Let us engage in some high-class potty talk for how to deal with the almost inevitable issue that will be encountered during events that are 12+ hours long: when to poop? Whenever you tell someone you run these endurance events, after the first question of “how” or “why” some of your more brazen friends might inquire about this basic human function. So let’s talk about three important things to prepare and satisfy your alimentary canal during endurance events.

 

The Prep

Not to be confused with GO-LYTELY™ before a colonoscopy, but along the same lines, for 2-3 days prior to your major event, consider an all or almost all-liquid diet. This reduces the amount of mass that must pass when you’re much busier working on other duties. Outside of this 2-3 day period, I do generally encourage high fiber diets to keep your colon happy and free from diverticula.

The second, logical, tip is that immediately prior to the event; spend some quality time with a magazine on your porcelain throne. This may help you start squeaky clean.

 

Why not enjoy the go?

You may expect the very pleasant JahLisa James but instead, find Mike Jones.

 

Now you’ve reached the almost (see above) inevitable time when nature calls, and not in a kind way. When you feel the turtle coming out of its shell, you have to consider many options that balance decency and speed: to wait in line for (or find) a port-a-potty or to pop a squat a few feet off the trail? My European recommendation is that decency is over-rated so just jump to the side into a clearing that doesn’t have plants that will leave pleasant toxic oils on your skin, and drop thy tights or trousers. If it takes 3 minutes to do your business, and it takes 3 minutes to run 600m during an endurance event (roughly 8-9 minute/mile), you’re now 600m behind if you take your time.

Once you evacuate your bowels, I’d recommend having a paper towel (not toilet paper) handy to wipe a few times, put your wipe in a plastic bag, throw dirt over your natural gifts and go along your way. If you don’t wipe, the irritants in your gifts may irritate your skin and result in further stimulation, causing even more trips into the nice clearings on the trail. Toilet paper breaks down easily, so paper towels while rough on your baby-bottom skin, will get the job done without spreading a cloud of white into the wilderness or your hand.

 

It’s an EMERGENCY!

Erin Evan’s World’s Toughest Mudder Port-a-Potty Alternative

The last dirty subject is when you find thyself in gastrointestinal distress. During an endurance event, most of your blood is going towards important functions like running, jumping, lifting, and generally propelling yourself forward. That leaves less blood for your belly. If you eat more food or water than you can absorb (>200-250 cal/hour, >500mL-1L/hour), eat food with high osmotic content (sugar-free gummy bears, I’m looking at you), or foods that don’t agree with you (some high sugar electrolyte drinks), then your tubes will turn into a freely flowing slide, sometimes causing you to make a trip to your favorite clearing as often as twice hourly. This wastes valuable hydration and electrolytes including potassium and bicarbonate, requiring more fluid. If you find yourself in this situation, then just ride the slide and do what you can. Unless you’re Trevor Cichosz, this will probably not be your best race, so learn what you can about your nutrition and other factors so that you can race again another day.

Trevor Cichosz’ much deserved $5k victory poop.

All photos are the credit of the people in the photos. All fanciful language and puns were intentional.


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