It never fails.. you’re in the middle of an awesome run, flying along the trails, up steep ascents, cruising over the rollers as you make your way to the high point of your run, you stop to take in the majestic view, and then you start in on the part you’ve worked so hard for.. the descent. You take off.. bombing your way on the downhill like a kamikaze pilot.. eyes watering from the wind, feet moving along at times so fast you’re amazed they don’t catch on each other and send you flying superman style to the ground in a rolling, tangled mess. And then it hits. It starts with a small gurgle in your guts. You try to ignore it, thinking maybe it’s just some passing gas. “Come on.. let’s work this little fart bubble out so I can keep on flying” you think to yourself as you continue.. legs pumping furiously as you gasp to get in a breath while you motor along at break-neck speed.
Suddenly, the gurgle turns into a grumble, like something is churning away at your insides trying to liquify your guts. “Where did that come from?” you think to yourself. You were feeling awesome just a few moments ago. You keep moving, now having visions of a little alien trying to bust right through your skin, feeling eerily similar to the guy in the movie Spaceballs that ate the special at Gus’ Galaxy Grill. You tightly clinch your butt cheeks and immediately shorten your stride to something that more resembles a fully upright shuffle with a pole stuck up your butt, unable to kick your feet out in fear of dropping a little turd bomb down your backside. You pray you can continue this awkward turtle trot the rest of the way down the mountain without having to find a secluded spot, because more often than not, you’ve descended far enough that you are now in the great wide open with nothing more than a few sagebrush lining the trails around you.. trees far behind, back up the mountain.
As you continue on hoping for a reprieve, it just gets worse. Your insides have declared all out war on your body, and you know you aren’t going to make it much longer before that turtle head becomes a full on muskrat hanging off your biscuits. There is no way you are going to be making any extended movements, and in a panic, you start to survey the wide open country side for anything to hide behind. As you frantically look around, you come to the realization that you aren’t going to make it much farther, and its about time to consider a hasty pit stop. “Please, please, please” you whisper under your breath to no one in particular.. “just a little bit farther.” Suddenly its very clear.. you’re going to have to drop your britches pretty darn quick in the great wide open and expose yourself for all to see, or risk finishing your run covered in stinky mud butt.
Blammo.. you immediately double over with a cramp, and with sweat dripping in nervous anticipation, you try to let out a little gas. Ffffffrrrrrttt.. your turd is honking for the right-of-way and you immediately clamp your cheeks together so tightly that you almost get a cramp. The release is oh so satisfying that you wonder if you can actually make it! You continue on, eyes wide and darting around praying for even the slightest bit of cover. And then you see it.. the one and only rock on the hill side. Its sitting there like it was waiting to save you and provide even the slightest bit of privacy. Its small, but it’ll have to do. You immediately make a beeline towards what is now going to be a pooper’s paradise.
You furiously start tearing down your drawers as you get closer to this gift from Mother Nature, and as you start to squat, you shoot out a cannon blast that erupts so violently you are sure it can be heard for miles. “Why did I eat so many gels?” you think to yourself. And then it hits you.. poor planning has resulted in no ziplock baggie filled with paper towels safely tucked away in your pack.. and short of scrubbing at your backside with brush and dirt, you’re gonna have to lose a sock. The only problem? Now you have to figure out how to remove a shoe and a sacrificial sock while remaining in this squat position so you don’t make an even bigger mess than you already have. With the balance of a gymnast, you press hard against the rock, trying to stay upright on one foot so you can get business taken care of and finally finish your run.. minus one sock. “Guess I’ll just pair it with the other rogue sock from the last time this happened” you chuckle to yourself as you breath a sigh of relief.. “Next time, I’m gonna be prepared!”
While this hasn’t been a recent concern of mine (I always take my ziplock baggie!), I was thinking about this on the descent of my run today and trying to stay upright while I laughed hysterically. If you have spent much time with nothing but a running pack on your back and a small collection of its contents to save you, you have probably lost a sock or two along the way. But you quickly learn to make sure you take a few paper towels sealed in a ziplock baggie the next time you plan a long mountain adventure!