TMI Tuesday: Peeing on a Run, Pt. II

What to do when you can't take this with you
What to do when you can't take this with you

Earlier this month, Sarah gave some tips for peeing on a run when there’s no porcelain tank in sight. Mother runners responded with additional alternative solutions to the toilet that were both creative and laughter-inducing, and we just had to [over]share them.

When you’re body won’t let you go on anything but a tangible toilet, mother runners rely on the kindness of strangers. Donna recalls paying to poop with a pedi:

“On a 10-mile run on a very secluded trail, I felt the urge to go #2. I ducked into the trees and found a spot, but then couldn’t deliver. So I went on running, uncomfortable and praying that I wouldn’t poop my pants. I modified my route and came to a little strip mall that had an open nail salon. I ran in and asked for a bathroom. Those poor women were speechless and pointed to the back. I went back for a pedicure a week later with three of my friends--it was the least I could do!”

Roberta tells her friend’s motto of ‘why not knock?’ Odds are in your favor that instead of a serial killer, it’ll be a mother runner all too familiar with your needs.

“One of my running friends has a micro bladder and struggles mightily to hold it all in. While running through our neighborhood around 8 p.m., she knew she wouldn’t be able to complete the run without taking care of business. So she knocked on a stranger’s door. The door was answered by an elderly lady who understood her plight completely, and she was ushered to the bathroom.

Sometimes it’s not just the internal force of nature, but the external force that messes with a runner’s pee routine. Nancy B. shares:

“In Connecticut, there’s usually a random stone wall or two that I can jump behind. On one of my normal routes, I would go in a row of large white pines blocking the view from both the road and the owner’s house. I usually went between the two thickest, tallest ones…until Hurricane Sandy toppled the one that I used. Gotta find a new pee spot now.”

Katie G.’s solution is to avoid any shame by hiding her face because as every child knows, “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me,” right?

Evade the shame: If I can't see you, you can't see me
Evade the shame: If I can't see you, you can't see me

“In the middle of a 50-mile race in the middle of nowhere I had to go so bad I just jumped off the side of the forest service road and dropped my shorts. I had to go so bad I didn’t even bother to jump behind a tree, I still had so far to go I didn’t want to have a mess in my pants, plus I was by myself as most of the racers had really spread out by then. Well, right in the middle of my explosive diarrhea, one of the other racers support vehicles drove by! I just put my head between my knees while squatting and hoped they wouldn’t recognize me later.”

Jenny Breen tells of her experience of marathon pooping.

“I ran my first marathon in Chile in December 2012. It was a great experience, and I was well trained, but this marathon had not one single bathroom along the entire course! It was small, and in the country, so most people didn’t even know what the heck was going on. That said, around Mile 14 I felt the urge to go #2….I held it as long as possible, but finally, upon viewing a little gathering of trees in this mostly farm field landscape, I darted off the road to go. I managed to go-though not my best poop for sure, and then to wipe? Rocks, twigs and whatever else. Needless to say, it got me through the rest of the race. I ran a sub 4-hour marathon, but am sure this little pitstop added at least 5 minutes to my time. Oh well, what can you do. At least I didn’t poop my pants.”

Who needs toilet paper when you have grass, leaves, twigs, dirt...your options are endless outside
Who needs toilet paper when you have grass, leaves, twigs, dirt...your options are endless outside

Kelly C. recounts having to restyle her running wardrobe mid-run when a pitstop turned disastrous.

“Usually we hit up a convenience store or gas station along our route. Recently desperation quickly hit me and I had to go number 2. I quickly ran into a ditch next to the road while my running buddy stood guard. As if this wasn’t embarrassing enough, a car stopped and a man leaned out worried I was hurt. Nice of him, horrifying for me. I waved him on from my squatted position. Lastly, to make this even worse, I made a mess of my self and dirtied my gloves, jacket, and pants. As fate would have it, there was a gas station a little ways down which I visited and turned all my clothes inside out for the rest of the run.”

If you feel anatomically inept at peeing without making a mess, turns out there are products, yes, products, to streamline your peeing-on-the-go experience.

