With a half marathon, trail run, and a Ragnar Relay all completed in the past month, I have spent my fair share of time using a porta potty. Porta potties are a reality of the running scene. The porta potty, also known as a portalet, porta john, or outhouse (if I’m redneckin’ it) can get the better of you if you are not adequately prepared. So…I offer up, my sage wisdom on mastering the art of using the portable potty:
1. Set your expectations low. NEVER enter thinking…”hey it’s early in the season, I bet it’s clean!” Here is the reality…it NEVER will be. It will always smell and it will always be filthy, the more you prepare yourself before you enter, the better off you will be.
2. Take advantage of the Oh-Shit handle. You know how most SUVs, Jeeps, and even some bad ass minivans have “Oh-Shit” handles for passengers to grab on to? Porta potties have the same feature! It’s that big plastic handle on the back of the door. Use it. Use it to your advantage…it can help balance you, you can hang things on it, throw your entire body weight against it to keep yourself from actually touching the seat.
3. Don’t look down. Martin Garrix (featuring Usher, of course) nails in when he drops his beats:
“Don’t look down
Up this high, we’ll never hit the ground
Don’t look down
See that sky, we’re gonna reach it now
Do you feel the lightning inside of you?
Will you follow through if I fall for you?
Don’t look down
Up this high, we’ll never hit the ground”
Is the man in love, or is he trapped inside a porta potty? Either way, when you enter the special blue house, eyes up, there’s nothing good you’re going to see by looking down, down, down.
4. Wait till it’s an emergency, seriously. Are you not sure if you have to go? Wait! There’s nothing worse than the awkward moments of hanging your behind over the hole of darkness and waiting…waiting for something to happen. Porta potties are an in-and-out venue, hesitation is never welcome.
5. Use the supplies to your advantage. Toilet paper, seat covers, hand sanitizers, spray air fresheners…use them! I realize that the supplies available vary greatly from porta john to porta john, but use what is available. Recently, in the late night of my Ragnar adventures I had the pleasure of using a well stocked porta potty with ample toilet paper, some well placed glow sticks to provide more light, an air diffuser, and seat covers. It was like the Four Seasons of porta potties! Don’t ever turn down the free supplies, and obviously shower yourself in the sanitizer on your way out!
Well my running, hiking, camping, and concert-attending friends…good luck to you this summer as you face adventures with portable bathrooms. Keep in mind my five little bits of wisdom…and please, if I left anything out, let me know!