That time I peed blood after an ultra marathon

by lachicaruns on

A head’s up: Since we’re all runners and adults here, I’m going to assume you’re used to talking about bodily functions and aren’t going to be grossed out by what follows. If you’re easily offended, now’s the time to read another one of my posts.

Immediately after I finished my third 50k

So, apparently, you can pee blood after “strenuous exercise,” including a 33-mile ultra marathon through the woods in Hell, Mich. After seeing blood in mine for the two days following my most-recent ultra, I called my doctor’s office assuming I had a bladder infection.

After describing my symptoms, which included minor discomfort on the spot where I thought my bladder should be, my doctor started me on antibiotics, suggested an over-the-counter medication called Azo for urinary tract infections, and sent me in for a urine test. The nurse I talked to at her office also encouraged me to drink more fluids and to stay away from caffeine and artificial sweeteners because, she said, they can exacerbate these types of infections.

If you haven’t used Azo before, I will note that it turns your urine a very dark shade of orange. An especially important detail when you’re already spending an inordinate amount of time peeking into the toilet to gauge the color of your pee.

I dutifully continued to drown myself to try to rehydrate, despite drinking what at the time I thought was a ton of Gatorade and water on the race course.

Because the test confirmed blood in my urine but showed no infection, the doc sent me back in a day later to get yet another urinalysis. Thankfully, by then, no blood was found, so I was cleared and was told that the running and severe dehydration probably caused the problem.

All of this left me with a perfect reason to actually follow proper recovery advice to stay away from most running to give my body time to heal. Instead, I got a 30-minute sports massage two days post-race, rode my Peloton stationary bike, stretched and did a little bit of walking on the treadmill.

I don’t know that I could have done much of anything else anyway because running up and down hills on treacherous trails left me unable to go up and down stairs without wincing for three full days. Who’d have thunk, amiright?

While I’ve enjoyed commiserating with my friends about our sore muscles, it’s time to end recovery week with a long run tomorrow. Because the Detroit Free Press marathon isn’t going to run itself, so I’m implementing the Hal Higdon back-to-back marathon training plan, which calls for an hour or two of running.

As for the Run Woodstock 50k, it was great. We had two first-timers with us, Michelle and Walisa, and they did fantastic. Our friend Corey even ran 100 miles!

We surprisingly met up with our friends doing the half marathon during our first of two loops for the 50k.

It was really fun, challenging, and inspiring to see so many runners achieve what until recently I considered impossible goals. I continue to be amazed by the 100k and 100 mile runners we knew had been on the course since 4 p.m. the day before, but still took the time to encourage us as we passed them on the trail.

If you’ve ever considered taking on an ultra marathon, I can unequivocally say that I have no regrets and plan to return to Run Woodstock next year. There’s even talk of a, gulp!, 50 miler!

So, have you ever had any weird medical issues while running or after a long run? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.



You know you’re a real runner when you talk about blood in your urine, poop and missing toe nails like it’s no big deal.

Barb Byrum

Yeah. The things that I experience after running 13 or more miles include: Migraines, dying toenails and what I affectionately named “runner induced menstruation.” On a positive note, I still have not assaulted anyone. I hope to see you out there!


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