day 5: a Russian is always prepared

The Movara program, usually very rigid in terms of schedule, offered up choices on Day 5. Guests were invited to go on a hike, or they could choose to run a 5k or 10k race.

The Russian Princess had just come off a massive back injury 3 weeks prior, and was now contending with toe nail horrors that gave me nightmares every time she whipped them out. My knees were still rebelling in a big way, and I had a massive blister on each foot.

Logically, we chose to do the 10k race.

We volunteered for this, it should be noted, primarily because no one had told us that the first 5k of the 10k route was all up hill.

Despite gorgeous clear blue skies, it was a cold morning, with the temperature hovering in the high 30s. Accordingly, she and I prioritized warmth over fashion, dressing in layers upon layers.

The 5k and 10k racers were advised to walk the approximate one mile to the starting line for both courses.


Once at the starting line, we were given instructions. It would be an out-and-back race, so both 5k’ers and 10k’ers would run the same course, but the 5k’ers would turn around at the 1st rest stop, marking the half way point for the 5k race. 10k racers would continue on to a second rest stop 5k in, and then turn around and return to the finish line.

Irina and I decided we would maintain a brisk walk (approx 4.0 mph) for the duration of the course, so as to not aggravate our existing knee and back issues.

Several racers alternated jog/walk intervals, but we seemed to be keeping at pace with them despite the fact that we were walking 100% of the time, thereby proving my theory that I can walk faster than some people run.

Approximately 20 or so minutes in; shortly after we passed the turnaround mark for the 5k racers, I felt some grumblings in my tummy.


The Movara nutritionist had pointed out in a lecture earlier in the week, “Our menus here are probably quite different to what you eat at home. So, some of you may not have pooped yet. Others of you haven’t stopped pooping. This is normal.

I fell into the latter category.

No joke. I would go as soon as a I woke up. Then I’d go again after morning stretch. Then I’d go again after breakfast, because God forbid I had to go during the hike.

I am not sure if the issue was that I hadn’t gone after breakfast this particular morning, or if I was just feeling anxious due to the race, but one thing was quite clear: I had to go.

Mind over matter.

Let’s take some pictures! I suggested.


Mind over matter.


I turned to Irina and exclaimed, Dude, I have to poop. She responded, Maybe they’ll have a bathroom at the second rest stop. I reminded her that the first ‘rest stop’ was basically the Movara van, pulled over at the side of the road, a folding table set up with some Dixie cups and a giant water bottle.

Nope. The only bathrooms in sight were those inside the lovely homes we were passing.

Do you think they’d take pity on me if I knocked at the door and asked to use their bathroom? I asked rhetorically. Of course, I’d never ask a stranger if I could enter their home for the express purpose of vacating my explosive bowels in their bathroom.

I took a few deep breaths and we slowed our pace some to see if the discomfort would pass.


I’VE GOTTA GO! I whined. I swear, if I had toilet paper, I would totally squat behind a bush and just do it right out here. 

And then the Russian reminded me of the full depth of her Russian-ness.

I have toilet paper AND Kleenex, she said.


Just like Russell, Irina is always prepared.

What??? Really??? Wait, why do you have… never mind. Okay, I’m doing this. 

I scoped the landscape for a large enough shrub to offer some modicum of privacy.

Oh look, there! exclaimed the Russian, pointing at a large utility box across the road.


I took her stockpile of toilet paper and ran toward my makeshift commode.


Struggling to make my way past umpteen layers, my thumbs finally found the waistband of my pants. I quickly shoved them down to my knees, assuming the squat position in the process.

And then… nothing.

I waited.

What in the actual fuck? I could barely keep my sphincter closed 5 minutes before, and all of a sudden I had performance anxiety? REALLY??

The Russian yelled over, Well, are you going, or what?

THPPTPHTPHPHHPH, my body responded.

She heard the horrific noise coming out of my body and started laughing hysterically.

I mewled back at her, Ewww…it’s SO gross! It’s like PUDDING! And it SMELLS! Ewww!!!

Shut up and finish, I have to go pee, too, she yelled back.

I cleaned up, sanitized my hands, and tried to reclaim some of my lost dignity as I made my way back to the road.

Feeling better? she asked.

Infinitely, I replied.

With that unseemly drama behind us, we pushed ahead, determined to not finish in last place. We had no idea how many racers were doing the 5k versus the 10k, adding to our anxiety about where we were pacing to finish.

Race be damned though, we couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture of our long shadows.


A Movara staff member passed us, advising that 10 total racers were doing the 10k, and that we had four ahead of us, and four behind us. We were exactly right in the middle of the pack.

With that motivation, we determined to keep pushing to ensure we finished no lower than our current positions.

At approximately one half mile to the finish line, we decided to actually run some of our 10k race. A novel concept, I know. Don’t judge.

Moments later I crossed the finish line just as I had started it, in lock-step with my bestie.

True story.


We walked back to the resort, stopping to take a few more pictures along the way:

And in case you thought that was it for Day 5, I’ll remind you that this is Movara, where just becauses you complete a 10k doesn’t mean you get the rest of the day off.


Final stats for the day: 

  • 27,511 steps
  • 11.9 miles
  • 2,385 calories burned (vs. 1,200 consumed)
  • 1 massive amount of dignity lost
  • 1 Lomi Lomi massage (…which made me forget every hardship in my life. Ever.)

