Emergency bathroom stops (while running)

Getting better at fueling myself before, during, and after a run is seriuosly something that I am most proud of in the last 2 months! I went from never ever letting myself eat during or after a run “Because ohmygosh Andrea you want to be burning calories…not taking them in!! Ahhhh!!” Ya. Lame. I know.

Anyways, so yesterday when I was so excited to do a longer-ish run, I knew that whether or not I could make it 12 miles without fuel was not the question (yes I absolutely could.) But for optimal performance and great practice for marathon training, I decided yesterday was a perfect day to practice! So I grabbed a free Gel pack that I got from the Triathlon last week and took off!

I ran on the Monon Trail (paved walked way) and it was packed full of runners, walkers, bikers out enjoying the great weather! I was pumped from the get go! My legs felt great and I took the first 2 miles as a slow warm-up with my dad. I am really a big proponent of warm-ups now!

My legs were a little tired from the squat thrusters I did on Saturday, but not overly so. A run was just what they needed to stretch out!

At mile 5-6 I decided to start eating my Gel. I didn’t eat it all in once big squeeze (eww gross).  When it has finally settled into my system around mile 7… that is when the problems hit.

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I love this! Yes, we are different. I can only turn to another runner without a hint of embarrassment and tell them I have to stop and take a poop. Love that!

I wasn’t sure how much detail to go into regarding just how awful my stomach digested this gel and my bodies reaction to it–after all, I don’t want you guys puking in your cubicles at work or on your coach at home. But then again, we are all runners, right? We have all been here at some point in our running careers!

From mile 7 onward, I could not find a bathroom fast enough. I lost count how many time I went. I was hobbling down the monon, squeezing my butt-cheeks together with all my might just so I didn’t have an accident on the trail with 30 people watching. It.Was.Awful.

After bathroom stop #?… I really no longer had anything to “get out”, yet I was still feeling awful and as if I would poop my pants any second!! This went on the entire way back, mile 7-12. And if you are wondering if I found enough bathrooms along the way and made it back without “going in my pants”… I would love to say yes. But that would be a lie. So NO. I did not find enough bathrooms and the last 1.5 miles I basically was going in my pants. Eww Andrea you are so gross and gave us way to much info!!! Well, sorry! But not really because like I said– I have never met a runner who didn’t experience this at least once (and realistically lots more!)

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NOW…if I were in a race like Paula Radcliff in 2005…I definitely would have just pulled off to the side right then and there on the Monon. Total respect for her doing this! Gotta do what you gotta do!!

I blame the Gel! I am sure that was not the only thing going on here… but it is just easier for me to blame the gel. I decided that I like solid food like I did for my triathlon– cliff bars/Kashi bars. So I will break them up into little pieces before the run and pop those in my mouth. Maybe that will work better. Or i need to get a little running hydration belt and fill it with Gatorade. I love Gatorade when I workout!

Sorry for the TMI (too much information)! I was mad I felt like this, but honestly I was very please with the run! i felt great! legs were workin’, my breathing was 100% under control… I felt I could have gone forever if not for the bathroom issues!

Have a great Monday everyone!!

Have you ever had a bathroom/stomach/pooping/peeing incident like mine??? (please say yes)

What do you fuel with on the run?

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43 comments

  1. It definitely was the gel! I can only do caffeine free bc I learned the messy way that caffeinated gel doesn’t settle well for me. Try out some different brands and see which works best!

    1. Ya I am just going to keep experimenting! Maybe it was the caffeine for me too? Oh well… that is why they say not to try anything new on race day, right?! ha

      1. Oh, gosh, better then than on race day hahahaha

  2. Oh girl- yes, we’ve all had those runs:( it’s such an awful feeling- it was probably a combo of things- was it hot? The gel, what you ate the night before? Although sometimes it’s none of the above! Haha I guess this is the reason we practice fueling before a race!?

    And to make you feel better- I had to go really bad once and had to go in a random field with cows near me.. It was awkward.

    1. hahah yay not the only one! Ya in New Zealand one time I had to go right then and there… which was in a field with 400 sheep. They just stared at me. I felt so exposed… even though they were just sheep haha

      It was really humid (so yes hot!) I will try some solid food… or some non caffeinated gels. Yep, that is why we don’t try anything new on race day! haha Have a good one!

  3. Oh man…that is the worst!!! I actually don’t eat gels for that very reason….my stomach cannot handle them! They also make me super nauseous! I fuel with sport jelly beans or pieces of cliff bars now.

    1. That sounds more like what I need! During the marine corps marathon I had the jelly beans and i loved them! And clif bars are always my choice bar’s… so maybe I should try those on a run and see how my tummy feels then. Ya I think I am done trying to make the gels work for me ha… and it didn’t even taste good so there was really nothing enjoyable about it! Have a great week!

