Porta Potties, Lost Toenails and 7 More Totally Gross Things Runners Deal With

Runners share an honest account of the sport's more repulsive side

Flickr/ex_magician, Licensed under Creative Commons

Let’s have a little chat about the darker side of running.

From the outside, it might look like all fun and games. That totally fit mom who runs around your block every day makes it seem so easy and cool, but don’t be fooled.

She (and all other runners) has a box filled with deep, dark running secrets, and they go way beyond smelly workout clothes and dirty sneakers.

If you thought devoting weekends to races, waking up early to train and constantly dealing with sore, knotted muscles is crazy, then you have no idea how “crazy” this sport really is.

We asked our readers to share examples of some of the grossest things that runners deal with on a regular basis.

Why do we subject ourselves to such repulsive, stinky, filthy rubbish? The only way it can be explained: we just really love to run.

1. Porta Potties: Most humans avoid them at all costs, but runners are subjected to their use before, during and after races. “Especially without toilet paper. I've learned to pack my own in my running fanny pack.” —@ runningwithtiff

2. Lost Toenails: It’s unfortunate, but running long distances usually means you’ll have to forgo a few toenails.  “I've pretty much given up on sandals.” —@just_run_with_it_

3. Beat-Up Feet in General: “On several occasions, I've taken off my socks after a run to discover bloody toes. One long toenail sliced into a neighbor toe.” —@nittany005

4. Nipple Chafing: Actually all chaffing in general. Enough said.

5. Stepping in Sh*it: If you run enough, you’re bound to get your sneakers mucked up every now and then, and it probably won’t smell good.  “Food, gum, dog poop, bugs, etc.” —@brittany_cantu

6. Snot Rockets: It’ can’t be helped. “[Our] noses [are] constantly running because of allergies.” —@ kellbell421

7. Road Kill: Everyone else passes it by in a car, runners get to witness it up-close and personal—and that includes the smell. “The sights and smells of road kill. Especially skunks.”

8. Crowded Races: “When a really sweaty and smelly guy runs past you and leaves your elbows drenched in sweat.” —@ susye246

9. Automobile Exhaust: “When your by a big truck and all the exhaust lingers in the air and you have to breath it in until it passes.”
—@ miss_green28


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