Friday, 25 January 2013

A New Resolution

I have come to a realisation lately.  See, I have been having some troubles lately when I run.  I keep getting blasted stitches!  They are always on my right side, just at the bottom of my ribs.  Sometimes I can run though my stitches - JFDI style!  But some days the stitches are so bad that I can't breath.  I have to stop running and stand hunched over for 5 minutes while they clear up.  And if its a really bad run, the stitches will return again, which is so annoying.

I always thought that stitches were caused by eating or drinking too closely to running.  Due to that mindset, I have always made sure that I don't eat or drink anything two hours before I run.  Therefore, at work I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything after 3.30pm.  That would also mean that if I had a Fun Run at 7.30am I would get up at 5am to eat my breakfast.  Not much fun at all!

But lately I have found that I am getting stitches all the time, even though the last time I might have consumed some food or drink was so 3-4 hours beforehand.  I tried eating and drinking at all different times before running, however I couldn't work it out.

I started researching this topic on Google (I always self-diagnose myself on Google).  One website mentioned that stitches are caused when the foot that is on the same side as your liver hits the ground at the same time as breathing in, so in order to prevent stitches you must make sure that you don't inhale at the same time the foot on the same side as you liver hits the ground  This made no sense to me as my foot strikes the ground more often than I inhale and exhale, so I would have to either breath really fast or start running slower than walking pace.

I also read that it was caused by poor posture when you run.  I have had a lot of people comment about how good my posture is when I run as I don't hunch over and I keep my upper body up right.  This didn't seem like the answer to my question.

But then I came across something interesting.  One website, which I cannot remember, mentioned that stitches can be caused by carbonated drinks.  A light bulb went off in my head.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Coke Zero.  I love it because it tastes good and it has 1 calorie, so it won't affect my daily calorie allowance.

Coke Zero!  And it's my birthday year!

I can also honestly say that I can tell the difference between Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, along with Pepsi and Pepsi Max.  Coke Zero tastes the best of all.  But I do have a soft spot for Diet Vanilla Coke too.

Mmmmm... Diet Vanilla Coke!

I have a 600ml bottle of Coke Zero every day at work.  I have it because when I go out with my friends at lunch time, I don't get anything to eat as I have normally eaten my lunch prior, which I have brought from home.  Instead of sitting there doing nothing with my friends, I drink my Coke Zero.  And I love it.  Even the lady at Nandos knows my order of by heart - one 600ml bottle of Coke Zero!

I even managed to switch B from Coke to Coke Zero.  Even he likes the taste!  We have cans of the stuff in our drinks fridge....

Coke Zero with more carbonated diet drinks...

...and a couple of slabs of it sitting next to our drinks fridge.

Yup, these are all sitting next to the fridge

I also get frustrated when I go out and they only have Diet Coke on offer as I'm not a big fan of it.  My parents also have Coke Zero at their place (which they call Zero when they ask for it when they go out and people (mainly me) look at them strangely).  When I go to things like dinners or drinks or something similar with Brendan's side of the family I have to bring my own bottle of Coke Zero as none of them drink diet drinks.  If I don't bring my own drink I'm either stuck with wine or Coke.

I did a test run a few days ago.  I didn't have any Coke Zero at lunch time and then I went for a run after work.  It was a beautiful run as I didn't get a stitch.

So, if I want to remain stitch free and progress positively in my running, I have to give up Coke Zero, Pepsi Max and all other carbonated drinks.  But not completely.  I could never do that.  I will just have to give it up on week days.  I will also have to make sure that on weekends I only drink it after I have been running.

Oh Pepsi Max! How I am going to miss you when I need a drink at work!

This means that I will have to find something else to drink at lunch time.  I don't drink coffee and I only drink peppermint tea first thing in the morning (its part of my morning ritual at work).  I've had a few Vitamin Water drinks at lunch time lately.  They are around 90 calories each, which isn't too bad considering when I run I burn between 700-1000 calories, so I can afford to go slightly over my 1200 calorie limit each day.

If you are on the 12WBT what do you drink at lunch time?

Anyone got any suggestions of what I have have to drink at lunch time?


  1. I used to drink a massive amount of coke zero, but gave it up in preseason of round 3 last year. Read lots of bad stuff about it and people like bob Harper and Jillian michaels saying it was good to give up in terms of getting your body right. I still sometimes want one but it's easier now. I drink water instead, as boring as it can be - its a lot better for you. Only occasionally will I have a vitamin water. I think they might be high in sugar. So I highly recommend just giving it up completely :). (I also used to hate drinking water so it's funny how much you can change).

    1. Actually, I have thought about it since and I have decided that I'm going to cut down my carbonated diet drinks intake even more. I am just going to have it on special occasions, such as when I go out to functions so I don't have to drink wine the whole time, etc. I know that the stuff is bad for me and that I have to give it up. I will try my very best!

    2. Good decision :) I initially started doing that (only having soft drink at special occasions but then found I didn't want to break my "not having it". So I then just went with water (not to say I won't go somewhere and have a cider or wine :))

  2. Have you tried coconut water? I have gotten into drinking that - there's ones with a splash of fruit juice too

    1. I got into coconut water a few years ago as I got a couple of free samples at a fun run. The ones I got had juice in them too and they were really delicious. The only thing is that you can generally only get them at the supermarket, so they can't really be a drink that I have a lunch time at work as I need to find a drink I can buy at a cafe and Nandos etc.

    2. As annoyed as I get at having to pay for water when I'm out (when it's not free), I still think its better to be having that at least part of the time then sugary drinks. Are there any outdoor spots near your usual lunch spots - can you convince people to do takeaway and go sit somewhere? Then at least you could bring what you liked :)

      Stick with it!! :)

  3. Hi Lou,
    I completely understand where you are coming from on this. While my poison of choice is Diet Coke, I too have tried to give up numerous times to no success. I usually last about three weeks before I sneak it back in again. The thing is being able to go and buy a drink when you have lunch with your friends allows you to feel like you are a part of the 'Eating out' experience. It helps you to not feel deprived. I totally get that. Perhaps not all diet drinks will cause you issues with stitches. I find that Coke Zero in particular gives me issues on the rare occasion that I have it - however, pepsi max - no problems. Might just be the Coke Zero?
    Love your blog - very inspiring. Are you planning to do round 1 for 2013?

    1. Hi Andrea,

      I'm glad you understand. I think the main thing is about being able to go out to lunch with friends and not feeling left out. I already go to so many lunches where I eat nothing as I've already got my lunch, so to sit there and not even have a drink is a little depressing. I already have friends who think I don't eat ever! And I don't believe in buying bottled water - it's too expensive.

      And I am planning on doing Round 1 for 2013 - Fit and Strong this time! But I will have to modify it to include more running.

      Are you doing Round 1? If so what exercise type?

      Lady Lou

    2. Hi Lou,

      Probably intermediate I think. I need to take the KISS approach as I have two little ones and am working 4 days a week so I need to make sure I can make it work for me. I am lucky that I have a flexible job that allows me to go to the gym at lunch. Like you - I will eat my lunch at my desk and then I am able to make fulluse of the hour that I am allocated as a lunch break.