Road Risks

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Chafing and crashing: two risks with not much in common other than the road. I witnessed/ experienced both today, so let’s discuss.

Chafing. Long-distance runners get it. Heck, possibly short-distance runners, hikers, walkers… non-runners? It’s mere biology: when skin rubs against skin for a certain length of time, chances are you end up with a bloody, irritable spot; red and tender at first, with time gradually scabbing, turning into a wound, healing. [Oh well. Epidermis. At least it grows back fast.]

Unless vampires are biting me in my sleep, this ugly little thing (sorry if it’s too graphic, but I did make it tiny for everyone’s benefit) is caused by the strap of my sports bra touching my ribcage.

The thing is, I know this happens whenever I get into the 15+ mile distances, and I know what to do to prevent it. Yet, more often than not, I forget to do it.

Other common chafe-prone areas, as we well know: thighs; underarms/ where the inner upper arm rubs against your ribs as you run; nipples for the men (that looks so painful, by the way — sorry guys!) and not least, er… the crotch area.

You know. As the old Adidas ad that’s been making the social media rounds lately says:


Runners: oh yeah, we’re different.

Unsolicited piece of advice: if you don’t like how BodyGlide or Vaseline feel, put a piece of Rocktape on areas that tend to chafe. It stays on (especially for the underboob bra-strap area) and protects your skin. It may or may not be more expensive this way, though; I haven’t done the math.

Moving along… crashes/ road accidents. I was 14.5 miles into my run today when a cyclist took a sharp turn right in front of me coming off a bridge and fell, landing pretty badly on her shoulder.

She was in a lot of pain and didn’t have a phone on her; nor ID or cash. It’s a fairly busy part of a park and I was right there to call her friend for her and help, along with another passer-by and a Park Ranger. We got her to a nearby cafe where we waited until her friend came to pick her up. They are probably in an ER somewhere right now and, hopefully, she’ll getting the help she needs soon (along with strong painkillers).

But while we waited with her in the cafe (another stroke of luck, the place of her fall was literally a couple hundred feet from the only cafe/ restaurant in a huge natural park area), I couldn’t stop thinking about road safety.

First, no runner, cyclist or hiker should leave their home without a phone. Ever. You just can’t know what may happen while you’re out and whether there will be people nearby to help.

Ditto for identification and a little bit of cash. I always carry $10 or $20 with me when I go on a run. It’s enough to get me a bottle of water or Gatorade, a coffee, or a cab/ bus ride somewhere.

Finally: Road ID. It’s a simple bracelet with a metal plaque that has your name and other information engraved: an emergency contact, address, known allergies. I’m ordering one right now. It’s $15.99, plus $1.50 for shipping. Worth the peace of mind, at least.

Your turn: Do you carry a phone/ cash/ id/ credit card with you when you run? Anything else you do to feel safer on the road?

Today’s run:

Workout was 16 miles, mid 10 at race pace. Done and done!

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