It was the Fourth of July. The 5k was at Lake Harriet. My friends were out of town so I was able to park at their house and use their bathroom before the race. It was a quick walk down 42nd to get to the band shell where the race began. Problem was, it was this particular sponsor’s first ever race and things weren’t exactly clear. I arrived extra early to ensure I was registered.
Ten minutes before the race was to start, I wondered if I should pee. It had been a long time since I had used the bathroom and all that running might be uncomfortable. Did I have time to run back to their house? No. I should hold it. Instead, I got into line for the one porta-potty. By the time the vacancy sign appeared and the runner before me stepped out, I had four minutes to pee before the race started. And by that time I really had to pee. It was no longer a precautionary pee. It was a full-blown bladder-ain’t-gonna-hold-it no more situation. I stepped into the biffy holding my breath and then hesitated. There was poop everywhere. HOW DOES THIS EVEN HAPPEN? I looked at the couple people after me and shut the door. I had to do it now and get out to the starting line. How do you pee into a hole covered in someone else’s poo?
I gave up holding my breath, but kept my nose plugged. My brand new pretty pink shorts were dangerously close to poo as I tried to hover over the hole. I didn’t try, I successfully hovered. But then as I lost balance and reached for the wall (there was some open poo-free space) to sturdy myself, my shorts hit the sh!t. Just a momentary graze, but there was most definitely poo on my shorts. I frantically wiped it away with a gigantic wad of toilet paper and then applied hand sanitizer to a fresh wad and tried to dab out any visible poo remnants. I left the biffy and ran to the starting line. The poo stain haunting me. My skin crawling. I wish I could say it was my fastest 5k ever, but I really don’t remember much of the race other than the absolutely disgusting feeling that followed me through the race until I was able to get my shorts off.
So if you must poo in an outdoor and public venue, I beg you, poo in the hole and please don’t spread it everywhere. Especially if it is the only option. Think about the people in line after you. Do you really want them to have to deal with your poo? No! Shame on you. Shame on you!
It actually took me many years to get over the mortification, but now I can confess to the race I ran with random poo. I realize there are far worse things that can happen to a runner, especially in a longer race, but to me, this was pretty darn bad.