I remember the first time it happened. Up until that point, the only pain I had encountered while running was the little man on my chest that made it hard to breathe. Occasionally my legs would burn. Otherwise, running was hard but not painful.
Then, one hot humid day in June, a few months after I had started running, a horrible burning started. It quickly progressed to the point where I felt like my skin was being seared off. I was afraid to look down but would have bet money that I was bleeding right through the front of my shirt. What the hell??!?
That was the day that I discovered the joys of chafing.
Thankfully I did not bleed through my shirt and, should I ever have children, I can most likely still breastfeed but damn it hurt. The next day I marched into Runners' Edge to buy body glide and a non-cotton sports bra. I had my first running war wounds and was in absolutely no hurry to get any more.
Body glide has become my friend and I apply it liberally to every place that has ever chafed, every time I run. Doubly so in the hot humid months. But the chafing gods are tricky. They move around, they find new spots to torture and then they disappear just long enough for me to forget them and neglect my body glide routine.
Despite my best intentions, I am regularly nursing a chafe wound of some sort.
There are the sports bra chafes. Right around my chest seems to be a favourite spot. Along the straps is another.
There is the running belt chafe right along my lower back where it bounces up and down ever so slightly for hours.
Then there is the dreaded thigh chafe – my arch enemy. Every pair of running shorts or pants that I own has their own special place they like to rub. And when the shorts don’t chafe, the underwear does.
And yes, I’ve tried going commando…
I bought a new pair of shorts a few weeks ago. They are shorter than my regular CWX shorts and much cooler. They have built-in spandex which is always helpful for the folks whose thighs rub together when they run. I have used them for a few weeks already and they seemed to be chafe-free. I was impressed.
Then came Saturday morning. Four kilometers from the store, I felt the burn. Three kilometers to go and I had completely changed my gait just to try to alleviate the pain a bit. Two kilometers left and I was sure I was bleeding down my legs. By the last kilometer, I was debating taking my shorts right off. Not sure if it’s actually legal to run in only my underwear but I'm pretty sure someone would have stopped to offer me a ride…
The post-run shower was painful beyond words (salt + soap into open wound = ow!!) and I spent the rest of the day alternately applying aloe vera and walking around like a cowboy.
I've got to get me a pair of boots to match my sexy swagger...