Running for It, Week 4: In which an enduring fear is realized

Here’s the deal: I’m no professional runner, but there is little doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to finish this marathon when the fateful day arrives. I know I won’t be the fastest, or the most graceful, or the prettiest, or the sweetest smelling, or the least verbose. But at the very least I’m not worried that I’ll collapse, defeated, into a pathetic pile of sweating, weeping shame. That’s the kind of thing I reserve for the bedroom.

That said, there is one thing that kind of makes me nervous. I’m… I’m just a little scared that I might mess myself.

I mean, 26.2 miles is a long way to run. It’s probably going to take me between four and five hours. When was the last time I was able to go four hours without desperately running for the necessary room?  This is what happens when you get old, people. Still, it’s not like I make it a habit of crapping in my britches. (Yes, there was that time in my life in which I did so hundreds of times over a period of several years, but in my defense, I was an infant, and that’s just how they roll.) And from what I understand, there will be porta-johns along the route on the Big Day, so I suppose I can lose a minute or two of time should I “feel the urge to bear down.”

Running-related defacatory matters are on my mind these days because:

  1. I keep reading horror stories online of runners who start marathons with white shorts and finish with brown ones, and
  2. It kind of almost kind of happened the other day. Kind of.

It was a relatively easy four-mile run, and it was in the 50s when I got up so I decided to run outside. Barely a mile-and-a-half into it, my gastrointestinal machinery kicked into gear. Not a problem, I thought… I’m running past a city park, so I’ll just duck into the restroom, take care of business, and get back on my way. The City of Gladstone apparently cared not one whit about my predicament: the restrooms were locked. Why this surprised me, I don’t know. It was 6 a.m., after all. And so it was that I was faced with a decision. I could:

  • squat behind a bush and risk getting caught by The Man, or
  • grit my teeth, clench it up tight, and run the rest of the route in tremendous discomfort.

I chose the latter. And I guess it wasn’t all that bad. The tremendous relief I felt when I got home and finally made it into the downstairs bathroom just might have made it all worthwhile. I’ll say this: I made record time that morning. Hmmm… maybe that’s the secret! The night before the Chicago Marathon, I’ll stuff myself silly with cheap, questionable Mexican food! What could possibly go wrong?!

Besides the obvious, of course. Better invest in some new running shorts…. dark brown has always been my color.

3 Responses to “Running for It, Week 4: In which an enduring fear is realized”

  1. anne Says:

    HA! And also: thanks for keeping us all updated on your running regime! It would be rather cool if I could show up and watch the race.

  2. Jessie Says:

    You know I love a good post about poo. Maybe have a colonoscopy the day before so you know you’ll be clear.

  3. Dana Says:

    Considering I too am training for a marathon, this post is a bit disturbing on a personal level. But you men tend to ‘go’ more often so maybe this is more of a male runner issue..?

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