Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Re-emerging problems and a classic photo

This past weekend at the Chicago Half Marathon I had some issues creep up on me that I thought I'd already figured out.

The Great Shoe Dilemma
I am currently rotating five pairs of running shoes (details listed here).  Two out of the five pairs (the Nikes and the Asics) have too many miles on them to marathon in.  One pair (the Sauconys) are minimalist shoes, which I can't marathon in, either.  So that leaves a pair of Mizunos and a pair of Brooks, both of which have about 50-60 miles on them.

I took the Mizunos out for a 12-mile training run a few weeks ago and got some slight blistering in them, but otherwise they were fine.  Then I wore the Brooks on my 16.5-miler and didn't think they were supportive enough.  So it looked like the Mizunos were THE shoe for the big day.

I wore the Mizunos at the Chicago Half Marathon this past weekend.  I proceeded to develop a blister on my left foot that was the size of my fist.  Not even exaggerating.  It was so bad that I wouldn't dare post a picture of it.  If I did, I'd risk being banned from 17 states for committing uncensored horror.

How does this happen?  How do a pair of shoes feel relatively good one day, but then give you a massive blister another day?!?!


I did what any woman would do in this emergency.  The Asics have been the best and most reliable shoe for me.   So I bought another pair of them.  Kim even very generously offered to let me use her Amazon Prime account for 2-day delivery (THANK YOU!!!!!)

The new shoes are scheduled to arrive by tomorrow.  After which, it'll be a mad race to get the shoes sufficiently broken in by marathon day.  Basically this means wearing the same pair of shoes for every single run for the entire next month.  Not ideal, but certainly doable. 

Just in case this plan doesn't work out, I've got my backup plan ready to go:

I have recently taken a keen interest in Reebok's line of running apparel, particularly their shorts.  I've tried a few brands of running shorts and have found Reebok's to be the most light and comfortable for me.  I've worn their shorts on pretty much all of my training long runs and almost all of my races.  With BodyGlide, I have had minimal chafing issues.

Until this past weekend.

I applied BodyGlide as usual on race morning.  But my thighs started chafing around mile 7 or 8.  It was very painful and I was walking around bow-legged for the rest of the day.

Worse yet, I also experienced some first-time chafing this past weekend in some other unmentionable places. 

(Wondering where said unmentionable places are?  Here's a hint:)

Yes, fun times (and yes, Kim, you warned me).  LESSON LEARNED: Never, ever take for granted being comfortable while in the seated position.


Immediately go out and shop for bike-type shorts that won't ride up on my thighs.  Start using BodyGlide in the unmentionable places.  Potentially try to carry some BodyGlide with me.  Maybe even try using petroleum jelly instead of BodyGlide (sigh). 

End of story.

Polar bear-style baths
I've been good about taking ice baths after rigorous long runs and races.  It's helped a lot in ensuring that I don't feel too sore the next day.

This past weekend, however, I did not stretch much nor take an ice bath since I was so busy enjoying Erin's post-race brunch.

I paid for it dearly afterwards with full-body stiffness and soreness.  It hurt to walk.  Going up or down stairs?  Forget about it.  Wearing high-heeled shoes in the office?  Potentially never to be seen ever again.

Two days after the race and my legs are still showing me who is boss. 


The solution to this is pretty obvious.  Next time, host a post-race polar bear-themed swimming party so you can combine your social time with an ice bath!!!

Party, party, party!!!

OK, enough about my running pains and unpleasantries.  Let's conclude today...

... on a positive note!

Check out this awesome picture of Kim and me from this past weekend!

Thou shalt not conquer thy half marathon without having some fun along thy way!


  1. Hi Emily - I've been there with blisters before. Socks play a big role in that also. Did you change those? Try new ones lately? Where is the blister? I had a massive one once on my instep. SUPER painful and took a long time to heal.

    1. Hi Molly! I wore the same type of socks with the Mizunos at the race as I did in training, so I don't think that is the culprit? The blister is on the inside edge of my foot, right underneath the bunion. (Ugh, I hate even typing out the word "bunion" because I have such horrible associations with the word.)

      So sorry to hear about the massive blister you once had that was so painful. It sounds awful. Hopefully you'll never experience anything like that ever again!!!!!!

  2. I'm pretty sure I know where you chafed, because I chafed there myself after my 19 miler. In addition to a couple of other new places.

    As for the shoes ... I was also going to suggest trying other socks to see if that helps. Or maybe revisit a running store and have them make sure you are wearing the correct size?

    If not ... I know Band Aid makes special band aids just for covering blisters.

    1. Ugh, it is a horrible, horrible place to chafe, and I am sorry to hear that you experienced it, too. Who knew that it was even possible to chafe there!?!?!? Hopefully the other new places weren't as, uh, awkward.

      Ah, the Asics are actually the one pair of shoes that I was professionally fitted for at a running store! Maybe it's not a coincidence that they seem to work the best for me!

      And yes - I've got a Moleskin blister kit just waiting to be tested out (although I hope it doesn't come to that)!

  3. I use Vaseline. I once had a running store employee tell me that Vaseline has an abrasive agent in it which is why I MUST buy bodyglide, but I have never had any issues. (Well, other than failure to apply or apply it where I need it - bra chafe hurts!) My husband, however, swears by bodyglide, so what do I know?

