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Gross Things You Do While Running: Snot Rockets and Loogies and Pooping, Oh My!
In general I think most people agree that there are things you talk about and things you just don’t. That line becomes considerably blurry when you become A.) a parent or B.) a runner. Now that I’m both, it seems there are very few topics that are hush-hush anymore.
Please stop reading now if the title makes you uncomfortable or offends you in any way.
That said, here are some of my not-so-socially acceptable running experience admissions:
1. I have successfully launched a Snot Rocket (but only once, turns out I’m not that good at it).
In “real life” I would never even THINK to do something like this in public (or anywhere else for that matter). However, while running my mind tends to deviate toward the most logical and efficient way to accomplish things. Case in point: I need to get some funk out of my nose. I need to keep running. I don’t want to trip over myself trying to blow my nose on my shirt (plus it breaks my breathing pattern a good bit). I don’t want to carry tissue around, because, ew (funny how your Runner Mind rationalizes “ew”)! Therefore, the most efficient and logical way of removing the sludge from my nasal passages would be to quickly and forcefully shoot it out of my nose (imagine spitting, only out of your nostril – and with snot instead of saliva – yum!).
2. I have blown my nose on my shirt more times than I can count.
Why would I blow my nose on my shirt when I just said it would make me klutzy and interrupt my breathing pattern? Well, I had to learn to get over that when I (more than once) ended up spraying snot all over myself in my attempt at perfecting Snot Rocketry. I figured if it was going to end up there anyway, I might as well do it with dignity.
3. I have “hocked a loogie” (or several).
Speaking of dignified and ladylike behavior, this is another action I would never perform in public or elsewhere if I weren’t running. In fact, in most cases I find it appalling. But again, my Runner Mind doesn’t think this way. If I need to rid myself of excess saliva and/or phlegm, I’m going to find the fastest and easiest way to do it. If that means spitting like a cowboy at High Noon then so be it.
I do always try to be courteous with my loogies, though, and aim for grass or roadway (and always out of sight/vicinity of people, cars, and animals if possible). After all, there’s no reason to not make SOME effort at being a gentlewoman.
I used to be one of those people who swore, “this will NEVER happen to me!” Then I had a baby. Since I had done my million Kegels a day to build up my pelvic floor I thought for sure I’d be golden (ahem). I was running my first post-baby 10K this past June when it happened. It had been 9 months since the boy was born so I figured I’d had enough recovery and strength-building time for it not to be an issue. Wrong! I found myself a mere mile and a half from the finish line with a dire, urgent, nothing-is-stopping-this need to pee.
My choices were to be creepy and go door-to-door asking to use some poor unsuspecting soul’s toilet, to be disgusting and squat like a dog in some poor unsuspecting soul’s yard, or to be noble and do what any reasonable person with a weakened pelvic floor would have done in my position and pee their pants. Because nothing says “nobility” like incontinence.
5. I have come entirely too close for comfort to, erm, the secondary toilet elimination possibility. Yes, while running…my first marathon.
I was ten miles in. I was feeling pretty good. I hadn’t needed a walk break. I was on pace to finish faster than my estimated goal time. No aches or pains, no huffing or puffing, no discomfort whatsoev…uh-oh. It came out of nowhere – that feeling you dread as a runner and hope to God you never have to experience.
I had to poo. And I had to poo SOON.
I was determined not to walk. I wanted to at least make it to the halfway point without breaking my stride. Not to mention that with my…pressing issues…I couldn’t really afford to slow down. My prideful stride turned into a sad, waddling Poo-Poo Dance shuffle as I searched for somewhere, anywhere to lay my burden down. It’s unbelievable where your Runner Mind goes in times like these. I honestly considered going behind a dumpster at one point.
Fortunately for me there were port-a-potties before the halfway point because I wouldn’t have made it to 13.1, walking or not. It hurt (physically and emotionally) to stop but I will take lost time any day over loss of…well, dignity.
After that first marathon three years ago if you would have told me I’d be writing publicly about almost pooping my pants, I’d have probably denied having almost pooped my pants. I definitely wouldn’t have owned up to the peeing part. But three years ago was well before parenthood and well before I learned that sometimes gross things just happen and you’ve just gotta roll with it.
Running and parenting have removed the weight of shame from my shoulders. I no longer take a second thought to freely discussing any bodily function.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my son is trying to get my attention with some sort of horrible smell he’s created.
What’s the grossest thing you’ve done while running?
What gross thing are you most afraid of doing while running?