Editor’s Note: There’s no real smooth, coy or soft way of talking about diarrhea.
So there I am, meandering through Dillon’s grocery store like a guy with time to kill on a Tuesday evening. I grab some eggs, organic Greek yogurt (I’m an elitist), fruit, Gatorade, protein bars–ya know, exercise super foods. I move into the meat section to snag some Smart Chicken.
As I’m sure you’ve observed at your grocery store, there is a small section in the meat department where the store sells various products discounted, because they are nearing their expiration dates. It’s organized much like the $1 DVD bin at a Wal-Mart, only this has decaying meat and a touch of Russian Roulette.
I take a quick gander at the compost pile and see this label on an Alaskan salmon package:
$12.50. Now $5. “Oooo!!” I proclaim giddily in my inner dialogue. “That’s the best meat-based protein you can find. Could literally be the healthiest food out there. It’s mine. I’ll just cook it tonight and it’ll be fine.”
The next day I eat the salmon for lunch. “This center part looks undercooked,” I comment to a coworker. “Eh, s’all good.”
3 a.m.: Eric’s bed
Eric’s covers have been kicked on the floor. He is sweating in the fetal position and holding his intestines like they have just been bayoneted. “Bllllgbgbgbrrrcck,” he stammers.
6:30 a.m.: Eric’s bed
Eric’s alarm literally almost scares the crap out of him. He hurries to the bathroom. Stays a while.
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Eric’s office
Eric, who had no time for breakfast, arrives at work with full flop-sweat and sprints to the men’s restroom for the first of 20 or so times at the office. No other men are in the office this day, for which he is thankful.
9 p.m.: Eric’s couch
Exhausted, Eric decides he will sleep off what has been the longest day of his life.
9 a.m.: Eric’s office
After what he labels as a “morning flare up” at home, Eric must use bathroom at work for third time in an hour. After, he tells his boss he his going to the doctor, which he rarely does.
11 a.m.: Doctor’s office
Doctor: “How many times did you go to the bathroom yesterday?”
Eric: “Like 20?”
Doctor: “Jesus,” she says with laugh.
Eric: “Hey! Just diagnose me! I’m dying here!”
Doctor: “Yeah, you have food poisoning. Did you eat anything that could have caused this?”
Like the diehard I am, I inquire about how many days this will cost me in training. “Three to seven days,” I’m told. “I can’t spare that many. I have to run 20 miles Saturday,” I respond. “Good luck,” quips my doc.
I lost weight (seven pounds or so), I lost muscle mass, I lost days of training, I lost two days of work, I lost taste for salmon, I lost lots and lots of pride, but I didn’t lose my will to train, which kept me focused on eating right and medicating for my 20 mile run on Saturday. Even if I wasn’t cured, I wanted to have three or four hours of normal health.
I ran with Nick, plus our friend Kelli, who joined us for 10 miles or so. I had to make a pit-stop to lose my breakfast, and Nick and Kelli were dolls and waited out my brief episode that one Hy-Vee bathroom will never forget. Nick and I finished the 20-mile run (the morning he celebrated his birthday, no less), and felt horrible after. But it was amazing. We could have suffered through 6.2 more miles, and we’re confident now. We burned something like 2,567 calories on that run. Crazy.
This brings me to bad news, and good news.
Bad news: My brother, who had complained his knee was in serious pain, apparently had been running 13 miles a day on an injured ACL. OUCH. He had to withdraw from The SF Marathon that’s in a month, and was incredibly bummed about it, as was I. Adding insult to injury, we had paid his non-refundable entry fee. I’m in good with the race organizers, so I email them and ask for a favor…
Good news: I wonder to myself, instead of biting the entry fee bullet, could we replace the runner? Who could be ready in a month to run a marathon on arguably the hilliest course in the country? Nick. I ask him, if I could somehow swing it, if he would take Ryan’s place. “Yeah. I’ll do it.” One email later to my peeps in SF, Nick Nelson is now the proud owner of a full marathon racing position. It’ll be nice to have someone to run with on that day. We wish my brother could join us, but we’ll endure all the race pain for him.
Bear Grylls catches and eats raw salmon, then goes and lives in the forest for a bit. I grill some salmon, and live in a bathroom for days.