I have discovered the opposite of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: nipple chafing.
So. This running hindrance, the nipple chafe, tends to be strictly associated with male runners. Which means, not exactly a problem I really have had, nor my area of expertise. Sports bras I can discuss for days. The running skirt, while not something I have tried yet, is at least on the table. But chafage? Not so much. Until last weekend.
Just so we’re clear, typically the chafe occurs in male runners because their shirts rub their nips for 13+ miles, causing a rawness, and sometimes bleeding based on repetitive motion. Pain ensues.
Okay, so Mala and I set out to the half-marathon start knowing we’d have to trek back to her place from the race’s end. I had forgotten to grab my Clipper card (think Oyster in London) when I met up with Mala the evening before but I did have six nice, crisp dollar bills. Six nice crisp dollar bills and no pockets.
Being me is awesome because I’m a problem solver. Give me a challenge, be it knots in a necklace chain or how to reorganize a system, and I’m all in. Focused. The task of where to keep money for a ride home seemed straight forward: sports bra. Bottom of my shoe it might get torn, can’t really weave dollar bills into a French braid, and well…there wasn’t really anywhere else. In it went. Running happened. Cheering and chatter, too.
And then the race was over, and I very stealthily* whipped out my cash in order to get on a bus. As I pulled the paper away from my skin, where it had been neatly pressed into what I assumed was just a nugget of areola, I noted that I almost had to tear my once crisp bills from where they lay – I figured it was due to sweat (oh right, um…dollar bills in your sports bra leads to wet bills. But Muni still accepts them, just saying). An interesting sensation resonated over where it the bills had been once removed: a little tenderness, a little tingling (no, not good tingling) and something that felt a bit like a skinned knee. I ignored this, more worried about hydrating and getting on the bus than much else, and didn’t consider this sensation until I hopped in the shower an hour later.
Because holy macaroni, it would have been impossible to ignore what was happening in the middle of my breast in the shower given that the second water had contact with my nipple there was pain. Flighty, stinging pain. That’s when I looked down and saw, to my dismay, what looked like skin that had been rubbed raw. Yep, there it was: chafing.
Chafing basically feels like not only has your skin become sandpaper, but it’s become highly sensitive and slightly pissed off sandpaper whose only goal in the world is to make you feel miserable every time you even imagine getting near it. It reminded me of rug-burn meeting a sunburn and adding missing a layer of skin to top it all off. Add to the fact that I’m a ladybird and apparently am required to wear a bra to work every day…yeah. I’ll just say the more satiny bras are far superior to cotton for these sorts of issues.
This whole experience led me to wonder how strippers are able to dance with money near, on, or in more private regions of their body without chafing (and I wonder if ladies and gents should be turning to them for advice on these matters). Guys – not envying you that much right now.
*Fine, I wasn’t stealth at all. But I know my mom really wants me to have been.