Full disclosure: this post is full of poop! If poop disgusts you, then you have been warned. However, I hope that you will stay and finish reading because I think you will find a valuable lesson here today.
For the entire month of April (actually it started the last Monday in March) I have been plagued by diarrhea and loose bowels. There I said it! I really did not want to write about it and share this with you for 3 reasons.
Reason #1 It’s gross! It’s embarrassing!
Reason #2 I’m a health coach. I’m supposed to have this poop figured out and be telling you how to fix it, not suffering from it myself, right?
Reason #3 It will be viewed as another excuse for not reaching my racing goals this April.
Ok so let’s look at these reasons for me not wanting to share this with you and see if they are really valid.
Reason # 1
Yes it is gross and it is embarrassing. This is true. You may find yourself thinking, especially if you are my sweet husband, that this topic borders on on too much information and is disgusting. But for you runners reading this, there is a pretty good chance that if you have been on a long run with a buddy this topic has been discussed. Probably multiple times.
Reason # 2
How can I help you if I don’t live through it myself? I was prompted to write this after reading another blogger’s post and hesitation to admit her own current health struggles to her readers, even though she has made huge strides in improving her health in recent years. Not only was the post a wonderful read, but so were the comments. She obviously touched so many people and gave them a feeling of self acceptance by sharing her imperfections. (You can read her post here.)
Reason # 3
Really? After writing that I realized how utterly ridiculous that even sounds! Talk about an perfectionist! First of all its hard to have a good race when you feel like doubling over between mile 2 and mile 3. Or when you don’t do a good enough job replacing all those electrolytes and you run out of gas after the first mile. Despite having 3 subpar races where I fell short of my time goals, I have had some excellent speed workouts this month! I’m running so much faster in my workouts than I was this time last year.
Let’s get real here! So I didn’t reach my time goals and I felt like poop before, during and after each race, but all was not lost! In the Capital City Classic 10K I still finished second in my age group and scored points in my age group for the Grand Prix Series. I also ran my first mile and a half right at my targeted 7:15 pace before running out of gas. Instead of quitting, I chose to back down on the pace, run the remainder of the race as a tempo run and set a goal to keep my pace under 8 minutes. Even though I walked just past the halfway point, I pulled myself together and finished the last two miles really strong finishing with a 48:40, a 7:51 pace! While that was slower than my 10K last month, it was two and a half minutes faster than the one I ran in March 2014.
At the Boot Scootin 5K benefitting Beyond Boundaries, I managed to run my first mile right at 6:55 which is exactly where I wanted to be. I felt really good while running too. Unfortunately I ran out of gas and the next two miles were much slower than they felt: a 7:45 and a 8:00 with an overall time of 23:12. But, I was still the first female to finish the race! First place, who’s complaining! The old school feel of this race and the cause that it benefits made me glad to be part of this event! I have even interviewed the race director, Tiffany Mattzela, for an upcoming blog post.
Then there was the BV Memorial 5K + 1. I had big plans for this race to run four 7 minute miles. Having had issues all day Friday, I made sure to drink plenty of electrolytes. Trust me I had learned my lesson and was properly hydrated! This one started out ok considering how the previous day had gone, but after 2 miles I was almost crying I hurt so bad. Somehow, I managed to dig deep and push through and the last mile felt really strong. While I was no where near my 7 minute mile goal (7:17. 7:41,8:17, 7:34, & .45 for a finish time of 31:34) I ran 11 seconds faster than last year, was the second place overall female finisher and 7th finisher overall! It made me smile to review the results and realize that had I reached my goal I would have been the first finisher male or female!
Reflecting back over the month of April, I honestly can’t pinpoint one physical thing to be the cause of my month of diarrhea. If anything, I have eaten better and taken better care of myself. Most of the time I didn’t even feel bad. “Coincidently” I have come across articles and books on both mental training for runners and the mind body connection of illnesses and self sabotage. I put coincidently in quotation marks because I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. I believe in “Seek and you will find.” If you are looking for answers then God will place them in your path.
Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, describes self sabotage as an “upper limit” problem. What that means is you have a certain amount of joy or success that you have decided you are comfortable with and once you reach that place you tend to do things that sabotage yourself and keep you from breaking through to the next level of success. The self sabotage can come in many forms: picking a fight with your sweetie, being late to an important appointment, not thoroughly checking your work, procrastination, an accident or yes even getting sick when there is no physical reason for it.
The last week of March, I made the following entry in my journal: “Wednesday, March 25, 2015, Today I gained a whole lot of clarity in the direction I wish to take my business.” It was a huge break through and I began to map out the steps I wanted to take in April. That same week I also told my running coach, Amy, that I wanted to set some training goals in addition to my racing goals, one of which is to take my weekly mileage for 25 mile per week to 40 mile per week by the end of April. I know that in order for me to have a break through with my racing it requires me to get out of my comfort zone and up my mileage.
Then BAM! First thing Monday morning while getting ready for work, I almost didn’t make it to the bathroom in time! I was completely caught off guard. It was like the diarrhea came out of no where! I spent the first two weeks reading everything about diarrhea and how to cure it with diet and essential oils. Those things physically made me feel better, but the loose bowels and the days of all out diarrhea didn’t go away. The real problem was that I had reached my upper limits and was on the verge of a break through!
Armed with the awareness that I am the source of my own problem and knowing that I am not sick, I chose to invest in a box of Imodium A-D, keep drinking my electrolytes (all pictured above), keep eating my bland diet (I may never eat white rice again), and get plenty of rest. The good news is I am in control of my upper limits and because I am now aware of them I can chose to adjust them. I have a business and workouts to run. I can! And I will!
Now its your turn! Have you had an upper limit problem and found yourself sabotaging your own success? How did you handle it and move forward? Make sure to leave a comment below.