Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bluenose Race Day!

Today was the day that I have been planning for since I began running in February.  With great anticipation I donned the fuchsia run skirt I have been saving for this very day, along with a run singlet and sneakers and headed to the race course.  Unfortunately, I headed there as a spectator as I am still sidelined by my running injury, but that did not mean I could not look like a runner!  Because of this, my running partner had to tackle this solo, so I wanted to ensure I was there to cheer him on.  This was the first race I had ever attended as a spectator and I was surprised to see how many people were running.  I was worried I would not be able to see him, but luckily was able to cheer as he hit 2k and then later on we high-fived as he ran past at about the 8k mark.  

To be completely honest, I was a little teary on the sidelines under my sunglasses.  This race represented a lot of hard work and dedication, not being able to run was upsetting, frustrating and disappointing, especially considering that this was my first race, the goal that had jump-started my entry into this sport.  I quickly forgot my own feelings as my partner ran by, he was fulfilling his goal and I was extremely proud of him for doing so.  I also saw some of my other friends and running partners along the course and was able to enjoy being a spectator even if I could not participate. 

The day could not have been nicer; it was already hot at 8:30 when I left for the race.  It was inspiring to see people of all levels and abilities being active out in the fresh air on such a beautiful day.  I was extremely impressed to see parents running as they pushed a stroller, I only hope that I can be that hard-core if I ever become a mother.  

In terms of my own running, watching the race definitely left me with a desire to start running again as soon as possible.  Television is getting a little old; I cannot understand how people choose to lead sedentary lifestyles.  I am getting cabin fever; I could not do this long-term.  Walking more than 1k at this point (without pain) would be a real treat.  My exercise consists of bridges, ¼ one legged squats, some push-ups, other upper body exercises and additional homework from my physiotherapist.  If I want to go really wild I am allowed to ride the recumbent bike for 15 minutes on a low resistance setting. 

One advantage, and possibly disadvantage, to not being able to run is that I do not have to meticulously plan my eating around the running.  I cannot really do any cardio that would give me the runs, so, I can go a little crazy with the food!  For example, tonight, we are making my mother-in-law’s baked been recipe.  This is extremely exciting.  I never eat beans, and honestly, I may not live to tell this tale, they may just ravage me from the inside out.  But, it is a long-weekend, worst case scenario, we have one very “musical” evening and I spend tomorrow in the bathroom with several magazines.  If it really ends up being a shit-show, I pop a lot of Imodium on Tuesday before I head to work.  So, with that, I leave you for a feast of beans.  Remember, “run hard, be strong, think big”!  Congrats to all of those who ran the Bluenose today in Halifax!  

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Let's Get Topical!

WARNING:  This is an IBS-specific post, and may contain TMI - Too Much Information.  

Problems associated with IBS are not limited to the amount of times that you go in one day.  Often, as a result of frequency issues, sufferers encounter other problems such as fissures or hemorrhoids, which can be far more painful than the washroom usage itself.  Either way, many IBSers have a sore bum, both internally and externally; think about when you have the flu and mad diarrhea; this is what many IBSers feel like on a daily basis.  Because of this, they spend their time searching for ways to combat these issues.  With this being said, it is time to get topical – topical remedies, that is. 

There are wide arrays of ointments, creams, foams and powders that can be used to treat these problems.  Many of them are over the counter and many require a prescription.  When you begin waddling because of the pain in your butt, or you try to find a way to do your job standing up, desperation normally sets in and you set yourself on a path to find anything that may bring some relief.  Personally, I have tried most available over the counter and prescription ointments, however, I have extremely fair and sensitive skin, resulting in allergic reactions to all of these products, so I have had to become inventive.  If you were to run into me at the drug store, you would likely think that I have an infant.  This would be because of the Vaseline, zinc oxide, baby wipes and powder that I manage to purchase on a fairly regular basis.  I can assure you, in the event a baby appears at my door, I have everything short of diapers to take care of that little butt. 

I stopped using the stronger stuff once I realized that my butt would actually feel worse after all of the over the counter ointments, instead, I normally use what you use on your baby.  Unfortunately, with both zinc oxide and Vaseline, I can only use them for a day or two before I have an allergic reaction, but that is normally sufficient to give me a bit of relief.  From experience, I would recommend never using the organic Vaseline, for the simple fact that this stuff seeps through everything in sight.  It will seep through the container, it will seep through Ziploc baggies, and pretty soon you will have a slip and slide in your purse.  My recommendation on this one – get the brand name. 

