Gastrointestinal Issues

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My runs have still been going ok.  I managed to do a 16k run last Monday followed by 6k on Wednesday and 5k on Friday.  I had planned to do the long run for the week on Sunday but instead I ate a light lunch and went back to bed for 2hrs after church.  I think that I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past week or two.  I’ve been tired and have had mild cold symptoms but not enough to say that I actually have a cold.  At least I got the run done on Monday.  I also did yoga on Tuesday and Saturday and Spinning on Friday.  Today was supposed to be my last long run before the half marathon on February 10.  As I was driving to where I was planning to run I remembered that they lock the gates at 5.  It was just after 3 when I realized this.  I was supposed to do 18k but thought that I might walk a couple of kilometers at the end.  I have been running really slow lately so I knew that there was no way I would make it back to my car if I kept my plan as it was.  I started to think of different options and headed out to start my run.  2k into the run my stomach wasn’t feeling great.  That’s not unusual for me but I find that if I don’t increase my effort and if I sip water regularly I can usually finish my run.  By the time I hit 5k I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to continue running unless I found a washroom (restroom for any American readers).  I started walking and considering my options for how I was going to get my long run in this week.  I decided to walk the last 5k of my current loop and to try the long run again tomorrow or Wednesday.  Even if I leave the run until Wednesday I will still have a week and a half before the race to recover.  Hopefully I’ll feel good tomorrow and will be able to get the run over and done with.

I’ve always had trouble with my stomach when running.  The more I run the less embarrassing I find it.  I’m starting to realize that it’s quite a common issue but people just don’t talk about it enough.  I have one good friend that I sometimes run with and we talk about it a lot.  She never used to have trouble but does somewhat regularly now.  Last week I was telling her that I’m surprised that I never see articles in running magazines about stomach issues and running.  I’ve always wanted to know what causes it and how to prevent it.  I have figured some things out for myself but it’s still something that I want more information on.  The next day my friend researched it a bit and sent me some info.  It appears as though no one really knows the reason.  Some say that it is the running motion (vibration in the abdominal region) that moves things through the intestines quicker.  Others say that it’s dehydration.  Some say that it’s a combination of things.  I think that often it can be what you ate that day or in the days before the run.  I try to watch my eating especially before a long run.  Today I did have a lunch that was different from my normal pre-run meal.  I had a fruit smoothie and then some crackers and hummous.  I don’t think that I’ll try that again just in case it was the problem.  Normally I just have some whole grain toast with protein of some sort (tuna, peanut butter, egg…).  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.  Some of the research suggested that eating food with a higher fat % and increasing fluid intake can be helpful.  I’m pretty good about drinking lots of water but as I mentioned already sipping water at the first sign of discomfort does seem to help me while running.  Maybe some day someone will figure it out.  I sure hope so.

We have had some beautiful weather over the past couple of weeks.  It was nice to get outside in the sunshine for some of my runs and also for a couple of long walks.  Unfortunately the rain is now back.  I was soaked at the end of my run/walk today.

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I’m still enjoying the course that I’m taking.  This past week we practiced our active listening, paraphrasing and empathizing.  We had to record 5 minute sessions with each other.  One person was the client and the other was the cousellor.  I was really nervous before we started.  I was worried that my mind would just go blank when it was my turn to be the counsellor.  I haven’t listened to my recording yet but I felt that it went better than I had expected.  I’ve heard that some of the other students have trouble talking for 5 minutes.  I don’t seem to have any trouble at all.  It’s kind of nice because years ago I never would have been able to do any of this stuff.  I used to be extremely shy.  We had to take a communications class at the first college that I went to after high school.  I hated that class.  We had to do impromtu speeches in front of the whole class.  I have never minded doing speeches if I’m prepared but I hate to be put on the spot.  I think that we only had to talk for 2 minutes but I would get up there and say a few sentences and then my brain would shut down and I would stand there embarassed and feeling stupid for the next minute and a half.  It really was awful.  If I had to do that now I think that I’d be ok.  But I’m 15+ years older now and I’ve been through a lot more life than when I was just barely 18.  At that college we also had to take a human relations course.  Unfortunately the college screwed up (many times) and forgot to give us the course.  They ended up doing a 3 day weekend session to make it up.  I think that the human relations course was the first time that I really started to become self aware.  The instructor was excellent.  Through that course I started to realize how shy I actually was and how I came across to other people.  It was the first time that I made a conscious decision to try and change some things.  To this day I still get comments on what I good handshake I have.  Before taking the course I had the worst handshake in our whole class.  I’m grateful that I got as much out of that class as I did but I’ve always wondered how much more I would have learned if we’d been able to take the whole course instead of just a weekend.

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I’m still not eating sugar and I still don’t plan to re-start.  My cravings are very minimal.  I don’t actually crave highly processed foods at all.  Most of the time I just want some dark chocolate or fruit or something with honey on or in it.  I’ve been letting myself have a little more of this kind of thing lately but I’m making sure that I don’t start eating too much and making myself start craving it all the time.  I find that I can eat small amounts and be satisfied.  Tonight I had one small piece of 85% chocolate and that was enough.  Last night I only ate half of a piece.  It was kind of funny that I wanted to put it away after one little bite.  I just needed a taste.  My biggest thing is that I like to have a different taste in my mouth after a meal.  I want something sweet or minty or chocolate-y.  Sometimes brushing my teeth will work.  Overall I feel good and I feel in control.  I don’t have any crazy cravings for anything unhealthy.  I love it.  I haven’t been worrying about my weight.  I’ve lost about 4 or 5 pounds overall but none of that has been this week.  I have noticed that my jeans feel looser this week.  The weight isn’t my biggest concern.  I’d rather be heavier and be healthy by eating well and exercising than be super skinny but out of shape and putting crap into my body.  I don’t expect that I’ll be either of those two options though.  I’ll probably lose a little more and then that’ll be it.

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