My running routes are mostly paved trails near my home. My main route takes me through a nearby nature preserve that is always enjoyable. And fortunately for me as an aging runner, there are a few toilet facilities located along the route. And today, without fail, I came upon the first one at roughly 2.5 miles and had to pee. It wasn’t a pressing need beforehand, but I stopped and went in once I got to it. It’s almost like I have become conditioned to stop and pee when I get to places in which I see a port-o-let. And it doesn’t have to be a toilet there for this to happen. Occasionally, I have stopped at some more “private” areas of the route because of a pressing need, and even though I could have been running along just fine, once I see the spot, the urge takes over.
Further up the route, I came upon a port-o-potty at a house being built. There was nobody around, so I used it. This is a mile and a half past the first one! At this point, I recognized the pattern and thought I would fight it the next time I got the urge. There’s a group of trees off the road next to the sidewalk I was running on and I have stopped there plenty of times before. This time I skipped it. But as I pressed on I found that I once again had to go, but now I was in a very open area and had to hold it. I made it back to the next spot along the trail that I typically utilize, looked around to make sure nobody was around, and relieved myself by a tree. I guess I am hydrating well.
Stopping to pee when I see a toilet isn’t the only Pavlovian response that I have when I’m out for a run. If there is a runner ahead of me, my pace picks up and the chase is on. I can’t have someone running ahead of me without trying to catch them! Maybe that is due to my running race tactics. I’ve always tried to settle into a comfortably hard race pace and then start trying to catch others. But it definitely happens out on a simple training run as well. And if I get passed by someone, well that just means that person will have a shadow for a while until I realize how dumb I’m being, or I can no longer keep up their pace.
I tend to run in the middle of the day, skipping lunch for the run. There will be a point later in the run when something triggers me to think about what I will eat when I get back. Maybe my stomach is telling my brain “Dude, c’mon! Let’s eat!” or something, but there will be a brief moment in which I’m planning my post-run meal. Maybe it’s just giving me the motivation to get back home quicker.
Do you have any weird running habits or responses to things while out on a run? I’d love to hear them.