TMI – The World is My Restroom

I pee outside every day. I know, to some people this is TMI. However, to a runner, I think this is pretty normal. Right?

I don’t know. It took me 29 years to think it was ok to pee outside. That was about 15 years of my running life. It all started because I had my daughter who I wanted to spend EVERY SINGLE moment with (new mom hormones, I suppose). I also wanted (NEEDED) to run.

4 month old and mom

Sweet Currie, 4 month birthday. How could I not smother this one with love? Wow, my hair was really long there. Should I go back to the long locks or keep it shorter?

So, I would wake up super early, down 40 oz of water, a cup of coffee, and an almond butter sandwich and head out the door within 45 minutes, before the little angel or husband awoke. You can imagine what 40 oz of water and coffee will do to a person, and I  was lucky enough to run on wooded trails every day, so it was easy to find a secluded place to squat.

Peeing outside is sort of like dropping out of a race. It’s hard to imagine doing the first time, but once you do, it’s sitting in the back of your mind any time you feel the urge. -Me (Yep, write that one down in your book of inspirational quotes!)

Harrisburg Marathon mile 16

The only marathon I didn’t finish. Mentally and physically finished at 16. Not a proud day.

Before you know it, I was peeing outside every day. This has been going on for 2 years now and it causes some interesting moments.

With husband, on the rare occasion that we get to run together:

  • “Seriously? We JUST left the house.”
  • “It took you 30 years to learn to pee outside, now you do it every day for fun.”
  • “Is that really necessary?”

At races:

  • Men seem to claim the obvious hidden pee spots, takes awhile to find some privacy.
  • People who haven’t opened their mind to peeing outside (yet) will always be the ones to see me and give me rude looks, loud sighs, etc.

General family and friends:

  • “Mommy let’s just pee outside like you do when we run.”
  • “Oh, there’s no restroom at this playground? I’ll just go back in the woods.” (Awkward stare from adults present…)

I know I’m not the only female who pees outside (or at least thinks about doing it) regularly, especially in the marathon/ultra marathon scene. In fact, check out this tweet from Emily, the amazing distance runner, who just placed 1st female and 3rd overall at the Can Lake 50.

Peeing outside

I could go on, but it’s time for a run. So…

Tell me about your outside restroom adventures! Do you pee (or poop!) outside on a regular basis? Would you scowl if you saw someone doing it? Any other gross runner habits? Aren’t you happy I didn’t include a pic of me squatting? Ew, hope no one caught that on camera!

40 thoughts on “TMI – The World is My Restroom

  1. HAHAHAHAHA! So glad I’m not the only one! :) (I knew I wasn’t but it’s better to see it written out there). The first time I got “caught” on a run I was horrified and tried every trick imaginable to make it to a “real” restroom. After the first ‘woodcident’ it’s now the new normal. I’ll even go further and admit, I often have runner’s tummy so it’s not usually pee for me. Hey, it’s all biodegradable, right! (and yes, I run w/ TP just in case!) My husband has just accepted it and now serves as my look out. Marital bliss at its finest. :)

  2. I’ve only been forced to do it once (knock on wood) and it wasn’t even while on an actual run. I was only out there as a water stop volunteer. I squatted in a spiderweb and have a totally rational phobia about woods-peeing, since. :(

    You’re definitely not alone. Most people I run with talk about it or go ahead and do it, almost daily.

  3. Seriously, this is awesome! The fearless leader of my all girls local run club has actually perfected a squat, pull, pee method and offers lessons, lol!! I have only done it on a 10 mile trail race but I am sure if the need arises, I will do it again.

  4. Ahhh the pee dilemma. I’ve never peed outside during a run, however I did have the dilemma during a race. I missed a sub-2 hour half PR bc I had to pee at mile 11. Do people run and pee? I wanted to but couldn’t.

  5. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with it. Sometimes you have to go (more than others) and sometimes you have neon shorts on and can’t pee in your pants while you’re running.

  6. You are speaking my language on this one! Even though I don’t pee outside a ton, I’m all for it! And reading A Life Without Limits opened my eyes to peeing and pooping anywhere, and using pee as a race weapon. So awesome.

  7. One bright sunny winter day I was running on the canal between Fairport and Pittsford. I stopped under the I-490 overpass to pee. It wasn’t until the homeless guy light a cigarette did I notice he was 10 feet in front of me and I was peeing right at him. I guess I was a bit snow blind and it was really dark under that bridge. I feel bad to this day that I was aiming my stream right at the poor guy.

    • Haha Josh! #1 – I’ve totally peed in that same spot. #2 – I’ve totally peed when someone was right there and not noticed until later! *blush*

  8. 100% normal and I am with you. It’s kinda weird when you have to pee (when not running) and there isn’t a restroom around and your automatic instinct is to drop your pants wherever you are… but that’s exactly what happens. I pee outside on almost every run too. NBD. I’ve gotten way less shy about it. No shame.

  9. I’m lucky; I learned it was okay to pee/poop outside at 15 when I spent a month in Israel and we went on long hikes most days. I’ve only had to do it a couple times since I began running, but, being possibly a bit too honest here, I think it’s really fun. My favorite thing is digging a little hole and then burying it when I’m done, like an animal. xD

    I hate when the woods are too sparse to find a nice hiding spot, though! It’s not fair how men can just turn their backs and be good, whereas we have to find a place where we can pull down our pants and all that jazz. The world is so unfair, haha.

