Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

Day 34 -- Sept. 10, 2012

Today I'm 194-plus pounds of rolling thunder.

Yes, plus because I forgot what my decimal number was today, so I'll let you fill in the blank yourself.

Today was a brilliant day to be out on the road gathering in miles and enjoying the mild breeze and clear, blue sky. No ozone alerts today. No boiling sun beating down. Just a great Indian Summer day.

I hate when I paint myself into a time corner when it comes to running, but that's exactly what I did today. I can find a million ways to spend the hours, including looking for gigantic sock monkey backpacks -- and yes, such a thing does exist.

I'd like to think my dawdle time is fairly productive. Today I washed and waxed the car, and all our vehicles got new windshield wiper blades.

So by the time I got my running shoes on and hit the road, my window was a bit limited. But today being my long run day and the weather being so nice, I launched on my 6.5-mile trek, throwing caution to the wind and set sail at my normal run/walk/run clip.

Funny thing about launching yourself on a long run when the lining of your running shorts are just a little damp from the day before. I'm not one to complain about the nagging aches and pains of running. In fact, there's something life-affirming to having a little bit of that satisfying tired muscle feeling that sticks with you for the rest of the day after a run or workout.

I think it serves as a reminder that you've done something good for your body.

Today, however, I did something bad. It wasn't long before that little damp feeling began to rub. I could feel it coming on, but I wasn't turning back.

Now through more than 20 years of bike riding I've learned a lot about managing pain and discomfort. And rule No. 1 is prevention is usually much easier than finding a cure.

But I wasn't listening to that voice today. Surely I could make it through an hour of running without chaffing or worse.
Somewhere in mile five or six, that belief changed. I knew the badness was coming but like in a horror movie there was nothing I could do to stop it. The inside of my thighs were on fire from the rubbing, but I had no choice but to soldier on to the finish.

When I hopped in the shower, an angry set of red marks stared at me from the inside of my thighs. "Why did you put those wet shorts on?" I could hear them say.

Many years ago, I had made a similar mistake on Bike Across Kansas. That's where I first became acquainted with the little green can from Vermont, which is a friend to both biker and runner alike.

When you've got severe chaffing, Bag Balm is your friend. They've been making the stuff since 1899. It works on cow udders and tender human parts as well. It's not expensive and a can will last you quite a while. 

If you're not acquainted with the little green can, you should be. It's good for saddle sores or treating backside before a long bike ride. It's also good to use as a pre-run lube for your legs or between your toes.

The Bag Balm website says Admiral Byrd took Bag Balm with him on his 1937 expedition to the North Pole to protect against the harsh climate.

So if it was good enough for the admiral, it's good enough for me. The one drawback is the odor. While it's not bad, it's not charming either. 

You can spend a lot more for similar products, but you won’t' get a lot more.

So today's lesson is don't run in damp shorts, but if you do, be sure to have a little green can handy.

That's it. You know the drill. If you see the world's slowest human out on the road, give me a wave.

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