I have come to realize that my Buddha belly issues are not normal thanks to finally remembering to ask fellow bloggers HEAB and Caitlin if they’ve ever experienced this issue. First and foremost, thank you ladies for helping me out and for your quick and very informative responses. I’m still working thing out, but I wanted to talk about it a little more for those of you who might be experiencing the same thing I have.
After a run, my stomach usually bloats out. It’s been something that I’ve been experiencing for as long as I can remember, and I never really thought anything much of it until this past weekend. I ran 7 miles and on my cool-down walk back to my car, I noticed my belly was sticking out. I looked in my car window and it seriously looked like I was a few months pregnant. I thought, “Damn, what the hell is this?” It really shocked me to see how bloated I got, and to be honest, it kind of scared me.
I emailed Caitlin and HEAB to let them know what I experienced and asked them if they knew anything about why that would happen. Figuring it to be normal, I half expected a quick and easy response such as, “Oh it’s just your body reacting to the stress of running,” or something like that. But when they both emailed me back to say they had never heard of anything like that before, I was a little worried.
Let’s take a step back 29ish years. When I was a baby, I had some intestinal issues. The doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with me but I was in the hospital with complications that were thought to be related to my small intestine. I struggled for years with regularity, and as a child was forced to take (Warning, TMI) enemas, laxatives, and mineral oil for lubrication. I would go weeks (seriously) without a bowel movement all throughout high school and never thought twice about it. Ignorance? Maybe. But I didn’t know anything else. It was just how my body worked.
It wasn’t until I started changing my diet (and when Dennis got sick) that I realized the importance of regularity. Eating more balanced, less refined, and more natural “whole” foods is what helped me to becoming “normal” so to speak. But this bloat issue has remained, so I thought it must be natural.
Both Heather and Caitlin asked me what I eat before I run and gave me information about how eating solid foods too close to a run can cause bloating and nausea. I don’t get nauseous, thank God, but this could be the cause of my problem. I eat before every run or workout session; depending on how long my workout is how much I will eat. If I know I’m running a long run, I’ll be sure to eat a good, hearty breakfast of oatmeal or Go Lean waffles with yogurt, PB and bananas about 2 hours before I begin my run. I do this because I don’t like to eat while I’m running, and I don’t know how else to stay fueled during the run. I took a Goo with me during the Boilermaker 15K and it ended up making me sick, so after that I decided to stay away from that kind of stuff and just keep doing what I’ve been doing. However, I am seeing that maybe liquid nutrition might be best for me before a run or long workout.
Caitlin sent me this link:
Liquid nutrition is the easiest and most convenient way to get kilojoules and nutrient dense fuel. Solid food for the most part cannot match the nutrition of the best liquid food supplements. In addition, too much solid food consumption will divert blood from working muscles for the digestive process. This and the amount of digestive enzymes and fluids required in breaking down the constituents of solid food taxes the body and can result in a feeling of bloating and/or nausea. Some solid food intake is okay during endurance exercise, particularly during ultras, but for a more rapid utilization of nutrients with less chance of stomach distress, a liquid energy source is preferred.
Heather sent me something similar…pretty much the same thing as what was bolded. However, when I looked back at #3, it was labeled as Eating too much solid food DURING exercise. I’m not eating while I run, but I do eat solids before. So I chalked it up to that for the most part. On Thursday I’m planning a long run in the morning. I was going to run a 10K but I really need to save that $30. I have a carton of Muscle Milk that I will drink before that run and we will see how well that works. I will also try making a smoothie with a banana and some milk or something like that.
Another question I have is is it safe to run on an empty stomach? I’ve heard it is really bad to do that, but I know many people who do. I don’t typically run well on an empty stomach (i.e. first thing in the morning) and I’ve only done it a few times. Usually if I run in the morning I’ll at least eat a half a banana before I go.
Now here’s the other issue: fueling while I run.
I need to find a good energy source that isn’t too expensive and not too processed. Caitlin suggested jelly beans or gummy bears and I will try them, but I feel like putting that kind of sugar in my system will only hurt me in the long run. I have been using agave nectar which is slightly more natural but it’s still pretty much sugar, and the coconut water is expensive. I never realized how important this stuff was, so now I’m reaching out to see what kind of suggestions I can get to finally get what will work for me.
Heather and Caitlin were a major help to me. I really appreciate the help they provided for me. Now all I can do is test the theory of liquid fuel vs. solid fuel.
I wanted to put this out there just in case there was anyone else experiencing this issue. Feel free to let me know what you think!