  4. This hasn’t ever happened to me, but I definitely have had major stomach issues AFTER running. Thankfully I was in the neighborhood and able to quickly walk home. Don’t even worry about it girl. At least you know that the gel doesn’t agree with you NOW vs. figuring it out during a race.

    1. Exactly!! I guess that is why they say don’t try anything new on race day!! 🙂 Dodged a bullet!
      You are lucky you havn’t experienced this (YET!) on a run!!! Good think you were close to your house! I swear some times i want to ring random houses’ door bells haha ahhhh running and stomach woes!!
      Oh well, live and learn! have a great one!

  5. Runner Girl Eats · · Reply

    Every runner has been there or they are lying. It sucks and is my biggest fear on races or long group runs lol but what can you do?? I love fueling with gummy bears.

    1. OH my gosh you are so right!! I have had this problem before on a group run and that is absolutely worse than any of the situations I have been in! Oh running…love how you do such strange things to me!!
      Gummy bears are a great idea. small, easy to pop in! I will give those a shot. I like the jelly beans, so these sound similar! Thanks girl! have a great day!

  6. olivetorun · · Reply

    There are some people who LOVE and swear by gels and some who just can’t do it… I can stomach them but I don’t LIKE the way they feel. I typically go for a Bearded Brothers Bar or dried fruit during my runs and they work just fine for me.

    1. Oh dried fruit! I hadn’t thought of that one… that is a really good idea actually!! I will try that this week on a run! I have never heard of Bearded Brothers Bar. I will check it out 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion! Have a great week!

      1. olivetorun · ·

        Absolutely! Let me know if you have any questions about BB- they are a GREAT company and their products are all natural 🙂

  7. Um, YES! I’ve been learning with fueling properly before/during/after just like you have, and used to run on empty before (baaaddd idea, now I know lol) and tummy issues are always my biggest fear with it. Yesterday I ran the farthest I’ve ever gone, 14 miles, and at mile 10 I had to stop. I almost sht my pants scouring this park/marina for a bathroom and thank the Lord I finally made it! It’s gross, but hey it’s a reality. I have a feeling my no-no was going a little cray on the cruciferous veggies the night before, my stomach started cramping around mile 5 before my home-made gel could even kick in. I’ve never tried solid foods during a run, I’m scared to honestly. My stomach is just so finicky.
    On the bright side, you still had a pretty great run and if anything a new runner story in the books as you learn what fuel works for your body! 🙂 I’m planning on trying Gu next, since that’s what my marathon is providing in October, so we’ll see how that one goes haha

    1. OH girl BEEN THERE!! Feel you on that one… you just get so mad and frantic looking for a bathroom!
      14 miles!!! Whop-hoo girl!! That is fantastic!
      Homemade gel?!?! I am very intrigued!! Ya I was trying to think if I had a lot of fiber (veggies and fruits)… and lets be honest. The answer to that question is always yes haha
      Lots of people love Gu! Good luck with trying it out!! 🙂

      1. Thaankkss! I adapted a recipe from Vega/Thrive and made a gel with dates, chia seeds, coconut oil, coffee and cocoa for my 13 miler the previous week, then for yesterday I did the same only without the coffee and cocoa, but it just didn’t have that same kick.
        I’m hoping Gu loves me back haha

      2. Thanks for the ingredients!! I will have to give that a go one weekend!!

  8. oh girl. I’m so sorry!!! That sounds so miserable. I’ve totally been there but unlike you I turned back and headed home. So props for finishing the run (I don’t know if you had another option!) But totally blame the gel. Those things are just gross. I can’t do it. For me, ShotBlocks work the very best. But really, bathroom problems while running are THE WORST. At least we’re all prone to them and can relate 🙂 Not the best way to bond, but what can you do? haha

    1. haha I will bond over bathroom talk with you any day!! I tried shot blocks once and loved them! And they are of course by Clif Bar ((which i am obsessed with)) so I should try those again on a run!!
      And no… I had no choice but to keep going. I did an out-back run… bahhhh it was so bad!! haha oh well! Live and learn!!

  9. Finally someone else that is okay with talking about the runner problem of pooping! This happened on my first 14 mile run with my boyfriend. Good thing we are comfortable with each other!!! My problem wasn’t the gel, it was what I had the night before. NO FIBER the night before a long run. White carbs only (I know this is scary for some because everyone thinks white carbs are just terrible.) You do need nutrition when you run long runs so don’t give up with experimenting with different gels or blocks until you find what works for you!

    1. Ya girl! Bathroom talk is A-Okay in my book! Especially running related!!
      Wow nice bonding experience with your boyfriend! Sounds like a keeper 🙂
      Yes i think I had too much fiber the night before too… so that added to it. But just going to keep experimenting I think! Good think it wasn’t a race day!
      I am thinking shot-blocks for my next long run!

