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Not-so-fun-fact: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects approximately one in 200 people around the United States. That doesn’t even include the diseases that fit the similar description but aren’t “technically” IBD, like Celiac Disease or irritable bowel syndrome. So really, in conclusion, tons of Americans deal with worse-than-normal bowel issues on a pretty regular basis. Add in running, and you have potential for a pretty messy situation. Jokes about “runner’s trots” run (pun intended) rampant among runners; everyone knows the importance of one final port-a-potty try before the gun goes off.
So what’s a runner with IBD to do? Or better yet, what are some pretty common scenarios that our little community of poopers totally get, appreciate and probably get themselves into on a daily basis? I happen to be a runner with these poorly timed intestinal problems, and these are some of my top moments (GIFs found on Giphy.com):
The satisfaction of knowing where every single bathroom, real or not, sits on your run route. This includes (and is probably not limited to) the following: public restrooms, dark corners, lots of bushes and/or trees, Starbucks, gas stations with those janky side toilets that require a key but you can’t figure out why they even bother locking them because they are disgusting anyway, the homes of your closest friends, restaurant chains with bathrooms toward the front and McDonald’s.
The careful planning of your outfit based on how you’re feeling. Happy stomach? Hand me those neons. Bad night after a stressful week at work? Black capris. All the black. Because you just never know what might come out during this run.
Nutrition is carefully calculated—not a minute or mile too soon. Okay, I get that they think 6.3 is basically mile 8, but I’ve been practicing my anti-poop fueling plan for months, so if I want to swig at mile 8, I’ll taking a #$%&ing swig at mile 8.
If you are forced to run at a different time of day than you’re used to, you freak the $#@% out. Evening?! You want me to run in the EVENING?! You’re insane…I don’t even understand why you’re asking me that. Run after eating all day and digesting food…ha. HA.
Running alone ain’t no thing. Thanks, but I’m rolling solo this morning. No, it’s not you—it’s just that I have really bad gas and, well…that’s kind of it, ya dig?
Once you start running…you can’t stop. If I stop now, my stomach will explode. Maybe for a second…nope, 2 more miles until I can pause. Eff, now they want to wait for their other friend? Peace, guys, I’m outtie.
The agony of waiting for it to pass. I’ll just be 10 minutes…okay 20. Okay 30. Okay, just go without me. Okay I’m not even going to bother running today.
Being the pain in the ass when it comes to post-run brunch. Okay, but do they offer gluten-free toast? I checked their menu, but I can’t really eat what’s at the buffet. Wait, can I just bring my own spread? I know you can eat pancakes, but that’s kind of the worse idea ever for me. Maybe I’ll just get a coffee.
The sweet taste of victory when you push just 1 mile farther through stomach cramps—so much so that they revert back to just “cramps” instead of “holy $#!&, where’s the bathroom like right now” cramps. Me – 1, IBD – big fat ZERO.
The great feeling of happiness when another runner comes out of the IBD closet to you. This disease is totally gross, and running only aggravates the issue. Thank god I talk about how other runners, who are too scared to leave their block, can ask me about poop.