Friends Don't Let Friends Run Ultras: A Cautionary Tale
Here's the thing. You don't talk about taking a dump in normal daily life. It's basically taboo. But get some ultrarunners together and it's a Top Ten topic of conversation, guaranteed. We run for a long time. At some point you just gotta poop. It's part of the sport.
This race report "prologue" is about going Number Two. If you're not mature enough to handle an honest discussion of human shit, then, I dunno, go read something else.
We'd been running for something like 45 hours straight by now. Steve and I were all that remained of a starting field of 40+ runners. It was dark and cold and rainy. I had to poop. We were half-way through our 4.167 mile loop for the hour and had just passed a Port-a-potty. But we couldn't use it. A few hours early it was discovered that some person / rabid animal had previously dropped a turd *on* the toilet. ON, not IN. There was no way any human could sit on that crapper without also getting a giant smear of someone else's poop all down the back of their leg. And so, I continued on to find a nice place to poop in the woods.
Steve stopped first, saying he had to pee -- the cold weather and low effort level made peeing an all too common occurrence during the race. I decided it was a great time to finally take that dump I'd forgotten to take care of during the "interyardal" time last hour. I ran another 20 yards down the trail, then hollered to Steve that I was gonna take a shit and that I'd catch back up soon. His response: "I decided to take a shit, too." So, there we were, just two normal run-of-the-mill running bros, doing what running bros do: take dumps in the woods within earshot of one another mid-race. Memories!
After so many hours of running, I'd already fully utilized my supply of TP that I always carry in a baggie in my pocket. So, time to start selecting premium quality leaves I suppose! But, there was a problem. The ground was soaking wet so all of the leaves were damp and dirty. And to top it off, I'd managed to select a poop spot with a rather large supply of holly leaves. Sometimes you just gotta work with what you got. I did the best I could, then hopped back onto the trail around the same time Steve did. A variety of words were thrown around: "not ideal", "insufficient", etc.
Finishing out the yard / loop, my first order of business was to sprint to my tent, grab a new pair of shorts, and dart off to the Port-a-potty to complete the cleanup task that no amount of soggy leaves would have ever been able to handle. Thus far I've been trying to avoid direct mention, but there's no sense in making you read between the lines … there was smeared shit in my shorts and my butt crack, and it needed to be taken care of.
I tried mightily to resolve the situation with copious amounts of single-ply TP, but that stuff just wasn't up to the task. Wet wipes would've been great, but I didn't have any on hand. At this point, I need to mention, again, that I'd been running for 45 hours straight. Mental faculties weren't exactly in tip-top shape. I scanned the Port-a-potty for options. There was a mounted container of hand sanitizer. I contemplated using that 80% alcohol liquid mixture, but ultimately chickened out. I was not willing to subject myself to that amount of pain. Then, the solution presented itself! To the side of the toilet, on the wall, was a collection of condensation. Eureka! I'll MacGyver the hell out of this situation and blot up the condensation with a wad of TP for a homemade wet wipe! Lemme tell ya, it worked like a charm. My ass was clean and ready for endless hours of superawesomefuntimes!
Except. Well. Okay. Here's the deal. Hindsight is 20/20. I'm 99% sure I was sopping up your everyday ordinary atmospheric condensation. However … it pains me to say this … but ... there is a very small but non-zero chance I cleaned my ass mid-race with a wad of someone else's sopped-up urine. There it is. There. It. Is.
The real race report will be along shortly ...