  10. It wasn’t until I was running while I was pregnant that I started peeing outside…otherwise I wouldn’t be able to run more than a mile. But fortunately I live out in the middle of nowhere and it’s not unlikely for me to not see any cars on my run. There is definitely something liberating about it.

    • How nice to live somewhere where you can do a whole run without seeing cars! That’s how it is where my parents and in-laws live (certain times of the day anyway). I love when it’s just me and the road or trail!

  11. You are too funny!! I love how runners just put it all out there. It would probably take me awhile to comfortably chat bodily functions with a new friend, but get me out running the trails with a new runner friend and BAM! 5 minutes into the run not only are we chatting about it, but snot rockets start flying, burps punctuate the silent pauses in conversation, and there’s no shame in pulling off to nature pee :) Just today I was standing with a mom friend at the playground while our kiddos played and she said “this is probably TMI but I have the worst cramps today!” I was thinking seriously?! I just did a 17 miler with 3 dudes from my running group and had intestinal issues. Talking about cramps?! Puh-lease 😉

    • Haha, I know. There is something about running that makes me just want to open up. :) Seems all my running friends turn into my best friends because we learn so much about each other so quickly!

  12. Oh, I certainly do this on a regular basis, as long as I’m in the woods and away from witnesses. If something’s got to come out, out it goes. What else are you supposed to do when a potty emergency strikes in the wild several miles from a bathroom?

  13. I ran Wineglass a couple weeks ago & around mile 17 I looked up and saw this woman step to the shoulder of the road, pull aside her running shorts and pee standing up on the side of the road…..and she didn’t even pee on her shoes! I was awe’d! Now that is a mad skill!

  14. Hi Jen!

    I just stumbled upon your blog on Lauren Fleshman’s blog. I’m so glad I did! This is a great post and something I can totally relate to! For the past 3 years, I’ve had severe stomach issues (lots of liquidy poo…sorry for the TMI!), and I remember the first time I did it outside. I was so embarrassed and had to use a sock to wipe. I have since graduated to pooping not once, but usually 2-3 times per run, and there usually isn’t a discreet spot, so I have to go right off the trail, and I am no longer using socks…ew…..

    Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you, because I know how ridiculous it is! I have since gotten things squared away with my digestive tract and no longer have to take those emergency bathroom breaks after eliminating gluten from my diet, and I can’t tell you how amazing I feel!

    Your blog is very inspiring, and I am also a runner with OT dreams! I hope we run into each other one day! Good luck to you, and run happy! :)

    -Suzanne

    • Argh! No fun Suzanne! I had major stomach issues for over a year and found the problem was dairy. I haven’t been able to give it up completely but I give it up for 3 days before races and 2 days prior to workouts. I’m glad you figured your problem out as well! I think it’s amazing that you were able to give up gluten. I have a hard time cutting foods out of my diet! I hope we run into each other someday! I bet we will! :)

  15. I am a kindred spirit in the outdoor peeing, although we have a nice golf course along the route I often visit their restroom. Funny story, before PF Chang’s RNR half marathon one year my friend had to pee bad and it was starting in a few minutes. We dashed down a side street (sketchy part of town) and just tried to squat between cars. As we stood up there were several questionable characters staring at us. I told her no worries they are used to seeing women with no pants on in this part of town. We hightailed it out of there to make it to the start on time.

  16. I learned how to pee outside and on the move the hard way. During mile 23 of the bike leg of my first half-Ironman, I discovered I had to go to the bathroom in a major way, but I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to get off the bike and get disqualified accidentally, I didn’t want to get poison ivy on my bum, and I didn’t want to just go on the bike, because, well, rust? etiquette? So I held it. While in a crouch on a tri-bike in my aerobars. By mile 45 I could no longer use the aerobars and by mile 50 I was sitting straight up in some serious pain. I made it into the transition area, used the porta-potty, ate some raisins and had the most pleasant half-marathon experience of my life…and learned that, yes, indeed, you just go on the damn bike.

  17. Sorry if it’s weird that I’m back this far in your posts (just found your blog a few days ago!) but I had to comment on this – just two weeks ago I peed on a run for the first time. It was such a struggle too. I live in NYC and run in Central Park – normally there are bathrooms available at key intervals, but they’re locked in the evenings. It was my first run over ~6 miles since getting diagnosed with/recovering from some health issues and I told myself that there was no way I was going to cut it short just so I could go home and pee. So finally, 5 miles in, I stopped, hid, and spent about 10-15 minutes trying to get over my stage fright and I did it! I uh…haven’t quite mastered the whole pants-down element so there was a a wet pants/squelchy shoe factor for the rest of my run but I didn’t care because, much like the first time I vomited and kept running, it was kind of empowering.

    • Hi Claire! Thanks for commenting! Central Park is more populated than the places I run so good for you! I still get stage fright sometimes when I think I might get caught! I haven’t mastered the pants down element, and I’ve definitely peed all over my shoes (even before a big race before!) but it gets easier! Definitely empowering. :)

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