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

92 thoughts on “day 5: a Russian is always prepared

  1. Pingback: day 4: making winning decisions | my year of sweat

  2. Definitely at the top of the pile of pooping crisis stories I have ever heard. You’ve given me the courage–maybe, perhaps, just maybe–to write about over thirty years ago when Kathy and I were on our camping honeymoon, and I unknowingly shat on a beehive. Two ass stings, much swearing, and wifely nearly pissed pants laughing.

    • Oh please, please, please write about that, John!
      The moment it was obvious I would be shitting in the wild, Irina asked, “You’re going to blog about this, right?”
      “Of course”, I responded.
      Have been dreading having to write this post for weeks now, afraid I might die of embarrassment.
      Meh – I’m still alive. So, go for it, I say!

      • Yeah, right, because when you tell your worst shit story, the reader immediately of remembers her/his worst story . . . or the Turbo-lax scene from Dumb and Dumber.

      • Hahaha! Indeed. Much like when I wrote my I-will-die-of-embarassment-if-I-share-this story about getting caught at the airport with an embarrassing item in my luggage. I hoped to elicit similar stories from readers. Turns out almost none of my readers pack sleep aids when they travel. 😀

  3. Ha ha, Nance! Love it! Glad you captured the big moment on film! Were they feeding you a lot of high fiber foods? I’ve had to go right before a few races I’ve done, due to anxiety, but there are porta-potties always nearby… but sometimes they are so rank, I would prefer to use your method! Love your finish line photo! xo

    • As I said to Joanne earlier, better to do the nasty, clean up and get on one’s way than to have an accident in your pants! That would have been one very long and very stinky 10k, NH! 🙂

  4. A utility box to the rescue! And your friend with her toilet paper.

    Too funny, but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. And to think there were still four people behind you. That’s some impressive time you made!

    • We lost a good 10+ minutes in the whole should-I/shouldn’t-I nonsense plus the dirty deed itself. In fairness, I think 1 of the four behind us was pushing a stroller, so we can’t feel too smug for beating her and all that extra weight she was hauling!

      • The husband and child showed up the evening before, and were staying (offsite) through Sunday. I can’t imagine the distraction of having a child there – even only for a few hours. Kudos to her though. (The following day, they spent the day by the pool swimming while others were doing various optional hikes.

      • Yes, as much as I love my kids, having family around during a camp like that would be a big distraction. I’d just be jealous to see them go out for pizza while I was stuck with lettuce and cashews.

      • No kidding!
        Although…now that you mention it… since the camp has no locked gate, and since many guests drove rental cars there, they are able to leave in the evenings without issue. We did hear from a few guests that they would sneak out for food some evenings. We also found out that a pair of sisters attending the same week as us had brought wine to drink in their rooms at night.
        Hey, we’re all grown-ups and can do whatever we want – BUT – it seems to me if you’re going to fork over that much cash for this program, you might as well suck it up and work the actual program.

      • (Not to mention that eating (and drinking) those contraband items would, no doubt, have a negative impact on your final results. Presumably everyone forks over the cash because they want to see the scale go down a few pounds by the end of their stay…

  5. Your ability to relay what happens at Movara is very true and entertaining. Great humor infused with the torture. Can’t wait to get back there and be tortured again 🙂

  6. How did I miss this post earlier today!! This would have amused me in my dull workday!
    I love you honest (over) sharing 😀
    I once had a similar problem half way down Ben Nevis…

  7. That is greatness! I’m so glad that no one came by 🙂
    I have this massive bush that I run past on almost every run – and there has been more than once that I’ve wondered if I really had to pee bad enough to use it! It is at the front of an empty lot between two houses… I have yet to use it; however, the thought has crossed my mind a few times!
    I’m glad that you managed to get your business done!

  8. I hike and it’s all I can do to pee in the wild – it’s traumatic every time (I have a post called “Just call me the Piddler” which details my latest humiliation). I can’t EVEN imagine pooping while I’m hiking. I just can’t EVEN. It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it – there are so many ways to screw that up.

    • I have hiked the 2nd highest mountain in SoCal (6 hours), hiked from Rim to River and back to Rim at Grand Canyon (8 hours) and not had to poop. This was a 10k road race. I can’t even explain the why on this one, other than perhaps the extreme healthy/clean/high-fiber diet that week. Whatever it was – there were two options: shit my pants or drop trou and do it in the brush. I chose the latter. 🙂

    • The Russian amazes me with her preparedness, Tiny! She was trained well! 🙂 (And she most certainly saved the day. I can’t imagine how that would have ended without toilet paper. Thank God I didn’t have to find out!)

  9. I don’t know about this storing of TP in plastic bags… I understand the necessity of not littering, but dude, kinda gross. Also, dignity is highly overrated. I have like zero left.

    • So that one detail may have been slightly embellished so as not to elicit the ire of the environmental types. Not confirming or denying that I may or may not have covered my pile of pudding with the used TP. Because, after all, who hikes with a giant ziploc bag? Well, maybe a Russian. Never mind.

  10. Thank heaven for TP carrying best friends. She saved your ass! Literally.

    Running (and speed walking) is better than any laxative. 🙂 I don’t do many organized races, but I always pop an Imodium or something before the run. Just in case. Otherwise I’d be in the Porto-potty non-stop.

    Another reason why I love treadmill running at home. 😀

  11. That’s a true friend right there. Nancy I feel your pain (and I only laughed a little… sort of a little… ok quite a lot)

  12. Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!! OMG, this was hilarious! You make me wish we lived closer because you are so damn funny! Getting stage fright in the middle of nowhere while hoping to poop! Oh man, honestly. You need to do stand-up.

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