I broke my record while chasing the crap out of my life.
About a year and a half ago, I started running. I did this for a two reasons: to help me keep off the 85 pounds I lost, and to run out every bit of bad energy in my life.
I started out slowly. I would run for one minute and then walk for 29. Then I’d run for two minutes and walk for 28. After a few months of training, I could actually run 5K.
For the first time in my life, I ran the 5K in a race with my daughter. We ran the Rocky Balboa race in Philadelphia in November of 2014. It was a freezing cold day. I hate the cold. But I must admit that the race was absolutely exhilarating. It gave me not only a real feeling of accomplishment, but I found out what a runner’s high really is.
For those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing it, a runner’s high is the emotion of overwhelming happiness and fulfillment you get when heart pumping exercise causes the endorphins to light up in your body like a firecracker.
I truly believe that everyone needs a little runner’s high in their lives on a regular basis. We all have crap in our lives. Mine comes in the form of living with cancer for 20 years. When I run, it numbs the pain and makes the poop in my life go away, even if just for a little while.
I decided to challenge myself and train to run a 10K. I signed up to run the women’s 10K in Central Park in June.
My oncologist recently gave me the awesome news that he wants me back in the operating room. Now, I have more crap to deal with. I told the doc that the surgery would just have to be delayed. I’m running this 10K. As far as I’m concerned, it will chase away all the bad vibes cancer brings. No, I’m not burying my head in the sand. I know I need to have yet another surgery. I’m just asking for a little reprieve. I want to be ready for another surgery. I want to be the happiest, healthiest sick person I know.
So I started to train for the 10K. The other day, I broke my record. While training, I actually ran the whole 10K. I was laughing hysterically when I got home. I was laughing because I hit my goal of running 10K one month before the June race. I was laughing because I got an awesome runner’s high from it, I was laughing because my follow‑up check‑up showed the cancer had actually improved and I could wait until August, and I was laughing for a totally embarrassing, totally ridiculous reason.
Here’s the whole embarrassing tale: I knew I was going to attempt the 10K. I slathered on plenty of sunscreen. I put Chapstick all over my lips. I put some good tunes on my iPhone, and I folded up a little paper towel and tucked it underneath the back hooks of my sports bra so they wouldn’t rub and chafe my back while running. Off I went.
About a mile into my run, it hit me. It hits me frequently, but usually it hits me towards the end of a run and I have time. But no, this time, it hit only a mile or so into my planned 10K run. What is it you ask?
It’s poop. Yep, I had to poop. I was too far into the run to go back home so I just continued on my way hoping my body would ease the urge away and let me be. I had no such luck. When my phone announced to me that I was half way through the run, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I run on a canal surrounded by woods. There wasn’t a port‑a‑potty to be found. I doubled over I had to go so badly. I searched ahead of me no one coming. I looked behind me no one coming. I paused my phone app, eased my way into the woods, and yes, I admit it, I pooped right there, bare bear-butt in the woods.
Relief came at once, but not a green leaf to be found. I was once a Girl Scout. I was prepared. I slipped the paper towel out from under the back of my bra and used it as a handy wipe. Even more embarrassingly, I littered. Sorry folks, I just wasn’t carrying a poopy paper towel for five more kilometers. I happily ran the remaining 5K to complete my very first 10K.
It just goes to show ya that running really does get all your crap out. I’m officially number one in the business of getting out, number two.
This essay was recently published at Go60.
Let’s chat. What do you do to feel rejuvenated? Have you ever had an embarrassing moment? Please share with us in the comments. I promise, this is a no judgement zone!