Thursday, March 13, 2014

8 Raunchy Things Runners Do And Why

When I was running the LA Marathon on Sunday, I was trying to distract myself in any way possible (3 hours and 57 minutes is a long time to be running and semi-suffering). When I wasn’t on Rodeo Drive or concentrating on my aches and pains, I was observing my fellow runners (there were only a few).

I had the deep thought that despite the fact that we come in all different shapes and sizes, have unique fingerprints and share different preferences on whether we wear underwear or not while we run, we do have some commonalities.

Let’s face it. Running is one of the most rigorous activities you can put your body through. Just like you can only provoke a swan so much before it attacks (this is true – swans are MEAN), you can only run so much before your body responds with a hearty “screw you.”

If you are a newer runner and haven’t done much distance running before, you should get very comfortable with bodily functions and fluids before you partake in the journey. With that said, here are my favorite raunchy things runners do (in no particular order). And, as a special bonus, I’m going to tell you WHY these things occur. You’re welcome.

1. We spit. A lot. I can’t count the number of times I was almost spit on during the marathon. When you combine a crowd of 25,000 people, all of them runners who are producing a certain amount of phlegm, it can get wet and wild pretty fast.

Why does it happen? Using you lungs a lot causes an increase in mucus and saliva production. Also, as the body warms up, it produces more saliva.

2. We fart. I am going to be honest and state that I don’t think I farted once during the race. This is very, very unusual for me, and I missed the fun that a few good farts can provide. I did, however, enter into many a person’s fart zone on the marathon course and it was not pleasant – talk about hitting the wall!

Just for the record, I wish it was required that runners take a pill that would make their farts show a cloud of color (the color would be linked to the severity of the fart – i.e., red would be deadly, etc.).

Why does it happen? We all know gas builds up in the body when we swallow air while eating. Gas is also produced when our body is breaking down undigested foods (which produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane). The reason the gas comes out so abruptly and frequently while running is that running can speed up the digestion process. Combine that with the pounding of your feet and you get the fart frequency. Plus, it’s pretty tough to hold those babies in while running. Try it sometime!

3. We snot-rocket. This is kind of in line with spitting, but requires the runner to push one nostril closed while simultaneously blowing out of the other. This produces projectile snot, often referred to as a “rocket.”

Why does it happen? When running (especially in cooler temperatures), your nose  warms and moistens the air you breathe before it reaches your lungs. This produces mucus in your nose and throat.

4. We smell. Let’s face it. When you are out there for several hours in 80 degree heat, no deodorant is powerful enough. And, since we only put deodorant under our arms and not in other crevices, stuff starts to smell.

image

Why does it happen? Of course we sweat when we run- it is our body’s way of trying to keep us cool. But, sweat in and of itself does not smell. It is the glands that the sweat comes out of that cause the smell. Eccrine glands produce sweat full of water and electrolytes and doesn’t smell too bad. Apocrine glands, however, are found in the groin, hands, feet and underarms and can cause a real stink due to the proteins and bacteria found in the sweat. If you eat garlic, broccoli, red meat or onions, you might stink even worse.

5. We wipe fluids on our clothes. Snot, spit, whatever.

Why does it happen? It happens because we don’t know where else to put it.

6. We puke. Well, maybe you do, I don’t. However, if you have ever been to a race (especially the finish line) you know it’s not all that uncommon.

Why does it happen? It’s called exercise induced nausea. It can come from over exertion or from stopping activity too quickly. It can also be caused from lack of hydration. In some cases, over-hydration can cause this.

7. We pee ourselves. This has also not happened to me, but I hear this is very common, especially among women. A favorite trick is to dump water on your head to disguise the pee, much like when your water breaks in the grocery store, you can drop a jar of pickles on the floor to disguise it. Whatever you do, wearing dark clothing is always the better choice.

Why does it happen? Well, if you’ve given birth, your pelvic and sphincter muscles might have become stretched out and weak. Or, maybe you are old. Sometimes these same muscles can weaken with age. If you are overweight, extra body weight can put additional pressure on the bladder causing leaks. Lastly, if you are fatigued, muscles around the bladder can weaken when you run. You can find more info HERE.

