Let’s face the unattractive truth. The act of running involves highly embarrassing moments. From chafing to bodily fluids to farts, we are all reduced to a puddle of humiliation from time to time. Since most people don’t talk about these moments, I will do you a favor and share mine so that you feel better about your dirty secrets.

1. Chafing emergency.

One frigid and snowy morning, I took a long run in my new capri tights. I had never worn these tights before. In hindsight, I would never recommend wearing anything remotely new when you go for a long run. Halfway into the route, about mile 7, the seam of my tights was atrociously rubbing my delicate lady parts. There was no way I was going to make it another seven miles under these circumstances, so I improvised (we runners are very good at this skill). I took off one of my gloves and put it in my tights, protecting my sensitive downstairs region. While it did the trick, every runner I encountered eyed the lovely bulge in my tights as if to say, “Are you a woman or a man?”

2. Running is hard.

People assume that since I run far and often, it is easy for me. WRONG. Running is hard as hell every single time I do it. Sometimes when I am running with other people, I try not to breathe like I am dying so that they won’t know how tired I am. Other times, I try to ask someone a question that I know will require a long answer so he or she can do all of the talking and I can just survive.

3. Licking.

Like 100 percent of you, I sweat when I run. I like to think that I glisten in the sunshine. When we run, our bodies heat up and get downright damp. It is the body’s way of trying to cool itself off. After a run, I have been known to come home and sit my moist (hate that word) self down beside my golden retriever. She likes salt, and she likes me, so she wants to lick the sweat off of my legs. I used to tell her “no,” but sometimes…I let her.

4. Treadmill trouble.

It was a seemingly normal and quiet day as I entered the gym to get in a workout on the treadmill. I carefully placed my ear buds into my ear canals and queued up one of my favorite running songs, “Thunderstruck.” I approached the treadmill with the grace and ease of a swan and stepped onto the belt. Unbeknownst to me, whoever had used the treadmill before me left it on. In a split second, I was sling-shotted across the gym and bounced off of a stationary bike. It hurt like hell. Any self-respecting person never acts hurt when they fall or do something embarrassing. So, I picked myself up off the ground, trying not to wince and scream like a little girl.

5. A soiled skirt.

April 18, 2011. I had finally qualified and was running the Boston Marathon. I had rebounded from injury just in time to cross the start line in Hopkinton. I never wear underwear when I run, but this day I did. I guess I thought I might need an extra barrier in case anything unwanted escaped. At mile 20, I had a situation. It was not extremely messy, but it required my attention. I went into a porta-potty on a very crowded corner. I decided I would take off my running skirt and dispose of my underwear. As I stood half-naked in the potty and threw my underwear into the dark hole, someone opened the door. I had forgotten to lock it. I screamed and danced and tried to cover myself up. Then I laughed and told the person to shut the darn door.

6. Runner’s high?

I don’t know if I’ve ever truly experienced the so-called “runner’s high.” Running makes me feel incredible (when it is over), but I prefer the high I get from wine.

Now that I’ve given you TMI and completely exposed myself to the point my children will never look me in the eye again, give me one of your true running confessions. You owe it to me.

For more from Beth Risdon, visit Shut Up and Run!


By Nichols