Going to the toilet is something we tend to do privately. It’s our own we world of wee where we can sit and think and generally take a break from the world for a moment of two.
But not runners and triathletes. Oh no, not us. We have to turn the toilet break into something competitive. It becomes a race and we’re no longer alone, we might not know it, but we’re under scrutiny.
Next time you’re at a race think about what you do at the start. You probably stretch, you probably get changed, you probably realise you forgot some drawing pins to hold up your number and you try and find some at registration – and you go to the toilet.
Sometimes, that’ll be a row of portaloos. At other times, a toilet in the gym or school or, as at the Alloa half marathon, the local Asda.
You’ve got to go before you go and it doesn’t matter where because you don’t want to Radcliffe it in the middle of a race.
(If you don’t want to know what a Radcliffe is then don’t Google Paula Radcliffe and the 2005 London marathon. Eeuugghh!).
But when you go before you go you always find that everyone else has had the same idea. There’s a queue. A long queue – and that’s when it gets competitive.
Frankly, some people take too long. They know there’s a queue, they’ve been in it themselves for the last 10 minutes, yet, when it gets to the bog they don’t just pee and go. They take their time. They relax. They forget that everyone else is waiting – and listening!
Because you can’t help but listen. You want to hear the rustle of short or trousers being pulled up. The bang of a toilet roll being torn. The scraping back of a the lock so that you can then take your turn as….
… you realise everyone is listening to you. They’re desperate. They’ve been waiting for ages, crossed legged, hopping foot to foot and they just want to hear you tinkle, stand up, unlock and leave.
So, you want to be the fastest. You want to be someone who’ll walk out almost as soon as they walked in. You want the imagined high fives (after you’ve washed your hands, of course) as you pass back along the queue as everyone respects the fact you didn’t keep them waiting. You were in an out. A toilet god. The Uisean Bolt of urination.
Going to the toilet is no longer something we do privately. It’s a competition and you want to win!
There should be gold medals, there really should.