Runners are gross.
No, like really gross. If I had known just how gross runner were and how I would one day be gross with them, I would have rethought my running plans. But now it’s too late and I’m hooked on the torture, so I just thought I would let you in on the secrets so you can be well informed and make the wisest decision for your health.
Runners love snot rockets
Near the end of my half-marathon training last year, I went on a long (11 mile) run with my dad. Things were going okay, I hadn’t died from exhaustion yet and all of the sudden I hear my dad having a snot issue (or maybe it was a booger issue?). Either way, it was an issue. Then before I knew it, he was closing one nostril with his fingers and shooting that issue out as he ran. If there had been enough air in my lungs, I would have started dry-heaving; if there had been enough energy in my legs, I would have turned right around and run from him. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen my father do.
Later I was telling others about this incident because I enjoy talking about gross things and none of my runner friends were shocked by this and they all assured me it was no big deal, it’s just what runners do.
I’ve been running for almost two years and I have never felt the urge to shoot a snot rocket out of my nose. I think this is actually an optional runner thing that people just take advantage of.
Pee your pants
When I learned for the first time that running without underpants was allowed, it changed my world. I am Ruth’s daughter and you NEVER FORGET YOUR UNDERPANTS AT HOME. It’s a rule, it’s probably even in the Bible somewhere. So when I read this book and learned of the freedom of running with no underwear, finally getting an answer to the constant wedgie problem, it was like I had seen the light.
What I learned next is that hardcore runners often pee while running because they are so into their training that they don’t have time to stop. I’ll let that thought sit for a minute before I proceed…
Peeing while running. Again, something I would never do. Until I accidentally did it.
And, guys, it wasn’t that bad.
It was never in my plan to pee my pants. It was an accident, but because I was running, I like to consider it just a part of my rigorous and dedicated running journey. It was last summer while running a 5K in honor of my friend Joe. I knew the course wouldn’t have a port-a-potty option because it was a small race on an out-of-the-way trail so I didn’t drink water beforehand, but on the drive in, I ate a whole pint of raspberries (hindsight, yes, they were full of water; that did not cross my mind at the time). So my friend Heather and I were finishing the last half mile when it hit me. I had to pee RIGHT NOW. There was no time to finish, no time to run to a bathroom. It was go time. But I was trying to fight it, doing that weird run while you’re trying to cross your legs and you just look like a wounded giraffe. My “friend” Heather wasn’t helping because she was laughing and I didn’t know whether to join her or punch her. The impulses were pretty neck and neck.
Then it happened. I ran to the nearest bush as other runners ran past completely aware of what I was doing. It probably didn’t help that Heather was taking pictures of me as this catastrophe happened. Related: Heather is no longer my friend.
The bad news was that this was a race a lot of my students were participating in also. Good news: it was raining so I was a little wet already and I was wearing black leggings which are the perfect color if you want to pee your pants. Black leggings effectively trap the pee but also make wet spots blend in nicely. So I finished the race, posed for pictures, and then went out to breakfast with friends and family after the race. All while wearing my pee pants.
Like I said, once you do it, it’s not as bad as you think. Really, try it.
Toenails falling off
In May, I ran my second half-marathon in two weeks. It wasn’t planned but my first one wasn’t what I wanted time-wise so I signed up for another one, this time with my dad. About half-way through, I felt like my shoe was falling apart; I could feel flopping, sort of like the sole was coming off from the rest of my shoe. But every time I looked down, nothing was wrong so I just kept running. I finished the race with a much better time (2:07) and went home tired but happy. When I finally got to sit down and take my shoes off, one of my socks was bloody and slimy. I immediately thought I was dying even though I wasn’t in pain and until the moment I took my shoe off, I didn’t even know anything was wrong.
But obviously, with that much blood loss, I was going to die.
When I finally got up the nerve to take my sock off (give or take twenty minutes until someone else got home to supervise in case I passed out when I saw my foot), it was done bleeding and my big toe, where all the blood had come from, looked fine.
It was very anti-climactic like most things in my life.
But slowly over the next few weeks, my toenail turned from red to purple to black. Eventually the whole nail was just black and dead. It was disgusting. Runner friends assured me it would fall off. I assured runner friends I would die if my toenail fell off.
Luckily, it never did. But it was dead and black and ugly for months. It took almost eight full months for it to grow out and stop being old-woman toe. I had to continuously keep my toenails painted so that no one would be grossed out from my dead toe. It was quite a chore.
In October, I went to get new running shoes and learned that I had been running in shoes that were the wrong size which lead to my toe injury. So it was completely avoidable and completely my fault. Cool.
Is this enough? Do you see how gross runners are? So many weird things happen to your body when you run. So many weird things you accept when you run. I’ve always thought runners were crazy.
They most certainly are. And now? Now I’m just happy to be one of them, pee pants and black toenail included.