The urge of which we shall not speak (except I am speaking of it!) 



With so many new runners out there this spring, there’s a subject that needs honestly tackling.  I’ve spoken of it before in my blog but the newbies who may not have trawled so far back through my running ramblings need to know, they need to feel normal, they need to know that the urge to run, the urge to excel, the urge to go further comes often sadly with the urge to poo !! There, I said it. If you haven’t headed the last miles home trying both to speed your legs up whilst at the same time trying to clench ‘Tommy turtle’ back into his shell, you’re not a runner !!

It definitely gets better with experience but it’s always a risk. Of course no matter what the occasion, a play, a presentation at work, a big social event, a first date, nerves often get the better of some people and everyone knows that frequent trips to the loo can be a reaction to these nerves. A big running event is no different, even us seasoned runners hope nature takes its course on the morning of a race, just to be on the safe side! Nothing worse than having to risk a number 2 in a portaloo with hundreds of people queuing outside. What if there was no paper, what if the door came open, what if it was smelly when the door opened….and probably many more irrational fears that go though your mind on such an occasion ( or is that just me?)


But for new runners, any run can bring an unwanted urge they weren’t expecting at a most inconvenient moment. It can be the body’s response to the actual affect of all that jiggling about you’re doing helping gravity to move things along too quickly or it can be that increasing your distance for the first time is putting your body under new stresses it’s not used to and loose bowels are a weird response to these stresses.

What can you do? Well there are a few precautions…..

  • Don’t eat potential ‘trigger foods’; a long run a few hours after a vindaloo wouldn’t be advisable and even I wouldn’t put prunes on my porridge before a big run
  • Don’t try new foods the couple of days before or on the day of a race. A really good friend and experienced runner read beetroot juice was performance enhancing ( I’ve read that too) so she dosed up the day before. Disaster struck at mile 9 of a half marathon …….and she runs wearing proper runner pants !! Can you imagine? She still finished the race….hard core to the end of course.
  • Take tissues out with you, just in case, if you’re worried
  • If you’re really concerned, take Imodium or similar on the morning of a race just for peace of mind

While I’ve felt things might have been a close call, disaster has never struck for me but I did run behind a guy during my second ever half marathon and disaster had struck for him. How could he carry on? How sore would his arse be after running in that state !

For me it’s always the last mile home. My arse is clearly like a homing pigeon to its own toilet. I try to tell it that the last mile home will never be as quick as the first mile out the front door but sometimes it just doesn’t listen. I pray there are no neighbours outside as I run in, I don’t want to appear ignorant but there’s no time for chit chat.

So I hope I’ve put your mind at rest, mentioned the unmentionable, assured you these new feelings are normal and no reason to stop your running journey to greatness. And no, I don’t think that’s why runners are generally thin!!


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Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA), Runners Problems

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