Monday, 27 February 2012

No regrets

I just got back from a very rewarding run, we exceeded our own expectations and I think we managed to push ourselves more than we have in the past.  I certainly was not expecting tonight’s run to be overly successful – we had an extremely poor performance yesterday, we lasted only about 3:40.  Unfortunately, you read that right.  What was supposed to be a run turned into a walk, and we have chalked it up to being a case of the Sundays.  We have such a poor performance record for Sunday runs that we have sworn off any future Sunday training days, it just never ends well. 

Today at work, when lunch rolled around I decided to avoid the cold weather by doing some stairs in my office tower.  After several weeks of running I expected myself to be half decent, but, boy, was I surprised.  It was a staggeringly awful performance.  I only managed to complete 2 x 8 up and 2 x 8 down, for a total of 32 flights. I started off rather ambitiously trying to at least jog up the stairs, but after only two sets of stairs I thought I might just tumble backwards to my death.  With that, I walked the rest of the way.  I found it so difficult that I had to run back to my desk for a water bottle after the first set.  Then, I repeated it all again, and as my jello-legs carried me back down to my floor, I decided I had had enough.  This is the truly shocking part – all of this only took about 4:30.  How embarrassing.  So, as I headed back to my desk, beet red, I grabbed my yoga mat and an empty office and stretched out.  Never before have I seen my legs shake that much doing a down dog or a sun salutation.  Today’s lesson: I must do more stair training.  Never have I been so fearful of meeting someone in a stairwell, I must do better, if only to repair my bruised ego. 

Given my lunch-time experiment, you can see why I was not looking forward to the run, the stairs had taken the wind out of my sails, or at the very least, out of my lungs, and I did not relish the thought of moving in a way that resembled speedy, if at all.  My husband called to check in while he was at work; I told him I was going for a run, but that I did not want to go, that I thought I would only be able to last about two minutes.  He very wisely told me that I should go, because at no point in time will I regret going for a run.  As much as I hate to admit it when he is right, he was right.  And now I have it permanently recorded in the black hole that is the internet…   So, with this advice in mind, I met up with my running partner and we decided to try something new – just run and see what happened and how long we lasted.  What a brainwave!  The first round we lasted approximately 11:24, followed by a bathroom interlude where he so kindly wandered around the neighbourhood until I could rejoin him.  For round two I believe we lasted an impressive 13:43, followed by no bathroom break!  We capped it off with one last kick at the can and clocked in at 9:25.  So we were pretty close to our six sets of six, and we covered somewhere in the region of 5-6k. It was much more enjoyable because we weren’t waiting longingly for the sound we covet so much – the alarm ringing in break-time.  I was anticipating an extremely cold temperature given the windchill, but it was actually quite nice, so much so that my visit to the bathroom provided the perfect opportunity to shed both my gloves and my scarf.  It even started to snow and lightly coat the ground, it looked almost magical.  So, there you have it, I do not in any way regret the run, and my husband was right for the first time in our marriage.  

Here is a shot from our Sunday run...

It appears as though there might be an issue in this area of the city.

You can barely tell, but it is just starting to snow.

I felt exactly like this shopping cart by the end of our excursion.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

An almost pleasant experience

As a quick information bulletin to my readers, and potential readers, there are several reasons why I have begun this blog, some of which I examined in my first post.  However, there are other reasons that I have yet to touch on.  This blog is an opportunity to share my experiences with people who have IBS or other digestive issues in an effort to give an honest account of what these experiences might look like.  Having had a few occasions to connect with other sufferers, I can say that it is always a welcome change to open up to someone who is going through the same issues, we seem to be forever silenced by that social taboo called poo.  To this end, I will endeavour to speak honestly about day-to-day life with IBS and also GERD, but, be warned, some of you may find these accounts to be too honest.  I will share as much as I feel comfortable with, but for those readers who may have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  My hope is that by sharing my experiences some of you will recognize that there are others out there who have struggles very similar to your own, and, maybe we will be fortunate enough to learn something from eachother.  For those of you who do not suffer from IBS or other related issues, think of this as a window into that world.  There are far more IBS sufferers than you think, likely many people that you know, but nobody talks about it.  There is one very important thing to note, I have very mild digestive issues compared to those who suffer from other bowel-related problems such as Crohn’s and Colitis.  I do consider myself lucky to be in a place where my IBS is manageable; having experienced what I consider to be some very painful episodes, I cannot begin to imagine what those with severe digestive problems must endure on a daily basis.  It is always important to be thankful for the blessings that you do have… 

