Now I've been running for a few years, played soccer my whole life. Somehow I missed something, until I started training for the marathon and running long distances in the heat.
Why didn't anyone tell me about this? How could you all keep me in the dark?
I didn't even know it existed until a friend, a bit bigger of a guy informed me last winter of his nipple chafing during his half marathon training. Uh, what? That's a thing? Inner thigh "chub rub", sure, I knew that was an absolute possibility, but bleeding nipples? That sounds straight out of a horror movie.
Though I've been fortunate to avoid above mentioned catastrophe, after each long run I am pleasantly surprised by some new chafing, scaring and rubbing that appears. On my longest run yet, 18 miles in Omaha, Nebraska visiting family this past weekend, I scratched my lower back at some point towards the end of the run and yelped out in pain - realizing the tag on my shorts had been rubbing for two and a half hours against my skin. At this point I now know, that's going to hurt. It's also going to look like an ugly tramp stamp on my back for a week.
Chafing for me has been the surprising combination of 80-90 degree weather runs and long distances - no matter how good the sports bra or shorts. Sometimes your tag you didn't even realize was there has been attacking your back for a few hours and you didn't notice, and the result made for a pretty nasty mark. I tried out a new sports bra on a half marathon race in Milwaukee two weeks ago. My chest was lined with red, oozing scars. My inner things have essentially looked diseased for the second half of the summer. I know, beach babe.
Aquaphor is now my best friend.
Forget soreness, I was sort of prepared for the limping. Not the chafing (not the exhaustion either, I'll talk about that delightful topic next blog).
It's worth it though. It's worth it to be up at 7 AM in the dark, running a new trail, breathing in fresh air, with a few other crazy souls out there with you. It's worth it because the sun rises, your shadow shifts, the lake sparkles, the wildflowers and grasses change and alter colors each time you pass them, you dodge dog poop like it's a game.
We went to a free impressionist exhibit in Omaha the afternoon after my run, and though I was hobbling like an idiot and could barely keep my eyes open, I was happy to be there. Happy because these artists were painting the light, the colors, the sky, the landscape that I had just observed. I watched it all change before me that morning, and I wandered through Renoir, Monet and Chagall, smiling at our shared experiences. It was very beautiful.
There you have it, and now you know. Don't say I didn't warn you.