Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don't Fear the Porta-Potty


One of the first things a new runner has to get over is their fear of porta-pots.



You will for sure see them at the start (and finish) of a race, but you also may be fortunate to find one (or a few) along the route. If you're really lucky (and I use that term quite conservatively), you might also find one as you're running on your own, without the convenience of a race or fellow runners in your midst.

Don't be worried, and don't be scared. Everyone can (eventually) conquer any fear or misgivings about these "modern" conveniences. After all, our forefathers survived many years before indoor plumbing was readily available, and their version of porta-potties often gave you splinters.



Anyways, if you're a new runner, or a seasoned runner still fighting that fear, here are a few tips to help you....

1- Enter at your own risk
You have no idea who has been in there ahead of you, so proceed with caution and try not to touch anything. At one of my first long distance races, I decided around mile 9 or 10, that I needed a potty break...and had to wait in line behind 3 or 4 others. Each time someone came out, they warned the next person that it was really nasty in there. Finally when it was my turn, I learned why. Let's just say someone "exploded" all over the place inside...and none of us wanted the others to think we were the ones responsible.


2-Watch where you step
If it's a really sunny day, your eyes may need a few seconds (or several) to adjust to the darkness inside. Conversely, if it's an especially cloudy day, it may be extra dark inside. You just don't know what could be underfoot and (depending on the time of day, cloud cover, your state of fatigue, etc.) there could be some unseen stuff to stay clear of. ..I'll just leave that right there.

3-Watch where you sit
Some porta-pot seats have covers (like the real indoor kind). I had a friend accidentally sit on the lid, instead of the seat itself, and couldn't figure where the dripping "water" was coming from....until she realized the dripping water was not water and it was coming from her. It's always a good idea to check the seat for cleanliness (well, within reason)...it might need a wipe or two before plopping yourself down onto it. Or you can do as I do---squat (and hold that pose with vigor).

4-Knock before entering
Even though most porta-pots have locks, not every occupant knows how (or remembers) to use them...and sometimes the locks don't actually lock. So, give a polite knock...it may prevent a whole mess of embarrassment (I'll just leave that right there, too).
Is it really open? and unoccupied?
5-Clean up after yourself
This goes for both the ladies and men...try to keep your dribbles to yourselves. Just like we all learned in Kindergarten... if you make a mess, please clean it up before exiting. It may be impossible to leave the porta-pot cleaner than you found it, but do try to not make it any worse for the poor sole who is next in line.

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The porta-potty does NOT have to scare you into avoidance....

So, there's a few tips on porta-potty protocol. Have you ever violated any of these? Any tips you'd add? 

**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run... Join the party!

** I'm also linking up with Suzie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner

**And with Nicole and Annmarie and Jen for the Wild Wednesday Workout

39 comments:

  1. I took some seat covers from a public restroom before my last half. I folded them up and placed in a snack size zip lock in my running belt. I can't hover or I pee down my leg. Lol. I also carry Summer's Eve travel wipe because when you're sweaty the toilet paper sticks and peels when you wipe. These already have moisture on them so they wipe with ease and don't peel.

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  2. If there was a device I could buy that would detect the fastest potty line at a race I'd so buy it!

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    1. or maybe a tazor to prompt the people to move along (no pun intended)

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  3. You are so funny! I always seem to get in the slowest porta potty line! I often keep tissues in a pocket too just in cAse

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    1. I never have any place to store anything...my itty bitty belt hold my phone and that's about it. I have my lipstick and gels rubber-banded along the belt strap LOL

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  4. Um, don't look into the hole. Ever. Marcia and I ran a race once and it was so cold... (how cold was it)...that the porta potty contents were frozen. I think that was a blessing in disguise.

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    1. Ha ha ha! I almost said "don't look down..." LOL

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  5. I love that you wrote a post about this! Only us runners would have these sorts of conversations:) One time at a race we go to the porta potties before anyone else! I will ALWAYS squat in there- I guess its part of my race warm up!

