Runner's Trots: A True Story

>> Monday, June 17, 2013

This post is going to get pretty "real." Prepare yourself.

Thursday afternoon, I headed out for a tempo run. The goal was to warm-up for 2 miles, hit the next 4 miles HARD, and then cool-down for 2 miles. I hit mile 1 in 6:59. "Uhh, it's a 'WARM UP' Steve... ease up!" So then I hit mile 2 in 6:43. "Wait, 6:43?!?! That's WAY to fast for a WARM UP!" So I decided to do a 3rd warm-up mile and back off the pace a bit before starting the fast miles.

I think starting off so fast was doing something to my stomach, but I wasn't aware of that yet...

So I FINALLY ran mile 3 a little slower (7:09), and then upped the pace for my hard tempo miles.

I didn't know what kind of pace I'd be holding for my "fast" miles because my warm-up miles were so fast. I hit the end of my first "fast" mile in 5:58. "Oh well... kinda slow... I guess starting out so fast is going to.... WAIT, that said FIVE fifty-eight, not SIX fifty-eight!! Holy nuts. I'm bookin' it for that being my first fast mile!"

I didn't think "Wow, I'm owning this workout." I thought "Wow, I'm going crash and burn." But I didn't know exactly HOW I was going to crash and burn at that moment...

I ran my second tempo mile in 6:04, and I knew I was fading fast. I figured I'd only run 1 more hard mile, so I did mile 3 in 5:55 for 3 tempo miles in 17:57 total. I walked for a bit, and then started jogging home on my 3 mile cool-down.

With less than 2 miles before home, my stomach started churning.

You know that feeling: it gets tighter and worse and worse and you're just waiting for it to "release"... and finally it does. It started doing that quite often. I was really clenching my sphincter tight. Best sphincter workout in a long time.

With around 1.5 miles left, I really questioned if I could make it home! "Steve, it's been less than a half mile since your stomach / intestines started acting up, and it's getting BAD. You still have more than 3x as far to go to get home!" I was running along River Road on the east side of the river, and I was about to cross from Minneapolis to St. Paul (so between Shriners Hospital and the Lake / Marshall Bridge).

I was running with my shirt in my hand, and I considered jumping into the wooded bluffs along the river, dropping trou, letting it all flow, and wiping with my shirt. I'd just leave the shirt there. It was one of my Chisago Lakes Triathlon shirts, but it WASN'T my favorite one:

Me and Pharmie in my FAVORITE Chisago Lakes Tri shirt at my first Time Trial in 2009.

I was wearing black running shorts, so if I "messed them up," it'd be hard to tell. VISUALLY. It'd be easy to tell OLFACTORYLY. (By smell.) Runners trots smell like nothing else. We all know the smell of poop, and we all know the smell of diarrhea. Runners trots is like the worst part of those smells added together, along with some hot, spoiled, wet meat. Opossum meat.

I really considered jumping into the woods because it was my last chance: when I got less than a mile from home, I'd spend 1/4 mile running along a fence next to a golf course and a busy road where there'd be NO place to duck and poo. After that (for the last 1/2 mile), I'd be running through my residential neighborhood where I'd have to crap in the alley next to someone's trash can. I figured my best bet was either NOW or pray that I could make it home!

THEN I REMEMBERED SEEING A PORTA POTTY! The city has been doing work on a culvert under River Road pretty close to my "1 mile from home" mile-marker. When I ran past on my way out, there were a few guys still around - they seemed to be packing up for the day. Maybe they'd still be around and the porta potty would be open!

When I got up the hill near the porta potty, I did NOT see any workers, but the porta potty didn't seemed to be locked! HURRAH!!!!!!

I ran across the road and spotted 2 guys down in the ditch on the other side still working. I yelled "Hi guys! I kinda have a bathroom emergency! Do you mind if I use this?"

One of them smiled and said, "Yeah, but it's gonna cost you!"

I held up my Chisago Triathlon shirt and said "OK, but this is all I haaaaaaave!" (I wasn't about to offer my Garmin.)

He laughed and said he was kidding and told me to go ahead. As I turned to open the door, I shouted back over my shoulder "THANKS GUYS!! I'll keep it tidy!"

I sat down and releaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddddddddddddddddddddddd.

"Oh God... that was bad. Well, time to clean upOHNOTYETITSNOTDONE!!!!!!!....."

