Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Deep Thoughts While Running #2

If you keep up with me on this blog, or know me in real life, you know that about a week or so ago I ran the Chicago Half.

Oh!  Fair warning: don't read this if you don't like poop jokes.  Also, time to leave now if you get sick easy.

Anyhow!  While running the Chicago Half, I encountered my first ever blow out.  And I don't mean a spectator was pushing a 2 month old in a stroller and had to change their diaper as I passed by.  I mean, a grown woman at around mile 5/6 had literally messed herself and you could see it running down the back side of her running tights. 

Lucky for me, after passing the woman, I was left with not only some very bad mental images... but was also granted 7+ miles on course to contemplate what I had just seen.  So...

Deep Thoughts While Running, #2 (do you see what I did there?):

At what point on course do you say "I just pooped myself, but I think I'll keep going"?

First - a preface.  Obviously, there is a great awareness in the distance running community about the issue of the "poop monster" (affectionately called runner's trots).  For example, there's a reason why I wake up at least 2 hours early on race day even though it makes me hate life: because you literally can't eat and run.  Or rather, you can eat an run... but you'll live to regret it. 

However, it came to my attention after mentioning this woman to some family/spectators post race, that they were very unaware of the issue ... let's just say their "deer in the headlights" response queued me in.

Honestly, I don't know the exact reason why people get running induced GI distress.  I think it has something to do with the leg muscles pulling all the blood away from the stomach muscles, and the result being a system purge in the intestines.  What I do know is you can save yourself lots of issues if you wait to run until a few hours post eating.  Makes you want to start running, right?  Gooooooodddd tiiimmmeeesssss.

 Anyhow, preface over.  Back to my deep thoughts.

So, as I see this woman, the first few thoughts I have are:

(1) OMG, it's happened.  I thought this was the stuff of legends.
(2) Ok, what is etiquette here?  Do I pretend it didn't happen?  Do I just try not to look? 
(3) Maybe if I don't look, it will be like it didn't happen.
(4) Nope, it definitely happened, as is evidence by the girl a few up from me who is now just seeing it and reacting to her friend.
(5) Does she know what's going on down there?  Do I tell her? 
(6) No, don't get closer.  A - gross.  B - how could she not know..??!!

After I finally pass the poor woman, reality sets in.

First of all, how did this happen?  Did the woman eat something bad for dinner last night?

Did she think she was letting out a fart an instead ended up with a bit more?

Does she really not realize what's happened?

So many questions pass through my head.  And I honestly can't imagine how she would NOT know it had happened.  I finally accept the reality that the woman has accepted her fate and is continuing the course. 

Which brings on a whole 'nother train of thought as I continue on.  Mostly, I begin to wonder at what point do you say "No big, it's just some poo... let's keep going."?

Is it ok if you're this guy, about to get a record time, with the finish line in site?

Is it ok if someone else is encouraging you on course to continue on?

Maybe, at the end of the day, it's just ok to do it and talk about it if you're Al Roker?

As of this post, I still haven't wrapped my head around it.  All I can think is, at what point in life do you say "You know what, maybe today's just not my day.  Maybe I should bow out."? 

I guess I hope I'm never in the position to have to make the decision myself. 


  1. LOL!!! Ever since we discussed this issue last week, I have been eagerly waiting for this post! I couldn't agree with you more on all the points/questions that you brought up and that we can only hope that we never end up having to make some of those decisions.

    Seriously, though - I really do admire that woman's gusto for just continuing on as if nothing had happened. I was so embarrassed just at the sight of it! Running a half marathon alone is hard enough as it is - but to do so with THAT? Can you IMAGINE? And when I saw her at mile 9 I was kind of hoping for her sake that it had JUST happened... so it was horrible to learn that it had clearly happened much earlier on in the race. Oh, the agony...!

    1. LOL! Thanks for anxiously awaiting this post! :-)

      I really don't know what I'd do in that situation. I keep thinking about how I would maybe beg a water stop person for a gallon jug of water, and then slip into a porta pot and hope for the best...?

      Oh, the things we see on course!