Morning Run

Disclaimer: the following story is not for the faint of heart. Stop reading if you’re grossed out easily.  You have been warned.

It was bitterly cold when my friend Ryan and I started a 10 mile run this morning. But the cold was invigorating, and the morning was beautiful.

 It actually looked a lot like this. But with more snow/ice.

We met at the head of the the Soos Creek Trail and began a steady pace. As we did so, my body started to adjust to the cold pretty well, and the run felt great. We crunched through a few patches of snow and I remember saying “Whoa. That just happened. I’m so bad-A. I just ran through snow.”

He was like “Let me guess, you’re going to write a blog post about that aren’t you?” We both laughed at the absurdity! Yeah, like I’d really be able to make a post out of something so bland. Haha! (Shrugs shoulders).

Yet, here I am, writing a post about our morning run.

You see, things didn’t end well.

About halfway through the run, my bowels decided that they wanted to have a movement. This is not uncommon during a long run. As Ryan observed, running “loosens everything up down there,” and so often the body decides that in the middle of a huge long run is the perfect time to excrete. The trail we were running (and where I do most of my runs) is about four miles long and it ends right near a park, and then you turn around and run back. I’ve run this trail many times, so I knew that we were almost at the half-way point, and that at the half-way point there is a bathroom.

My bowels were pretty insistent, but it was no emergency. I let Ryan know “Hey, when we get to the park, I’m gonna have to drop a deuce.”

Ryan remarked that oftentimes, parks don’t open their bathrooms during the winter.

And that’s when I started to panic.

BUT, to my great relief, we got to the park and I had the great pleasure of trying the bathroom door, finding it unlocked, and going number two. Perfect! I was totally set for the second half of the run!

One thing I didn’t count on though? Stopping in the middle of a long run gives your body time to cool down and sweat. Normally this isn’t a problem. On a day where you’re running through snow patches and you don’t have fancy gear to keep you warm (because who on earth decides to run through snow patches anyway?)? This is a problem.

As we started our second leg, I could tell I was in trouble. It was like my cooled sweat encased me in a suit of… very cooled sweat (man, I’m SUCH a good writer at times–just so able to convey thoughts so precisely) which did not allow the act of running to increase my body temperature as it had on the first half of the run. At one point I reached under my shirt to try to warm up my stomach. I thought I was touching cloth for a moment, when I realized I was touching my actual skin, which was so numbed by cold I couldn’t even feel my hand. This was ominous. I started to feel a little panicked again, but as we got closer to home, I was like “This is totally fine. I’ll be in a hot shower in no time.”

But then, something really bad happened. Really, really, really, really bad.

You know how the body does weird things in response to varied stimuli (holy crap, why am I not a scientist! That was the most profound scientific observation this decade!)? Apparently, when I run in really cold temperatures, my body thinks it’s time to put my digestive tract into overdrive. Because at about the point we had two miles left my bowels had a message for me.

That message was “You better find a place to sit the freak down because this cold weather is the scariest thing we, your bowels, have ever experienced and we are going to respond  by GOING INTO OVERDRIVE AND EMPTYING EVERYWHERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE.”

It was highly uncomfortable, but I tried to reason with my back side for a few moments. “No bowels,” I said in my brain. “We JUST WENT. If you had wanted to empty yourselves completely, you shoulda done it 10 minutes ago when we were sitting on a crapper.

They remained unconvinced. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Bowels: Okay, so we’re gonna blow now…

Me: STOP! I’m not ready yet. Just a mile and a half and you can do whatever you want.

Bowels: (Lets up for about thirty seconds, then) Yeah, so the excrement is knocking at your door now, and we’re gonna start pushing. (Pushes)

Me: (Tightening my sphincter with all my might) BACK YE FIEND. I am in the middle of a trail and I refuse to crap my pants.

Bowels: Fine. We’ll wait. For about 20 seconds. Are you ready now? How about now? And now?

Me: (Tightens sphincter with herculean strength) For the love of all that’s good in the world, stop this insanity and let me get home so I don’t explode in public!!!!

Bowels: …. How about now?

This kind of interchange continued for another half a mile.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of needing to go number two while running. I don’t think there are words to describe how uncomfortable it is. It’s as if the primitive human thinks it is fleeing from a predator and must excrete or be eaten alive by herd of lions and T-rexes. There is an urgency behind it that is so primal it takes your breath away. I imagine it feels somewhat akin to an early stage contraction. Whatever the case, the discomfort is unbearable.

 I literally might die if I don’t drop this deuce IMMEDIATELY.
(Unfortunately this photo doesn’t do the level of panic justice, but it was close enough.)

This is what I was feeling when I turned to Ryan and said “Hey, I think I’m going to walk the last mile. I’m freezing!”

