Don’t Try This At Home Kids

Any distance runner knows that Vaseline is their best friend. I’ve seen and heard enough horror stories to realise that. Grown men weeping as they cross the finish line in blood soaked t shirts, their nipples red raw and on fire. And don’t get me started on the joys of inner thigh chafing. Who needs a knife wielding Anthony Perkins when you can run 15 miles without Vaseline and then create your own horrific shower scene.

I always make sure I have a tub on hand. When I run out, I steal a dollop from Hannah before I hit the roads, much to her disgust. ‘Ewwwww Daddy, I put that on my lips and you rub it on your….’ I’m always finding new ways to embarrass our teenage daughter but prancing about in public dressed in bright orange Under Armour while smothered in Vaseline is a hard one to beat.

Only an idiot would embark on a run without their bits and bobs suitably protected from the horrors of chafing. Or so you would think. Two days ago I headed out on a lunchtime spin around the Titanic Quarter of Belfast. I’m slowly upping the mileage again as I recover from the latest bout of illness to have laid me low. I thought I was well equipped and had everything I needed before setting off from home that morning.

How wrong I was. No Vaseline. I weighed up the options before shrugging my shoulders and deciding to chance it. I mean, it wasn’t as if I was tackling a 26.2 mile trek. This was a gentle training spin over a fraction of the distance. I’ll be alright. So off I sauntered, throwing caution to the wind. An hour later I hobbled back into the office, a broken man. Think John Wayne in business attire and you’re not a million miles off the mark.

It felt as though my thighs had been attacked by a sandpaper wielding maniac. I had been flayed alive. Every step was tortuous and my 15 minute walk later in the afternoon to the train station was a trail of tears. Fellow commuters shot me concerned looks as I crawled onto the platform, wincing every time trouser fabric caressed skin. Crawling home over broken glass would have been more fun. And less painful.

I won’t repeat what Fionnuala said to me when I arrived home but it was words to the effect of ‘Have you had an accident in your trousers my poor, darling husband?’ I can always rely on her to cut the chase on such matters. The remainder of the evening was an uncomfortable ordeal. I arranged myself on the sofa, smothered in Sudocrem, unwilling to budge an inch for fear of much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

48 hours later and I’m thankfully recovered. I’m out running again later today but won’t be taking a step out the door unless I’m smothered in the good stuff. I’ve learnt my lesson, and a very painful one at that. The mind is a fickle mistress. She often seeks to diminish and soften past memories. They become dim recollections, easy to brush aside as we stumble on towards similar calamities. The penny never drops.

Pain can be a good thing. Sometimes we need it. It is the red flag warning us there are dangers further up the road. The rest then is up to us. Do we blithely ignore it, hit the accelerator and hurtle round the next bend to face our fate? Or do we stop, frown and think back to the last time we faced such a dilemma. Before taking a step back and sheepishly reaching for the Vaseline?

How do you use pain as a warning system in your life?

What’s been your worst chafing experience? Do share. I promise not to breathe a word of it to anyone.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

57 thoughts on “Don’t Try This At Home Kids

  1. In the good old days when shorts were, well, short. (Oh how we laugh at those images from the late 70’s!) This was always a constant danger. Then I discovered lycra cycling type running shorts (which are anything but short) and I’ve never looked back and never needed ‘Vaz’ in that delicate area since. They do them with in compression type material, which I’m never sure helps, but you sure feel good (and secure if you know what I mean) when you tug them on. My biggest area of worry, apart from the nips which I always cover with elastoplasts on long runs, is what my mates and I termed Voodoo Armpit (after a local group playing in a pub on the Pembrokeshire coastal path one year – if only they knew how famous they have now become!) This is particularly painful when you wear just a running vest on very hot days and the insides of your arms rub against the sides your chest. (Even now I can feel the pain). Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you are back out running again. I shall be reporting my progress tomorrow… 🙂


  2. I never knew that – but then I don’t run marathons. I don’t run.
    100 metres with the dog is as far as I ever get – at my own pace.
    My husband is no stranger to pain, but he avoids taking painkillers whenever he can (and he’s had both hips replaced and a triple bypass). In vain, I point out that painkillers also reduce inflammation and will allow him to move (thereby exercising a strained back and reducing his blood sugar…). He says he likes to know what’s going on and how the pain’s progressing.
    If he takes a painkiller without argument I know things must be bad.
    I’ve rarely need painkillers until recently but having discovered the magic of paracetamol on a pulled back muscle, I’m a convert. A couple of minutes is long enough for me to ascertain how bad it is.