Debbie wears pee pads: “I never suffer the urge to pee since it just dribbles out the entire time while I run (older runner now). I wear ‘pee pads’ on my run, but have had to carefully time when I have my last drink of water before starting a run, to be sure I’ve eliminated everything as much as possible before it. My other tactic: At an aid station, grab several cups of water, and pour them over you to ‘cool you off,’--and to hide any peeing you have to do at the same time.”

Paige depends on, “prayer, wet wipes, and an empty Gatorade bottle.”

Urinelle, photo courtesy of
Urinelle, a paper cone not to be re-purposed for shaved ice.

Melanie clued us in to Urinelle, which are disposable. “It makes peeing while standing easier by providing you with a funnel to direct the flow away from the body (and shoes!). Perfect for the gross port-a-potties, too.”

Photo courtesy of GoGirl
We try to take a Georgia O'Keeffe perspective on the Go Girl: We see a ruby-red flower.

Marie told us about another “FUD” (an acronym we did not make up! Stands for, “female urination device”). “I have a Go-Girl. I have one and use it mostly when traveling in the car (into a styrofoam cup). But I constantly have to pee. I pee before my run, during my run (usually behind a bush since I run trails), then immediately after. And just last weekend while running six miles, I had to poo so I did that at the state park behind a bush, too. Just remember to dig a hole first and bury it. My husband, who was running with me, says he loves me even more now.” [We do, too, Marie!]

If you have even more tales, we’re all ears. Tell us! (Maybe we need to write, Answering the Call of Nature Like a Mother.)

14 responses to “TMI Tuesday: Peeing on a Run, Pt. II

  1. I’m embarrassed, so I’m using a psudonym: I’ve got a TMI question, if there’s not already a TMI Tuesday answer for this (please link).

    I’ve picked up the pace, and now I’m just burning to know how others have dealt with/prevented chaffing labia?

  2. use a spoonful of psyllium husk powder in OJ daily & your stool will break off clean. barely need any TP, if at all. just need to time taking it with your run time. your body will tell you what time to take it today for tomorrows run.

  3. I know these stories all too well. Isn’t that why all of us run in black shorts?
    I gave in and had “the surgery,” but my running team is still named “The Bush Backers.”

  4. In Iowa, running past cornfields (NO not the ones where the sweet corn you eat comes from) is a real blessing. The fields even come with nice long leaves on the stalks for TP.

  5. Keep up the TMI Tuesday feature–I no longer feel alone (and I can laugh now, too!!). For #2, in the absence of TP, a smooth stone is handy. The one time I was desperate, though, I was in the woods without any rocks other than sharp trail gravel, so I found some flat and thankfully not allergy-inducing leaves.

  6. Last summer at a local 60 mile relay race we had 3 umbrellas in our vehicle. When someone on our team of 6 gals needed a pitstop we just formed a “cover” on the side of the country road. We had multiple other teams ask to use our portable shields, but we did not let any men in! Our team name was “Moms On The Run” or MOToR!

  7. Tonight on my trail run I had to ditch into the woods and pee for the first time ever. While a little embarrassed, I felt like a real runner.

  8. This has all been so helpful to me (a fairly new runner) who wondered if it was just me. It’s so nice to know that I have company in this area.

  9. Sh*t happens….especially on those longer training runs. Around mile 7 I sent my BRFs ahead and I ran up a hill and hid behind some bushes on the side of the main road – it was cold and snowy – sacrificing my glove to wipe was one of the smartest things I’ve done 🙂

  10. I have no problem running behind a big bush or two on my route. I live in a small town so I can find spots that aren’t residential. I do wait till there aren’t any cars before darting in.

  11. Besides my phone and ID, I NEVER leave home without a snack-size baggie filled with 2-3 flushable wipes. Nothing compares to the chafe from not-so-properly cleaned butt cheeks!!!

  12. My husband got me a SheWee as a birthday present one year, so that I could – ahem – answer the call of nature if we were on a long hike or run. That thing has already paid for itself since I also use it in the gross porta-potties at the start of races, as well. I also try to pack a wet wipe in the pocket of my running tights, just in case a serious #2 emergency comes up!

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