I don’t know why I didn’t just explain what was happening. My mind was taxed. I wasn’t thinking straight. He insisted on giving me a sweatshirt he had been wearing around his waist, and by the time I put it on, the urgent need to crap my pants had subsided somewhat, to the point that I thought “okay, maybe I can make it this last mile.”

We started off again, me now feeling a bit warmer thanks to Ryan’s sweatshirt (which he’d removed early in the run because his fancy shmancy running gear made him too warm) and a bit more hopeful as we neared the street that would take us up to our respective neighborhoods. I was really starting to believe I could get home!

And then my bowels stopped playing nice. They got fed up, and out of nowhere, while my defenses were down, they got a squirt of liquid through my anus. They were not messing around.

I stopped immediately, looked at Ryan, shooed him ahead saying “I’m just gonna walk.” I was pretty sure he wanted no part in what was about to happen there on the Soos Creek Trail.

Then, I frantically started climbing in the woods so I could get far enough away from the trail that some poor unsuspecting dog-walker didn’t get an eyeful of actual feces pouring out of my exposed buttocks. My bowels were not relenting. They were no longer asking. They were demanding “Now. Now. NOW. NOW. NOW! NOW!!! THIS WILL HAPPEN WHETHER YOU ARE CLOTHED OR NOT SO YOU BETTER PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN AND SQUAT THIS INSTANT!!!”

And so, in a panic, I did. I barely got my back side out in time and heard the sound of my poop hit the ground. The relief was instantaneous. I sighed more contentedly than I had in a long time. And then, I kind of came back to my senses. And realized that I really wasn’t that far from the trail, and that the people walking by could probably see me.

And that’s when the shame set it.

I tried to act all cool as I looked for something to “clean up” with. My options were pine leaves and snow. I opted for snow. The process was messy but efficacious. As I was pulling my pants back up, my heart dropped.

It became apparent that, while I thought I had been rather speedy, I hadn’t gotten my back-side exposed quite fast enough.

So basically what I’m saying is that I crapped my pants.

The shame was unrelenting. I tried to look serene as people passed and I was literally hand shoveling excrement out of my pants. I’m pretty sure it looked convincing.

“Why on earth is that young man off the trail in the woods fixating on his backside and wiping his hands off in the snow? I know! He must be a birdwatcher!”

Finally, I was able to get things into enough order that I braved the run home, hoping that nobody could tell what had happened. But seriously? Every person I passed could figure it out by the smell alone. I basically smelled like a latrine.

Finally, I made it home, feeling like a little boy who had an accident.

Me: Something bad happened…

Wife: What?! What’s wrong!?

Me: Um, I… I had an accident. (Lifts up shirt to show Wife)

Wife: Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry. Wow… that smells bad.

Me: (bows head in shame)

Wife: Don’t feel bad. Like we’ve learned on Elmo’s Potty Time, “Accidents happen, and that’s okay!” Now go take off the yucky clothes and get in the shower.

Me: You don’t mind helping me clean up?

Wife: Not at all. Yours is the third blow-out I’ve had to deal with this morning alone.

At least I could take comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only Weed to have an accident today.

I can’t tell you how much better that makes me feel.

Honey, somebody made a poo poo in their pants. And that somebody is me.

Update: In talking to Ryan yesterday (this post was written on Saturday, two days ago), first thing he said was “Why didn’t you tell me what was going on??? There was a porta-potty about 10 feet from where we separated.” 
My life is made of win.

Photo attribution here and here.


  1. Don't worry; any runner that drops by will nod sagely with understanding. It happens. But you did make it sound a lot more funny than it is in real life! 🙂

  2. I showed up today to give you The Stylish Blogger Award. I had no idea that this post was here at the time. If I had I don't know what I would have done about your award. He He. But because I've already posted that I'm giving you one on my blog I must follow through. It was a funny post and I also shared with my hubby who really enjoyed and laughed all the way through. So if you will go to my blog, you will learn how to claim your award.

    1. LOL, you shouldn't have made yourself suffer. If the teens were locked in the bathroom for that long, you should've dropped your load right outside the door so they'd step in it when they came out. Sorry, I just really hate it when people are inconsiderate about bathrooms.

  3. So gross and yet so funny.

    I happened to have the pleasure, while running the Wasatch Back Utah Ragnar Relay Race last June, of watching a fellow female runner drop trou right in front of me. She did her business right there, on the trail, in front of everyone who ran past. It was lovely. (I shudder when I think back on that moment).

    Also, of the six people in my van, four got the holy terrors of of all things poop related. They still did their runs while having the runs (that's poetic right there), but they were miserable. I knew running long distances can take its toll on the body–cramping, blistering, vomiting, etc.–but no one warned me about the poops. Fortunately, my bowels like me 🙂 I made it through the race without incident.

