Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Runner's Attack: GI Jane, or Poop, there it is!

Warning: If you are not a runner, you may not want to continue reading.
Caution:  If you are a runner, and you understand the GI attack, then you know what this post is about, so you should choose now whether you want to continue.
Don't say I didn't warn you!
Several years ago, while I was training for my first marathon, I ran alongside my dear friend who had Boston under her belt.  We spent hours pounding the pavement together, sharing stories and bonding as runners do. In the early stages of training, she confessed that in previous year, she had an "attack" while out for a 17 mile run.
"Oh no!" said I who hadn't yet encountered this joyous side effect of long distance running.  "What did you do?"
"I had to go in the bushes," she said.
"Oh my GOD!" I was admittedly horrified.  "I think I would die," I said.
Come to find out, this is a common problem!
Looking back on that conversation makes me chuckle, especially since just two weeks ago, I myself had to break from the pavement and find a hiding spot in the woods while out for an 8 mile run.  Fortunately, I was running in an industrial area, and the road was lined with several mailboxes, all of which had a telephone book in a plastic bag hanging from them.  I grabbed a bag, tore a few pages out of the book, and into the woods I went.
If you are not a runner and you are still reading, I can hear your judgments, but I promise, there is NO alternative.  Do you think I actually WANT to shit in the woods like a wild animal?
My sister and I have spent many miles together on the road, and we have both suffered at the hands of the most brutal and abusive soldier:  GI Jane.  The gastrointestinal destroyer.  She's a bitch.
We thought if we named her that she might become a bit more personable.  Be a bit more subtle in her arrival, a little more patient with us.
"Oh no!  She's coming," we might've exclaimed, miles from home with nothing but a Dunkin Donuts in sight. Running at home with my sister was a little more manageable because we knew where we were going, and we knew all of the bathroom options along the way.  I try to plot my course in anticipation of the arrival of Jane, but sometimes she is a crazy kamakaze pilot whose mission is complete destruction.
That was Jane this morning.
I considered heading down toward the Merrimack river at 5:30 this morning to be sure that I did at least 5 miles, but I was concerned that my oatmeal square might give me more than the energy boost I was looking for.
You should stay close to home. I wisely advised myself.
1.16 miles into my run, GI Jane caught up to me.  Shit!  (literally and figuratively)
Gotta get home.  I think I can keep running though.  It's less than a mile back to the house.
I rounded the corner and another wave came over me.
Walk. If you walk it might go away. 
My husband calls it, "managing the waves."
Just focus on something else.  How long will it take to get home?  A minute?  Count to 60.  No count backwards from 60.  60, 59, 58...  
It was working.  The wave had passed.  With every step I was closer to home.  Until another wave came over me and I had to stop for fear that any movement might result in disaster.
I wish I were a dog!  Should I knock on a neighbor's door?  Can I make it to T's house?  Try counting again.  Start with 1 this time.  I think it's safe to move.  Slowly.
Onward and upward I went.  It took three minutes for me to reach the gate to my backyard, at which point my body lost the battle.  The wave crashed down on a rock.  It was over.  There was no heading back out to finish.  Nothing but a shower could help me at that point.  I can only take solace in knowing that my issue wasn't nearly this bad.

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