Stressed or Exercise Induced ……

Last night, I returned to the trail to see if my foot was healing up or if my marathon training would need to take a backseat to further/new rehab.  I have just over 12 weeks until the Lansing Marathon and while I’m confident I can nail a “finish it” type plan in 12 weeks, I really don’t have a lot of time to lollygag if I want to have a loftier goal.  So back out I went after a little more than 24 pain free hours.  I was certainly hoping that the shooting pains at the side of my heel left as quickly as they arrived.  Sayonara pain cuz Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

Fortunately, it was Wednesday night so I had the F’N Running Club to distract me as I plowed down the snow covered trail. 


My foot felt pretty decent.  No shooting pains.  A little discomfort but really I felt decent but I’m going to tell you what didn’t feel decent……..

But before I do, I’m going to drop a disclaimer in here:

If you are a dude, you may want to stop reading right now.  If you are a woman who has not yet been blessed with children, then you need to 1)  bookmark this post and come back about 2 weeks after you have your first child, when you have a “few” questions about the changes that have occurred to your body during the birthing process, and when your considering going out for your first postpartum run.  I also ask the young ladies to please, 2) stop reading now cuz some things can’t be changed so no need to get your “panties in a bunch” at this point in your young blissful lives and maybe, just maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones and this won’t be an issue for you.

Now that I only have you #MotherRunners on board and everyone else who is dying of curiosity, let’s talk about what happens to a lot, and I do mean a lot of us mothers when we run.  Stress Incontinence. Yes, I “sometimes” pee my pants when I run.  This has been an inconvenience since Aby was born.  Initially it was only a problem when I would jump on the trampoline, or cough, or sneeze, or dance.  If I ran slow, I would sometimes get lucky and stay “dry” but if I ran fast, then well, it wasn’t good.  Now this was back in the day before technical clothing became all the rage.  Many of us were still running around in our OLD cotton tees that we had possessed since the beginning of time.   This was before running skirts.  This was a LOOOONNNNGGGG time ago.  Okay, not so long ago but I was running primarily in the old style “bike shorts” and well, when you pee yourself in those things, people notice.  Or at least I thought they did because I was self conscious!  This would be the main reason why I owned one of the very first running skirts.  “Water” running down your leg is much less noticeable than flooded bike shorts.  Awesome, huh?  Now you know the real reason as to why I own all those running skirts.

If you have been running with me for a while, then this isn’t much of a secret to you.  If it’s nice out and I’m “leaking” a lot, I’ll run off trail to pee to try to limit further leakage.  However, last night was a new event even for me, cuz it was cold.  What happens when you are layered up, have tights on, then pants over and you are leaking “more than normal”.  You have wet pants.  Actually, wet pants that freeze.  I must say, I don’t ever remember having frozen crotch syndrome.  Awesome.  I was so soaked that I had to throw my spibelt in the wash.  Soaked from my hips to my shoes and no amount of wicking material can handle that.  This really got me thinking about how to get home without my car smelling like piss other mother runners.  I know they too have this same problem so I want to compile a list of “options” for all of us with Stress Incontinence

First, if this is your problem too, go read this article on Exercise Induced Incontinence, aka Stress Incontinence. Good info.

Here are a few ideas as to how to handle the situation:

  1. Kegel Exercises.  First place to start.  The doc will probably get you started on them during pregnancy and will recommend you keep them up forever to restrengthen your muscles postpartum.  There is a TON of info on the website, I encourage you to check out the link and the info.  Why?  This is why, the source being that amazing website which I just listed: 
  2. Why Do Kegel Exercises?
    Often the pelvic floor muscles are weak which contributes to problems with losing urine. Doing the exercises correctly and regularly with resistance can strengthen the muscles. Stronger muscles lead to little or no urine loss for many women.

  3. Wear a pad.
  4. Keep the bladder empty.  If I have any urine at all in my bladder, I normally leak.  Yesterday, I drank a lot of water, drank coffee in the afternoon, and drove from downtown directly to the trail.  The bathroom on the trail closed at 5pm.  I didn’t make it in time and neglected to seek out another option.  My fault.  I’ll be more vigilant about this in the future. 
  5. Acupuncture may help in certain instances.
  6. Hypnotherapy may help in certain instances.
  7. Herbal remedies may help in certain instances but recommendations vary.
  8. Medication is available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  9. Surgery is available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  10. Urethral Inserts are available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  11. And when all else fails, buy some running skirts!

