So I have a confession, one which is embarrassing as hell, yet I somehow have to let it be known because my personal workout integrity is being affected. I have to begin by saying that I have a relatively high pain threshold, to some degree I think I enjoy the “pain cave”, and find working through pain to be something of a masochistic accomplishment.
Which brings me back to my confession…this morning at CFE we had the last tempo run of the month, the prescribed workout for the short course, was a 50 minute run at 85% effort on a trail which starts and ends at Wakefield Park, with a big loop around Lake Accotink. I was ready to run this course, over the last two years I’ve walked the loop around the lake a half dozen times with my dog, and each time I walked it, I recall thinking, it would be a an accomplishment if one day I could run around the lake.
As we warmed up, I was actually getting excited at the prospect of completing something which a year earlier would have seemed impossible, my plan was to make this course succumb to my will, I’m Superfly, and the trail was one of my bitches.
From the start of the run I could feel that my legs were sore from the WoD the day before, and my left ankle felt tender, but as the temperature of my body started to rise I could feel the soreness and the pain starting to subside. The discomfort fading away helped to bolster my confidence in this run.
In a short period of time, I reached the point where the Wakefield Park trail connected to the Lake Accotink loop. It is also at where, something deep inside of my body started to feel strange.
It was like something was starting to move in my lower bowels. I ignored it and continued to run, but every so often I would feel what felt like a karate kick to my guts. With each ensuing kick I could feel my pace getting slower, and the impact of the “pain” was becoming more intense.
Kevin N. was directly in front of me, and I tend to use him as my pace car, on this particular day I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with him, I watched him increase the distance between us and could do nothing to close the gap.
I continued to run even after I lost sight of Kevin completely. It was tough to focus on just running without the competitive fuel of chasing someone, so my mind started to wander, at first I thought about whether or not my pace was truly 85%, but it quickly transitioned into, “what if the pain gets worse?”
I encountered my first small hill I quickly increased my cadence smoothly getting up the incline, then I ran down the hill, almost reaching a sprint, it was after this decline that I my stomach pains were clearly defined, it was by far the most intense “feeling” of having to poop I’ve ever felt.
I immediately stopped running, and started to walk…problem solved, or so I thought…
As I walked the feeling would go away, and it made me think I could get to either the marina or the get back to the trailhead where there are public bathrooms, I reached a point on the trail where it was almost the same distance to either.
I made the decision that the marina was slightly closer so I would run to the marina, I started to run again.
I felt okay…
The only thought I had in my mind was make it to the marina. During the initial few minutes of running I didn’t have much of an urge to “poop”, but long after running, the “feeling” came back. At this point I saw a place that I might be able to hide and relieve myself. There was a small trail that broke off of the main trail which traveled below a small hill.
I thought this might be a good place to conceal myself and poop.
I started to relax a bit, and the sense of impending relief was fantastic…then I reached the end of this diverting trail, and there was a bench with people sitting at it.
I turned around, and headed up the side of the hill, when I saw Tricia, she said something to me which my brain could not process as all motor function was being used to keep the “poop” inside my body, so I just responded to her with a “I got Lost”. I let her pass me, and I jogged in place for a bit, to make sure that she created distance between us.
I had to stop and walk…The walking helped to settle my stomach, and I truly felt like I could make it to the marina. It is here where my neurotic Asian brain took over, and I started to think, if I walk to the Marina, and then have to walk or run back to the starting point, I won’t get back in time.
So after a few minutes of hesitation, and inner agony, I turned around started walking back towards the trailhead at Wakefield Park.
I walked for a good 10 minutes in the direction of the trailhead without much thought…then the feeling of impending doom hit me.
It was like the rain waters were raising, and the levy was ready to break. I started to look around for any remotely private place where I could get off the trail and get this evil out of me. As I looked around there was nothing even close to private all that surrounded me was the open backyard of neighborhood that borders Lake Accotink, and a 10’ buffer between the trail and the lake.
I then remembered a stretch of trail which was 400 meters behind me where the buffer was thick, really thick. I turned around, walked, jogged, ran, and waddled back to this area. When I reached this short bit of trail I looked towards the lake, it was thick with brush, so I started to walk towards the lake, and then I saw this giant tree which had fallen and uprooted a large portion of its roots, along with the soil connected to it.
If I hadn’t seen this while on the trail, then getting behind it would almost ensure no one would see me taking a poop.
The perfect place.
I walked back and huddled behind this tree, which was going to be my salvation. Behind this large mound of dirt I knew in a squatting position that my head was well below the top of the mound.
Funny thing about pooping in the woods, it’s hard to try and direct your butt in a way that will cause you to miss your shorts. I ultimately used my fallen buddy as support and stuck my ass out as far as I could.
I took care of business. It was like a carpet bombing mission, in and out.
As soon as I was done I pulled up my shorts, and walked back to the trail, you might say I skipped back to the trail.
When I stepped back onto the trail, I was done. I felt like…well crap.
I felt dirty, and humiliated to some degree, and lost all motivation to run. I looked at my watch, and realized it was time to just head back to Wakefield Park. I tried a few times to start running again, but my body was ice cold, and the motivation to run was lost. It’s a strange feeling that I can only describe as going limp…not that I know what that’s like…(really at this point, I just told you that I pooped myself in the woods, there isn’t much I’m ashamed about).
As I walked back to the trailhead, having lost anything that resembles pride, I started to see the fast runners making their second loops, when I saw them, they’d inevitably ask “Are you ok?”, and I lied and said “my ankles tweaked!”
When I got back to the trailhead, with my pride between my legs, I sat down mainly from the exhaustion of stress, and also because I was just deflated.
Tes was feeling around on my ankle to help remedy the injury, just so we’re clear I do have pain in my ankle, it’s from a week ago, it causes me pain, but nothing I can grin and bare to keep working. As Tes’s was feeling around, I kept maneuver my body to try and conceal any possible odor.
She eventually gave me a lacrosse ball, and I found that I have tightness on the outside of my shin, it hurts, it sucks, but it wasn’t the reason I didn’t finish the run, I didn’t finish the run because I didn’t prepare.
I made this confession to Kevin later during the day, and he told me that it happens. I told another friend of mine who’s a runner and he told me when he was running the Marine Corps Marathon, that as soon as people reached a point where there were no more spectators that it was like a poop fest. Not much solace, but I don’t feel as dirty about the situation now.
When I got home after the run, I took a shower, and I felt like Superman, which is why I went back to PCF and did the 11 AM WoD.
I am Louis Kim, and I pooped in the woods.