Just as you may think I have a baby, you may also suspect chronic cocaine usage.  This could not be further from the truth.  Two magic words – corn starch.  This is not the kind of topical you use at work.  It gets everywhere.  It looks like I take hits on my bath mat or in my tub; I assure you my desperation has not culminated in drug abuse just yet.  Corn starch is nature’s equivalent to baby powder, without the chemicals or fragrances.  It calms things down, but is a hell of a mess to clean up.  I travel with mini containers full of corn starch, which I have labeled so as not to appear on the drug smuggler list at the airport.  My husband is very mindful to never use the bathroom corn starch.  So, for those of you who have seen it in my loo, nothing quite as exciting as cooking going on in there. 

Baby wipes and Tucks, the best price in town on baby wipes is at Costco!  These can be amazing, and horribly awful.  They will either soothe, or, burn something awful.  In my experience, I cannot always anticipate which one it will be, think of Kevin in Home Alone using the after shave.  Same sensation.  However, baby wipes are extremely useful after using Vaseline or zinc oxide.  Enough said.

In terms of other remedies, not necessarily classified as topical, Advil Liquigels are a gift.  I pop those things all day long when my IBS is acting up, it helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain.  I also use those disposable heat packages, the ones you stick to your neck for relief.  I keep a pack of those in my desk at all times and will put them on my stomach to ease any cramping I may have as a result of the IBS. 

Doughnuts.  Sadly, not the edible ones.  The ones you sit on.  I try to avoid using these at all costs, because, honestly, I do not want to have this conversation at work.  However, it did come to that one year, where, for six months I had to sit on one in order to gain a modicum of relief.  My recommendation would be to put it in a pillowcase and try to pass it off as a cushion. 

As the great Vanilla Ice once said ice, ice baby.  I have spent many nights curled up with ice in a bag where the sun don’t shine.  It is not glamorous, but often it numbs you enough to allow you to function. 

Sitz baths and/or Epsom salt baths.  Sitz baths are not nearly as relaxing as an Epsom salt bath.  The primary difference being that a sitz bath is a device that you fill up with warm water (sometimes with a bit of salt) and place on your toilet.  It is often recommended as a way to promote the healing of fissures or hemorrhoids.  Epsom salt baths are in your actual bath tub and they allow you to step away from the can for a moment.  Personally, I try to limit these, due to my sensitive skin, but they can promote relaxation. 

I hope that you will find some of these recommendations helpful.  If you have any of your own, I would love to hear them! 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Me and my Tragically Hip

It has now been 22 days since I hurt my hip.  I have iced, I have heated, I have foam rolled, I have pill-popped, I have walked, I swam laps, I have rested, I have yoga-d.  I have been massaged, cracked, lasered and will soon have physio.  I have very little patience left.  In other words, I have not yet recovered from what we originally thought was bursitis, but what now appears to be a medical mystery.  I also regretfully acknowledge that it is unlikely that I will run or walk the Bluenose 10k on May 20.  I was given the go-ahead to attempt a run on Saturday; never in my life would I have expected to anticipate a run with such glee.  And instead of my usual “cursing out the run”, I cursed out my “tragically hip”.  (Tragically hip is the latest in a string of names that my husband uses to refer to me or my wide array of weird health issues.)  So, to say that the run was unsuccessful would be an understatement.  I started off sore and ended up far worse, to the point that I could no longer run, and barely walk to make it home.  And the total distance?  A whopping two kilometres.  My chiropractor suggested I rest this week, including no yoga.  I thought that yoga was resting!  I am going crazy here.  I negotiated with her and won the pleasure of riding the recumbent bike at the gym along with upper body weights.  Not the most exciting of prizes, but I will take it.

I realize that many runners face injuries, so, maybe this is just part of my path in learning how to run, however, I must say that I am pretty peeved about this whole affair.  I was not yet at the point where I enjoyed running, but, I was certainly noticing some progress, and that is pretty close to enjoyment.  I am extremely frustrated, however, I am trying to find some positives.  Running has actually been very rewarding thus far – I have slowly gained more control over my IBS.  It has been a long time since I mad-dashed to my apartment, or sounded like a band of trumpets while running down the street.  Running has introduced me to new communities both on and off-line and has helped me to bond with people in a way I did not expect.  It also fell upon my various running partners to get to know me in ways they never anticipated.  Few people can expect to “talk shit” quite literally with their running partner; they now have that claim to fame.  I have had responses from surprising corners regarding the blog and IBS in general.  It is very rewarding to hear that people can empathize with the situations that I encounter and that they are willing to connect with me to share their perspective.  Thanks to those who have been reading and thank you for connecting with me throughout this process.

I suppose the blog will have to focus a little less on the running part and more on the runs – much to your chagrin.  I will update you on the progress of my tragically hip; however, stay tuned as I begin to share some of my greatest moments as a girl with IBS.  Hopefully they will make you laugh; I can safely say they likely made me cry.  This is where you will really get to know about the glamorous life of poop-zilla.  So, get ready, because you will hear about my late arrival to my wedding, my close-call on my honeymoon while in Antibes, my very first camping trip, and of course, the Mexican hat incident of 2011.