Monday, 6 February 2012

The dawn of my running "career"

After many lengthy discussions with a friend of mine about life goals and career aspirations, I am taking my first real crack at writing in a public format. My current career path is extremely different from what I envisioned 10 years ago upon graduating from high school. I pictured myself as either an English or French teacher, or professor. Upon completion of my MA in French I knew without a doubt that teaching was not for me. With this began my career as a public servant. I cannot complain about my career thus far, I have lots of job flexibility, I have worked within a variety of branches within my agency, however, none of this has left me fulfilled. If anything, this has left me aspiring for more. The problem is, I am unsure what it is that I am aspiring to be. So, in a nutshell, I am trying to double back to my first love, writing, editing and literature, and along the way I am trying to discover new ways to motivate myself and find my calling in life. I have a hunch that the written word figures in somewhere, but I am still trying to determine how and to what extent. Ultimately, I would like some type of career that would allow me to feel rewarded and challenged. I would like to enjoy my job and I do not want to be destitute in the pursuit of fulfillment. Given that these are my only parameters for finding said job, it is a little bit difficult. So, in a round-about way, this brings me to the title of this blog: "Running from the Runs".

It has been 10 crap filled years since I was first diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), type D (for Diarrhea). I have had many "episodes" resulting in great discomfort, weight loss and finally surgery. IBS is something that I struggle with every day of my life, and it literally consumes most of my waking thoughts, especially in public. Throughout my undergrad and MA I spent much of my time scoping out the good washrooms around campus. A good washroom consists of either one single stall/sink combo or a larger washroom with many stalls. In addition, good washrooms are located in low-traffic areas. I could probably provide you with a blueprint for washroom locations on each university campus that I attended. All of this to say, IBS controls my life, it controls what I do and when I do it, and, no matter how much I try to plan around it, it always seems to change my plans. So, in an effort to find a way in which I can control the IBS, I have taken up running. The reason why I have chosen this path is because running, and often walking, are huge triggers for my IBS. If I could run 10 minutes without running to the washroom, that would be a Christmas miracle. Therefore, I am on a mission to run a 10k, and in order to do that I have been running three times a week with a friend of mine to try and prepare and build up my endurance both physically and in relation to my IBS.

Before training began for this challenge I had to have a very frank conversation with my running partner. I had to forewarn him that running with me was not like running with your average person. Much like the washroom blueprint at the university, I have mapped a run through my neighbourhood that allows me to be in close proximity to my home at all times. What this means is that our route is very boring and repetitive, however, it allows me to get home ASAP when the wave of IBS and panic washes over me. In addition, he was forewarned that many sound effects and strange smells would likely join us on our runs, especially if the goal was to try and "run" through them in order to build up my endurance, for some reason he agreed to join me on my journey to outsmart my colon and learn how to run.

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