Do you have issues with on the run “leakage”?  What do you do about the situation?  Any inside info or do you just deal with it by not dealing with it like I have for so many years?

** Happy DRY Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

23 thoughts on “Stressed or Exercise Induced ……

  1. First of all I have to say this is an awesome blog post for a somewhat taboo subject and I completely commend you on opening up and sharing this with us.
    I have urgent bladder syndrome thanks to Emma and can easily be caught short but I usually make it. Im in the habit of carrying a towel, spare clothes etc from seasonal running – too hot too cold, and its always a great comfort to know I have items in the car in case of mishap.
    The sheer stress running puts on the bladder AND bowel is nothing to be sniffed at (pardon the pun) its the usual saying if its not one end its the other and it is hard to go out and run on no fuel (water/food) just in case you run.
    My best solution is to always plan a route with bathroom stops and to make myself go whether I want to or not and I know a famous lawyer who has her favourite trees mapped out!!!!!

  2. One of the reasons I run the lakefront often in the spring/summer – lots of restrooms and in the winter I know I can go to the bathroom off the path at McCormick and hit Navy Pier. Otherwise, at Plank I depend on porta potties at Ridgeland and the field over the hill and the “real washroom” at the Grainery. Even though I’m only a “cat mom,” I have the urge to tinkle quite a bit and need my bathrooms mapped out!

  3. This is totally one of the greatest #motherrunner posts! I thought I had a grip on things (pun totally intended, ha!), then the hills started to get me. Definite ‘stress’ for sure.

    I try to be good about emptying my bladder, but it’s such a fine line on race days! I went the liner option for my half this weekend – I just can’t stand the bread loaf shuffle that I swear everyone around me would hear – and it was so cold I wasn’t sure what was going on under my belt.
    Lemme just say, them liners can hold way more than I thought. 🙂

  4. Had same problem after the birth of my 3rd child. Decided to get operated on, I was only 38, best thing I ever did for myself. No more leaking! Would highly recommend this to everyone. 5 years later still running and loving it.

  5. Awesome post, thanks for putting that out there! I never really HAD any issues with this and running until about three weeks ago. Jumping on the trampoline, jumping jacks, and skipping rope on the other hand have been on my Do-Not-Do-List! for quite a while because of that issue…I thank my four children for this! If I didn’t like running so much, running now would have to be added to that list as well…I was ‘soaked’ by the time the 8 miler was done…gosh, how glad I was that it was dark out (running with a group) and had a towel to sit on once I got back to the car! So now I watch how much I drink starting 3 hours before running and I wear a thin pad during the run. The joys of getting older!

    I hope your foot continues to get better!

    • Its so random. I had a “gusher” during one of my Ragnar legs but I was super hydrated cuz of the heat/humidity. It was almost funny. I didn’t even have the “I have to pee” sensation, just whhhoooooosh!! Never been so happy to be wearing a skirt in my entire life. Yes, I wear that #BAMR badge with pride!

  6. Wow…you really “coming-out” with that incontinence issue. I a guy and read on past the disclaimer, but inquiring minds want to know…and being a “coach” having a understanding of the issue or problem is helpful. I know there are instances where elite women runners have peed in their shorts…so I guess you are in good company. Can’t you consider it a badge of honor that so dedicated to running…you don’t stop for such inconveniences!

    OK…on the serious side…seems like you have researched the options and actions to help cope with the problem. And “coming out” truly commendable cause it can only help and benefit the other women that have or may eventually incur same problem. This coach says stand proud in that you are trying to help others by telling your story.

    Being an old coot with BPH (you can look that up)…sometimes I end up with some dribble issues in the shorts…but rarely cause after first few miles and if I ain’t replacing the fluids as much as I need to do when it comes to the race…usually you get in a “deficit” of fluids and blood-volume decreases and this usually results in endocrine feedback to the kidneys to save water and this usually translates into no peeing. Matter of fact if you running in a marathon and at or beyond the half and have to urinate…it probably means too much fluid intake.