    My two cents would be to try to get a handle on what you will wear and do by the time you do your 20 miler. Ideally you want to use that as the test run for your marathon. (Same outfit, same anti-chafe methods, same shoes, same fueling, you get the idea.) But don't fret if you need to make changes between the 20-miler and your full. Totally normal! Happy running!*

    1. Vaseline has an abrasive agent in it!?!?!? Yikes! That's good to keep in mind, thanks for sharing that tidbit! I do still intend to try Vaseline since BodyGlide doesn't seem to have quite the staying power for me that is needed for a marathon (or maybe I'm just not using enough of it, who knows.)

      The 20-miler is coming up this Sunday! So yes, I am currently in a mad scramble trying to get everything lined up in time for the final long test run. Thank you for letting me know not to worry if I need to make any changes between the 20-miler and the full, because I can't anticipate that I WON'T be wanting to tinker with things. It's very comforting to know that this is all normal. =D

    2. I have been using vaseline for over a year and have had minor issues. At some marathons they have it sitting out at aid stations (you grab a wooden stick to get it out). Use vaseline. Just lube it up so much that there is no chance you'll chafe. Believe me. It works. And do it ALL. Don't get stingy down there ;)

    3. Good to know that they have vaseline sitting out at aid stations, it would be a lot easier than trying to carry my tube of BodyGlide with me on marathon day. And indeed, BodyGlide or Vaseline are not things you want to be stingy with, it's not worth the risk for sure!!! =D

  4. Do you bodyglide your feet? I have to bodyglide that "under the bunion" spot every time I run.

    Ahhh chafing. The bane of my existance. SO many chafe scars. And just when I think I've perfected it all, I chafe in a new spot.

    1. Ahh, I have never tried Bodygliding my feet - that is a great idea! Thanks so much for the suggestion, I will try that on my 20-Miler this weekend!

      Isn't it amazing how many places the human body can chafe? And chafing scars, sigh... they are the true mark of an endurance athlete, I say!

  5. Blister and chafing are mysterious beasts! I chafed in brand-new places during my last marathon. So painful and so unexpected!

    That photo of you and Kim is classic. You should frame it :)

    1. We'll have to talk in more detail about some of the other places that you had new chafing so that I can learn from your experiences! Maybe I should just start applying BodyGlide on a full-body basis, too (although I'm sure I'd still miss a spot and chafe there, LOL).

      Glad you like the photo! By the way, I was so inspired by getting to see all your medal holders in person last weekend. They look AWESOME!!!

  6. I was going to say what Bobbi did - body glide or vaseline where you are susceptible to blisters. Did the new shoes come? You probably only need to put 20 miles on them to break them in. Really... I have run marathons on almost brand new shoes. I like that the cushioning is not all worn down yet.

    I still have scars from chafing on my back from a bad bra. I lube (vaseline) the entire line around my bra, especially under the boobs, and under the arms around the bra, and under the arms where your arms swing by your side. And I am serious about the entire seam of the bra - top of the cup, by the neck... I have chafed all those places. And yeah. I can tell you about down below in an email if you want, lol.

    1. P.S. I wish that pic was not $35 for the digital download!!

    2. Took the new shoes out for their inaugural run and they feel great! I need to get them laced up to that perfect combo of tightness without being too tight, but that's what the breaking-in period is for, right? Also, the JCP shorts are scheduled to arrive by the end of the day tomorrow, so I'll be able to test them at the 20-miler this weekend! Thanks again for all the recs!

      So sorry to hear about all the chafing scars. But, as I was telling Bobbi, chafing scars are literally the marks of true endurance athletes!!! So be proud of your battle scars, so to speak!!!

      Wow, $35 for the digital download? That is SO EXPENSIVE! ARGH....

  7. When I was training for my half pre-injury...I had just bought some body glide to use for chaffing on the inside of my arms...it helped a little but still I chaffed...maybe it was the brand but I'm not sure..sorry you had chaffing issues...especially "there" oy vey! Hope the blister is getting better! Blessings sweet Em! I ran for the first time the other day in like 15 weeks...yea! Felt so Glorious! Stop over at the blog and read all about it!

  8. LOVE the race photo!! You look genuinely happy and that's wonderful.

    About race shoes - I don't have enough running experience to know much about them (I never rotate but I think it's something I need to start doing). But maybe you just got a blister with those shoes because they are too worn and need to be replaced? My current running shoe is Brooks PureCadence and I am in love. I haven't run more than 4 miles in them but I love their lightweight feel.

    Speaking of lightweight shoes, how do you like the Sauconys as minimalist shoes? I'm looking to transition into a minimalist shoe and am not sure which to choose.

    My final question - are you running the I Run Chicago 5K/8K this weekend?!? Illini represent!!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Irina!

      My Mizunos only have about 50 miles on them - so sadly the blister shouldn't be due to them being worn out! But eventually I will try using BodyGlide on my feet to see if it helps.

      I have heard fantastic things about the Brooks PureCadence! I'd really like to give them a whirl sometime, especially after hearing your testimonial! I love the Sauconys - they are so light and fluffy, yet still supportive. (I like them so much that I have two pairs of them, including one brand-new pair that is sitting in the box awaiting its debut probably sometime next year. =D ) I would personally highly recommend the Sauconys!!!

      Oooh, I'd actually never heard of the I Run Chicago until you mentioned it just now. It sounds awesome and I am all about Illini causes! As timing would have it, though, I'm running the CARA Ready To Run 20-Miler this Sunday - so I won't be able to do I Run Chicago. Are you running it!?!?!? If so, I wish you a fantastic and speedy race, and I can't wait to hear your recap!!!