I was caught off-guard by a few running-related maladies when I first started running longer mileages last year. I’d like to discuss a particular one of the many medical maladies related to running…
And so we begin- It was inevitable, of course, that I would eventually get caught running long mileage in the rain. I suspect that it was even predictable that I would, at some point, get caught running long mileage in cold weather. However, the part that I hadn't counted on, was the fact that these worlds would collide and that I would ultimately get caught running long mileage during a rain storm in cold weather. It was, in fact, during last autumn's first cold weather rain storm when I discovered my first running related malady. I speak, of course, of the dreaded Hemo-papillum, or bloody nipples (by the way, I made up that scientific name). Ironically, I think “bloody nipple” sounds more like a late-night shot of liquor than a painful running injury, but alas, no. While out on this aforementioned run, I knew that something was wrong but just figured that I was getting chaffed. Little did I know that, upon removal of my outer layer, I would see a blood striped shirt underneath. The shock was startling, but the shower, Holy Cow! Now, I am a man, and I can only imagine the pain of childbirth, but I must believe that the pain I felt when the shower water hit my chest is similar to that of childbirth (in an effort to avoid hundreds of mothers yelling at me, I’ll admit that this comment may be an exaggeration). I’m not afraid to admit that I screamed like a little child! Well, as the expression goes, this too shall pass. I didn't give much thought to this problem again until about two weeks ago. I was out for a weekend long-run in cold, windy weather, and… well, you can probably guess the rest.
I was going to insert a bloody nipple pic here, But figured you would prefer seeing my backyard. I happened to find a suggestion on the internet for a possible solution to this problem. It turns out that my old blister control friend for hiking-Moleskin, when cut into nipple sized circular sections, can prevent the problem. Well, I gave this possible cure a try on last week’s 18 mile run… It solved the problem, but I discovered two side-effects of this technique. First, as I was heading out the door of my school with the moleskin applied, my colleagues told me that the patches (or pasties, in their words) were very much visible through my tech shirt (Wonder if VCM knew this when they designed the “VCM in-training” shirt?). Secondly, as you may know, moleskin adheres very well… perhaps too well! As a result, I needed to wear the patches for the next several days while I waited for the adhesive to eventually wear out. The good news is that, yes, it worked! But I don’t think that I’ll employ this technique on short runs, or even most runs, but long, cold, wet runs… absolutely!
I really enjoyed the race, but felt more enjoyment about having a cut-back week in my mileage. My legs had been feeling constantly tired and they really needed a break. Now I feel as though I’m more prepared to step into my longest three weeks of training. I have the first of two 20 mile runs planned this coming weekend. I’m sure that I’ll have a lot to report to you about that experience! Until next week, Greg