Sunday, July 3, 2016

Everything is shitty and I'm dying: A tale of swallow worts, porta potties and 20 awesome miles

I don't often have shitty runs. But when I do they are very, very shitty. It should have been a warning sign when I woke up and my stomach was off. It should have been a warning sign when I arrived at the trailhead to find an actual warning sign. Mark, Danielle and I met up at the parking lot on Rte 444 at 6am on Saturday to run some pre-miles on the Seneca Trail before the group run at 7am. We discovered that the trail was closed until 9am due to treatment of invasive swallow worts. Naturally we made a few jokes about how that sounds like some kind of STD. Then we ran 4 miles on another section of the trail while we waited for the rest of the group to come to a consensus on whether to reroute our run or rebel against the worts. The group decided to brave the worty section and go ahead with the run as planned.

In the porta potty in the parking lot, I made the first of what would be many pit stops during the run. Then we headed off on the trail towards Boughton Park. At this point, I was still feeling ok, just following Danielle and Alison and chatting away. But as the miles piled on, things went from crappy to shitty to danger! pooping your pants is imminent. Between miles 9 and 10, I was on the verge of tears. I'd stumbled on a pile of logs and twisted the same ankle I twisted last weekend. It didn't really hurt. I was just annoyed at myself for being so clumsy and flawed and at my normally iron-clad stomach for being such a mess. All the Fears and the Doubts and the You're Not Good Enoughs started swirling around in my brain. So I did the only thing you can do in those situations. I kept going. One of the benefits of getting older is gaining a certain kind of wisdom, a wisdom that is like an inoculation against your own virulent strain of bullshit. I don't think the doubts ever really go away, you just get better at talking yourself out of them. I took a few deep breaths and told myself to relax, everything is fine. That was a lie. Everything in my insides was not fine. But thankfully, I made it to the porta potty in Boughton Park in time. As I came out of the porta potty, on the verge of tears, Danielle asked me what was wrong and I was like "I am just a hot mess. I twisted my ankle again. My stomach is a mess. I miss Pete. I miss Mozzie." She asked me if I needed a hug and I said "Yes, but I'm all sweaty." She said she was sweaty too and gave me a hug. Then a 9 month old puppy named Dexter ran over to us and that seemed like the most adorable of signs.

Todd had left his car at Boughton Park, filled with water and snacks. He asked if I wanted a ride, but despite how awful I felt, I never even considered stopping. I had wanted to run 20 miles and run 20 miles I would, no matter how many pit stops I had to make along the way. Two more, if you're wondering. The rest of the group headed back to the parking lot on 444 where we'd started. Danielle, Alison and I did a loop around the pond at Boughton Park to add a couple more miles, then we headed back as well. Mentally, I was feeling much better, though physically I was feeling much worse. Luckily my legs and ankles were fine, it was just my stomach and intestines that were staging a bloody rebellion against some unknown assailant. But the weather was beautiful and the company and conversation were especially awesome, so I just focused on that. And on not pooping my pants. I did have a close call, but Danielle literally saved my ass by giving me tissues and Pepto Bismol tablets from her pack. As a general rule, I avoid pooping in the woods at all costs, but today it was a necessity. As we neared the 20 mile mark and our cars, I was doing the dance of wanting to run faster to get back to the parking lot porta potty as quickly as possible and wanting to run slow enough so as not to crap myself.

After another uncomfortable encounter with a porta potty, I drove home, where I spent the rest of the day watching Murder She Wrote and dying a slow death from pooping. I felt alternately bummed that my misbehaving stomach had kept me from eating ice cream and riding the train at Todd's house with the rest of the group and concerned that all my internal organs had rotted and were now leaching slowly out of my ass. But mostly, I felt gratitude that the bad days are infrequent and far outnumbered by the good days. And that even when everything has literally gone to shit, I am still surrounded by awesomeness.

But seriously stomach, enough is enough. We can't waste this entire 3 day weekend on the shitter. There is so much ice cream and so little time.

Lyric of the moment: "Every minute and every hour, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you more. Every stumble and each misfire, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you more..." ~Bastille "Good Grief"

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