I was in there a while. I watched a little red and brown spider crawling near the toilet paper roll. I had to keep waiting for round after round of Golden Retriever-colored liquid to come shooting out of my ass. I'd feel fine one moment, and then it'd be raining from my butt as my stomach turned the next moment.

I finally thought it was over. So I wiped a few times and tried to drop the toilet paper on top of the mess I left so one one else had to see it. As I was wiping, I realized I didn't see the spider anymore. "I MAY have just wiped my ass with a spider, but I don't care. Things could have been MUCH worse today."

I stood up and noticed all of the swass (sweaty ass) that I left all over the seat. After all, it WAS humid and 75 degrees and I had just run 8 miles. So staying true to my "I'll keep it tidy" promise, I wiped down the seat and dropped the TP over any remaining evidence of my runners trots in the basin. Now it was all behind me. Thank God.

I ran out of the porta potty, and the 2 guys were working with their backs to me. I just ran off across the road as fast as possible. THANK YOU KIND CITY OF ST. PAUL WORKERS!

If you're still reading, then you're as gross as I am. You'll enjoy this final part. Back in 2006 (as about the 10th blog post EVER on my blog), I wrote a poem about an incident like this. Here's the poem from that day nearly 7 years ago:

The following poem is a true story,
and I apologize if it gets a little gory.

I was happily into my 6.2 mile run.
I was having a good time; it was fast and it was fun.

At about mile 3, my stomach gave a twitch.
I shrugged it off; it was just a minor glitch.

Before mile 4, the little pain was back.
“Is this going to be a problem?” I thought as I clenched my crack.

The pain kept getting much worse,
And I was afraid that I was going to burst.

A few blocks from home, I started flipping through my keys.
I needed to get into the house fast and with great ease.

I picked up the pace; I was running with all I got!
It was either get home now, or duck into the bushes and cop a squat!

I was running so fast that I actually wheezed.
I didn’t think I was going to make it; my butt cheeks were squeezed!

Two blocks from home, my stomach really began to hurt.
And down my leg, I nearly felt a little squirt.

I got to the house just in the nick of time.
What I was about to do could probably be considered a crime.

Sprinting to the bathroom, I almost dropped to a knee.
I shouted to Sarah as I slammed the bathroom door, “Don’t stop loving me!!”

I had made it in time! I had made my goal!
And I concentrated hard as not to look down into the bowl. (gross)

It was a sad, sad sight: I had horrendous squirts!
It felt like the cast of Sesame Street was parading out of my ass, complete with Ernies and Berts.

What happened in there I can only describe as a gush.
It was such an incident that it called for a courtesy flush.

Had Sarah heard what just happened in the bathroom?
If she had, she is now reconsidering ever taking me as her groom!

But her love is unconditional, like the love a child has for her doll;
Outside the bathroom door sat a brand new bottle of Pepto Bismol.

The significance of this story holds true, whether near or far;
The moral being, “Ten minutes before a fast run, DO NOT eat a Klondike Bar!”

Editor's note: People keep asking, but it is COMPLETELY TRUE. I sprinted to the bathroom while shouting, "Don't stop loving me" to Sarah. Good times.

(And if you liked that, you might like another poem I wrote about annoying, stinky, old ladies taking over the swimming pool.)

All kidding aside, I think I learned something here. If my body's not used to the heat, I can NOT run hard. That may have been a bigger part of my failed marathon in 2008 than I originally thought. (It was warm that day, and things turned south for me after hitting double-digits.) When I went for a long run on Saturday, it was similarly warm, but I kept the effort easier (around 7:20s). My stomach still churned a bit near the end of those 11.5 miles. I think the heat does bad things to me. I'm used to running in cool weather here in Minnesota - you know, the other 10 months of the year. We had a cool spring, and now we're finally getting some days in the upper 70s. Lesson learned. The shitty way.


Jumper 2.0 6:22 AM, June 17, 2013  

In that case Steve, I think these are for you!

Luis Fernando Oliveira 11:29 AM, June 17, 2013  

Gee, Steve, really, THANKS FOR SHARING!!!

Jeremy Reichenberger 3:16 PM, June 17, 2013  

I do wonder why I couldn't stop reading... I thought about it a few times. But then I just couldn't.

Karen 4:23 PM, June 17, 2013  

I like the raining from your butt part. That is the perfect way to describe runner's trots.

Everybody likes a good poop story.

Sam 5:41 AM, June 18, 2013  

a) HA!
b) If all blog posts were like this the internet would be a nicer place.

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