Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More than you wanted to know

**warning – the following post contains graphic images and descriptions of bodily functions. If you are easily grossed-out, you may want to skip this post.

I’m going to let all my non-running readers in on a little secret: there are sometimes “unpleasant” effects of running. The casual runner may not experience them, but anyone who has pushed their body to its limits knows that it can cause potentially embarrassing gastric symptoms. From what I understand, when a runner (or any athlete for that matter) is really pushing their body, their heart is pumping hard carrying the blood to the extremities. This naturally causes the blood to be taken away from internal organs, such as the digestive tract. And when the body pulls blood away from the digestive tract, it stops digesting. The body’s response is elimination. Yep – that’s right. I’m talking about puking and pooping. (aren't you glad that you're still reading?)

When I first started running a couple of years ago, the puking part didn’t come as a surprise. I suppose I still had memories of running the mile in elementary school, and how sick it made me feel. I’ve actually only thrown up twice from running: once at the end of my very first 5k and once just last week after I failed to property keep my electrolytes balanced during a 14 miler.

But the whole pooping thing was a surprise to me – I had no idea that running could affect the bowels. Luckily, I’m a pretty regular person so it rarely is an issue for me. I also frequent a running board, and there are topics about the bowels often enough that I was aware of the potential before the situation presented itself. I do have to admit though, that there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve been blessed to find an appropriately placed restroom – but only one where I wasn't so lucky.

I’ve heard stories and I’ve even seen pictures though, so I know that I’m not alone. Ironically, the morning after the lovely and talented Tiburon forwarded me an email with this picture,




I set off for my early morning run. I only had 3 miles on the schedule for that day, and I planned to run before work – which meant getting up at 4:30 am. It was still pitch-black outside, and there was nary a soul to be seen. My run started out well, and I was running a fast pace (which I try to do at least once a week). About a mile into my run, I started feeling some rumblings from the depths of my bowels. But, I wasn’t too worried – I had less than 2 miles until home and I’d never had issues before.

As I kept running though, the situation became more urgent and I began to wonder what I could do. I was on a residential street, with only dark homes and sleeping occupants. There weren’t any available places to relieve myself until I reached home - and home was still about a mile away. I started running faster so that I would get home more quickly, which only made the situation worse. I kept thinking about the picture from the email only the day before, and perhaps it was psychosomatic, but I started to worry what would happen IF? Real people don't crap themselves do they? Isn't that something reserved for the ultra-tough, elite runners who don't want to risk their first-place finish?

So, I did the only thing I could think of at the moment: I ran behind a large pine tree in an open space area, dropped my pants, and took care of business. After I was finished, I stepped a few feet to my left, and drug my bum over the grass. Then, I pulled up my pants and finished my run. It’s not something that I’m proud of, and I can only hope that the sprinklers washed things away before the poor landscape guys had to mow. But I did what I had to.

So there you have it: my most embarrassing running-related moment. It actually took me almost a month to get the courage to post it, so please be kind. And if you feel so obliged to share something with me that would make me feel better, I’d much appreciate it.

21 comments:

Tiburon said...

Oh.my.gosh. Christie I love you. 1. I can't believe you posted that picture. 2. I can just picture you dragging your bum on the grass.

That takes some guts to post sista.

Me said...

Thanks for giving me yet another excuse for not running! Last time I ran (last fall), I felt like a 200 year old tortoise. I could never get myself to run more than 3 miles at a time, so I'm impressed by all of you who can/do. Anyway, I think I'll stick to weights and cycling.

Matt F said...

Um well, It was Mile 19 in the St George marathon, 5 Gu shots, which make the "situaion" worse. I had a high pressure system in the south if you get my drift. Luckily I made it to the port 'o Potty by the seat of my pants.. I know the feeling.

Chelsea said...

Oh my gosh, that poor man. I'm glad you were able to "pull over" so you didn't have to keep running with poo all over your clothes! Blech!

Lindsay said...

That's awesome. My favorite part is that you wiped your butt like a dog on the grass.

