Marathons, Orgasms and Abortions

You. Cannot. Poop. Right. now. Hold it in! I tell myself between strides. I’m five miles into a half marathon and I have to poop. I flex my butt cheeks, but that causes me to slow down.

Don’t you lose the pace! I sound like a little league coach putting too much pressure on a 10-year-old.

Ever since the water station lady high fived me and told me I was the first woman to come through, I’ve been nervous. I said, “Don’t jinx me.”

I’m a modestly quick runner, but I don’t win races. My body’s not the best-suited for marathon running. Real racers are lean and long with thin ropey legs and wide puffing torsos. I don’t look like that.

I’m too short. Being five feet by four inches tall makes my muscles go outward instead of upward taking away much needed inches from my stride length. I’m the girl who looks impressive at the start line and a lot less impressive at the finish. 

I feel an itching pressure around my anus, and I flex my butt again. I try changing my posture straightening my spine where I’ve begun to bend over, wiggling my hips. Its mile 7, as in seven miles away from the start line port-a-potty, and six miles away from the finish line restroom.

I round another curve where just over the crest of a hill I can see the next water station. The volunteers wave enthusiastically when they see me, brandishing white paper cups. I can hear one guy hooting “C’mon! First girl!”

I’m squeezing my anus to a sporadic pulse when a new sensation asserts itself. A pleasant tingling between my legs. It feels like I’m just about to pee, and then… A feeling of pressure and pleasure spreads down my thighs. This happens as I’m reaching the water station.

I nearly crash into a volunteer, knocking the cup out of her hand with my shoulder. I’m too distracted to even say sorry. I feel nice and strange and tired and maybe like I should be laying down. Assume whatever you want about my sex life but nothing like this has ever happened while I was standing up.

Did I just have an orgasm?

Hopefully people will assume my red face is from all the running and not blushing.

I try to discreetly adjust my underwear, pushing my waistband lower to stop the rubbing pressure on my clitoris. The underwear slide back up between my legs and wedge snugly in my buttcrack.

This was definitely the wrong pair of underwear to wear today.

Does this have anything to do with my having to poop?

Should I get more into butt stuff?

Okay, hold on, one thing at a time.

I keep running. There’s a big hill coming up in half a mile and I need to be ready.  I’m not going to lose the race due to ‘unexpected orgasm’ or ‘underwear malfunction!’

When it happens a second time, just after the huge hill that is mile 8, I’m almost ready for it. I try to use the good feeling to spurn me onward and quicken my pace. Only briefly thinking about the dude I just passed. What would he think about my predicament? Probably be jealous.

I remember my sister telling me about a college friend who orgasmed while doing sit ups. Maybe we can get a support group together.

Twelve miles, and three pleasurable moments down and I’m still the first woman. I might actually win this thing. I glance over my shoulder frequently, hoping I won’t see a bouncing pony tail. Nope, just the same sweaty dude from earlier. My confidence in my sphincter is waning. I still need to poop and it’s gotten worse. I believe the proper term is ‘turtlehead.’

I almost let go of everything when I see the finish line, but somehow I manage to hold back the turtle. I Pump my fists as I cross the yellow tracker pad. I won.

Things don’t sink in till I’m in the bathroom slumped over my bare, sweaty legs. I’ve won my first race, and I’ve just had 3 orgasms on a public street.

Well at least no one knows about the second thing.

At the award ceremony, they pronounce me the overall female winner, and give me a T-shirt with a lightning bolt emblazoned on it. My mom snaps a billion photos of me looking impressive.

I rejoin the crowd as some of the race organizers get up to speak, the typical thank you’s.

This race specifically was held to benefit a pregnancy care center, What better way to support healthy female reproduction than running a race and accidentally coming.

Just when things are wrapping up, the founder of the center gets up to speak. He lists some of the benefits of the care center: STD testing, free ultra sounds, childcare classes for underprivileged women. He says the race money will help kids, mothers and families all over the state.

I’m urging my mom to go, there’s a sinking feeling in my stomach that this speech is going to hit a button I don’t want pressed. Just as my mom is gathering her stuff, I hear the speaker passionately imploring us to turn women away from abortion. “With the help of the pregnancy care center, these babies can be born and raised, as God intended.”

I want to punch him. To yell out. To tell the fat, old, white guy, I have the right to do what I want with my body, just the same as he does. But I do nothing. I live in rural, Christian America.

I stand frozen. Then, I run as fast as I can toward the parking lot, hating the hot tears blooming in my eyes.

My mom was one of the first people I told, two years ago when I was wearing this same sports bra and putting ice packs on my boobs. No one told me I could lactate after not having a baby, after they fished around in my uterus for what felt like hours. I bled more than I ever thought possible and my body enacted a dress rehearsal complete with contractions.

I was scared to tell my mom because she was raised catholic and the driving force behind religion in our family.

She told me I made the right choice.

After her I slowly started to tell other women in my life; my two closest friends, my sister, my nana. They all supported me. I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t.

I’m glad it happened to me and not one of the women I love, two years ago and today. I try to come off as an outspoken feminist around them. Someone who’s not ashamed or freaked out that she accidentally orgasmed during a half marathon, or accidentally got pregnant.

I joke about getting a tattoo over my lower abdomen that says “everything works” In a font almost like a newspaper heading. The type of tattoo a badass dude might have across his pectorals. 

When my mom and I arrive back at home, my mom hugs me. She tells me she’s proud of me, and to not let one person ruin my experience. I can feel my puffy eyes against my cheeks when I smile at her.

“I won’t let that guy get to me.”

The next day I’m back at it. Telling my friends about my crazy race, with them hinting that now they realize why I find running so enjoyable.

But I can’t stop thinking about the awards ceremony. I wish I had the courage to tell that fat man my story and been able to handle his response. Sometimes life is more complicated than ‘what God intended.’

I hate that he had the power to make me feel like a pitiful little girl who’s afraid to have a baby. I’m 24 years old and I am afraid that that’s exactly what I am. I’m worried that feeling scared and ashamed means I made the wrong choice. I do mourn the child I never wanted even while being grateful for the childless life I have. I’m still trying to figure out what that means.

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