snakes, planes, roaches, and shitting myself

Defecation in the sitting position, as used in...
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First I’d like to say that there was no blog post on Wednesday because no one emailed me a questions for Ask Caroline Wednesday. That was both hurtful and humiliating and now I’m doubting my cred as a legit blogger. Really? No one wanted to benefit from my expansive knowledge of the universe? Unbelievable.

Alas, my self worth is closely tied to blog readers, their opinions of me, and my blog stats and recently it’s all been in the shitter. So, in an effort to regain the adoration of readers around the apartment, and to make up for my one week absence from the blog, I am going to tell a tale that I have previously decided not to share. In order to maintain my own dignity.

So. My biggest fear in life, besides snakes, roaches, airplanes, and dying, is shitting myself. For most people, this is a fear that will likely never be realized because, come on, who shits themselves? Well, I’ll tell you who. Me.

This is actually a very sad story about a to-date undiagnosed stomach issue that basically ruined me as a child. Through middle school, high school, college, and there after I lived in a constant state of fear. My belly was like a demon, waiting for me to get comfortable before it seized up and ruined everything. About two years ago I gave up eating meat, which largely contributed to my semi-wellness now. This is not vegetarian propaganda. Eat all the animals you want, but this girl will not be joining you. Animals in the tum lead to fire in the bum.

Having the stomach thing in check (relatively) has enabled me to live a fairly full life. I can go out to dinner now, hang out, eat at other people’s houses, all things I couldn’t do before. I have to be careful though. Occasionally I get carried away, get a little bold, and BOOM. Shit myself. What. the. fuck. This is mortifying for many of you to hear, but you really needn’t worry. I’m actually pretty used to it. I know pretty much every available bathroom in every major city, how to wiggle my way into health clubs, restaurants– any place that usually has rules about bathroom usage, I can bypass. When your alternative is pooing your adult pants, you figure it out.

Despite my progress there is one arena where I am as vulnerable as a lamb. Running. My best bet is not to eat anything at all before a run. By that I mean that if I plan on going on a run at 4PM, I should plan to starve all day long. It’s the only way to know for certain that I will be able to complete the jog without cold sweats and the McGurgle.

Unfortunately, when you’re training for a half marathon (which is tomorrow), you really don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. You need to be running constantly, and in order to get those runs in, you have to run in the mornings, afternoons, sometimes even at night. It takes about four hours to go for a run. First you need to gear up, which can take up to an hour. The actual run can be anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours and then there’s the cool down, lie on the floor period. If you need to shower, forget about it. May as well take the day off work.

Training for this half marathon has been a totally different experience than training for the last. The little voice in the back of my head remembers that I already did this once and is pretty certain I can do it again. Training or no training. That voice ate paint chips as a child and has no business making decisions for me, but that voice is also lazy and likes cocktails, so it’s been the predominant factor in my training. Oops. All that is to say that I should have been running lots more and lots more frequently, but I wasn’t. Instead I decided that one week before the race I would run 8 miles to make sure I’d be okay.

I convinced the husband and best friend H to come along for the jog. They are, after all, both signed up to run the half as well. Due to scheduling conflicts, the only available time we had was Sunday evening around 7PM. That day I had to go to Foxwoods for work. I had eaten lunch around three, which for normal people would be plenty of time for digestion. (You know that thing about not swimming for 30 minutes after you eat? As a child my rule of thumb was pretty much no swimming the day I ate. You cannot imagine what it’s like to get the stomach drop in a pool. Danger! Danger!) How naive I was.

We took off at an awesome pace. It was one of the best jogs I’ve been on. We were clipping along, breathing, chatting, enjoying the weather. The miles were passing with no problem (save the hubs who was sweaty, crampy, and ornery) and it was pretty clear that we’d be able to finish the eight miles with no problem. I kept an anxious (mind’s) eye on my tum, knowing that I had likely made a huge error.

Let’s take a moment away from the story so that I may stress to you just how anxious running makes me. I am acutely aware that there is no where you can go when the tummy drop takes place. Without warning, a light and enjoyable jog can turn into a top five reason to kill yourself. For some, it is possible to waddle quickly home before all hell breaks loose, but I am not one of those fortunate folks. If and when it strikes, I am an immediate victim.

Back to the story.

We rounded 5 miles with no problem. We’d broken off with the husband so we could all pace appropriately. H and I were already making plans to run a marathon– that’s how great the run was going. (Silly girl. To think life could be so pleasant…) At mile 6, it happened. Swiftly the chill took over. My stomach dropped and my sphincter immediately reacted, clenching in fear. Oh no. Oh. no. Ohhhh no. No. No. No.

I suffered in silence for a moment, knowing that I was going to have to cop to the situation. H is my nearest and dearest. I don’t have any sisters, but I’m certain that if I were going to have one she’d be it. There’s nothing she doesn’t know about me. Except that as we jog a bitter battle is raging in my belly. What to do. What to do. What to do.

I did the only thing I knew to do. I looked ahead (at the WIDE OPEN expanse of trail) and behind (at the spotting of people jogging near us) and finally at Hailey (oblivious to the situation).

Hey, H, you think that tree looks good for a pit stop?

And in a response more glorious than anything anyone has ever said to me, H replied,

Why, I think that tree is perfect. As I matter of fact I was going to stop here and do some stretching…

And that’s how it happened. I shit behind a tree. With H faux stretching a little ways back, coughing in warning of approaching joggers. (Not that there’s a whole lot you can do. The pants are where the pants are. They’re either gonna get a gander or they’re not.)

I righted myself and stepped back onto the path, H joining me as if we’d never stopped. We finished our jog– even tacking on an extra mile just for kicks–without missing another beat.

The only sign of any shenanigans was my missing right sock.

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