Monday, September 23, 2013

A Runner's Story of Pride and Pain

On Saturday, I had the best run I've had since March.

I also had the most painful post-run weekend I've had since...I don't remember. Maybe since ever.

I woke up on Saturday morning to rain. Lots of rain. We lounged in bed for a while listening to it and checking out different weather reports. They all said that same. It was supposed to rain all day. I was supposed to run 18k. My choices were: a) run in the rain or b) run on Sunday at the expense of my Sunday bike ride.

I opted to run in the rain.

I slathered on the Body Glide in all the usual spots. I pulled on my trusty sports bra, shorts and t-shirt that I've worn all summer. My heart rate monitor. My iPod shuffle. My ID bracelet and my Garmin. I loaded up my running belt with my glucometer, GUs, raisins, tissues and two bottles of water.

I turned on my watch and my music and headed out into the rain.

It took less than a minute to be soaked through. And truth be told, it was lovely. The temperature was comfortable, the rain was warm and there was no wind to speak of.  My earbuds refused to stay in my ears because everything was so wet so I tucked them away and ran sans musique. I quickly settled into a comfortable pace and just enjoyed.

It became pretty easy to identify the cars driven by people like me. They were the ones who honked and gave a thumbs up.

I only saw one other runner and it was a good friend of mine. She was running 20 miles on her own, doing loops so that she could run home and change shoes every so often. We commented on the lovely weather and the importance in training in all conditions and headed on our merry ways.

I ran 12k and then stopped for a big drink. Everything was so wet that I didn't even bother trying to check my blood sugar. I had nothing to dry my hands on and no way to keep my glucometer dry if I took it out of the ziplock bag it was hiding in. So I tried to gauge how I was feeling. I felt good - not low but not high. So I ate a box of raisins hoping it would carry me home without causing a blood sugar spike. I carried on and ran the last 6k without incident.

I made it home after 1 hour and 54 minutes of running. My body felt good. My foot felt fine. My energy was starting to flag but it was a huge improvement from my last two long runs. Doug had left me a towel by the door (thank goodness). I dried off a bit, peeled off my running digs, pulled on warm comfy clothes and checked my blood sugar. It was 3.8. A little low but, considering I ran 18k without any sense of how I was doing, I was happy with the result.

I stretched my tired muscles. I drank my chocolate milk and ate my post-run Clif Builder Bar that I love. I was feeling pretty proud of myself and happy to know that my running strength was returning.

That peaceful, post-run feeling vanished when I hopped into the shower and the warm water hit.

I muffled my scream and leaned against the wall until the pain-induced nausea passed.

I learned a new lesson about running in soaking wet clothes for two hours. I was horribly chafed in places I had never chafed before. I was equally raw in places I usually chafe and where I had applied a thick layer of Body Glide. I showered as carefully as I could and then I tried to apply some aloe vera, my usual chafing treatment.

It burned so much that I had to ask Doug to do it so I could just concentrate on not passing out.

I have chafed before but never to this extent. The rest of Saturday was spent on the couch in the loosest, softest clothes I owned. Saturday night was a rather painful sleep with no position providing much relief.

And Sunday morning's bike ride?

I had to pass because the idea of pulling on cycling shorts and a sports bra was unthinkable. So I pulled on a tank top and loose clothes to do some yoga instead.

Why is it that chafing never hurts when it's happening? I would have stopped, headed home to change or done something if I had known. But everything felt fine, great even, during the run.

It's only when I hopped in the shower that I discovered the extent of the damage.

Lesson learned.

I'm going to look quite the sight at the pool on Monday - covered in nasty red welts and rashes.


  1. Poor you! I hope your chafing heals quickly.

  2. Yikes! I chaffed for the first time a few weeks ago (after a 5 mile run) and it was not fun, I can't imagine the pain you must have felt with it affecting multiple areas...hopefully you healed fast!

  3. Oh man :( I totally feel for you. I've never chafed like I did when I was running.