Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Magic Elixir
The past few days my posts have gotten a bit heavy on the political/social side, so I'd better get back to some Ultrarunning.
Here's a topic that's near and dear to my heart--chafing. Granted, this is a borderline technical issue versus the "softer side of Ultrarunning," but I'd submit that if you have a chafing issue, it sorta puts a damper on thinking philosophical thoughts while you're communing with Nature.
So, here's the origin of the problem In wearing typical running shorts, any time after about 5 miles, and I've been sweating so that the built-in panty is wet, then I tend to get chafing on my inner thighs.
I used to use petroleum jelly in advance, which was messy and didn't last real long. Now I've moved on to Body Glide, which goes on like deodorant. It still needs reapplied but lasts much longer. The ultimate solution for me was to go to a different garment--a running short that's stretchy like a biker's short and goes down my thighs several inches. Now I have no inner thigh chafing, period.
But--or should I say butt--there is still another area "down there" that can get chafed. In my case, I tend to get some chafing between my butt cheeks on real long runs. No type of short is going to fix that problem, so the preventive solution is topical application of Body Glide. That, and the need to keep the area clean.
You can imagine where I'm going with this, but many backcountry runners have bowel movements while out in the woods. Skin-on-skin rubbing combined with the presence of poop (there, I said it!), which can be irritating, is a recipe for some serious chafing. The solution is to wipe and wipe well; better yet, to cleanse the area with water, either from a stream or puddle or a water bottle. Then (re)apply some sort of lube.
If prevention fails and you do get chafing, then the magic elixir to remedy the discomfort is a product called A+D Ointment. It's a common product, usually found in the baby care section of drug stores, and is available as a store-brand. It's petroleum jelly-based but has some other stuff (lanolin) that promotes healing. I can buy a tube with just a couple ounces in it, small enough to take along in my pack for use on the trail. And after the run and using the A+D, usually by the next morning I'm pretty much over any chafing.