Last night was my first run with my running partner in quite awhile.  I was so relieved to be heading out with him again; I find it so much easier to run with a partner than to run alone.  No matter how fabulous my playlist might be, running solo feels like a chore.  

I was very apprehensive about last night’s run as my IBS has been acting up quite a lot.  I have spent the majority of the last week in the washroom, in the last two days alone I have used the washroom 13 times.   I have no idea why I have been having so much trouble; I have not eaten anything that would normally set me off, if anything, I have been extremely prudent with my food selection.  Furthermore, I can think of no possible stressor that could have triggered this flare-up.  However, as I write this post I have only used the washroom twice, by this time yesterday I think I was at four or five.  So, for some reason there has been a drastic improvement today.  What a treat to finally have a break.  One of the worst things about having IBS is trying to handle it in a public environment.  It is always difficult to determine at what point I should call it a day and head home from work.  A friend once asked me this question, and I guess my rule of thumb is that if I hit double digits while at work, it is time to leave.  But, often the pain-tolerance threshold can be a more accurate judge of when enough is enough.  If I find it too painful to sit on my office chair, it is a sure sign to call it quits.  

Given my washroom track record this week, I shuddered to think what a run might cause.  I seriously considered cancelling the run, but, as I had made the commitment to go, and I have signed up for the 10K, I decided to honour those commitments and hit the pavement.  Of course, true to form, I was late for the run because I was stuck on the toilet.  After I finally managed to peel myself off my porcelain throne, I experienced what was probably the best run I have completed in recent weeks.  We managed to complete six sets of six-minute intervals and covered roughly 6k or so.  What a shock!  With that being said, we did take two-minute walking breaks in between our running sets, I had mixed feelings about this, as it was not the six to one ratio I had been aiming for.  On the other hand, I certainly attribute the two-minute breaks to my ability to complete the full six sets without going to the washroom!  Woohoo!  In addition, it was actually an almost pleasant experience, the weather felt spring-like, the sidewalks were clear of both snow and black ice, it was not raining, and we went early enough that it was still light out.  We are scheduled for a run on Sunday and with yesterday’s success I am hoping that we can build on it and finally move on to seven minutes.  I certainly feel more positive given both our collective improvements and my personal improvements.  I might just be looking forward to tomorrow’s run! 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Something new

This blog has instigated a number of firsts for me, including my first blog, the first time I have shared my writing with friends and family, and now, my first foray into the world of Twitter.  I was definitely more afraid of Twitter than I was of blogging.  I knew the basic premise, I had read some tweets, but I am still discovering how to fully take advantage of it.  So, last night I decided to create a Twitter account, which took a lot longer than I anticipated.  I knew that the tweets were restricted to a certain number of characters, but had no clue that my Twitter name (probably not the accurate terminology) was also restricted.  After I discovered that Running from the Runs was too long, I was eventually able to shorten it down to Rnningfrmtherns.  Upon completion of this task I was ready to compose my first tweet – I tweeted about my new blog.  And suddenly, I had a follower!   And then another!  My husband was home studying, and I was tweeting and screaming.  And then, I noticed it.  To my horror, my follower was very interested in ... blowjobs?...  Not my target audience.  With that, my bubble was completely burst and I came to the realization that one of my two followers was in fact blowjob-related spam.  The other follower appears to be legitimate, but I am now paranoid and suspicious, I thought about removing them in case they were spam, but I really didn’t want to be rude.  So, I will have to keep a close eye on this situation.  A colleague of mine did warn me that I would have to monitor for spam, he wasn’t kidding, within an hour of setting up my account I had been spammed!  

