Friday, April 12, 2019

Poop Stories: Volume 2

Poop Stories: Volume One went a totally different direction than everyone thought, didn't it! 

Well Volume Two is a little more along the lines of what you were expecting, but, in my typical style, not really.

Back track to December 2013. I publicly announce to family, friends, co-workers - pretty much any one who would listen, really - that I am going to run my first marathon. Thanksgiving 2014 I'm heading to Victoria for the GoodLife Fitness marathon with the stated goal of breaking four hours!

Telling everyone meant I could not back out. I had to do it, and had a goal to achieve. In hindsight, I clearly had no idea what I was doing when it came to training. Which is fine, because all these years later I still really don't know what I'm doing.

When training for your first ever distance event - the marathon particularly - there are two things that everyone must do. Carbo-load and carbo-unload.

You have to time these things just right. Especially the unload. You don't want to start running with a four hour goal unless you poop before the race. Standing in line at a on-course porta-potty will take out too much time out of your stated goal. And it's terribly uncomfortable to try to get through, and will slow your pace significantly.

Now if you are lucky you are one of those people who can set their watch by their bowel movements. Same times, every day. Piece of cake. But not me. I'm very unpredictable. Which meant starting as early as December 2013 I was charting loading and unloading patterns so that I had two-thirds of year of data to best make may decision on race weekend.

I won't get into too many details, but bottom line is I had to give myself 18 hours after eating. So on race weekend, that meant eating a big ol' plate of spaghetti at noon the day before the race so that I could take care of business at 6am on race day. That gave me two hours of lee-way. 

I did have a bagel and peanut butter was an evening-before snack. And I had a whole breakfast routine planned out. But things did not go as hoped on the 6am unloading plan.

I probably got up by 5 and began executing the plan. But nothing was happening. I went for my trademark pre-race walk. I came back, nothing was happening. I jumped up and down, because I had no idea what else to do. Still nothing.

I had to eat my pre-race meal by 6:30, so I did that. Went back to the bathroom. Then again. And again. By this point I'm starting to panic. And Charmaine, who was still hoping to sleep, was getting annoyed. My butt touched a toilet seat probably 30 times that morning, and nothing!

We left the hotel and went to the starting line. I hit the porta-potty. Nothing. I took in the race day experience, but the whole time I was really worried that I was not pooping! Based on all my charts and calculations, there was no way I was going to make it through the four hour marathon without having an issue.

On the way to the starting corral I noticed an empty porta-potty that others did not seem to note and I rudely jumped in. Again, nothing! By the this point I have resigned myself to having to stop on course, and just hoped it did not become too big of an issue in the kilometers between the porta-potties.

The race started. In some ways this all proved to be a good distraction, as the normal first-marathon nerves were directed away by the toilet rather than the daunting task ahead. 

The race went well. I hit the goal, despite starting out too fast. Race inexperience yes, though I was trying to buy myself a bit of time for when I had to stop at a porta-potty. But the race was good though I don't remember too much of the last 10km or so. And I never had any issues! I had completely forgotten about it at some point in the race, probably because everything else hurt so much. 

I pigged out on food the finishing chute - Charmaine thought I was drunk as I kept going on about how good the oranges were - and went for a big post-race meal at Pagliacci's soon after. I don't remember what we did later in the evening, but I'm sure I had some unhealthy foods of some sort.

Still nothing!

The next day we drove all the way to Courtenay - not the greatest idea to sit in a car for a combined 5-plus hours - to visit Charmaine's Auntie Arlene. She's a lot of fun and had a huge meal ready for us. And I really enjoyed her home. But I never did see her bathroom.

Fast forward to Tuesday. After another big continental breakfast at the hotel, Charmaine is flying home to Terrace. I take a bus to the ferry terminal as I'm going to Vancouver to see my nephews. On one of those awful old flip phones I texted Charmaine from the ferry as I finally took care of the last piece of pre-race business - some 50-plus hours later.

So much for the charts.

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