8. We poop, or really, really want to. Although not everyone gets the runner’s trots, it is common. Believe me, your day will likely come.

bethpotty

Why does it happen? When we run, the blood goes to our muscles and neglects our digestive system. Also, the internal organs get all jostled while running. This leads to cramps, turtling, and severe panic about crapping one’s pants.  More info HERE about what to do about it.

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Ever experience any of these?

Have any other “gross” things runners do to add to the list?

SUAR

48 comments:

  1. I have only experienced the SMELL!!! And occasionally wiping snot and spit on my pants. Otherwise, I am perfect. :)

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  2. Ha! Love this. I also love any post that includes the term "turtling"!
    Serious question for you - half marathon on sunday in 40 degrees and rain (yay!). What would you wear?

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    1. capris. short sleeve shirt. light running jacket (for the rain). maybe light gloves. If it's not raining, I'd go with a short sleeves and arm warmers.

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    2. Don't forget a visor or hat. 13 miles with rain running down your brows and squinting so your eyeballs don't get pelted is no fun!

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    3. Thank you both! Great advice. 40s are that in between temp and I was going back and forth between more clothes to stay warm in the rain and less clothes for less weight when wet. I need some arm warmers for future runs! Thanks guys!

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    4. I have taken an old pair of my son's black football socks and cut the toes out for arm warmers. As the weather heats up and I don't need them anymore, I toss them in the trash at an aid station instead of trying to tuck them somewhere. Worked like a charm!

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    5. I have done something similar - just bought a pair of men's socks at Walmart and cut off the feet. Works perfectly!

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    6. Oh that is a terrific idea! If it looks like rain holds off I may steal that idea. Thanks!

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  3. Btw - I lack the skill of snot rocketing. Is there a workshop for this? I can't whistle or shoot a snot rocket. Not great at spitting either... I obviously did not have brothers.

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    1. I could give you a tutorial someday. Maybe I'll do a YouTube video.

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  4. Getting the runner's trots is the WORST! I've been lucky so far, though, and I pray that it won't happen during a race (though it probably will, someday)

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  5. I think the worst was having hemorrhoid laser work done the week before a long run thinking everything will be okay. Then having to stop and curl up in a ball along the path for a few minutes while a homeless dude comes over and asks you if you want a nip….

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  6. I have done the majority of these, no shame. It's funny I had a friend text me the other day and say "I peed on the bike" as if it was a rite of passage. Funny how athletes look at things. She said "you laugh, but just wait, while you are ironman training you never know!"

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  7. Well I've never puked and I can't shoot a snot rocket (tried that on the bike the other day and it landed on my shoulder.) The worst was how bad I smelled when we lived in Hawaii - the heat and humidity upped the stink factor considerably.

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  8. OK. I laughed out loud at "hitting the wall". Very funny. And personally, I believe that the stinkiest farts are green. Horrible, neon, green. Obviously.

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  9. I've done a few of these and it makes me proud! It means you are truly a runner!!

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  10. Rand through a fart cloud at MCM. Thought for sure it was going to cause me my PR.

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  11. I've mastered the snot-rocket technique ;) and I must admit that I peed during last years's NYC marathon...I realized when I was about to take a shower back at the hotel...! My several smells...! OMG

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  12. 2,4, and 8 are me! I think most runners have GI issues, and if you're working out, you DEFINITELY smell! I am not one to snot rocket or wipe spit or snot on my clothes. Someone snot rocketed on me during the Philly Marathon and it was disgusting. I almost #6'ed.

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  13. I know they don't want it to happen any more than I want to see it, but the men with sweat-diluted lines of blood down their shirts from chafed nipples make me a little queasy.

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  14. I just learned something new. Turtling! HA! Though I have heard that same phenomenon referred to as "prairie-doggin'".
    I often choose my winter running shirts based on whether the material is going to chafe my nose during runs or not. If it's soft, it's a go. If it's at all scratchy, no way. 'Cause my sleeves are going to be covered in snot by the end of my run. I used to try to carry tissue with me. That was a fail!

