The Dreaded Stitch
Wind in my hair, not a care in the world, I’m approaching the 4-mile mark of an 8-mile run. Just before I get there — BAM! I get one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks side stitches that literally has me walking, limping and gasping for air. Crap. I have 4 more miles to go, and I can barely walk.
I try to remain calm. I’ve done research on side stitches, and one theory out there has to do with the timing of the exhale. Runners tend to exhale every 3-4 steps, and apparently if you exhale when your right foot strikes, the liver takes an extra bit of jarring, causing the ligaments (in your guts, ewww!) to stretch and cause this extremely painful situation. I try to take off slowly, exhaling when my left foot hits. It doesn’t work, and I’m still in agony. I walk some more and stretch it out. After about a half-mile of this, I realize it’s going to take me an awfully long time to get home. So I take off sprinting. And it works. I don’t know if the burning pain in my lungs just distracted me from the side pain, or if the extra oxygen I was taking in did something magical, but I found a new way to conquer this annoying event: speedwork.
So, if you get a stitch and can’t get rid of it, run like hell. Worked for me. — Amie