In other news, I have signed up for my first 10K race as part of the Bluenose Marathon weekend.  I will not be aiming to beat anyone in this event; I just want to complete it without crapping my pants.  My running partner and I have been thinking about participating, but had yet to sign up.  I figured since I was on a roll trying new things that I should just bite the bullet, there is no backing out now!  We briefly considered attempting the half marathon, but, as I still can’t run longer than two 6-minute intervals in a row, I decided to play it safe.  This will give me a good opportunity to ease into it, especially since I have no idea what to expect from this event.  I really hope there are lots of port-o-potties along the way, otherwise, on May 20th I will be panic-stricken on some poor stranger's doorstep.  

Monday, 20 February 2012


Since my last post I have begun to tell people about my new endeavour.  I have found this to be the hardest part about the blog.  I told my husband on Friday evening; the poor guy, I was so worked up about telling him that I laughed hysterically, off and on, for about ten minutes before I spit it out.  (I should note that this is one of my quirks, I laugh hysterically when uncomfortable or overtired.)  With that kind of lead up I am sure he thought that I was shagging some other man, but no, just writing a blog.  I tried to explain that my apprehension was stemming from the fact that I am essentially laying myself bare for all to see, or rather, writing myself bare.  Also, the “p” word does factor in here.  Poo.  I am writing, essentially, about running and shitting, and, as we all know, poop is a taboo social subject.  The experience of trying to share the creation of this blog with my friends, family and colleagues is very reflective of the whole IBS experience.  Sufferers tend to approach the issue in different ways, depending on their comfort level.  I used to approach it by not approaching it.  It used to be something that I really tried to hide, and, I think this is the norm for most IBSers, especially for those who are newly diagnosed.  With time I began to realize that trying to hide it was more exhausting and stressful than not hiding it.  I should note that stress is one of the major triggers for IBS.  My approach to IBS and whether or not to reveal it to people has gradually changed over the years.  For the most part, anyone close to me knows about it, and, unfortunately for them, likely know too much.  I have decided that I do not want to have to spend my time trying to explain away the five 20-minute trips I took to the washroom today, why not say it, everyone is thinking it anyway!  By telling people it lets everyone off the hook, I don’t have to come up with a random excuse for my conspicuous absence and others don’t have to pretend to notice the length of time I have spent in the washroom.  

Now that I have that out there, I must tell you, it has been several days since my last run.  With a brisk -13 temperature I layered up and hit the road.  Overall, I was able to run 3.5 intervals of six minutes (just over 4k) before I had to visit the loo.  I suppose this is a slight improvement over last week, if only in the sense that I did not visit the ladies room until after the intervals.  I very briefly contemplated my “run after the run” strategy, but, changed my mind immediately at the thought of the length of time it would take to get my layers back on.  I should really be more motivated.  

Where all the magic happens...
Tonight’s run marked one of the few times in my life that I thought I was going to get run over by a car.  As you can see, I lived to tell the tale.  I can assure you that I was wearing light coloured clothing and looked both ways before I crossed the crosswalk;  there was a stop sign, so the driver really had no excuse.  I was pretty peeved about the whole incident as he proceeded to beep and gesticulate after nearly killing me.  I will let your imagination run wild with thoughts on how I responded. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Bathroom: 2 Me: 0

Today I attended a collaborative leadership session during which our facilitator said: "Failure is an action, not who you are."  What she said resonated with me and has stayed with me throughout the day.

