Thursday, September 21, 2017

Am I the "Mad Pooper"?

Thank you for your endless texts, messages and comments inquiring as to whether I was "that woman" running around Colorado Springs shitting on people's lawns.

I hate to tell you the answer is "no," although I am flattered.

Let's break this down. I can see why such an article would make you think of me.

1. She is a runner (so am I!)
2. She lives in Colorado (so do I!). But she lives about 2 hours south of where I do.
3. She takes craps outside (I have been known to do this, but I do have limits as to where and how this occurs. Read on).
4. She appears to be around my height. But I have blond hair, she does not (and I don't own any wigs). I also don't own a grey spandex running suit.

If I am understanding the article correctly, this anonymous "mad pooper" had "been defecating in front of houses for weeks." One victim in particular, the Budde family, states that she has been crapping in their yard for 7 weeks. SEVEN WEEKS. The family even resorted to putting a sign up asking her to stop - to no avail. They said she ran by it 15 times and still pooped.

In a bold statement made by Colorado Springs Sergeant Johnathan Sharketti, he states "It's abnormal, it's not something I've seen in my career. For someone to repeatedly do such a thing…it's uncharted territory for me."

Weird thing is - there are apparently plenty of public bathrooms nearby. 

Lest you think this story had just local coverage, think again. It has been covered by The Washington Post, the BBC, USA Today the Huffington Post and now the famous Shut Up and Run blog. Because certainly our country does not have bigger fish to fry (hello Rocket Man, Hurricane Maria that destroyed Puerto Rico and devastating earthquakes!) and has the luxury on focusing on a fecal mystery. Comic relief?

I'd very much like to discuss some curiosities/observations about this case. 

  • If someone was pooping in front of my house for seven weeks I would go back into my personal history to figure out who hates me. Who did I piss off in the second grade? What mom did I cut off in the drop zone at school? This has got to be intentional
  • The victimized family put up a sign asking her to stop crapping in front of their house. She ran by it 15 times. Who was counting? Why 15 times? It would take me weeks to run by the same sign 15 times. This seems odd.
  • The police sergeant has never seen anything like this in his career. Even though he has likely seen dead bodies, overdoses, drownings and every bodily fluid possible, this stands out to him as uncharted territory. Damn! I think it would be hard to shock a sergeant. WTG Mad Pooper!
  • It seems like the only explanation for this type of behavior is a severe medical condition or mental health issue. Because, who in their right mind and physical body would do this repeatedly? If you know running makes you poop in the same place every time you run, wouldn't you stop running or take a different route? How about the treadmill? 

Let me defend my own pooping for a minute. I, like many of you, have had emergencies while running. Sometimes I feel them coming and can prepare, other times I'm sweating and all I care about is finding a place to go NOW. That's meant that I've unfortunately gone under bridges, in a hollowed out tree, off of the trail and in a ditch. This isn't often, but it has happened. What I have NOT done is gone in someone's yard. Repeatedly. After they posted a sign asking me not too. In broad daylight. While there were other restroom options available.

Moral of the story:

Me          Mad Pooper (MP)

But, hey, MP - if you are reading - hit me up. I'd love to interview you. You could remain anonymous (probably a good idea).


Thursday, September 14, 2017

5 Things NOT To Do During Your Next Race

Last weekend Ken and I did a trail half marathon (Black Squirrel Half Marathon near Ft. Collins). If you do trails, you know they take much longer and are generally much more laid back than road races. Living in Colorado, we have our fair share of trail races, especially May through October. Even though I've done dozens of races over the past eight years, I am still always humbled and still always learning.

Start line. Ugly.
 Here's what this race taught me:

1. Do not under eat before the race even if your nerves are messing with you. I am the type of person who gets some pre-race anxiety. Really the only way this plays out is that I am slightly queasy and have the toughest time choking down food. I had a jelly and butter sandwich with me to eat along with coffee before the race. With each bite I felt like I might puke. What I should have done is made sure I had an alternative food source with me, just to get in some carbs and calories. Even a gel  or a boiled potato (potatoes always sound palatable) would probably have gone down better. The result was that I started the race on a calorie deficit without much in the way of glycogen stores and this definitely zapped my energy.

2. Do not bring a mocha, coffee or chocolate gel. Well, do bring it if you plan to eat it all and throw it away. But don't only eat half of it because it's disgusting and you didn't try it before the race (Clif Mocha shot) and then you don't finish it and then there is no trash can and then you put the unfinished gel in your back pocket. Because what happens (duh) is that he remaining gel leaks out and you 100% look like you crapped your pants. I wish I had a picture, but when I got home and realized how bad it looked, I was mortified and just threw the shorts in the shower with me as quickly as possible.

3. Do not think you know the course if you have not run the course. I studied the elevation profile and knew where the climbs were. I even read some past race reports and knew the general outline of the course. But I did not anticipate that the last five miles were going to be extremely exposed (no shade) and that the 80 degree heat would get to me like it did. Not anticipating the lack of shade, I got behind on my hydration and that caught up to me and slowed me down considerably. In past years, the race has been at least 10 degrees cooler, so the heat was not anticipated. But, be ready for anything!

4. Do not walk when you really can run. Walking during trail runs and ultras is perfectly acceptable and expected mostly because there are places where it is nearly impossible to run due to terrain or the grade of the hill (or mountain in this case). In this race, I walked the really steep sections, as expected (and so did everyone else). But once I hit the flatter and more rolling parts, my brain gave up a bit. I was hot and tired and surrendered to the desire to walk, even though I probably didn't need to. I know this is an area that I can really work on.

This is not a picture of me walking because you never walk when you see the camera.
5. Do not keep thinking about how you paid good money to engage in this type of suffering. In other words, keep your head up and your attitude positive. With every person who passed me towards the end I would mentally beat myself up (not physically, because that would be really weird). I kept having to re-frame my thinking to remind myself that it takes guts to be out there in the first place and that I am 50 years old and still chugging along at an okay clip. Races like this just make me want to get stronger (after the fact).

After all was said and done I finished in 2:43 - 8th/18 in my age group and 71st/153 females. I was disappointed for a second as I thought I could get closer to 2:30, but then I drank a beer (Fat Tire!) and didn't care anymore.

Happy trails!