    Ha,Ha *insert Nelson from the Simpsons*

  4. Your wife is a keeper…my husband would have teased me relentlessly.

    Stories like this are why my friend and I say that you need to take every step possible in order to "earn that gold star" (as she puts it) before heading out on those long runs…

  5. So I love Iphone because your my new home page and I can read this whenever I want! Also this must be genetic, I count it as a miracle every day that our treadmill is 5 feet from a bathroom.

  6. Before there was modern toiletry, there was the woods (lol)

    You have a nice wife. I'd be all "honey, you made this mess, you're big enough to clean it up on your own."


  7. Holy crap… literally! I can imagine that would be rather traumatic to experience… but it made me laugh so hard I thought my head would explode. I mean… I had to try really hard not to disturb the co-workers I was laughing so hard…

  8. Oh Weed. I'm sorry to admit I had a chuckle at your expense, but you wrote a blogpost about it so I guess I shouldn't feel bad. I don't run so I can't relate, but I did fall down yesterday in front of kids who pointed and laughed because I had walked into a glass wall first. Feel better? Not really the same thing huh? I tried.

  9. I went through 6 kleenex's at work, trying to keep my cubicle mates from knowing that I was laughing me arse off!!
    You are very brave to tell that on yourself.
    Sorry for you but thanks for the laugh!!

  10. I'm not going to say this has ever happened to me before (and if it did I would never blog about it–just one of those basic Josh/Dian differences)…I'll just say, where I live there are no half-way points, no porta-potties, no endless miles of trees…and sometimes my run home resembles a very odd dance.

  11. You runners are crazy. I can say that because my husband is an Iron Man triathlete. Let's just say his story took place in the Presido of San Francisco before sunrise. We were on vacation (me and kids sleeping in hotel). He had this urgency you describe above and dropped "trow" and did his business. During the "deed" an owl swooped down on him causing him to leap and run. To top it off he had to abandon the underwear and run the rest of the way to the hotel without any. Talk about chaffing. Haha! Sorry about your story though.

  12. You realize that when you tell people that something is gross and not to read on that this makes it even more irresistable and we have to read on to find out for ourselves what is so gross. LMAO. Funny post.

  13. Good God! I just stopped by to check in with a fellow crusader and this is what I find!? What a sorry tale! You've caused me to intentionally use three exclamation points and that's some powerful motivating. It seems you may have learned something from your bowels.

  14. Ummmm…nice introduction to your blog? 🙂 What a great wife, though – right? Too funny. New follower and fellow crusader here just (finally) making the rounds. Happy Tuesday!

  15. Here we go:

    @Trisha–so glad I could make you laugh with my folly 😉

    @Kristal Lee–Thanks for the sympathy. And thanks for laughing along.

    @Su–Thanks for the fellow-runner props.

    @Shelley–Thanks so much for the award!!

    @That's what she–That article really DOES make me feel better!

    @Emily–Oh man, I sincerely hope it does NOT happen to you.

    @Angela Scott–1. TOTALLY poetic. 2. You're lucky your bowels like you. Mine, apparently, are an enemy. 3. I want to do the Ragnar. Sounds awesome.

    @Writingnut–Glad you found it funny instead of violently disturbing!

    @Christine–I DID earn my gold star! But I was still punished…

    @becca–I'm happy to hear you laughed, and didn't vomit or anything.

    @Chad–YOU HAVE AN IPHONE??? I am green with envy.

    @Jenni–I think a more apt question would be: why do you read such things when there is a clear warning not to???? (haha)

    @TILTE–I know, I went for many years ignorant of the running/poop factor. And now it is seared inexorably into my memory…

    @Donna–I know, she's seriously a keeper. I don't know how I got so lucky.

    @YotesDiva–I'm glad it got a chuckle! And it always makes me happy to hear that my posts disturb co-workers at times…

    @Kari Marie–Your story made me feel… completely not better about defecating all over myself. But thanks for trying! And I'm very glad you laughed 😉

    @Dian–I have three words for you: four leafed clover.


    @Patricia–I love your husband's story! That's awesome, and definitely helps me feel less alone in my poop-trauma.

    @Sunny–(puts his finger to your lips) Shhhh shhhh. Be calm. Here's a Kleenex. (Don't worry, I've washed my hands about four trillion times since then.)

    @Michael–Haha, so note for future reference. When I say to maybe steer clear… yeah, I still hope you read it. You're right. It just allows me to pretend to be blameless.

    @MC–Welcome to The Weed! I do hope you will risk coming back, but I can completely understand the impulse to go running away (whilst clenching your sphincter)

    @Donea–Haha! Yeah, this was… a risky choice for anyone paying a first visit.

