The Turkey Trots

There aren’t a lot of things grosser or more physically painful than being a mother, but running a marathon might be one of them.

Jen: “People who run marathons sometimes poop themselves.”

Me:  “Nuh. Uh.

I didn’t know. I hadn’t heard. But that kind of makes my point. I mean, other than that one time when I was pregnant with twins and an auspuff deceived me by being a little more solid than “puff,” motherhood hasn’t ever involved pooping myself.

Now, there are some girlfriends with whom you can discuss poop. And there are others who will produce buckets of dry heaves if you mention it. If you’re the latter type of girlfriend, now is a really, really, ridiculously good time to stop reading. Here’s a pretty post about cookies you can read instead, and I’ll catch ya on the flipside.

Jen is the girlfriend / cousin who, along with girlfriend Abbie, pulled me along on my reluctant leash during that half-marathon last month. Just for the record, half-marathoners do not poop themselves half as much as marathon runners do. We, in fact, did not poop ourselves at all. Next time, I want a medal for that.

We were midway through our half marathon when Jen started using distraction techniques because I was slow, winded, out of shape, and I like quitting. Runners’ trots? Distraction topic perfection.

Jen: “People who run marathons sometimes poop themselves.”

Me:  “Nuh. Uh.

Jen: “Seriously. They crap themselves. There are marathon runners who finish marathons with liquid poo running down their legs.”

Me:  “Nuh. Uh.

I was about that coherent and eloquent the entire race. But, you guys, that poop thing? THAT is dedication. I mean, sure; it’s also crazy, but I think we can all agree that it’s crazy dedication. I’m telling you right now, I would shake hands with a marathon pooper. Not right after the marathon, of course. But eventually, after she had time to clean herself up, I would shake her hand. Because that kind of single-minded determination impresses the poo out of me.

This is the time of year when runners get lots of e-mail ads for Thanksgiving races. As a matter of fact, my favorite running shirt of all time came from last year’s Thanksgiving Day 5K, a benefit for our local food bank; it reads, Will Run For Food. You guys! Will Run For Food. That’s my entire running motivation, wrapped up in a t-shirt slogan. Yippee! I love Thanksgiving races. They’re inspirational; whole families are out there, moving together for a good cause.

If only all the races weren’t called Turkey Trots, I would be able to maintain the kind of straight, serious face befitting a 38-year-old woman.  Instead, people say “Turkey Trots,” and I get the giggles, ’cause ever since Jen told me about runners’ trots, all I can see in my head is that poor turkey, crossing the marathon finish line with the turkey trots running down his skinny wittle wegs.

“Beth, did you see the list of Turkey Trots this year? … … … … … Why are you laughing?”

“Beth, are you going to do a Turkey Trot? … … … … … Why do you hope not?”

Running is a mental game. It’s a lot like parenting that way. Sometimes, I finish the day race because there’s no alternative. I started this race; I’m out in the middle of wild country; no one’s coming to save me; I must finish. But, as runners outpace and outdistance me, I start to question myself. Do I have what it takes? Why am I not as strong, as fit, as tireless, or as well-prepared as she is? She’s obviously a way better mom runner than me.

But I often forget that the strongest and fastest of us, the most well-prepared and fit, might be pooping all over herself to get there. And – sssshhhhh! don’t tell – that makes me like her WAY more.  See, the older I get, the less interested I am in covering up the poo or pretending it smells pretty, and the more I love authentic, messy life.

And I especially like running through the muck alongside my friends and my family.

Tomorrow is my cousin Jen’s 40th birthday and this week was Abbie’s birthday, too. You know what? They kicked last year’s (or the last decade’s) messy, messy butt by going out and living authentic, messy lives. And I cannot WAIT to see what they do next.

Hey, Jen and Abbie! Remember that half-marathon we completed WHEN NO POO RAN DOWN OUR LEGS? That was awesome. And so are you.

Happy Birthday.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
13 comments
  1. One of my brother’s schoolfriends just moved to the States with work, and has signed up to do a Turkey Trot. I don’t know whether or not to warn him about the possibility of doing a marathon poo. What would you recommend – is there a high risk?

    xo

    1. Oh, warn him, warn him, Fiona! Friends don’t let friends do turkey trots without warning. 😉

  2. See, this is what I was talking about!!! I have never actually ‘pooped’ myself while running, but have come very close a couple times!! You’ve entered into the secret world of runners my friend! See what you’ve been missing?

    1. Bahaha! Susan, I TOTALLY thought of our faboo poo conversation pre-1/2-marathon when we were talking about the trots and our hopes for excellent port-a-potty coverage along the route. But I didn’t want to blow your trot cover. 😉

      But, honestly, I had NO IDEA that people actually poop themselves. I mean, you and I deserve pats on the back, lady, for getting ourselves to the proper receptacle. Now, if I was ever contending for 1st place in a race, I’d have to reconsider the time it takes to head for a potty, but short of 1st, that toilet is awfully appealing.

      So glad you’re on my girlfriends list, Susan!

  3. If you’re on the “dry heaves” side of this topic, I would STRONGLY recommend against doing a Google Image search for “marathon poop” (“marathon crap” or “marathon embarrassing” or “marathon determination”). Actually, the recommendation stands for pretty much everyone. Just saying…

    1. Did it.

      Enjoyed myself thoroughly.

      I’m a sick, sick woman.

      1. Well shoot, Jeff, now you KNOW I have to look it up…

  4. i do not have any friends with whom i can discuss poo. thankfully, i have a son and husband for that or else i might never get it out of my system, no pun intended. they seem more than happy to talk about any poo, any time.

    1. Teehee – get it out of your system. That was a great not-pun.

      Yes, boys are quite good at poo talk. I’m also frequently invited to view their output. “MOM! COME LOOK! IT’S *HUGE*!” Thanks, boys. 😉

      Not to worry, Amber. You can join Fiona, Jen, Abbie and me in our poo-talk club. I’m sure you feel relieved and not totally grossed out, right?

  5. Oh, I wonder what my friend will say when she reads this one! (I suggested that she start reading your blog for encouragement about how much she shares on FB about her parenting.) When I posted the blog address, her response was that she was in love–just from the address!

    As for me, I am sitting here thinking, “Cool! How does she do that overstrike thing!” For someone who used to have some understanding of how to make a computer do what I want, I feel hopelessly lost with a number of things like that which seem like they should be incredibly simple…

    1. Bahahaha! Your poor friend, Terri. Thanks for throwing her under my bus – that’s free fun for everyone!

      Should I confess that I have a strike-through button that was built into my blogging software? That might ruin my reputation as a tech-savvy girl. Nah – I’ll keep it to myself.

  6. I LOVE this! Too funny. And also profound. I do love a girlfriend with whom you can discuss poo!

    1. Excellent! We can be in the Poo Discussion club together, Fiona. 😉

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