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    1. I usually squat, too. It's a great warm-up and forces me to get my job done pronto!

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  6. I still haven't conquered my fear completely, but I have used them on occasion. I tried to use one during the Brooklyn Half but I just couldn't get past the smell. I think the smells might be the worse part.

    Whenever I do use them, I always back in so I don't look at what has been left "in the hole" and I always, ALWAYS squat! lol

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    1. I have gotten very good at holding my breath, believe it or not LOL Breathe in and exhale ever...so...slowly...(and do your business quickly!)

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  7. This is awesome! I love your use of humor to discuss a serious topic for us runners. Porta potties don't really bother me, and I'm always thankful when one is there when I need it! :-)

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    1. They totally gross me out, but they are a necessary evil. I am appalled at the mess some people leave behind when they're finished, though.

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  8. Running + crohns = bring on the porta potties

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    1. I don't have Crohns, but I do have an overactive bladder...so, yeah. I"m always in search of a potty stop...

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  9. KIM!!! #1. Omg. I can't even.

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    1. ha ha ha....You know, there's not always gonna be plentiful trees to cower behind....

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  10. Great advice! I really hate the porta potties and avoid them whenever I can. The worst is when you go and then realize there's no hand sanitizer...what to do?? Even though I try to avoid it, I always look in the hole, smh. And always make sure that YOU lock the door when you get in - I can't imagine how embarrassing it would be to be caught in a squat!

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    1. I always lock the door....before I do ANYTHING else LOL

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  11. Fun read! But I hate them!

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  12. What a funny post. I will say, I try to avoid them at all costs. But if I have to use one, I am in and out as quickly as possible...and just hope that nothing sticks.

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    1. I have gotten pretty "efficient" with my porta-potty time...in and out in 20 seconds (or less)

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  13. Haha, this is spot on! I definitely got over my fear really quick once I started racing regularly!

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    1. I know...they are one of the necessary evils LOL

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  14. That's a great tip about knocking! I've been caught out by that myself (luckily not from the inside). I've also done the sit on the lid thing (but realized it, thankfully).

    What an original post, Kim!

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    1. Thanks ;-) I needed to write a fun post to bring about some laughter with this crazy recovery thing I'm entertaining...

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  15. I never sit on the seat in ports potties -
    It's a good thing we have strong quads as runners!

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    1. Definitely! I usually assume a good squat and hold it with all my might

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  16. I never understand how people can leave porta potties so gross! Just go to the bathroom like a normal human being and everything will be fine!

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    1. IT's crazy! Some people are so inconsiderate...

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  17. I have no problem using them on race day, but otherwise I am pretty good at waiting for plumbing! Can I ask why people put the lid down? Especially when there's a line? I do not want to have to touch that lid to lift it!!

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  18. LOL! This was a huge hurtle for me to jump over and now I am a porta potty pro! Fun post!

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  19. Sigh, porta potties is serious business. Just pretend you're at home and use it that way. Why make a mess? I don't get it. We are old enough to clean up after ourselves. I don't mind them too much but then it gets to a point where you want a real bathroom.

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  20. I actually used to be a huge scaredy cat, but running and going to all day public festivals helped rid me of that woe! Great tips here

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  21. HA, I tried to hit a portopotty at mile 9 in a race and it was awful, I held it in til the end. And there have been times they have been perfect, it all depends.

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  22. Getting over the fear of the porta potty is definitely a requirement for runners. I used to be very intimated by them, and often held my nose when I walked in. Now I just go in, do what I need to do, and get out as quickly as I can.

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  23. I usually hold a squat (easier when there is a handle on the inside of the door, though that has its own grossness). I have actually been known to stand on the pot (bench?), pull my shorts aside, and squat right over the pot. I actually did that twice when I ran my marathon PR!

    I also try to hold my breath for as long as I can when I go. I don't usually make it all the way, but it is worth the try!

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