Sunday, August 14, 2005


So it turns out that my dog doesn't like couscous. How do I know this, you ask? Well, because at this very moment I'm hunkered down behind a big mountain of couscous. OK, so it's a bit more reminiscent of a grassy knoll of couscous than a big mountain, but I'm sure you get the picture. Why am I eating a grassy knoll of couscous, you ask? Well, for starters, you really are awfully inquisitive tonight, but since you're such a faithful blog reader, I'll tell you. I haven't been feeling so hot lately. Not at all. So dinner is consisting of rather bland and boring couscous, lime jello, and tea. Blah. I keep expecting a husky German nurse named Helga to walk in at any minute and spoon-feed it to me.

Before I go any further, I must warn you more sensitive readers that you may want to stop here. If you read on and get queasy, take this as my disclaimer of absolving myself from any form of responsibilty.

That being said... Let's just say I didn't exactly buy lunch today... but rather... I "rented" it. Oh man, I haven't been this sick in a while. I mean, I literally got out of my car and RAN into the house after lunch, because I could sense the precious little time I had in which to expel the poison. And by poison, I mean "huevos y choriso". Don't get me wrong, I love Mexican food, and 99.99% of the time, Mexican food loves me. Today was .01%.

I know what you're thinking. "You probably got food poisoning! You should call up that restaurant and sue them! You could make enough money to start your own restaurant!" Well, just calm down, stop shaking your fist in the air, and take off your lawyer hat. For those of you who don't know me, I'm just not a litigious person. Even after getting hit by a 2002 Toyota Camry while jogging (and subsequently having to pay for damages to the driver's car) I didn't sue. I was angry, sure... but I didn't sue. Life is too short to waste your time in a courtroom. Get outside and go running.

Which leads me to my larger point du jour. Whether or not lunch today was food poisoning, I can't tell you, because lately I've had a major case of... well... uh... what I like to refer to as "runner's gurgle".

Hmmm... how do I explain this tactfully? Well, I did put in the disclaimer above, so if you're still reading and get sick, it's your own darn fault.

For you avid runners out there, you know EXACTLY what "Runner's gurgle" is. You need no explanation. For those of you non-runners, RG is essentially your stomach's way of informing your brain that it has something to expel. Once your brain receives the interbodily communication, it's then up to you to determine the following.

1. You must determine which direction your body is going to expel said poison. Unless you're an alien, the expulsion has one of two roads to travel. It's either going North or it's going South. Now I'm not a huge fan of throwing up (don't start thinking I'm bulimic here) but keep in mind that when running on a trail with no restroom for miles... throwing up is the much... uh... "cleaner" option.

2. You must determine how much time you have before said expulsion. Typically when I get the gurgle, I have five minutes if it's coming North, and fifteen minutes if it's headed South.

Long story short, I was on one of my long runs last weekend (it actually was only a 10 miler, but it was on a trail in the middle of NOWHERE) and I got the gurgle. I mean, I really got the gurgle. The "it's headed South, and you have exactly 5 minutes before this plane lands" kind of gurgle. Well, as I said, I was on a trail passing through the middle of Nowheresville, so I actually thought thought the unthinkable. Yes, if all else fails, I suppose I could make a bathroom break out in the woods. After all, according to my dog, the world is your toilet.

It was a Sunday, so I started praying as hard as I could. I was begging the good lord above for a little mercy. I mean, there was a porta-john at the trail entrance... just a mere thirty minutes away. Well, the good lord wasn't buying it. Now I had wasted a good two minutes praying for time, and the only thing it got me was two minutes closer to the inevitable.

Well, the gurgle was turning into a full roar and I was really starting to sweat. Seeing that I'm not a bear - and that I never was never a boyscout - I've never gone in the woods. I have no idea the protocol involved. Where do you go? What am I supposed to wipe with? Oh man, with my luck, I'd grab a bunch of poison ivy and get a rash all over my behind.

"OK, God... if you're listening, I could really use a box of Kleenex out here on the trail! SERIOUSLY! Anything! If you throw me a bone, I promise to only buy socially-conscious coffee which benefits Himalayan whistle kids!" I know it's kind of a weak promise, but I wasn't exactly thinking clearly at the time. Cut me some slack.

So as with any issue I have, I try to ignore it and just focus on my running (of course while continuing to ferverently pray and make promises to the heavens).

Now here's the amazing part of the story. I am not lying here. After nearly five minutes of pushing my luck, I can't go any further. I'm not a gambling man. I give in. I throw my cards on the table. Fine. I start to slow down and begin looking for a place in the woods to call home for a while.

Although... just as I'm ready to take the offramp into TotalEmbarassmentTown, I see it. Two neatly folded Kleenex, right in the middle of the trail. I swear to you. Dead center of the trail, as if left as a gift from Heaven. True, I'm sure someone (more prepared than I) accidentally dropped them, but I didn't care. They were there for a reason, and that reason was me. No need to buy me any presents for a while. I just cashed my karma check, and Christmas came early this year.

I'll end the story there. Just know that I've never been so happy to see two little Kleenex. It did the job perfectly, and I'm still here to tell about it, so life is just peachy. But I'll tell you I learned something. Even though I was never a boy scout, from now on, I'm going to be prepared and bring some tissues with me running. If I don't use them, maybe I'll just leave them on the trail for someone else in need. It might just be you. You're welcome in advance.

Oh, and do you know where I can get some socially-conscious Himalayan coffee? Argh.


Blogger Michelle said...

Here's my deposit into the Karma bank account.

I guess I am not in the "weak stomach" category.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Ka-pow!!! said...

Not a runner here but I too get The Gurgle only when I've had too much MSG, also from "meat" products from fast food (hamburgers are the worst, though I can eat taco-bell miraculously but not the chicken quessadilla), also in times of extreme stress, and finally when my belt is too tight. You're lucky to get a full 15 mins south.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what exactly did you do with those 2 kleenex when you were done? I know you DID NOT leave them out there! Please tell me that you also bring along with you a little bag for your dog's business that can now serve two purposes???

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my wacky southside antics, be sure to visit A fellow runner's story can be found here:

11:23 PM  
Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Okay, I'm eating lunch, so I skipped over bits and pieces as I was already feeling squeemish before starting, so thanks for the

Congrats on quitting smoking.

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Anonymous katherine said...

Looks like people have now discovered how to SPAM comments on BLOGS - when will the insanity end! You might have to change your profile to only accept people registered with blogger....

GREAT story - glad you are back blogging more regularly.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Oldman said...

so what about the couscous.... try some israel couscous and cook i with some broth... i can't believe the spam you got on your blog

10:05 AM  
Blogger nancytoby said...

Welcome to Nature! LOL! Um, what are "whistle kids"? Not being socially conscious, and all....

8:50 AM  
Blogger anne said...

OH MY GOD!! that is EXACTLY the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps me up at night! i am NOT KIDDING MATEO- you are the bravest man i know for doing that. remind me to tell you the "customer service" story i heard a while back about barnes and noble, a large sick man, 2 rubber gloves, a wastebasket, and a HUGE wad of TP! (and you know- i LOVE couscous. . . does that make me a bland eater?!)

1:07 AM  
Blogger Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Egads. I had runner's gurgle in Chicago and it was awful. That bathroom will never be the same and I feel really bad for the foreign tourist that was in there because he just kept flushing and flushing his toilet because plugging his ears and humming wasn't working.

Too much info?

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jamie Rogers said...

Matt, sorry to hear you've had the Gurgles. Sounds a lot like my runs lately. I am with you on this one.....

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