So it’s 1.30am and I’m lying here clutching a hot water bottle for dear life, trying to finish my sixth peppermint tea of the night. I have the half marathon in 8 hours and my stomach feels like it’s got a watermelon inside and all I want to do is pop it wish a pin and relieve some of this pain!
For the past few weeks I’ve had a pretty good run with my tummy. I’ve been super careful with everything I’ve been eating, stopping when I’m full (unlike me) and exercising pretty much every day – and have had pretty much no bloating, pain or sickness for weeks!
I even went out for dinner on Friday night and had a great big steak with all the sides (when I say all; everything that they could make gluten, garlic and onion free) and woke up feeling fine! This morning I had a lovely gluten free brekkie with mum ready for our day of shopping.
Two hours in and tiredness hit me massively (I haven’t been sleeping well lately due to being mega busy and wired from work, combined with pre-run nerves) and decided to get a coffee. I have caffeine maybe once a month so it hits me mega-time in terms of alertness so I thought now would be the perfect time and it would do the trick and get me through the shop plus the family engagement party we were going to later. I usually go for a soy iced mocha however remembered my little bro telling me how good his latest Starbucks obsession was. After checking the order with him I went for it, and ordered a sugar free caramel latte with coconut milk.
I actually don’t recommend it in the slightest, it was gross!! However, I’d paid about a fiver for this sickly sweet mainly ice filled cup of rubbish so I was going to bloody drink it! Blissfully unaware of what it was doing to my insides I got home and started making dinner. I was taking the carb-loading thing seriously so made a delish carbonara inspired spaghetti dish (will post the recipe shortly). Half-way through cooking my stomach started to cramp up a bit, and I slowly started feeling it bloat out. Immediately anxiety kicked in and I was paranoid about it getting worse before my run today.
I ran upstairs and grabbed my Bascopan and washed it down with a mug of peppermint tea. I managed to eat dinner with not much problem, however pretty much as soon as I finished I started to feel a million times worse – my stomach had expanded to a good 5 months preggo and I felt really really sick. Right on queue, ten minutes later I had my head stuck down the toilet throwing up my delicious plate of spaghetti. I was absolutely gutted.
We had about half an hour to get out the door for the engagement party and all I wanted to do is curl up in bed feeling sorry for myself. What could I have possibly eaten? I had been SOO careful! What if I couldn’t do the run tomorrow? When I get like this the pain and bloat usually lasts at least 3 days and I began to get more and more panicked which only made me feel a million time’s worse.
Running out of time I downed a glass of water, had another tea (this time ginger) and chucked on some spanx to try and hide my bloat at the party.
Like I say, it’s now gone 1.30am…
We had always planned to leave the party early due to not wanting to be tired for my run, but I still felt like I was blaming my stomach for it. The amount of times I had to leave social events early because I could no longer stop myself from being sick, or was in so much pain even gin wouldn’t help, or I just thought my trousers were going to split open from the bloat if I didn’t.
On the way home I went through every thing I’d eaten and only was it then that I realised it was that bloody awful coffee! I usually only ever drink water, peppermint tea or alcohol, so never even think to check my drinks! I’d had tinned coconut milk when making curry’s which I knew was fine, so didn’t event consider UHT coconut would be different and so high in FODMAPs. Add the sugar-free syrup to it and you’ve got the perfect cocktail for a disaster stomach!
I was so so gutted that I had done this to myself despite trying to be so careful. “Darling, don’t get upset, it will only make your stomach worse” Ross said. And he was SO right. The amount of times I have cried over this and worked myself up so much, and all it has done is made my stomach a million times worse and become a great big viscous cycle.
Instead I tried to tell myself “this will pass, it always does. If you can’t do your run you can do another one, just focus on relaxing”. So here I am, writing this blog in order to get it out so I can chill and hoepfully get some sleep…
I made it!! The impossible happened and I woke up feeling a million times better! Still slightly sick but my bloating had gone down so much and I managed to do the run (horrifically hilly but I got 1hr 48 so was pretty chuffed).
How did my stomach get better so quickly? I think it was a number of things. I’m not a doctor so please don’t follow my advice as gospel, but this seemed to be my winning formula for the evening…
1. Plenty of fluids: water, peppermint tea and ginger tea. I tried to drink it really slowly (mainly because that was my only option as every sip felt like there was no room for it) so it didn’t unsettle my tummy any more than it already was.
2. Hot water bottle: not only do they have a childhood comfort vibe, the heat from a hot water bottle can help circulate the blood around your digestive organs. I topped mine up every few hours and felt like it really helped ease the pain
3. Bascopan/ deflatine: these are over the counter remedies for stomach pain, bloating and IBS symptoms. I also get prescribed mebeverine but I had run out, however bascopan does seem to work just as well for me.
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY, chill out!!!: this is something I am super rubbish at. However, I’m really learning to try and do it and when I manage it, find it is so good for my tummy as well as my mind. I’m going to write a blog about this in more detail as have learnt a lot of brilliant tips over the past few months, and had some amazing experiences, however the one I swear by are my hypnosis tapes. I went to visit a local hypnotherapist (Kent Therapy Clinic) and as part of my treatment she gave me some amazing recordings to help me fall asleep. I only have to listen to them for about 10 minutes and I drift off, they really are magic (again, full blog on this to follow shortly).
I really do think keeping yourself calm can help you recover a lot quicker than stressing yourself out over the situation. I know how frustrating it can be, and how much your symptoms can take over your life. The amount of times I have cancelled a night out because of it, or beat myself up for days for eating a square of milk chocolate despite knowing what would happen. Maybe I just got lucky and recovered quickly, or maybe I have learnt how to better manage my symptoms with my mind – either way, I’m super happy I made the run and actually managed to enjoy it!!