Saturday, March 07, 2015

Can We Be Frank?

(Yes, and don't call me Frank.)
(Yes, it's not perfect but I had to do it.)
(Also, fair warning: topic is about gross and disgusting things today, like poop)

There is something that I never hear other runners talk about in polite company, but many of us (and especially those of us with digestive disorders) have experienced: running-induced gastrointestinal distress. Diarrhoea, as it is spelled here in Sunny England. By the way, this is where you should either stop reading or carry on at your own risk. 

Some of my running pals have probably dealt with it at one time or another. We don't really discuss it. I carry a small pack of anti-diarrhoeal on every run, especially runs greater than 6 miles. Just in case. Primarily for myself but I'm happy to share if anyone else should find themselves in a pickle, because I know what it's like. If I get hit, however, I'm sidelined until the anti-diarrhoeal du jour kicks in. For me that's about 90 - 120 minutes. Most recently this happened on a hill run and I camped out at the O2 "mall" on Finchley Road for almost two hours before I was able to finish the run. 

IBS-related diarrhoea is another story altogether. I can usually tell shortly after my first sip of coffee in the morning if I'm going to have an issue during the first few miles of my run - or before. Once or twice I've been surprised, but most of the time my gut lets me know. No two IBS sufferers are alike: coffee doesn't bother my gut. 

For me, running-induced diarrhoea is compounded by IBS, and it's more likely to occur if I've eaten something questionable within 24 hrs of the run. There is generally a small window of opportunity if I'm going to be nutritionally naughty - by which I mean, for example, eating anything with yeast, grains, or chocolate. On the other hand, I'm not bothered by my gels which contain a small amount of cocoa. There are certain combinations of foods that I've just discovered my gut doesn't prefer. Eggs + Xylitol are a problem. 

These days I do have the luxury of waiting it out. No job to get to (yet), and today no appointments. It's a game of trial and error. I've landed on a nutritional approach that seems to work for me 90% of the time although I think I need to tweak it again. I know where most of the clean public bathrooms are on my run routes. Today was supposed to be a track run and fartleks in Regent's Park. It still can be and I'll tackle it on my own because my gut just wasn't ready when the club run was scheduled this morning.

Maybe now it's safe to leave the flat...


UPDATE on the presentation for Company Not Named: they elected to go with someone else. There were eight (!!!) people in that presentation, not including myself, and the feedback I received from the recruiter was that the majority felt my perspective was too "big business." I just shake my head. Fine. There were two red flags that popped up that day in the prep meeting with COO and HR.

  • Red Flag 1:  The focus of the role would not in fact be the integration of the three software platforms they'd been talking about throughout the interview processes, but basic management software and platforms internally. Wait, whaaaaat? I had prepped myself for a month on the former! 
  • Red Flag 2: The COO had not briefed the folks in the room about the scope of the role, which kept getting bigger and bigger. Tieing up eight high level people to be on a panel interview for an hour without briefing them IN ADVANCE on the scope of the role, and giving them a chance to ask questions of the COO themselves, is a huge miss and a waste of everyone's time, including mine.  
I have mixed feelings about not getting this job but it was probably a good thing they thought I didn't have enough small business perspective. But dammit. Lessons learned.