    @Lisa–Haha, sorry to get you in trouble at work. And really, what could you say? "See, I was reading this blog about a guy who crapped his pants…" You'd absolutely be shunned.

    Sorry if I missed anyone. (As if anyone is going to come back and check like four days later.)

    @IWBY–I can only hope!

  16. OH GOD!!! Funniest thing I have EVER read! serious! and yes, its normal! yes, it has happened to me! Thats why you ALWAYS wear socks in an emergency…they magically can turn into toilet paper 🙂 We'll talk

  17. And that's why you shouldn't exercise! Exercise leads to …excrement???

    I dunno. My eleven year old loved your story. She can't WAIT to meet you.


  18. Weed, whilst reading this eating my breakfast some how I managed to laugh and not spit my vegemite crackers (can you tell i'm an aussie?) all over the place. Thanks for that! Keep up the bloggin'.

  19. This made me laugh so much, because I have had similar issues while running. Your story makes me feel better. haha!

  20. You just ruined Soos Creek trail for me…for a short time I too lived in Auburn while my husband was in school and I have a happy memory of taking a nice walk with my family down this trail…too bad you crapped on it! lol!

  21. OK anyone who reads this post and is a runner knows exactly what you are talking about! In fact, I had a feeling this was going to be about uncontrollable bowels so I was already laughing before I got to that part. And it took me ahwile to read the entire post because I was laughing so hard I was crying! My dog and cat kept looking at me wondering what was wrong with me???

    I think actually why I was laughing so hard is because I thought I was the only one who all too often has this very private but intimate conversation with my own bowels while out on a run! Now that I've been a runner for almost 20 years, I heed that first warning and immediately head back towards home cuz I know it won't go away.

    Josh, I'm from Denver and our community is still reeling from the terrible tragedy that took place in Aurora yesterday. Thank you for adding some joy & laughter to an otherwise very sad day for me and others who were affected.


  22. This is one of the funniest things I've ever heard, possibly because I can sort-of relate; last winter I was out for a run when, you know, it happened. But luckily I live in a sparsely-populated, desertous-and-deserted area, so I didn't have to face the public about it.
    In fact, it was so funny that I now REALLY need to use the restroom….

  23. Sigh. I laughed as I read your post, but not a full belly laugh, because sadly I've been there done that. I was on vacation for a family reunion. My husband and I went running with my brother-in-law. I decided I couldn't keep up with them and started back to the hotel and pooped my pants before I made it back. There were no woods in this suburban business park area, so I decided in my underwear was better than everyone seeing me. Sadly though, my husband and I were sharing a room with my sister, her husband, and her daughter, so there could really be no secrets, and there was no washing machine. I did the best I could using the toilet and sink and then just didn't get to go running for the rest of the vacation. Sigh. At least you were near your house!

  24. Ok, I laughed so hard I

    -a- woke my husband up
    -b- cried
    -c- couldn't breathe.

    I cannot even tell you how funny this is. This is probably the funniest thing I have read in my life. And I am one of those straight-laced, I do not like potty humor types.

  25. My husband just got back from a 10-miler with his friend. The friend had a poop incident. Somehow my husband had never seen this post. Thanks for the laugh *again* and know that you are not alone!!

  26. LOL, dude, the same rule that applies to anal sex applies to long runs–NEVER, EVER try to start until AFTER you've completely evacuated everything.
    But here's a story that will make you feel a little better about what happened to you:

    I can barely get out of bed when I'm on my period, so this woman is a real hero, IMO. And when it happened to her, the whole city was watching. And she still WON. Freaking SUPERGIRL!

  27. okay, I'll share mine, I was on a long drive through OK, had stopped at a braums, and about 45 minutes later, on a stretch where there were no rest stops or neighborhoods I knew off the exits, i had to go, explosively. I didn't even make it all the way off the highway, halfway up the exit ramp i had to pull over immediately to avoid spraying it all over my drivers seat. Ran to the far side of my car, to shield me from other drivers, dropped trou, and tried to dump it as quick as I could. Of course other drivers kept pulling over to see if I was okay, and I had to keep yelling at them "Please drive away, I just have really bad diarrhea!" When I drove away to find a place to clean up, I couldn't find anywhere open with a restroom (it was late) and didn't know where I was, so in frustration I just pulled into a bank parking lot and tried to use bottled water to rinse myself off the best I could and change my pants (long roadtrip, so luckily I had clothes with me), gave a big middle finger to the bank security cameras, and sped away. I bet it's on youtube somewhere now.

    Btw, to be fair, I LOVE Braum's and have eaten at many different Braum's locations, probably over 200 times times since, with no incidents. I don't think it was their fault, I probably just had a little stomach bug or the chili didn't agree with something I had eaten earlier–but I've never eaten chili since, and no long roadtrips either, now that I think about it…

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