I know that The Goddess Isis sometimes refers to things “chapping her ass.” I never really was able to picture this.
…until my last half marathon. I have never suffering chafing before, but HOLY CHAFING BATMAN. I’m not sure what went wrong. It was a beautiful day, warm, I was wearing my lucky running skirt that I have worn through more races than I can count. Yet suddenly, somewhere before the Gu but after the big hills, I was very conscious of my thighs and how they rub together. A lot.
Normally this doesn’t bother me. I don’t strive for thigh gap. I strive for muscle. But muscle is large, and rubs together. I tried to adjust stuff. No dice. More rubbing. By mile 10 I was forcing each stride through gritted teeth. I refused to stop, and it was an out and back. By mile 10, the fastest way to stop running…is to keep running til you get there.
By the time I toddled through the finish, I was running bowlegged and little seeps of blood were starting on the inside of my thighs.
What happened? Who knows?
But it did make me think about runners and shame. And kindness.
After a race, I found out how little shame I had. There I am, waddling out of the corral, and a couple stops and anxiously asks me if I’m OK. My normal response is to smile politely, but I’ve just run a very painful 13.1 miles. I’ve got no filters. “Oh I’m ok, I just have been chafing like HELL,” I ranted. “I swear there’s blood running down my thighs!”
The woman in the couple (who didn’t run) got wide eyes and backed away slowly. The man, who had just finished the race himself, looked sympathetic and nodded. He didn’t back away. He knew how it was to have no shame.
In the bathroom, changing after the race (no showers, and home was 4-5 hours away), I braced myself. I had to put SOMETHING between me and my jeans. Or my jeans would have some very interesting new blood stains by the time I was through. All I had was deodorant. I didn’t own Body Glide then, I’d never chafed before!
And here’s where the kindness comes in. A woman stopped and offered me her Body Glide. Only a fellow athlete would do that, offer a stick of something for another woman to rub on her sweaty, slightly bloody inner thighs (if I were her I would have thrown it out after, that can’t be sanitary…). I could have cried with gratitude. She didn’t even blink. It’s what runners do for each other.
The first thing I did the next day was pick up some Body Glide.
The next race is this weekend. I think chafing will ensue. Worse, I’ve been sick almost continuously since my last race. I couldn’t force myself to run when every swallow felt like I was gulping knives. I’d hoped to do well in DC, but it looks like this race may involve far more pain than chafing.