odds and ends from a life under construction

meeting the gingerbread man

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[TMI ALERT: I’m going to talk about poop in this post. You will be amused, but possibly disgusted. I considered calling this post “Eleven Sh*tty Miles.” You’ve been warned.]

I did manage to get in a couple good runs on our vacation, although not as many as I’d originally planned for. I never quite adapted to the time change and kept waking up too late, or at the same time as Evan (normally I’m up before him and Jason and get my run in while they sleep). First up – a four-mile run on Saturday, the day after we’d arrived.

I managed to get out early, before the rest of the house had woken up, and headed to the end of our street and onto the Duck Trail, a wide paved path that runs parallel to the road through the town of Duck and down the entire island. I headed north, not really knowing where I was going but resolved to stay on the trail. And for the most part, I was feeling good. The humidity was annoying more than anything; I was covered in a fine sheen almost as soon as I started moving, and I could feel sweat dripping in places it doesn’t normally drip. Since I was only scheduled to do four miles, I went out two and headed back.

At around the three-mile mark, my stomach started gurgling. Not something that has ever happened to me on a run. Since we were sharing a bathroom with Jason’s parents back at our beach house, I hadn’t spent my normal “quality time” on the toilet before my run, so I figured maybe that was catching up to me and I pressed on so I could get back to a bathroom. I made it maybe another half a mile – maybe – before my bowels gave up the ghost and decided to empty their contents directly into my trousers. Is it too much to tell you it was more liquid than solid? Oh well – too late now. Yay! Running is fun! I love this!

I was mortified, of course, and came to a dead stop under the pretense of “stretching”. Since the road is literally 10 feet from the trail and it was a Saturday morning (the day when vacation homes typically change over), there was plenty of traffic slowed to a crawl to witness my intestinal distress. I spent a few seconds visualizing how ridiculous I’d look trying to run sideways with my butt pointed away from traffic before tucking my tail and beginning to trot the last half-mile back to the house, hoping my black pants would provide enough cover.

Ryan and Melissa were outside with their dog when I arrived home, so I awkwardly made small talk (because there’s not a good way to blurt out, “Excuse me, could I run past you? I’ve crapped my pants so you should probably look away.”) until they went back upstairs to the entrance and I could follow them up the stairs. Jason was awake so I could tell him what happened, and he told me not to be embarrassed, especially around him. I jumped in the shower and stripped down, washing out my clothes as I went. Talk about a humbling experience.

My stomach was off for the rest of the day. I figured if it was really related to my running, it would have stopped after I stopped running. Logic, right? So when I stayed within sprinting distance of a toilet all day, I figured I must have eaten something that didn’t agree with me and that running was not to blame.

Thanks for getting through all that. Here’s a picture of a kitten for your troubles.


Sunday morning, my stomach felt better. I had a seven-mile run on my training schedule, my longest distance to date, and was feeling good about it. I put on my belt with some water and a few Starbursts for energy and headed out, this time going the opposite direction on the trail (into town instead of away from town).

And for almost six miles, my run was amazing. I was keeping a relatively steady, fast (for me) pace, my legs didn’t feel fatigued, I was able to focus on my breathing and cadence…. everything was clicking. I was sweating a lot, and the sweat was interfering with my earphones, so my music kept cutting in and out. But overall – a great long run.

And then it happened AGAIN. I didn’t have as much warning this time. The run the day before had given me a few minutes of gurgling, but this time I just suddenly felt crampy and then the sensation of something leaving my body through a most inconvenient orifice. Since my run was longer and I was out later than the previous day, there was even more traffic. Haha, cosmic entity in control of our fate! Well played!

I had taken care of most of my embarrassment the previous day. This time, I was just angry. I mean – I had a great run going! You can practically see the moment at which my stomach rebelled in my split times.

TinyGrab Screen Shot 8-21-13, 7.33.04 AM

So, once again, I slowly trotted home and headed to the shower to rinse off and clean my clothes. And once again, I spent the day chained to the bathroom. I’m truly stumped. I’ve run decent distances before without a single issue. Was it the humidity? Had my diet really changed that much on vacation? Was some phantom stomach bug to blame? I’m truly at a loss. But the worse part (worse than pooping your pants, you say?!?) is that I’m afraid to go back out for a long run. I’ve got a four-miler tomorrow; we’ll see what happens.


  • Melissa Kemm says:

    Wow, I could only giggle and feel sorry for you while reading this. I’ve read other stories that hinted at this issue, but none that went into such detail. This must be one of those “rest assured, it happens to all of us” situations, and most fellow runners can relate, I’m sure. I haven’t come across this problem yet, probably only because I don’t run any great distances yet! I can only liken this to my fear of losing my bowels while giving birth (thankfully, it didn’t happen!). One of those things that others should be *only* understanding of and gracious about. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Julie says:

      I spent most of the time I was pushing in labor saying to Jason and the nurse, “Did I poop? I smell poop! I’m so sorry I pooped!” Jason told me to shut up about the poop. 🙂

  • Gemma Arnott says:

    I’ve never crapped myself during a workout, but I definitely pee a little bit, on the regular. Not the same, I know. I’ve heard of it happening though! Given that you’ve done the long runs (haha) before, I’d venture to guess your digestion was off due to travel. Which probably does not inspire much hope for your Disney runs. Here’s a link to podcast I wrote into asking for help with my own poop troubles. Very detailed and pretty embarrassing. Enjoy! (Diane has a post somewhere on Balanced Bites that specifically addresses travel & digestive distress. Couldn’t find it though!)


  • Yeah this is one of my phobias. I still haven’t asked if I pooped during my second delivery, I really don’t want to know. I don’t have the most reliable digestive system and I’ve had some close calls on the run. I bet it is just vacation food for you though. Strange that it happened in the last half mile/mile of both runs. Dark clothes sound like a good bet. I like wearing my running skirts which cover up crotch sweat and any pee issues (two big headed babies).

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