My running  buddy and I were supposed to head out together for a run tonight, but alas, he might have contracted food poisoning in a far-off land, so, I ran alone.  Upon first stepping outside I felt positive, hopeful, and, dare I say it, amped up?   For a run?  So, off I went, with my ipod in tow, blasting BSB.  I accomplished my first six-minute interval just fine, followed by my one-minute recovery.  I began my second set of six minutes and soon realized, this was not the run I envisioned.  The night originally had it all, a cool, non-frigid temperature, a positive mindset, and a beautiful misty quality reminiscent of that amazing scene in Gone With the Wind where Scarlet travels through the mist back to Rhett.  In retrospect, the mist was probably foreshadowing what was about to come.  At exactly 3:18 into my second interval I had to begin walking and make the familiar journey back to my toilet.  Sitting there frustrated I reflected on the statement about failure and I decided, I would not let this bathroom trip dampen my spirits or my motivation.  So, I did something I have not done before, a post-bathroom run.   Round two, into the mist, Scarlet O'Hara, runner extraordinaire.  Again, my first set of six minutes went just fine, followed by a glorious one-minute recovery.  One of the great loves of my life, Roxette, lead me into my second set with a rousing techno version of Listen to Your Heart, and then, it happened.  I could feel that I was ready to rumble.  I was able to complete the full second interval, a slight improvement from round one, before I had to run to the ladies.

In trying to find the silver lining from this grossly disappointing evening I have come up with the following:

1.  I did not give up the first time, just the second.
2.  I feel somewhat convinced that I have fully digested my dinner and will likely not visit the ladies for a third time this hour.  Perhaps we will meet again after that hour has elapsed.
3. I have discovered that I have a "follower"!  I have successfully bridged the gap between diary and blog.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

For the love of yoga

Tomorrow is the two-week anniversary since my last run, and the day I plan to hit the pavement once again.  My heel is almost back to normal, so, my body will at least be intact enough to go.  However, with such a long break I am nervous at the thought of what I can or cannot accomplish.  While ingesting several spoonfuls of Nutella, I did briefly contemplate running tonight, but after a few moments deep in thought I took another spoonful and decided to make it an even two weeks.  Instead, I think I will do some yoga.

I have discovered that yoga has many benefits aside from the zen-factor.  First of all, it does not require me to run through the streets dressed up as the abominable snowwoman in the dead of winter.  (It appears as though I may be a fairweather runner.)  Secondly, a good yoga session can be completed virtually sweat-free, which is excellent if you happen to do yoga in the middle of the day. I have also discovered that yoga can be hugely beneficial to those suffering with IBS.  It has taught me valuable lessons about remaining calm, learning to relax my body and to breathe properly.  This can be especially helpful when in a panic situation; concentrating on your breathing can enable you to reach a safe zone before the shit hits the fan.

Yoga is also a great complement to running given all of the wonderful hip-opening postures that exist.  I do yoga 2-3 times a week, unfortunately, I have yet to enjoy any moment of those postures, specifically, pigeon pose.  I find pigeon pose to be the most excruciating posture imaginable and although I am told to form an intention at the beginning of the class, or to dedicate my practice to someone I love and admire, I mostly dedicate my practice to praying that our instructor will choose to completely forget about pigeon pose...  I am still praying... The name alone does not evoke images of calmness or serenity, instead, I see flying rats, disease and filth.  During pigeon pose I endeavour to direct my breathing to the areas that hurt so that the energy will relax those muscles.  I also clench my teeth, hyperventilate, swear (silently) and pray for the end.  And then we have to do the other side.  Yoga is nothing if not equal.

But, in all honesty, I do love yoga and have enjoyed many benefits to practicing regularly.  I notice that I am more flexible, it helps my back and neck and it provides me with a calm interlude throughout the week.  For the past four years I have been attending a weekly lunch hour yoga practice, and I must admit that I look forward to each and every Yoga Wednesday.  When you are required to sit at a desk all day, yoga comes as a welcome break, leaving you both mentally and physically re-energized.

With that, I will strike a runners' pose as a tribute to tomorrow's torture.