Thursday, 10 May 2012

It Was Always Going To Happen

Hmmm… bit better now, but…

… yup, it was always going to happen. I was going to suffer an injury. Par for the course, right? But I can’t say I’d ever thought it would be thus.

Running-related injuries are not rare. Now, upon embarking upon the activity, I relied on a personal track record across a variety of sports that is actually surprisingly injury-free for such a lumpy git. Yes, I did break my tibia when skiing, aged six: but it’s not my fault the ski didn’t disconnect from the boot, although you could argue that speeding away from your father to show off in fresh, unbeaten snow is never a good idea. And yes, I did look a right mess after collapsing deadweight to a concrete floor during a tennis match in 2003, what with blood pouring all out of the side of my head: but, again, I think it unfair to class an epileptic seizure as a sporting injury. So, all told, not a bad record so far: maybe an innate tendency to not push these here (or wherever they are) muscles too far has paid off.

Not that last night’s injury was to any muscle, mind. Oh no: I’ve heard about those. So I do what I can to reduce the risk: warm up, warm down, shake it all about… I try to land properly on my feet (easier said than done on Hillcrest in Portishead – the lunar surface can’t be any less even!), to not put too much weight on them when running downhill… take extra caution in the rain, what with it being slippy and all that… so what could go wrong?

Let’s just say that, after my run (4.1k, since you ask – including two hilly bits, because that’s what @NickJMarriott told me to do and he’s a Blade so I trust him implicitly) and subsequent shower, my nipples started to feel a little sore. How you react to that confession will depend as to whether you are an experienced runner (“Yes, I thought he was about to say that”) or, like me, not (“Where’s this going?”). I initially figured it might be a reaction to running in the pouring rain in what may have been colder than I felt, as per the well-known meteorological expression “I’m freezing my nipples off here!”, and maybe to subsequently entering the constrasting warmth of the house. Anyway, they looked normal enough so I just carried on with the Wednesday evening chores, which pretty much comprise of watching “The Apprentice” as if it were still as good as earlier series. But even I couldn’t blame Lord Spice for the increasing soreness: so, by the time I was about to go to sleep, there was only one feasible option…

…that’s right: Google. Always a dangerous place to look up medical matters, the Internet, for it has an inherent habit of exposing you to the worst case scenario and cause you to lose all sense of perspective. But what else are you going to do at 11 o’clock at night? Call NHS Direct? Well, golly for you: I wasn’t. There was some apprehension involved as I pulled up the smartphone in bed and typed in ‘sore’ and ‘nipple’ – don’t ask me why, but somehow I wasn’t totally confident this search would lead me in a desirable direction and what with Mrs S just inches away I might have found myself with some unwanted explaining to do. But Google duly reassured me by prompting ‘running’ as the third search term as I eventually landed on the not-unreasonably titled “Embarrassing Running Problems” page.

Ah, ‘chafing’ – what’s that when it’s not shouted at you by a Cockney? I worked it out, but will admit to having never come across the word before. ‘Sfregamento’ in Italian, yes; even ‘friction’ in French, bien sûr. But still the occasional English word catches me out. Still, that’s a whole other story, as the monkey in TingaTinga Tales would say.

OK… so there’s nowt to worry about… just need to put the phone down, plug it in (terrible battery life, HTC Desires), turn over and get some sleep. I left it till the morning to tell Karen: didn’t seem like a conversation worth having. Far better to have it over a bowl of cereals in the morning, once I knew how bad the injury (!) would feel after sleeping on it.

So I have now educated myself in the matter of chafing. I will now take necessary precautions and maybe even invest in some recommended prevention / treatment stuff. I may even review my choice of shirts, which was somewhat limited last night. See, I didn’t get out into the pouring rain till 8pm. So a football top seemed a decent bet… they’re built for the rain, especially in Spain… and my 2005/06 FCBarcelona away shirt conveniently doubles up as a hi-vis top! Alas, it is neither loose nor snug, so what with that, the wind, the rain and the hilly bits I might have been asking for trouble here. I have now been enlightened to this. Might also explain why my 1984, by now fairly snug Blades t-shirt hadn’t caused me any problems previously, mind!

Ah well – you learn something every day. Yesterday I learnt that running can be bad for your nipples. And yes, they’re both better now. Thanks for asking!

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