I've had my share of races and I have run them all with success relative to my personal goals. I've heard horror stories of things happening to people on long runs and in races, but have always been truly fortunate in all the races I've competed in thus far with one MINOR exception.
First a little background to make sense of the *hot mess I encountered last October running in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. Let's backtrack to February 2007. I ran my second marathon in Austin. I trained hard that year and I ran a near perfect race for me. I felt good (in marathon terms) the entire race.
For others, particularly a random older gentleman, the race was a horribly hilly trek of 26.2 miles. On or very near mile 17, I witnessed something I never care to see again for as long as I live. After running for a long stretch along a narrow barren path, we made a swift turn to open road lined with small bushes and tall trees.
Before I could blink my eyes or turn my head, this man squatted near the first bush he could escape to, pulled down his sweaty running shorts and just let...it...go! With no sense of modesty, I will never forget the agony I saw on his face. That image will forever be blurred on my retina.
Perhaps the horror of witnessing that *hot mess got me through the rest of the race. The shear optical terror might have been the source of energy. Whatever the reason, it was a story that I went on to share with others for the next 2 1/2 years. Despite being disgusting, it is a good running story and one of my so-called battle wounds.
October 25, 2009 - Marine Corp Marathon...the day the pooping karma came back to bite me.
Running a marathon in a different city has its challenges. You get a little off schedule, don't always eat quite as anally as you wish and your body adjusts accordingly. The morning of the race, I went through my pre-morning ritual as best I as could in a hotel room, but I didn't quite make my pre-running potty break quota. However, I felt good (and empty) and made my way to the race TWO...HOURS...EARLY!
After freezing my @ss off for a good 90 minutes, the gun sounded and we were off. I had high hopes for this race and with the energy of the crowd and the city, I knew this would be my day!
Then around mile 3, my biggest fear was starting to happen. I started to feel a slight discomfort in my stomach. By mile 4, it was becoming an obvious distraction. Running miles 5-8 felt like I was carrying some extra baggage in my lower back.
I chose to run the Marine Corps Marathon to see the beautiful sites of D.C., i.e. Historic Georgetown, the Capitol Mall, all the monuments, the Capitol and White House. Instead the only thing I saw were potential bushes I could escape to take care of my "issues".
He cheered loudly "GO RHONDA"!! I turned back to acknowledge his praise and simply mouthed the words.."I have to go to the bathroom!"
I couldn't believe what was happening to me. I wasn't thinking about that old man at the time, but I know all those stories I shared were coming back to haunt me.
My race was over. No Personal Record, No Medal, No Finish. BUT WAIT! I suddenly had the epiphany that if I quit now, I will have to come back to Texas and tell all my friends and family, that I quit the race because I had to POOP!
I started running with that revelation in mind and for whatever reason, there was a port-a-potty! I've never been so happy to see one of those disgusting hell boxes. The line was several people deep, and though I knew any chances of a record time were blown, I knew I could finish.
HEAVEN. I ran like a flash out of the box and put my race face back on. After nearly being tripped trying to weave my way in and out of people to pick up time, I became disheartened and the next 17 miles would be my greatest test of will and strength.
I don't remember much of anything else about that race. The only memories I have were having to poop, pooping, feeling like poop, finishing somehow and then being totally pooped!
I managed to finish in 3:58. Not bad considering the circumstances and losing two toenails on top of everything else! Yikes!
Everyone Poops. I really hope the guy with the sign is reading this, otherwise the poop karma just may be making its way to his house.
Thanks to the KLZ, Natalie and Liz – a.k.a The Nerd Mafia! I love being part of the WOW!