A-Z of Running: C is for Chaffing

Pre running Hannah, chaffing meant rubbing Vaseline in-between my legs on holidays. The curse of the early 2000 denim skirt, vest combo, plus my chubbiness meant both legs would need to be lathered up in order to be able to walk more than two hundred yards in heat.

This one time, I totally forgot and ended up with chub rub so bad I was forced to forgo two for one cocktails the night after. There was sweat, blood and tears I can tell you!

And dear reader I’m not proud of these exploits. Have you ever heard of a Valley girl missing out on two for one alcohol before? Exactly!
The too fat legs didn’t, and still don’t, bother me, after all, your thighs touching mean you’re just one step closer to being a mermaid, so way to go for solid thighs!

No, chub rub was only a problem I endeavoured through my late teens and early twenties whilst fashion and my body shape clashed.
And then I started running and was introduced to a whole new level of chaffing.

Chaffing and running is inevitable at some point. And, it has nothing to do with weight, size or shape, more like, bad gear decisions and distance.

My very first chaffing scar came at the price of an ill fitted sports bra and went completely unnoticed until I showered. Such were my screams of sheer pain, my next door neighbour actually called the police.

‘For the love of god.’ I had shouted, or something very close to…

The only way I can describe those particular welts would be to compare them to large, weeping, blood colour slugs under each boob. I’d been on a respectable four mile run and was somewhat baffled how the only injury I managed to pick up was on, or should I say under, my chest.

‘It’s chaffing!’ Google told me after it tried to sell me Viagra and before it informed me I should immediately go to A&E as I was obviously going to die.

I checked my thighs and apart from being a little wobbly (after the four mile run not the prospect of meeting ones fate via a search engine) there was no traces of any tell tale chub rub.

‘I don’t understand.’ I told everyone and anyone who would listen. People didn’t know hardship, I decided, until they had put a normal bra on after chaffing. ‘Everywhere else is fine, surely…’

It quickly became apparent that chaffing when running has its own agenda. Naturally its dependant on outfit choice and conditions not to mention if precautions (tubs and tubs of Vaseline spread in every nook and cranny) have been taken or not, but, I have come to terms with the fact you just can’t call it, just how you can’t call whether you’re about to have the best or worst run of your life every time you lace up.
Embrace the chaff I say!

I’ve since experienced chub run on my arms, under my boobs (again), at the back of my legs, my forehead (stupid baseball cap idea) and my all-time favourite, under my arse!

I bet your thinking, I’m really not sure how one would go about explaining chaffing in-between the cheeks of one’s arse, and let me tell you, it’s a tricky one to justify. Walking like there’s been an unpleasant accident and trying to tend to said wound during daytime hours.

And whilst I have a platform, I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to the unfortunate woman in the leisure centre changing rooms who had to endure one of my lathering/treating my arse sessions on an unnecessary Wednesday morning. No one, and I mean, no one should be exposed to such nastiness just after their early morning swim!

So, the long and short or back and fore, of chaffing is: you’re going to get it, its unpleasant and a learning curve, it’s another string to the disagreeable bow that can be running but it’s also, in a masochist manner something to be bloody proud of, you know you did good if you got chaffed!

Top tips:
1. Get the right gear.
2. Invest in shares for Vaseline
3. If you think it may chaff it probably will
4. Don’t be ashamed of it!
5. Check for chaffing before showering!

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