There have been a few things that I did not know I was able to do before without getting embarrassed in front of everyone. For many people, it is not OK to fart, to burp or even to spit up when there are people around; and OK… I get it. I mean, if I smell something funny in the middle of the day and my husband is next to me, my finger automatically points at him, or at my dog, whoever is closer.
For the last few months, especially since I started trail running full time – yes, I just said full time because I spend 90% of my runs in the woods – my stomach gets gassier, those bubbles of air eventually have to come out somehow. The beauty of running, when there are not too many people around, is that I’m free to do many things that I probably wouldn’t do if I were running in the streets surrounded by a bunch of folks. For example, peeing behind a tree (or just peeing next to the trail if there are not many trees around), scratching my rear end when a tree branch happens to touch it, farting when I’ve eaten too many gels, or just burping when I feel like burping are becoming part of something natural for me.
Remember, I said natural, not habitual. If it happens, it happens.
Those things were part of my no-no list as a woman when I ran on pavement because there were so many people around me. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times I’ve swallowed my own burp because of embarrassment, or how many times I’ve hoped that my own flatulence was a silent one so nobody could hear it (or even smell it).
Last Saturday, I ran with some awesome friends at Hitchcock Nature Center, located 30 minutes from Omaha, on the Iowa side – it’s also probably the only “hilly-hilly” place in a 300 mile radio. It was cold when we took off running at 6:30 in the morning, and it started warming up; but that change in temperature plus my allergies made my throat feel itchy, and therefore with thick saliva.
A few months ago, I would have thought two different options for this issue with the think saliva: either spit it or swallow it. And most likely, I would have frowned my forehead in discomfort, closed my eyes, and forced myself to swallow it. Now, I’ve overcome that dilemma, and I just spit it.
My friends did not mind when they saw my saliva flying three feet in the air and hitting the green grass on the ground because at some point, all trail runners end up doing it.We are humans. Outside the trails, I try to keep my composure, but once I am inside I feel the freedom, and the lack of judgement from my friends, or other running peers.
So, next time you feel like you need to do it because your body can’t hold it any longer… Don’t freak out. It’s normal.