My running word of the day is chafing. Painful, stingy, scabby chafing. Also known as chub rub. Also known as my new life.
I’ve never had skinny legs. I grew up playing soccer (with really punitive coaches who loved shouting the words “WIND SPRINTS” a few times per practice), and in my fitter, youthful days, I actually took pride in how strong and toned my lower limbs were. People even paid me compliments about my athletic gams.
Now, my thighs are my self-decreed “trouble zone.” I’m not sure if they’ve grown in circumference and/or softness over the years (probably a bit, at least), but the biggest change is my view of them in the age of the #thighgap (UGH). Before, I considered them my hard-earned midfielder legs. Now, they are the stuff of skinny jeans’ nightmares.
In training for this half-marathon, I’m trying to embrace them—in all their abundance—as a tool to help me achieve my running goals. But all that abundance is hard to embrace when its rubbing together for 16 km (this week’s LSD), causing next-level exfoliation of a good five layers of skin or so. Presently, as I teeter on the edge of my desk stability ball to avoid irritating them further, it looks like I got pulled behind a car barelegged, with three-inch scab-covered strips on the back of each thigh.
I’ve been asking other runners if they get this, and most respond with a quick (and maybe slightly smug) no. Most have “heard” that Body Glide, a deodorant-style anti-chafe lube, will do the trick though. (I’d run in tights if it weren’t a million degrees out.) I’ve already picked some up and just need these wounds to heal so I can slick it on. The one person who was sympathetic to my pain: Nike trainer Britt Hern, who has been helping me at the gym so I can do better on the road. She told me her thighs chafe when she runs too, and even the backs of her arms, where they rub against her super-sculpted lats. Hearing this from someone who is IRL fitspo—and who just ran her first Boston Marathon—changed my view on my big ol’ legs. They’re built this way because years of hard work (read: wind sprints) made them this way. And when they carry me across the finish line in seven weeks, I’ll be thankful for them, in all their abundance. And probably for Body Glide too.
Catch up with Caitlin: