Like a lot of women my age- I pee my pants. 
 Occasionally it’s when I laugh or cough, or when I’ve had too much coffee or soda, but most recently it has begun to happen when I run.   I would love to blame it on  the trauma of childbirth( in order to add it to the list of things I’m compling to try to make my son feel guilty),  but the reality is – it’s just gravity. 

Gravity is a force most evident to women- from eyelids to uterus,  joined in the parade with our skin, breasts and various internal organs, marching in unison, in one direction- downward.  I’m convinced that considerably earlier than the 1600’s, there was at least one unnamed,observant woman, who has been denied the rightful credit for understanding  the laws of gravity–well before that apple-guy, Newton was exalted for his “discovery”.   I recently consoled a friend, informed that she needed to have a hysterectomy, that she should be glad they were cutting it out before it fell out. 

Gravity is not to be denied, it is a physical reality and regardless of what technical or medical advances the future may bring, you can count on it.  Even if I continue to preserve my overall health, I  still visualized myself as a triple -digit , white haired, woman insisting on remaining mobile, necitating being  pulled around in a large, red wagon with my used-to-be internal organs having migrated out of me, floating around outside my lower body.

Running has become one of my “medicines” – a self- prescribed activity that preserves my physical health, and because I do it with a group of inspiring women,  it also preserves my mental health.  This group has a weekly ritual of running eight miles before daybreak on Saturday mornings over a spectacularly beautiful course on Key Biscayne -ensuring a payoff for getting up that early ,with views of  awesome sunrises over the ocean. 

 Running compounds gravity, with the  the up and down motion, additional pressure is put on the bladder, leading to intermittent leakage.   My attempt to mitigate the effects of gravity while running was to begin to wear a sweetly named, smartly designed, very expensive diaper pad affixed to my underwear.  I have to say that I am routinely annoyed with advertizing and packaging strategies supposedly aimed at women, especially when the goal is solely to charge more for a product.  When I first investigated the “bladder control” aisle at the grocery store, I was stunned at the cost for the small, floral scented, pink packages, especially when I checked out the next aisle over. and compared the prices to the regular baby diapers, which were half the cost!  Clearly, they were made of the exact same material, but there was significantly less of it , since it was cut to fit discreetly inside the crotch panel of a woman’s underwear–  Another example of economic misogyny!

On a recent morning I was wearing one of those expensive lady diaper pads when I started out with my running group in the pre-dawn darkness.  As the light began to advance it became obvious that the usual, spectacular sunrise  was curtained by a very dark sky.  At around mile 4,  as we reached the approach to the bridge, the sky opened up and we were all drench in mere moments.  Running in the rain in Miami is a common occurence and barring lightening,  it is often preferred as a way to combat the stiffing humidity.   So we slowed our pace to match the decreased visibility and continued on. 

Suddenly, I sensed a heaviness in my shorts.  Panic struck  as I realized that the pad was uber- doing it’s job.  It is “Poised” to absorb liquids, all liquids, all the time. As we start up the bridge I am now pulling serious crotch weight.  It had never occurred to me to read the label on the package for volume capacity!  I have a flashback of my son as a toddler at the beach with a sandy, bloated, balloon diaper that impedes his movement, and weighs well over his own body weight when I finally wrestled it off of him. 

As we reached the bottom of the bridge, the pad’s sticky strips have reached their not-water-proof capacity and the pad is now unfastened from my underwear.  I now have what has quickly become the size and weigh of small, wet mammal mobile in my underwear. 

 As we approach the five mile mark with no bathrooms on this stretch of the course, it keeps raining, I keep running, and the  rain gorged, mammal migrates to the back of my shorts.  Due to extra weight, and my slowly building mortification I have now dropped to the back of my group to consider possible solutions:

Stopping mid course and digging around in the back of my shorts only to pull out a five pound blob and then what?–  Carry it dripping to a trash can visible, a 1/4 mile up ahead?  No, touching it is out of the question. 

I glance behind me and see other runners far enough in the distance, to go with the impulsive decision to just reach around my back, pull wide the elastic band on the bottom of my running shorts and


you guessed it- 

Allow  Gravity to do it’s thing— 

  The massive, waterlogged bundle plops to the ground behind me as I continue to jog forward.   I am just about to relish the lightness of relief , when a bare chested, tall teenage boy over takes me on the path.  This course is a often used by local high school cross country teams and their sheer speed is remarkable– owing to why I didn’t see him when I glanced backward. 

With the phrase “my load lightened” having a new meaning,  I run to catch up with my group, and I’m amused  as
I consider all the possible explanations running through that young man’s head for what he just witnessed.


5 Responses

  1. Great post. I so-o feel your pain. I too am familiar with the pad that surplanted the “that time of month” one. Now if they would only come up with an alternative (as they did for the other) that isn’t so ‘out there’.

  2. Great story…very well written

  3. Love it!

  4. I like that you keep running!!!

  5. No matter what, keep running! That young man is probably posting what he witnessed in a blog.

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