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Triathlete Woe #2: Chafe Me With Your Best Shot

Forever ago I introduced Triathlete Woes. My first woe experienced by triathletes, cyclists, and runners alike was the friggin’ bugs that you encounter when training. This time I wanted to talk about the bane of this damn sport and of being active in general. Of course, I’m talking about everyone’s common enemy: chafing. I’ve gotten chafing everywhere. And by “everywhere,” I mean everywhere. My ankles, my armpits, my sternum, the small of my back, my inner thighs, my ribcage, the back of my neck, and yes, the demoralizing “are you freakin’ kidding me” spot known as the asscrack. This diagram fully illustrates which parts of my body have been rubbed raw from friction, clothing, or some other random bullshit while training or racing: I’ve gotten ankle chafing from timing chips: I’ve gotten thigh chafing from a pair of shorts I had worn a hundred times before, but when I wore them for a half marathon, they inexplicably tore my legs up so bad that I had to cover the scabs in gauze for a few days. I’ve gotten pelvis chafing from swimsuits, which is just mind-boggling. I’ve developed thick neck scabs from wet suit chafing. If you threw a dart at a diagram of a body, chances are I’ve gotten chafing there. Here’s a chafe mark along the lower part of my stomach that looks like I got slashed by a knife-wielding maniac: And here’s a chest chafing that looks like the shape of New Jersey: This past weekend my sternum got torn to shit during a hill repeat run: My sternum has gotten chewed up so much from heart rate monitors that I have resorted to covering the spot with a Band-aid before workouts (which has led to Jason calling me King Hippo), but even that failed me on Saturday. Chafing sucks. It has no pattern, no rhyme or reason. I’ll use a crapton of Glide and will still get it. I’ll wear a tried and true pair of shorts and will still get it. I’ll have a short workout and will get a mark out of nowhere. But the worst part of the chafing isn’t its randomness. No sir. That I’m getting used to. I’ve grown accustomed to sudden chafe marks in various parts of my body I previously thought were immune to chafing. No, the absolute worst part of chafing is the post-workout shower. It’s like a scene out of Psycho–I peel off my soggy, sweat-soaked clothes, turn the shower on to its hottest setting, and step in, preparing for a luxurious and relaxing cleansing. Then a single bead of water propels out of the shower head and pellets onto the one half square inch of skin on my entire body that has been rubbed raw, a spot I didn’t even know existed until now, and it feels like someone threw hydrochloric acid all over me. I screech and start whirling around in a frenzy, howling, “AGHHHGHHHHHHH WHATTTTT THE HELLLLLLLLL,” not being able to pinpoint the exact spot that has betrayed me until several seconds later when the pain subsides and I succeed in curling myself into the tiniest ball imaginable in the corner of the tub, away from the Razor Droplets from Hell and whimpering like a stray dog. The best part of my day, the glorious post-workout shower, has now been robbed of all its splendor because of one tiny fucking chafe mark. So here’s to you, chafing, you miserable, awful side effect of endurance sports. I hate you with the intensity of a thousand Christian Bales. By the time I’ve thrown in the towel with this sport, I’ll have more marks on my...
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Triathlete Woe #1: Stop Bugging Me

It’s been a while since I’ve posted (traveling and work has keep me occupied), but I thought I’d finally introduce a new series I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while now. I’ve tentatively dubbed it “It Ain’t Easy Being a Triathlete,” but for brevity’s sake I’ll just call them “Triathlete Woes.” For my very first woe I thought I’d talk about something that, well, bugs me about training: the bugs. I’ve run through countless gnat clouds and have had to pick teeny bug carcasses off my sweaty face. Trust me, few people can pull off the “bug beard” look, and I am not one of them. I’ve also eaten/inhaled many a bug while running and biking, causing me to choke and sputter as the creature unsuccessfully attempts to escape out of my stomach and lungs. I think the absolute worst, though, is when you’re biking over 20 mph and a frickin’ bug bounces right off your face. You hear that “THWACK” noise and feel a heavy sting as a blurry black object ricochets off your cheek, and you immediately think “Ewwww.” So true. (Diagram courtesy of Indexed) Last year I did a 50 mile ride in Yakima, and I was riding along a long, open stretch of highway when I felt something bounce off my inner thigh. I didn’t think anything of it until about ten seconds later when I felt a sharp, searing pain on the inside of my leg. I stopped and hopped off my bike to inspect what the hell had happened. It turned out that a freakin’ bee flew towards my leg ass-first and stung me. I had a sting mark on my inner thigh for the entire summer. This year I went back and did the same Yakima ride, only I rode about 62 miles. As I started, I jokingly thought to myself “I better not get stung by a bee this time around.” No sooner did I think that when I felt a series of stinging, sharp pains under my boob. I panicked and smooshed/itched at the area until the sensation subsided. Eventually I forgot about it until later that day when I was stripping down to take a shower and discovered smashed bug carcasses stuck to my chest. Those little effers had flown down my shirt, got trapped in my sports bra, and decided to bite me over and over again until I crushed them against my bony bosom. What the hell?! So yeah, triathletes are like little bug magnets. Every triathlete I know has had some sort of bug encounter (most recently, Jason forgot his pair of sunglasses for a ride and had a bug bounce directly off his eyeball). I know that protein’s good for athletes, but I’m getting tired of sucking face with gnats. I mean, the least they could do is buy me a drink...
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