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Twin Cities Marathon truths about avoiding bloody nipples, the trots, other embarrassments

October 3, 2018

Local running experts went the extra mile for us in answering lots of uncomfortable questions and offering welcome encouragement for Twin Cities Marathon participants and those cheering them on.

Is carbo-loading the night before a marathon really effective?

A high-carbohydrate diet a day or two before the marathon can help build your glycogen store for race day, but you will weigh a bit more.

Will sex the night before help me run faster?

Hey, we thought this was a family newspaper.

Best stuff for a fanny pack?

Your ID, nutrition packs, a Ziploc bag of cash and four toilet paper squares, just in case.

So glad you brought that up. How might we avoid runners trots?

Make sure you poo before the race (hint: coffee!). Needing to go during the race can be a problem for runners at all levels, even elite runners during the Olympics. Keep moving and keep looking for a Porta Potty, which are located every couple of miles. Dont even think about other options.

Water or Gatorade?

For events longer than an hour, Gatorade trumps water, as it can replace glucose during the race. But Gatorade may not sit well in your stomach if you havent practiced running and drinking it. If you feel unsettled, turn your focus elsewhere to help the feeling pass. In general, drink if you are thirsty, but dont drink too much fluid, as it raises your risk of exertion-related hyponatremia.

Any tips for avoiding blisters and black toenails?

For blisters, replace your shoes at least two months before race day and practice your longest runs in them. Do not wear new shoes or socks on race day. Toes turn black when the top of the shoe slaps against the nail, causing trauma and bleeding. A shoe that fits can sometimes reduce the incidence.

I need to blow my nose without a tissue.

Think like a farmer: Use a finger to close off one nostril, check your immediate surroundings, note wind direction and blow.

Ugh. Im on my period. Any suggestions?

Lots and lots of caffeine, Advil and confidence! One of our team members ran her personal best marathon during her period. Pack what you need, or stop at aid stations. They have supplies.

Why do some men get bloody nipples?

Women endure childbirth. Men are saddled with bloody nipples. Apply Band-aids before the race something few men remember to do. And, women, to avoid bouncing, get a sports bra fitting at a specialty store. Spring for a quality brand that feels secure and supportive and wont make you chafe.

How do you tactfully dump chatty runners when you need to focus?

A friend of mine shouted, Hey, buddy, its not a singles bar! to a guy chatting up an uninterested woman running in our pack. Shut him right up.

Why do I hate people shouting, Youre almost there!?

Because the finish always seems closer when youre standing on the curb.

Most creative use for a TCM medal?

Weve seen Christmas trees decorated entirely with TCM finisher medals. Weve seen them translated into tattoos, carved into pumpkins and worn for up to a week post-race.

How many bananas, rolls, chips, yogurts, granola bars, waters can I take without getting the side eye?

Its not a buffet. One of each item, please. Besides, you need to save room for the free Summit beer.

Answers provided by Twin Cities in Motion staff members Virginia Brophy Achman, Kelly Donahue, Vanessa Graetz, Charlie Mahler and medical director Dr. William Roberts.

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