There are days when I believe I’m actually a senile 34 year-old woman.  Maybe it’s the effect of too much drinking in college.  Or that bike accident I had a few years back, where I cracked my helmet.  Or maybe it’s a lack of water.  (They say dehydration causes memory loss).  Or maybe it’s just that I refuse to believe someone with apparent intelligence could learn, and unlearn, the same things over, and over again.

I’m talking about the things I consistently forget about running.  Despite being a seasoned runner, I forget the basics from time to time.  This Saturday, for instance, I found myself with out my sunglasses for the third week in a row.  Where are they? No clue.  Oh, and, more important, I forgot to Body Glide.  That scream you heard around 2:30? It was me, suffering through the after-effects of a little chafing experiment, usually discovered when water hits the affected area.  Just say Ouch.

What is Body Glide, you ask?  OH.  Only the most important Big Girl running or walking accessory.  Period.  I’d argue that Body Glide is more important than your watch, hat, and iPod, combined.  If you’re new to running, hit your local sports store, and ask for it.  No, really, go RIGHT NOW.  It’s a deodorant-sized stick of pure goodness, a “sports lubricant” which is so much less sleazy than the name implies.  When applied to parts of your body which rub together (or against tight clothing, such as your under-arm bra straps, that wierd place underneath your breasts, where thigh meets thigh, and yes, even where cheek meets cheek – especially for you walkers out there) Body Glide does just what it’s name implies: it lets the body glide.   Without it, you’ll find little red spots of hell…essentially, friction burns, where your skin has rubbed against skin for 3, 4, or 10 miles, painful to the touch, but even more painful when water is applied.  That after-run shower can be like your personal torture chamber. 

I’ve had my share of time in that torture chamber.   After the Nike Women’s Marathon, in San Francisco, I had dueling spots of fun underneath my girls.   In pictures from the 2003 Chicago Triathlon, you can see me with my arms raised above my head, and just a small warning of what’s to come on my right arm, where my arm rubbed against my wetsuit for 40 minutes during the swim.  Ouch.  I like to believe it’s just part of being an athlete, but with a product like this, I really should know better.  And yet…this past Saturday, there I was again, forgetting to Glide, and paying the price.

I have been an over and under glider in my career, but today, I’m a forgetful glider.  I used to only apply for runs over an hour.  Then, it was every run, no matter what.  Now, I’m an intermittent glider.  One valuable lesson I learned from Coach Jenny is that when the weather gets drier, you actually really need to Glide Up because as sweat evaporates, you have more salt left behind, and more opportunity for friction. 

Becoming a walking slip’n’slide  is also particularly important for those who carry more than their share of The Nation’s Chest Allotment. If your bra is designed to secure your Personal Treasures, you really can’t go out without a generous application under all straps.  A typical routine should be: 1) between the girls; 2) under the girls; 3) under the arms, where the side of your bra slips around to the back; 4) under the band, all around the front of your body; and 5) on the underside of your arms, where they lie against your sides/shirt/tank/bra.   Particularly if you’re starting any kind of endurance work (Avon 3 Day, 1/2 Marathon Training, or longer runs or walks), I’d use this as a default.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that it’s easy to make mistakes, and forget something important on a run.  If, like me, you forget to Glide one day, fear not.  Get yourself to a local drug store, and purchase some Aquaphor (which will relieve the pain of that friction burn in about 20 minutes – as a new runner, put that in your cabinet, too…)   After such an application, I was fine by Sunday. 

Who knows what I’ll forget next week?  The point is, I’ll still be running!

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