I’ve never been one to chafe, at least not like some people seem to. Sure if it’s really hot I’ll chafe along the shorts-liner, or I’ll get the occasional armpit hot spot, or for some reason my lower back chafes from time to time. Oh and this is kinda crazy. Since my two pregnancies turned my belly button into an outie, it gets rubbed raw if I run in the rain. But it’s nothing too serious: I lube up my little problem areas with the same tube of BodyGlide I’ve owned for several years, and am usually just good to go.
Meanwhile, I read about, and listen to my friends moan about their terrible chafing — one poor friend nearly had a skin-free strip under her sports bra strap last summer. But so far, severe chafing has been one of those things, like plantar fasciitis or melasma, that I imagine must suck but I really never fully appreciated the horror … until recently.
But #soblessed no more. A series of unfortunate events, environmental factors, and poor decisions led to the worst chafing of my life.
My friends and I marked a trail run on our calendars a couple Saturdays back, choosing a route that included lots of elevation. I had 16 miles planned, and the morning dawned warm and muggy in the trees (Environmental Factor #1).
I have a very repetitive 10-mile route I always take on this trail, but we decided to add a couple of off-shoots (Mistake #1) to that to increase our overall mileage and elevation. The first off-shoot took us up to top of Mt. Baldy and I, being a
heavy efficient sweater (Environmental Factor #2), was pretty soaked by the time we started our descent.
What followed was more grueling uphills, more sweat, lots of pounding, a too fast downhill (Mistake #2), and a time deadline that required me to have to race home after 12 miles to finish the last four on my treadmill (Environmental Factor #3) so my husband could get to a meeting. Rather than pausing to change my now cold, wet running clothes, I jumped on the mill to just get the damn thing over with (Mistake #3). About two miles into the run, I began to feel pain on both butt cheeks. Yikes, I thought, that’s going to sting in the shower.
As I peeled off my wet skirt and tank in my bedroom, I caught a glimpse of my pale rear end in the mirror. Twin raw, oozy skidmarks an inch wide and several inches long flanked my butt crack, under an open, red oozy triangle outlining my sacrum above. My outie belly button throbbed a glowing reddish purple from my sweat-drenched tank top rubbing off several layers of skin in my muggy garage.
It was so bad that, for several days after, I was forced to wear full-butt cotton underwear that I had to peel off my chafe streaks as the scabs formed throughout the day, teeth clenching, wincing at having to sit or stand, and deep breathing exercises in the shower to avoid howling in pain. Actually, I avoided the shower as much as possible. Sorry! to anyone I encountered in public. Oh, and I had to swallow my pride every time I got dressed in front of my husband, who normally is quite endearing about my bum, but instead chuckled and snorted as he glimpsed the scabby skids adorning my ass.
Two weeks later, and my belly button scab is gone and most of the butt scabs are as well. I’ve used an entire Body Glide tube to not add to my wounds and am thankful that a redo of this situation is probably avoidable.
I’ve gained several take-aways from this scabby situation:
- Prevent chafing with copious amounts of lube pre-run.
- Don’t go so fast on the downhills: Pretty sure that affected my form and then my wet clothes rubbed me differently than normal.
- Get out of wet clothes fast, and…
- Never do a second run wearing the same wet clothes from the earlier one.
Most importantly, I now have real empathy for all you hardcore chafers out there: for those of you who fight a constant battle with your rubbing running clothes, I salute you. I hope to never join your ranks again!
What’s your worst chafing experience?