What runner hasn’t seen more than their fair share of disgusting porta-pottys?!

The ran out of toilet paper porta-potty.

The someone obviously had a momentary lapse in eye sight and completely missed the bowl port-o-potty.

The holy cow – what did that guy eat for dinner last night – porta-potty.

The this honey bucket hasn’t been emptied in weeks porta-potty.

The I really need to go to the bathroom but I just saw multiple daddy long legs crawl out of the bowl porta-potty.

The OMG did I just step in what I think I stepped in porta-potty.


Last year when I went to China to run The Great Wall Marathon I was lucky to have a couple of friends who had visited China as well as a wonderful woman who reads my blog, who had run the race before, who all gave me advice before I went on my journey across the world. Without this advice my experience in China may have been pretty sh*tty {pun intended}!

First things first……you carry your own toilet paper in China.

The only place that I used the restroom that had toilet paper, the entire week I was there, was the hotel restroom. Otherwise you were on your own. Thankfully because I packed a Costco size amount of little tissue packs in my luggage so I was never without that one completely necessary item.

China is a Communist country, so my ever loving husband gave me a little talk before we left. Dorothy, if someone cuts you in line, you let them, you don’t give them a dirty look. If someone crosses the road somewhere other than the intersection you don’t follow them, you follow the rules, not the crowd. If you need to use the bathroom during the race, you wait till you find a bathroom, you do not go outside. I knew this last one would be the hardest because after 13 years of marathoning I’ll pretty much go anywhere at any time – bathroom or no bathroom. When a girl has to go she has to go.

I was VERY concerned about this particular race because the date had fallen on a terrible date for me – ahem – ahem – if you know what I mean, so I knew I would need to use any and ALL bathrooms I saw.

When I saw the tent up ahead, I knew what it was – the bathroom. I had been warned the bathroom was actually just a large tent, but until I was in that tent, it didn’t really click.

You walk in to said tent and you go to the bathroom. WHEREVER YOU WANT. It doesn’t matter where and basically when you look down you know there is a 100% chance that you are standing in someone else’s fecal matter. I made sure to avoid stepping on or near any used toilet paper, but guys don’t use toilet paper when they pee – sigh. It was a particularly hot day that day, so you can imagine the smell. As I went to the bathroom, I thanked the man upstairs that no one else walked in to that large tent while I was in there.

I didn’t find another bathroom till I was back on the wall in the later stages of the race. Thankfully this bathroom was a porta-potty type bathroom that was single use. What was not so wonderful was that it was a squatty potty and after you have run 20 something miles and climbed thousands of stairs you have about zero capability of squatting on anything to use the bathroom. At that point I still was holding out hope that I could get my butt in gear and finish under 5 hours so I was trying to use the bathroom as fast as humanly possibly while not killing myself.

The bathroom was right next to a make shift market that sold “I climbed The Great Wall t-shirts” and knick knacks, so after I got out of the bathroom I had to politely try to say no thank you to people who didn’t understand me {I learned a lesson or twenty about language barriers on this trip}, nor seemed to know that a marathon was going on.

During the race the experience of that bathroom tent wasn’t so fun, but now it’s hilarious to me. What if you rolled up to a Rock N Roll Marathon and they just had tents placed over grass and you went to the bathroom with 30 other runners – oh and you had to bring your own toilet paper. Can you imagine the reviews people would leave on marathonguide.com bahahahahaha.

Perspective is everything in life.

I’ll never complain about a stinky US port-o-potty again, because really – it could always be worse.

And honestly I’d use 100 of those tents again if it meant going back to run this race one more time!

Here are some more China pictures, because looking at pictures of China never gets old to me.


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