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Running While Leaking! My Half-Marathon Story, by Jamie Hess

Running While Leaking! My Half-Marathon Story, by Jamie Hess

“I was thinking of you the other day as I was peeing my pants…”

This was my opening email line to a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while. Clever, ain’t I? At least I know how to grab someone’s attention from the get-go! The reason for this lead-in was simple… we had recently commiserated that after having our first kiddos, we each suffered bladder leaks, particularly while running. It annoyed us both so much that we had eventually stopped running altogether.

To be clear… running had become my everything. My passion. My escape. Of course, it wasn’t always like that. Let’s take a step back...

The Beginning

“Oh, I can’t run,” I explained to George, when we were first dating. “I have injuries.”


Truth was, it was a story I had been telling myself for years. It was not based in reality. It was a myth I had convinced myself was true.

When a friend asked us to participate in a charity 5K, I hesitantly agreed. Could I do it? I had no clue, really. We began training, and although I doubled over in tears the first time I tried to run a full mile (true story!), we eventually made it to race day.

That day, the morning air was crisp, there was an electric energy, and my hubby and I were in it together, side by side, about to tackle something challenging.

And, surprise…we were HOOKED! We had officially been “bit by the running bug,” and thus… by a happy accident, we became running geeks. It became our passion… from 5ks to 10ks to half marathons… and eventually to the NYC marathon in 2016.

And then…. IT started to happen. The Leaks

Somewhere during this time, I had my first baby... and also got the inevitable accompanying body changes, specifically around my pelvic floor. There came a moment one day during the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2016 where I looked up at
George running next to me and sheepishly blurted out: “babe, I’m literally peeing my pants right now and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

The new-mama, mid-run leaking had begun… and it was frustrating as hell.
At first I tried to laugh it off, as if I didn’t care…. but in reality, it was a confidence killer. And, thus, for the first time in nearly five years… I stopped doing the activity I loved so much. It broke my heart. Time went by, and I quietly mourned the loss. People don’t understand how hard it is …something like bladder leaks can strip a woman of her identity and her joy - it was heartbreaking. After suffering with the disappointment of being “sidelined” for a few years, I knew I had to find a solution.

INNOVO to The Rescue

In 2019, when I was pregnant with my second baby, I made a decision: part of my “get back in shape” plan would be to commit to the Hamptons Half Marathon later in the year after his birth.

I knew the training part would go ok ... but I was worried that my old, embarrassing anatomical flaw would reappear. I started looking at all sorts of “solves,” none of which were that compelling: chunky, cumbersome pads, way-too-big panties, etc.

Luckily, right at the same time, the stars aligned... and I was introduced to INNOVO.

"I loved that INNOVO was a non-invasive, FDA-cleared solution that could treat the root cause of my stress urinary incontinence. The shorts arrived discreetly at my home and I wore them for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for 12 weeks. The shorts delivered180 perfect Kegels per session, strengthening my weakened pelvic floor muscles."



I used them over the course of the summer, and - like magic - when race time rolled around, I crossed the finish line SANS DRIBBLES!! Usually the last three miles, I’m plagued by the mental anguish caused by bladder leaks…. “Ugh, this is uncomfortable, I wish I could stop it from happening, does anyone notice,” etc. It used to really mess with my pace. This time I was able to cruise over the finish line dry…. well, except for the sweat everywhere else!! But “down there” was a-ok, and that was great news!