  3. I’m not a runner so I would have never known this! Thanks for telling me! I mean, I will NEVER need this info for my own personal life but it might come in handy for a story down the road …. no pun intended !!!!!! LOL

    The most I run is to make a bus or to sprint across a street so I don’t get hit by a car. I CAN run, I just don’t run more than a block or two. I have arthritis & my knees & ankles don’t like the pounding of the pavement. I much prefer a brisk walk … 120 beats a minute, like when I was in marching band in school.

    I use Vaseline for taking off my eye make-up. It’s the BEST. I have no wrinkles whatsoever around my eyes & I will be 59 this year. Never smoking cigs helped in the no-wrinkles department, too.

    Of course my hair is silver because I no longer dye it but silver seems to be the hip color nowadays with a lot of the kids so I am right in there with the cool ones. As uncool as I always am.

    Hugs, baby, love to the whole family.


  4. I know it’s not funny and I’m sorry you suffered so much. But, the way you tell the story has me laughing and also understanding the horror of it all. There always seems to be a lesson in evreything we do, always just beneath the surface of the chafing tragedy. I am glad you are feeling better. I am also glad that you scratched the surface, (sorry, pun intended) to find the lingering lesson underneath. Have a great day my friend.


  5. Ouch!! I’ve learned something I’ll never need—oh wait, a foot doctor recommended Vaseline for my toes— yes. I was born with short toes that like to tuck under each other causing blistering when out walking. Glad you are back running!!


  6. Chafing is the WORST!! And I live in South Florida so 90%of the time when you are running you are sweating because it’s always warm. Pain is the ultimate motivator isn’t it. However, pains ability to motivate is on a sliding scale according to what people are willing to exist in to avoid change. I have seen people lose everything, literally because they couldn’t or didn’t want to change……sad really. Anyway, good luck with what we call here the chub rub at the inner thighs! LOL


  7. You have a way with words! I hurt for you just reading this. I’ve experienced that pain from emotional chafing you speak of many times in life. I think for me the hardest part of it is always learning from it but not letting it hold me back in the future and keep me from being or doing what I need to be.


  8. Hi! I’m new. I like your blog a lot. You’ve got a lot of good advice, and a good sense of humor. I was wondering how you happened upon my blog, though, so that I know what direction to move in.

    And my worst time was probably when I was on my run, and it was raining… That was not fun. At all. (I also didn’t know about this trick.)


  9. Hilarious story, though I’m sorry for your pain. I don’t run, but if I did I would definitely use the Vaseline. Great advice and fair warning! I don’t have a chafe story, but my most tender surgery I’ve ever had was on my scrotum. Yes, I just said that. It was awful. I don’t remember the count, but it was at least 30 stitches. Looked like a baseball! 🙂 I pray I never have to go through that again! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, the pain of chafing! The image at the end perfectly describes the shower after a long run without any cream. Being a long distance runner myself, I know this pain all too well.
    I like your thoughts there at the end about how often we diminish the pain from the past and get into similar circumstances to those that hurt us before.
    I appreciate the question you posed about how we use pain as a warning system in our lives. You really have me thinking about that now. Great post!


  11. You might want to consider nursing pads. They’re gel pads for nursing moms. And god they protect and nurture so much! Would probably be good for running! For the upper parts anyway.


  12. Pain … when my pancreas hurts I know I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have or too much of something I shouldn’t have. So I know to give it a rest. And it works for PTSD too. When I’m in emotional pain .. I also know it’s time to give whatever’s triggering me a rest. I’ve learned to respect my needs rather than just try to ignore and push through.


  13. Ahh yes, how the mind so conveniently forgets about pain … if it didn’t however we would all only have one child. I shall say no more on that particular subject, but I hope you have enormous respect for your wife! As regards chafing, perhaps you need to have the female equivalent of a lipstick always at the ready. What I mean is, could you perhaps have a little tube of lipsalve which you could tuck into your shorts pre-run, and then should you need it halfway round, you could just carry on running whilst applying. Run and smear … Good idea?? 😂


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