To Pee or Not to Pee - Page 2
Elite runner Jane Wiebe, 50, of Homer, Alaska, recalls urinating during the 1979 Honolulu Marathon, her first win. "I needed to pee and it was pouring rain, so it seemed harmless enough, but it was very, very difficult to get my body to go along with the idea of peeing while running," says Wiebe. "I did accomplish it eventually, and won the race, which led to numerous invitations that led to the apex of my marathon career." Wiebe went on to win, among others, the Deseret News, Emerald City (twice) and Stockholm marathons, and placed sixth in Boston and second in Tokyo.
Going the Distance
Ultrarunners usually have enough time to find a bush, and because races can last 24 hours or more it's best that they do stop during the earlier parts of a race. "Urine changes the pH of skin," says Mayo Clinic urologist Christopher Wolter. "It breaks down the stratum corium—the most superficial layer of skin—and leads to chafing." When urine dries, it leaves behind byproducts that sweat or rain don't, and these can cause a dermatitis reaction, especially if your skin cracks.
Therefore, Wolter cautions against an ultra-distance cycle of wet-dry-wet-dry. Instead, save the shorts wetting for those last miles. Indeed, after peeing during her first ultra, Moehl asserts, "Never again! The shower after that race was the most painful ever. The chafing that the wet shorts caused was unbelievable."
A Little Privacy, Please
If you're apprehensive about the practice but serious enough about your running to give it a try, here are few tips to make that wet spot less noticeable—and painful:
Dump water all over yourself. I usually end up doing this anyway, on accident, as I try to run and drink at the same time. Splash some down your front and it'll simply look like you tried to cool yourself down. Wear dark-colored shorts. Thewet spot that will show up on your lime green shorts will blend in on darker colors.
Bring a change of clothes. After a long trail race, you'll probably want some stashed anyway.