  10. Oh no! It’s been a while but I had this happen to me once when I was running with my fiance – SO embarrassing but thankfully we were near a suburban area (not on a trail) and I was able to make it into a restaurant and run into their bathroom as fast as I could and felt better the rest of the day. I’ve been with other runners when it’s happened – including my sister-in-law, but thankfully we’ve always been relatively near a Taco Bell or some place that has a bathroom!

    1. I feel like I run into so many coffee shops, restaurants, stores, etc to use their bathrooms while out on a run! I just keep my ipod in and head down when I run in the door (sweaty) and b-line to the toilets haha
      Glad to hear you made it to an actual bathroom!! Lucky girl!

  11. once on a long run my tummy started going a little crazy (i have ibs) and out of the blue it was like Jesus sent a starbucks/potty right down in front of me. Good for you girl! You did it, and you learned from it and one day you will look back and go what the heck?! lol

    1. haha God has been very generous to me like that on lots of runs!! Some times I have resorted to work men port-a-potty’s on the side of the road… eww.
      But YES I have learned from this– no gels!! haha Have a good one girl 🙂

  12. The one and only time I used gel I felt SO sick and crampy, and had “digestive issues” the rest of the day. This weekend I switched to Chomps and felt MUCH better. I still felt a little gassy/in need of the bathroom at one point, but not with any urgency. I was able to to finish my run and get home before I had to go. Maybe a more solid form of fuel would be better for you!

    Thanks for the honesty haha! I love posts like this!

    1. Oh I should try chomps… ya I was definitely thinking of a solid food rather than the gels. I feel like my stomach needs something to actually work on digesting, and gels just don’t met those requirements!
      Oh ya girl… I am all about the honesty– especially with all things running!! No secrets there!

  13. […] need of a slow “shake-out” run after the duathlon type workout I did on Sunday– 12 mile run (full of bathroom stops) and later a 25 mile bike ride! […]

  14. Oh my gosh! That sounds horrible! So sorry you had to live through that!! 😦
    I have never tried GU’s, because I’m weird about textures and the very thought of it makes me gag. 🙂 I take the chomps, and I love ’em. They are almost kinda sorta like candy!! 🙂

    1. Yes the texture is nasty, thats for sure!!! A couple of other people have mentioned chomps!! I have never had them and think i will be trying those for the next long run!! Thanks girl!

  15. This has happened to me so many times! I’ve found its usually in what I have eaten the day before or earlier in the day that affected me. I usually try to run somewhat near places I could stop if I needed to – there’s not many trees to hide behind even on trails here 🙂 PS – I love that you are open enough to talk about this, because this is something most runners do have to deal with and other people just don’t get it!

    1. Yes I have been planning out routes now that go buy bathrooms or wooded areas!!— i have noooo problem going in the trees!! I grew up as a camp girl 🙂
      I think I had a very fiberous dinner the night before… and like I said- I feel like blaming the Gel pack as well!! haha
      OH I am all about talking bathrrom talk and other “things only runners get” because it is those things that make running this awesome little “cult” that you gotta participate in to understand!!

  16. Totally been there, well actually my issues tend to be after my run. I’m new to running but so far it seems that after I do a longer run or if I push myself to run faster then I have issues when I’m done. I’m nervous because I’m training for a 1/2 marathon and I’m not sure what will happen after I finish. I guess I just hope there are a lot of porta potties around 🙂

    I was hoping that as I increase my distance these issues will resolve, fingers crossed. Also, this my be TMI but has anyone ever passed any blood when they’ve had these issues?

    1. I promise there will be PLENTY of port-a-potties at the finish!! you are not the only one that needs to go badly at the finish! Just be lucky it is at the finish and not during!! That is so great that you are running now and training for a half!!! WOW congrats!! You will love it!
      Personally I have never had any blood when I have gone. I am not sure about others. I can tell you though that I bet that is not a good sign really…. but I don’t know! Maybe you should google it and see what others are saying! Good luck and let me know what you find!!

  17. […] 12 mile run ((The bathroom emergency run from H*ll)) pace at […]

  18. […] I got in a semi-wonderful 12 miles! It wasn’t as “emergency-filled” as last Sunday’s long run… but I still had some stomach issues! I tried the clif […]

  19. […] 12 mile run! ((still trying to workout my “bathroom” issues… hmm…less […]

  20. […] I ran 15 miles and kept it very steady at about 7.40 pace and picked it up the last 2 miles and finished strong for a 6.50 last mile. I was happy over the distance and pace.. but honestly, to me the GREATEST achievement was not having to go to the bathroom!! […]

  21. […] attempt a long run. So I threw on my clothes/shoes/watch and took off. Well, we all know about my Bathroom Issues. My successful 15 miler 2 weeks ago was so great because I I didn’t have to go to the bathroom […]

  22. […] not racing it… this is definitely how I want to approach it! It will also be great work on practicing fueling– that has always been hard for […]

  23. […] and this just made me laugh because… well… it is me in a nut-shell. I go to the bathroom on runs more than anyone I have ever met. […]

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