Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The nasty runner

No, no...this is not an entry-tribute to Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty). Sorry kids, this post is more along the lines of the nasty part of running/racing...the gastrointestinal part. My decision to do this blog was to give new runners my insights and thoughts about running, so never let it be said that I ever held anything back. Plus it's just funny to talk about pee and poop sometimes (this is why my wife says that I shouldn't be allowed to talk to the kids).

While those who know me will think that this is just an excuse to talk about my two favorite subjects at the same time (running and shatting), this can be a pretty serious topic for the serious runner. For instance, the night before a big run or race, you should eat early to give your body enough time to process all that food. Timing gets tricky because you want to make sure you take your deuce before you hit the road. Trust one likes to run with that heavy feeling in their gut. It tends to slow you down and if you become preoccupied by it (like I would) then it could take away your focus from your run. Plus it could be disasterous trying to find a port-a-potty in the middle of your run. When I was on vacation in Gulf Shores, I hadn't planned properly and left the condo without visiting my "office." Around mile 10 the pressure started to build and by mile 12 it felt like I was carrying a boulder in my gut while trying to waddle up the road. Fortunately, I was running near the public beach, so I was able to make a quick dash into the port-a-potty. That was a foul experience, but afterwards I felt much lighter and was able to finish my run (albeit very slowly as dehydration had started to set in by that time). Your timing issue can also be complicated if you're traveling some distance to a race. If I'm driving anywhere over 20 minutes away, I say get there early and take care of business there. Yes, it's public. Yes, it's gross. But the other option is waking up super-early and risk being overly tired.

The same rules apply for numero uno. Like I tell my cross country team, make sure you take a leak before you start running. No one wants to see you taking care of business on the side of the course, becaue it didn't occur to you to pee before the race started.

And while we're on the topic, I may as well mention gas. I imagine that there are several people (particularly the ladies) out there who wouldn't dream of ripping a fart on the course. Me, I see letting one go as an awesome weapon. First, the smell of well-balanced diet upon passing through a runner's system can be so toxic that it will knock out any would-be passers behind you. Second, like any other gastrointestinal activity, the pressure on one's bowels can be adverse to the runner as he or she tightens and tenses up to keep that gas under wraps. I find releasing it into the ether is somewhat like a turbo-boost in that after it is gone, I suddenly feel relaxed and free.

Ideally on race day, my morning will go like this. Wake up, grab a shower, and grab a bite to eat and drink. Drop a deuce, grab my gear and head out the door for my race. At the race, check in, take a leak and do some striders to warm up. If it's a long run, then I might have another bite to eat and drink (very little. Just enough to make sure I have something on my stomach but not too much as to weigh me down), and then it's back to little runner's room to take my last pee about 5-10 minutes before the starting gun. Any race/run over 10 miles may require a mid-race pit stop. Not fun, especially if it's a croweded field, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Okay that's enough for me. It's comic night and I have some reading to catch up on now. Later kids.

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