Thursday, October 2, 2008

Portland Marathon 2008: O Vaseline, Where Art Thou?

Unceremoniously cropped from weather dot com, this image shows the stark realities of Sunday's forecast for Portland. To be fair to the weather -- the weather deserves no less -- the temperature range looks excellent for a morning jaunt of twenty-six miles three-hundred-eighty-five yards (it feels even longer than it reads), but the showers are the worrying part.

To be blunt, running in the rain causes chafing, and running an insanely long distance in the rain causes insanely bad chafing. It is here that I choose to unveil one of the truths of marathon-running that most people don't know, and that I myself didn't know until I was already running my first marathon: volunteers along the way hand out not just water and "sport drink" and smallish foodstuffs but also dollops of Vaseline. On wooden applicators that look like big tongue depressors.

No, it's not for eating! Granted, it tastes no better and no worse than Clif Energy Shot Gel, but it lacks the nutritional benefits. Do not make the mistake of biting into just anything offered on a wooden applicator that looks like a big tongue depressor.

Rain causes chafing. Vaseline is offered to prevent chafing. Problem solved, right? Well, no. Never having had to run a marathon in the rain, and thus never needing Vaseline, I'm not sure how to make use of it. To be blunt again, the places where one needs to slather Vaseline are not the places one wants to be seen rubbing a big tongue depressor in public.

How is this done? I welcome voices of experience, voices of speculation, voices of derision, whatever you have.

3 comments:

Martin said...

From painful personal experience, the most crucial areas to lubricate are the nipples. Groin areas and underarms are next prorities. Anyplace where things rub together.

That said, I've graduated from vaseline. Messy stuff and wears off too soon. Try BodyGlide. And there's actually a product out there called Nip Guards. A little pricey, but if you've experienced the alternative... Of course, real men use duct tape.

A few years ago, Adidas had a series of magazine ads. One was this guy reaching under his singlet to put bandaids on his nipples while an older woman spectator looked on in shocked bewilderment. The caption: "Runners... yeah, we're different."

Most running specialty stores have BodyGlide or something similar. For anti-chafing (and other running related products) I recommend zombierunner.com .

Good luck in the marathon. I've heard Portland puts on a first class event.

Dale said...

Martin, thanks for the input. If you're interested, a quick search for the word "nipple" on this blog will reveal photographic evidence (and lots of complaining) establishing my vast, deep experience with nipple chafing.

BodyGlide. Yes. I have heard lots of good about that.

Thanks again for the input, and for stopping by.

Domestically Challenged said...

Did I ever tell you about nipple guards??? I meant to the time you displayed your bloody shirt, but I don't know that I ever completed that particular comment. I do have a vague memory of Googling a male version of nipple guards and Hubs got home so I quickly closed it fearing what he would think... I probably never completed the post.

Anyway, I know it's weird, but until those male nipple guards I read about come on to market, try using the ones we use for nursing! They are made to keep your shirt from rubbing against your chaffed nipples and they are ventilated ;o)

As for the groin area, could you wear spandex shorts under your running shorts? Is that not good? I assume it's wrong because otherwise it's so obvious.