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  15. I'm a big time spitter, but sometimes my spit comes out so thick and stringy and I just have a steady drool connection from mouth to shirt and/or shorts. Runner's trots have struck me during long runs and races, and at this point I have no shame. I don't think I've ever once farted while running, mostly because I would never trust a fart. The first time I puked from running at a track workout, I texted everyone I knew and bragged about it!

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  16. This is funny and true. I am guilty of 2 of these things.

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  17. I have not been able to master the snot rocket no matter how hard I try. And I agree with Jill, I don't trust the fart!

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  18. I have spit, wiped, puked and even though I have not full on peed myself, I have leaked quite a bit!

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  19. haha! Hilarious and so true to many of these. :) I still have yet to master a snot rocket... or even spit. :)

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  20. Spot on! Runners really are gross, aren't we..... But ya know what, when you are miles into a long run, who has the energy to CARE about any of that????? I will spit and snot and pee when I need to- cuz I'm too tired to care what any passers-by might think of it!!

    And the puking thing-- I have never actually done it, but after about 12-13 miles I notice that I am instantly nauseous if I stop running to stretch or walk. Really good incentive to keep going!!

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  21. I've only done one... the peeing. Thanks to an old woman's bladder :)
    I've come REALLY close to the runners trots though... my biggest fear in life :)

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  22. I'm guilty of the spitting. It's so gross, but I can't help it. I try really, really hard not to do it in a race, though.

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  23. Or if, God forgbid, your monthly visitor happens on race day. Oh, the humanity. I also hate it when people around me start to cough/gag. I've definitely sped up to get away from those noises!

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    1. That's "forbid" up there. If only I could type...

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  24. Runners trots = the worst! I always thought it was just my problem because I ate too much spinach.
    That picture by the Porto potties is too cute! You look like you're up to no good.

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  25. I do not ever do snot rockets. That's all I can say about everything you posted.

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  26. Bingo. Absolutely spot on. Loved it.

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  27. Very entertaining post, Beth :)

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  28. Oh YES! I think I've experienced all of them…except the puking - luckily. Although I have seen my fair share at the finish line. Runners are definitely not known for their etiquette! Love it.

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  29. I was so proud when I finally perfected the snot rocket - plus, that meant less snot on my clothes and more on the ground.

    I'll remember the trick about the pickles. Now - going to read about what "Turtling" is.

    edit: oh dear.

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  30. Ever hear comedian Jim Gaffigan chirp, "Hotttttt pocket?" I sing "snot rocket" to the same tune. :)

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    1. Gaffigan's take on the hot pocket is hilarious. I'm going to be singing this one tomorrow!

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  31. Yup, I'm guilty of most all of those except the snot rocket. My nose really only runs during the winter months, in which case I always have a handy glove or sleeve to wipe with.

    As an aside, I had to laugh at your swan comment. When I was 7 and living in London, I was savagely attacked by a swan at Round Pond in Hyde Park (o.k...maybe it wasn't a savage attack but the memory of that thing hissing and running at me with it's black tongue waving around is burned into my brain!). Never trust a swan, or even a Canada goose for that matter...I always give large winged creatures a very wide berth when I encounter them on my runs!

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  32. Haha, this had to be discussed :P

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  33. Number 5 is a big one for me, I'm constantly wiping my nose/sweat and cleaning my hands on my shirt. Not like I have a choice. It's especially nice when I'm on the treadmill and all my gym "friends" see me do it.

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  34. Every single one except pooping and puking...and I'm still expecting them to make an appearance at some point!

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  35. yesterday I ran a half marathon..I kept getting this smell..I wasn't really sure if it was me or the people around me..I didn't really figure it out either..every so often the smell would return.

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  36. I came home from a run one day and my teenage son curled up his nose and said, "Oh, my God! You smell like death!" So much for 'men sweat, ladies glow.' Sometimes when I want to just pop into a store post-run and buy a quick chocolate milk, I think of this.

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