I sharted on the floor of TJMaxx once if that makes you feel better. I thought I just had to fluff, apparently not...

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Najma said...

Glad it worked out good for you. Man running does crazy stuff to people. I have a sister and brother in law that are runners... they're both losing they're toe-nails. Yucky. I didn't know that running did that until recently too!

carrie said...

OK, I'm totally laughing my butt off right now. First, your post.... You're too funny. Second, Lindsay's comment. Maybe I'll share some embarassing stories someday when I have a lot more courage.... ha ha I think you're hilarious.....and I am still laughing at the thought of you wiping your butt on the grass. :o)

Lynita said...

Okay have you seen Bucket List? There are 3 wisdoms that Jack Nicholsons character shares with us. I will only list two; "Never pass up a bathroom, and never trust a fart!" The latter is funny, I am sure that many people have had that sad experience, thanks for being real enough to share. Although the picture makes me want to grab a firehose and hose the poor guy off, the best is the people in the backround who are dumbfounded, just willing themselves to look away! I always knew there was a reason I am not a runner!

gareth said...

Christie - oh my heck I'm so glad you posted this! I trained for Hobblecreek a couple years ago and had this same problem EVERY time I ran. No joke, every Saturday morning for my 'long' run, I had to go. Luckily there was lots of construction going on at the time and I scoped out all the port-a-potty's in the area, so I never did it in front of anyone's yard. But trust me....there were several moments of fierce sweating and tightening of the butt muscles to prevent an unfortunate accident!!

At least you wiped, too! I learned to carry tissues in my sock for this same reason!!!

Kari said...

Oops, that wasn't Gareth, that was me!!!!

Mindi said...

NEVER HAD IT HAPPEN, BUT I AM ALMOST WISHING IT COULD HAVE SO I COULD JOIN YOUR CLUB!!!!

seeing you wipe off on that grass could just have made my last year of life worth living. REALLY.

good for you for sharing!!!! i love to laugh at myself best sometimes..

Misty said...

This is awesome and I can kind of relate to you. I used to run track and Cross Country in HS. I remember peeing my pants on one such occasion. Luckily, it wasn't as dramatic as the picture, but still mortifying. I totally love your story and appreciate you being real - H-I-L-arious!

Julia said...

Okay I'm dying laughing about you dragging your bum. No leaf handy? I've heard of such tales, but never experienced myself. However, next time i run and feel the urge, I won't be too ashamed. Since I usually run at night, I hope I can find such a place to do my business! I love that you finished your run!

Christie said...

Of course I finished my run - I had to get out of there fast incase someone saw me. And thanks to everyone who made me feel better by sharing some stories of their own. At least I know I'm in good company.

Omgirl said...

Please tell me that's not what is really happening in that picture. It's really a picture of a guy who spilled his coffee while running. Or a guy who had a cut that was rubbed with iodine. Because, I'm sorry, there is no race in the world that is important enough to crap your pants in front of a whole crowd of people AND NOT EVEN SLOW DOWN FOR IT! (as that guy is still running full speed in that picture). Wow.

Pedaling said...

this just may the the most scary, gross post i have ever read.
scary because i am doing my best to add running to my regime & that could be me..and gross, well, it just is, the story, the picute, the comments, ehhwww

Ruhiyyih Rose said...

Oh Christie!! I just freaked out a bit, laughed out loud, gasped, laughed some more. HEE!! You are too funny! That poor guy...

This has not happened to me...yet. Ugh...

Cole said...

Love that you had the cahones to post that one. Makes me not feel so bad about almost puking playing indoor soccer... No really, wow, you have respect from me that's for sure, I can't imagine me pushing myself so hard that I would poo my pants, at least not right now. I would have to count that as an accomplishment!!!

I found you through Tiburon btw...

Chillygator said...

I linked over from Tib's blog and was just glancing through (why I decided to read this one we'll never know). That is awkwardly awesome. May I be your friend too?

Bethany said...

Just came across this post while mindlessly blog surfing. I ran my first marathon (St. George) last year, and have had the same experience you described, almost to a "t." Fun, isn't it? Happy running!