE12 said...

Thanks Caroline! I have tried just drinking water for a couple of weeks and I have tried just Nuun with no difference. Also, I only use Hammer gels on runs that are over 8 miles, and I have the same issues on my 6-7 milers fairly often. I thought about trying gummy bears (cheap and tasty!) but I have not bonked in either of my previous marathons and have been great energy wise so I am hesitant to mess with it. Thanks for the advice and tips!

Jen said...

I ran my first Half at Disney last month and we were fortunate enough to catch a presentation by Jeff Galloway at the Expo. He actually recommended that we NOT eat before the race, but that we fuel during (Hammer, GU, whatever). I had planned to eat until I heard him speak, and decided to take his advice...turned out to be good advice and worked for me. Might be something to consider. Thanks for sharing your journey!

emlizalmo said...

Hi! Just stumbled on your blog thanks to HungryRunnerGirl. :) I started running about a year ago and am now training for my 1st marathon (Ogden in May)! Yikes! Anyhow...I was the queen of runners trots for the first 6 months or so. Could NOT go on a run, especially a long one, without pitstops. Sometimes in the woods with one measly itty-bitty piece of toilet paper. I would stress SO bad about it every single run. I ran my first 1/2 marathon in August and didn't have to stop ONCE. I was overjoyed. Something has since changed with my body. I never have to do it anymore. I think as soon as I stopped stressing about it so much, my body adapted. I totally realize it never goes away for some people, lucky for me it did. I also know that not stressing is SO much easier said than done. Trust me...I was consumed with the whole mess. Surely this is getting too crude for your comment section, but if you are running in the morning, are you getting up early enough to give your system time to do it's thing? Good luck with all of it. I'm not going to lie...before by 1/2 I did some chatting with the big man to see if he could help me out. :)