Manbag #14 – Up & Running

I don’t normally post a picture of race medals. The race medal normally gets chucked at the bottom of the post race kitbag and languishes there, unloved, until the next race, normally about a year later. But this one is a bit different. Two weeks ago I completed the Langdale Half marathon. It was my last personal goal of my first year with a colostomy. To get back to running and back to the distances that I enjoy running. It was a last minute choice, I got offered the place through South Lakeland Mind so I thought sod it.

Post Op I had progressed as far as running up to six miles 2 or 3 times a week but had stalled at that point, not really being able to move up to the next level. The hot summer didn’t help but also just getting back to where I was didn’t really do it for me as an objective.

I had 4 weeks to get ready and then promptly caught a cold so I took it easy and just had time for an eight mile run and a ten mile run before the real thing. I felt truly awful after the ten mile run and this was a good thing. It made me realise that I had to run a lot slower than my initial expectations.

The good thing about the Langdale Half is that (a) – I hadn’t run it before and (b) it’s very hilly. Therefore I couldn’t make any comparative judgements on previous races that I have run. I could just go out and get round, tick the box and move on.

Running has proved to be a little problematic with my stoma. On roughly half my runs I would get leaks from the bottom of the seal, unusual, in that all my normal leaks have been from the top of the seal. They were generally watery shit rather than a full on shitstorm of a leak and often accompanied by a bit of blood. I soon resolved the blood, that was my psoriasis, the running pulled on the bag and that pulled on my skin generating the blood. So that was fine if it wasn’t coming from the stoma then I wasn’t that worried. The leaks took a bit more working out. But in the end I cut a protective seal in half, put that on around the convex part of the bag seal and then put some extra tape around the bottom of the seal to stop any wrinkles in the seal developing while I ran. I also need to take a bit more care on my bag placement, if I get it too close to the top of my stoma then when the bag fills, has a bit of weight, then with the motion from the run it begins to rub on the top of my stoma, that does cause a bit more blood. So, I make sure the bottom of the hole is as close as I can get to the bottom of my stoma, leaving a couple of mm of space at the top, plus some extra tape as well. So, gaffer taped up I can go out for a run with some comfort.

I always run with a new bag on, or a virtually empty bag. It really isn’t worth having some crap in the bag before you start. You don’t relax, you’re aware of something bobbing around ‘down there’. With an empty bag I don’t need any support for the bag other than, my normal convex bag belt and a snug T shirt – Helly Hanson or Falke thermal type tees work the best even in the summer.
So 11 months post op and I am back to doing everything that I did pre op – just a bit slower in the case of the running!

Thanks for reading


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A 50 something film and digital photographer based in Kendal, Cumbria. Blogging about mental health, mental wellbeing, living with a colostomy and music memories.

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