Nipples, pricks, groin and bladder

There’s a darker side to running that is not often talked about. A messy, personal side that every runner goes through. The side where Vaseline is your best friend.

Firstly, Nipples. Why do men have them?  What useful function do they serve us? Nothing! So it’s a bit annoying that they are the source of pain when running longer distances due to the condition called Jogger’s Nipple. Smearing Vaseline on them before each long run feels…well, just wrong! But fail do so, suddenly several miles in the rawness starts and you just wish you greased up earlier. In extreme cases, they may even start bleeding!

Groins also need to be lubricated. Plenty of Vaseline “down there” is required to stop all the chaffing that is inevitable. The sight of runners shoving their hands down their pants as they jog by you, having taken some lubricant from the St. John’s Ambulance helpers in a race, is not a great sight, but has to be done. It took me a while to realise what the helpers were offering in my London Marathon, but after a heavy downpour and things rubbing where you didn’t think possible, it was amazing how much relief it gives you.

Blisters: to prick or not to prick. Two schools of thought; the choice depends on your own personal view. I’m lucky to get very few blisters. I have a recurring one on my left little toe which just appears, goes down and then turns into hard skin. After 26 miles last time, that was all the blister I had.

Lastly, one thing that I certainly didn’t plan for last time: toilet stops. Going over five hours without going to to the loo is not usually what I do, let alone with taking on so much water as well. I didn’t really think about it last time, but after loading up with water at the start, after just a few miles I needed to relieve myself. What do you do? There are regular portaloos throughout the course, but you then sometimes have the weirdness of queing up while the clock ticks away as you jog on the spot trying to stay supple. That doesn’t happen on a footy pitch or at Wimbledon! The first time I had to go, I just went through some railings with my back to several hundred cheering Londoner’s. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!
The worse thing with bladders is when they send a message to your brain that it’s full – that’s when the fun starts. Block the signal, you’re fine; let it get through, and that’s ALL you can think about.

Here’s a link to someone else’s blog I found on their own problems. They also reference the great Monty Python sketch of the Incontinence Marathon, part of the 27th Silly Olympiad video I had many a chuckle at over the years, so please check it out too.

I guess the key is to run like the wind so you get there quicker and avoid the chance of developing these problems. Unfortunately, with an estimated 5 hours on the road, it looks like my brain’s going to be overloaded with messages of pain from everywhere…

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