At the risk of (again) drawing creepy internet traffic to this site*, I now provide you with The Nipple Principle.
This may apply more to men than women. I wouldn’t dare to speak on this topic for the females. I’ll leave it to one of the ladies, or Vanilla, to address it on your behalf. Way back** when I was just a little, burgeoning, running Nitmos, I experienced chafing and red rose blossoms on my shirt. Bloody nipples. The rite of passage for a wet-behind-the-ears distance runner.
I had my moisture wicking shirt. I thought I was safe. I was naïve and innocent. My mileage increased. The top layer of my fleshy protuberances scraped off unknowingly. The first time, I didn’t bleed out. Only the sting of the shower alerted me that my nerve endings were dangling from the exposed nipples like wiring from a new home construction’s wall sockets. Oh, God, that hurts. I’d cave my man-lion-beast chest inward to avoid the trickle of water.
Maybe this shirt is still a little rough, I thought. After a few more washes, it should be fine.
But it wasn’t fine. The next time, 10-12 miles into a run, red splotches appeared on my chest like a pastie clad exotic dancer. I wasn’t shaking these ta-ta’s though. My nipples were bleeding. And I’ve had a long standing rule that “nipples” and “bleed” never appear in the same thought or sentence. The rule was violated.*** I had a 5 alarm, full blown case of Bloody Nipples.
By the time I raced home, I was looking at a 3 inch diameter. This was going to be ugly. Off went the shirt. A quick inspection followed. Nope. No skin. Just glistening red, dripping blood stumps. It was as if someone had scalped my nip tops and taken them back to their village as a war souvenir. This was not right. I didn’t know much about nipple injuries. Did I need a mammogram now? Is this what a “maxi pad” is for?
Sometimes it’s cool to walk around with a huge scab or a new scar. It’s a war story that you can tell your friends and family about. I doubt any of my co-workers would be impressed in this case though. Besides, in order for them to see it anyway, I’d have to cut a few holes into my dress shirt and walk around with my nipples poking out on either side of my tie. It would be a conversation starter though.
“Hey, Nitmos, have a good weekend? And why are your nipples showing?”
“Oh, they are just a little sore and need some air. You see, I was running….(insert impressive running war story)….”
After several occurrences, I decided that I better get serious about nipple care and protection. So I bought some anti-chafing lube. It’s weird to put speed stick on your nipples. Welcome to the dark side of running, I guess. I taped a podcast recently (for Runner’s Lounge with him, her, and him) and a question came up as to when you knew you were officially a runner? I think I said ‘when I bought a Garmin’. I’d like to amend that answer to when I bought my first stick of anti-chafe lube. A proud, proud moment.
Before every marathon, I still apply the lube to several unmentionable areas including the nipples. Mainly, just out of habit now. However, I don’t use it on my training long runs anymore. In fact, I’ve noticed that after the first several times that they chafed, bled, and healed over they’ve built up a sorta resistance to it. I can go 20+ miles on my training runs without a chafing incident. They’ve hardened and/or become immune to chafing.
So, I call this The Nipple Principle. At first, your nipples may chafe and bleed on your long runs. Let them. Over time, they’ll callous up like a lumberjacks hands. This is a good thing. You’ll never bleed again. If you continue to treat them delicately, they’ll continue to bleed when the lube eventually wears off.
The Nipple Principle: The more you run long distances, the less your nipples bleed.
And you don’t want to have to swipe your finger through one of those community Vaseline boards folks hold in the air at a marathon. Shudder. Community nipple lube?
Now that I’ve discussed my nipples this morning, I look forward to the return of the eastern European site traffic. Hi folks, welcome back to F.M.S! Please stop google searching on ‘fruit in anus’ because it’s only taking you to this post about my race goals and nothing more. Sorry for the inconvenience. There are no pictures.
* This post seemed to be inordinately popular…until I removed the nipple photo a few months ago. Suddenly, my site traffic from eastern Europe dried up.
** Roughly 9 years ago.
*** The only rule left for me now is “penis” and “blender accident” appearing in the same sentence.
More cold air asthmatic running. Did I mention how I love the cold!?
...and the rest of the day spent trying to catch my breath...