I was a 21 year old marathoner traveling for the first time in my life to a “big” race and changed my diet while driving 1000 miles. In the very early morning hours, without stimulation of the morning java, there was nary a movement in the making. That was soon to change in a matter of miles. The brown fist of gelatinous goo started knocking at the door around mile 5. But by mile 8 it became an actual concern. I thought with a little will power I could make it. I kept thinking (probably just praying) that it would subside. I was on pace for a personal record and running in 17thposition. Running relatively alone nearing the midway point I had to start weighing my choices. The sparsely populated wilderness gave way to suburban neighborhoods. It was only going to get more populated as we moved into Salt Lake City. And as the time moved forward in the morning hours, only more people would be out and about. It was too late to second guess the choice to hold on; there was a visitor knocking at the anal door. Overcome by the pounding presence on every stride, I had to give way to bodily function urges at 13 miles. I dashed onto the first lawn with a 2 foot shrub to hide behind. Seconds turned to minutes which seemed like hours; as runner after runner passed by just feet away on the other side of the sparsely leaved shrub. They had to have thought they were passing by a sewer treatment plant. The mass, or mess, had to be swiped from the crack with the only thing I carried with me – a white hanky. Bowels – 1, Will Power – 0. Three, no – four, no – five swipes and it was finally tolerable to stand and not feel the cheek halves stick together too bad. But what to do with the tar stained hanky? It was left for the homeowner to discover later that morning. 2:50:07 after the start, I had gained back most of the places I had lost but it was a disappointing 5 minutes slower than a personal record.
And so began my interest into the affects of bodily function control while running and racing. The long quest for the holy grail of bowel, stomach and bladder control has brought me to seek solace in knowing that I am not alone.