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If you are a fan of Californication, you’ll recognize my homage to Hank Moody. As a marathon runner, I regularly encounter one of the mildly unpleasant aspects of long distance running. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. And it’s not always straightforward.
This morning I had a great 80 minute run in Boulder starting on the Boulder Creek Path downtown. Wednesday night I had a sushi orgy with Dave Jilk, CEO of Standing Cloud. We’ve been overeating sushi for 27 years together going back to when we were in school in Boston when sushi was referred to as “Japanese food.” We spent a couple of hours together talking about Standing Cloud while consuming a lot of sushi and saki. Yum.
This morning I got up at 4:45 hoping that after a couple of cups of coffee I’d be moved to do something useful in addition to responding to all of my email. At 6:30 I’d waited as long as I could (I had an 8:30 phone call and a board meeting starting at 9) so I hit the road.
At around 29 minutes into the run, the deeply uncomfortable feeling that every runner knows of “I have to go – and right now” predictably came over me. I had just crossed under the bridge at Foothills and had turned left. I spotted the CU Foundation building and figured it would be open at 7 and anyone inside would be friendly. As I approached the entrance, a person was going inside so I grabbed the door after them, went in, and starting hunting for a bathroom. As any runner knows, once you shift from running in the cold to walking in a warm building, the time you have to find the bathroom decreases even further.
I couldn’t find the fucking bathroom. I wandered around on the first floor, found the weight room, found some showers, found the cafeteria, found some locked doors, but couldn’t find the bathroom. In a mild state of panic, I found a person sitting at a desk and meekly asked “can you point me at a bathroom.” She looked at me like I was a terrorist – granted, I was in running clothes and a blue knit hat – but I can’t imagine I looked like anything other than a runner who desperately needed to take a dump.
Her: “Do you work here?”
Me: “No – I’m just on a run and I need to use the bathroom”
Her: “That’s not allowed here”
Me: “C’mon, your not serious, pretty please?” (followed by my best hurt puppy dog look)
(Silence for about five seconds as we stare at each other and I hop from foot to foot)
Her: “Ok, but if we let anyone use the bathroom here, hundreds of people would come and trash our bathrooms”
Me: “Thanks so much – I really appreciate it”
Of course, the bathroom was 10 feet from the front door – I had walked right past it in my desperation. I did my thing and felt 1,427,523x better. As I exited the bathroom, I saw my new friend standing by the front door with another person.
Me: “Thanks – I really appreciate you letting me use the bathroom”
Her: “How did you get into the building”
Me: “The front door was open – I just followed someone in”
(She fiddled with the door and looked perplexed)
Me: “By the way, I’m a donor to the CU Foundation and have a bathroom named after me in the ATLAS Building“
Her: “Well thank you!” (I could swear I saw her roll her eyes)
The rest of the run was uneventful. Fun, but uneventful.
I have a simple request for all humans out there. If a runner asks to use your bathroom, let him (or her). If I’m on a trail run in the middle of nowhere, I reluctantly have an effective “shit in the woods” method. But if I’m in a city, while I can pee in 30 seconds anywhere by just pretending I’m a dog, it’s not so easy to jettison the alien in the middle of the street.