    Considering that feedback loop in terms of water loss…kidneys and bladder…..maybe try a little more pre-planning for your runs and concentrate on hydration many hours before the actual run. Then and hour or so before the run…stop fluid intake and refrain from fluid intake…especially in the first few miles. Depending on length/duration of run…you may have to take in fluids to replace water loss…balance electrolyte and maybe even supplement carb…but that more for those real long runs. Anything 1.5 hours or less…you could probably get through with nominal fluid intake…or wait to take in any fluids until you have definitely been out there running for 30-45 min and have noticed a definite sweating response.

    Maybe that incontinence has other roots to it…but both the basic physiological process should be same for both male and female when it comes to maintaining fluid balance. Most runners should be able to run 1-hr and possibly even up to 1.5 hrs without any fluid intake…especially in winter. Obviously in summer when temperature is in 70’s or higher…water intake may be necessary as soon as 20-30 min into the run…depending on run intensity.

    Hope this gives you some ideas in how to modify your approach to minimize that “leaky” pipe.

    • Honestly, this is an issue with a lot of women. One article I read yesterday said as many as 30 to 40% of the ladies standing on the startline of a major race. I was fine before children but not now. It’s random and doesn’t have a pattern. After Aby, I was able to strengthen up my core and that helped eliminate the majority of the problem. I’m just too soft/damaged after Michael. I “may” consider the surgery as a last option because it really embarrasses the children. Actually Michael thinks its funny but Aby is horrified. 🙂

  7. I will always read past the disclaimers … my mom is a labor & delivery nurse and has no filter, so I’m used to all of the “scary” stories about pregnancy and childbirth and the human body. And I’m pretty convinced that I want to adopt … Anyway, if you don’t mind me promoting my employer, I know our hospital in Kankakee offers a program for this – not sure exactly what it is or if you’re looking for this type of thing, I just remember them promoting it a couple years ago.

    • Thanks, Maggie. I’ll def look at the info and may consider it. I think I’d like to try the accupuncture and a few other things first though. Hoping that Dr. Alexis can help me with that once I mention it. My OBGYN is out of Joliet so I use the Provena St Joe in Joliet. I’m not sure if this is something she would handle or if I would have to go somewhere else. I’m pretty anti surgery but it’s been pretty bad lately. And as I mention in my response to Frogger’s comment, Aby is quite horrified over the situation and she spends a decent amount of time running and racing with us now. I need to be proactive and set an example for her going forward and I’m thinking that ignoring it is probably the wrong message to send.

  8. I have peed my pants a couple of times:(. Slowing down deff works. It mostly effects me when I have had a lot of water that day. Long runs, ya gotta drink!
    I have no prob running in the country and peeing outside!
    Idk y it effects me….. I figured three c sections should clear me of a weak bladder. Other issues have occurred from my third child (heavy cycle). I would rather pee my pants then bleed through my clothes….which I did one. Thank God only I could tell!
    Thanks for the sight Amanda! Glad to hear your foot is getting better and allowing u to run!

    • Our bodies are crazy. The make us go thru crazy things then they are crazy amazing in the things they allow us to do and accomplish. We’ll conquer this and maybe you might talk to the doc about the bleeding? Or if you aren’t anti birth control, then consider the Nuvaring. It will slow the process and you have the option of not bleeding if you do so desire, which in your case “not bleeding” would in fact just mean less bleeding. Something to think about. I bled for 6 months after Michael. That kid tried to kill me (and hasn’t stopped yet!!). Now I have fibroids that will eventually have to come out and they cause more bleeding. The Nuvaring was a game changer for me.

  9. Thanks for the post, I am relieved that I am not the only one! 🙂
    This was really an issue for me when I first started running. I got in the habit of doing kegels while running (maybe not the recommended time to do them) and that has really helped me. I always wear black running bottoms, that seems to hide things the best. Now I usually only have issues when running about a week before my period. I read that this is when the muscles down there are weakest. Could that be when you have your issues?

  10. I read an article a few months back (I so wish I could find it, I’ve hunted for the last 30 minutes, if I do I’ll repost it here) that suggested squatting and peeing (like in the shower) at least once a day to help strengthen the uterine muscles. It sounds crazy, kind of like the opposite of what we should be doing. However, I’ve been doing it pretty regularly (gross, I know, but there’s a lot of clorox happening after every shower) and it seems to be helping.

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