View Full Version : Call of nature in open water

November 1st, 2012, 07:40 PM
I've ahd this question for a long time and now I se it being address for runners at least, in the NYT


I've been lucky that I've always been able to finish the 2.25 mile "race" I do without it being an issue. One year I was in the porta potty for the official start. Another year, I found a bathroom immediately after coming out of the water. I swam kinda fast that last quarter mile or so, too!

I prep at bit before hand - I usually eat high fiber cereal and fruit for breakfast, but on the race day, low fiber cereal and maybe a banana for fruit.

Still I'm a bit concerned on how to handle the inevitable.

Do you just drop your drawers and not worry that there are people swimming after you in the race? Ewww! Would I explain to my kayaker what I was doing? Some kind of plastic cleanup bag?

Nothing seems like good solution.

I imagine that in a marathon, it's more likely than not I would need to deal with this.

November 1st, 2012, 09:44 PM
:blush:Avoid fiber so it sinks

Rob Copeland
November 2nd, 2012, 03:55 PM
I assume you are asking about bowel movements and not urination. If so, then my initial reaction is that if you canít go an hour between BMís (a fair time for a 2.25 mile swim) then you have more serious issues then how to handle the inevitable.

As for marathon swims, unless you screw up your feedings you should be good for 10-12 hours if you go before the start. And unless you are in a professional marathon race, the swimmers are typically pretty well spread out after a couple of hours. If you do screw up your feedings (such as to many calories and not enough water) then your options are rather limited, you do what you got to do. I would not suggest trying to bag your leavings.

November 2nd, 2012, 04:12 PM
I assume you are asking about bowel movements and not urination. If so, then my initial reaction is that if you can’t go an hour between BM’s (a fair time for a 2.25 mile swim) then you have more serious issues then how to handle the inevitable.

I haven't had a problem with 2.25 miles, over the 5 or 6 times I've done it. On the other hand, I've yet to break 90 minutes, and at age 59, I don't ever expect to break an hour.

I'm thinking of increasing, and doing some 5 k's and maybe 10 k's. I imagine it will be an issue.

Rob Copeland
November 2nd, 2012, 04:28 PM
Iíve done a dozen or so 25K or longer swims and Iíve only had ďissuesĒ in one race and that was because I tried to compensate for lack of training with an overabundance of calories. Bad decision! Thank goodness for murky water and a headwind.

Maybe Iíve just been lucky, but for all the other races Iíve never had a problem and a lot of these have been 10+ hour swims.

My best advice is if you have concerns about any aspect of a swim, then in your training simulate your racing conditions; do a 3 hour swim, feeding as you would in the race and if you have ďissuesĒ then in training find ways to mitigate them so you donít have problems come race day.

November 2nd, 2012, 05:25 PM
take care of business before the swim.
if you don't know how to make that happen... consult your doctor, pharmacist, fire dept, god.... whomever.

November 2nd, 2012, 09:53 PM
When we pass out "joy juice" at work, we remind folks to take it easy on solid foods before their procedure. If you down a NY strip steak the night before the swim, well ... :notworking:

Besides, the deer and antelope have already "played" in that body of water before you got there! :bolt:

November 3rd, 2012, 10:04 PM
Easy Peasy!! No one, not even your kayaker knows what you're doing in the murky water so just do whatever your conscious allows you to do. End of story.

November 5th, 2012, 02:11 PM
Imodium A-D 30 minutes prior to the start!

Kevin in MD
November 7th, 2012, 07:57 PM
I've struggled with this twice. In one instance, it was part of the reason I stopped. I just can't seem to go without standing on something; my insides were totally knotted.

Second time I had to head for shallow water so I could stand.

So sorry no answers, but it is something i think about for long swims.

Dolphin 2
November 8th, 2012, 03:53 AM
Sooner or later, this subject would come up.

Just as a point of info, India sewer workers actually swim in it:

Probably the dirtiest job in the world! - YouTube

Same goes for swiiming in the the Ganges River:

Ganges River - Pollution - YouTube

They must have a strong immune system!!!


Butch Cameron
November 8th, 2012, 07:43 PM
I think you can go two and a quarter miles without going, maybe get up earlier and go for a walk or run a little ,might try rice the night before your event ,
Good luck

November 9th, 2012, 04:44 PM
This thread is like something from an episode of "Swamp Loggers." :bump:

November 9th, 2012, 10:01 PM
I've never had this problem but I stick to very low fiber foods for a few days before the swim. On the morning of a marathon swim I eat a HUGE bowl of oatmeal to provide a solid foundation for the liquid feedings. I did have a last minute call to poop before an over and back swim to Alcatraz. I opted to jump in the porta potty. They started the race when I was still running back to the water. Luckily it was only a short way.