Don’t read anymore if you don’t want info about my rear end. lol

This season, I’ve had several serious incidents of chafing. Of course, over my years of running, I’ve chafed. Everybody does at some point or another. But this was different.

All of a sudden, I would periodically have horrific chafing on my inner thighs and the bottom of my butt, where my legs join in (where the elastic on the inner pants of your running shorts hit). The first really bad time was after the Loop, which was humid and I was extremely sweaty. That was only a 3-hour run.

I had some other chafing issues in the same area at a couple of longer runs, and then I ran at Bastrop on July 7. I was reapplying Body Glide often because I didn’t want to risk any chafing and this was a very wet 4-hour run.

I felt like I was pretty gritty when we finished but did not appear to be chafed…until I got home and there were welts and raw spots all around the outline of my inner shorts. Inner thighs were not rubbed raw per se but swollen and irritated-looking. It was so bad nothing could even touch my skin.  At the time, I just chalked it up to extremely wet weather (it rained most of the time and we were splashing on the trail the rest), sand, and poorly fitting shorts (a lot of my shorts are baggy since I lost weight). Then came this Saturday….

Horrific Chafing

I had a wonderful run on the greenbelt with my friend Marcia. We headed out from Moonshadow with the idea that we were just going to explore the trails on the south side and put names to places. The goal was to run easy for three hours.

There was no rain — can you believe it?!?! We chatted and ran and I felt great; that is, until we got to about 2:20. All of a sudden, it felt like I had something caught in the seat of my shorts, like cedar tree needles. I kick up so much crap with my feet and was so sweaty that it was entirely possible something was caught there. So I wiped around the edge of my shorts, hoping I’d wipe away whatever was stinging and burning. No such luck.

And the stinging feeling kept getting worse. About 30 minutes later came the familiar feeling of irritation between my upper thighs. Great, I thought — in addition to something in my shorts, I’m getting chafed. We ended the run right at 3:00. We were both so wet you could wring the sweat out of our shorts, which I laughingly did and noticed a little bit of suds.

When I got home and took off my shorts, it was absolutely horrific. I had raised bloody welts along the leg bands of my shorts at both the bottom of my butt and long the side legs. The insides of my thighs were actually raised and beet red, hot to the touch. My lower butt cheeks were raised and whelped as well; poor nether regions were red and irritated. I had a flat-looking rash on the top of both of my hips.

As the day went on, it got worse; so much so that, by bedtime, I was in tears. I applied A&D ointment (diaper rash cream) and let myself air out as much as possible. In this process, I also noticed something weird — horizontal lines on the sides of my waist. I kept looking, thinking, “WTF?  nothing rubs there” when I realized that those marks matched up perfectly to my hands on my hips. When it’s hard to breathe, the old trail trick is to climb with your hands on your hips to open up your rib cage; I’d done this in the last miles as we came up the long hill on Bologna. BUT THAT WAS IT. How could such light contact have resulted in a red mark?

By Sunday morning, almost all of the raised areas and redness had disappeared. Today, I’m almost 100 percent.  True chafing does not heal that fast — and I have almost none of the scraped scabbiness that you get with a bad chafe.

Soapy Allergies

I think I’m having a reaction to the HE detergent I’m using for my front-loading washer. I got the new washer last fall and had to move away from my old standard hypo-allergenic detergent. I have the most sensitive skin known to man, and I’ve had contact issues in the past from detergent. It must be that the detergent I’m using is washed out onto my body as I really sweat or stay wet, and that sustained exposure next to the more sensitive skin of the nether region (as opposed to my top half) is causing an allergic reaction. I mean, I’ve done more 5-hour runs than I could count and quite a few 6–9 hour runs without skin issues anything like this. Shoot, I ran for 11 hours out at Guadalupe Mountains and didn’t have a chafing issue.

Fixing the Chafing Problem

So I’m going to do two things. One, I’m going to try wearing the Spandex-type shorts, more like bike shorts, to make sure that I don’t have rubbing in the areas that may still be sensitive, in case part of the problem is baggy shorts and skin that is just super-sensitive. Two, I’m going to put aside the detergent I’ve been using, try to find something more hypoallergenic, and double rinse my running shorts.

There’s no way I could do a 50-miler — or even a 50K — with the kind of butt issues I’ve had lately after shorter runs. This has got to be fixed soon.

Anybody run in those more fitted, bike-style shorts and care to make a recommendation?


July 22-28, 2007 workouts

swim        :45
bike         3:00
run           5:36
total         9:21

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Ouch

  1. Your heiny stories don\’t scare me!

    I think you\’re smart to give compression-style shorts a try. I don\’t like them, but I know an awful lot of people who do. Worth a shot!

    Also, I was recently introduced to a product called Sport Shield. The theory is similar to Body Glide, but the product is much different. It\’s a roll-on liquid made of dimethicone. I don\’t know where it\’s available locally, but I think it would be worth seeking out.

    1. Wouldn\’t you know BettySport downtown carries those products (at least according to the Sport Shield site). I will have to bunny on down there and pick up new shorts and some miracle stuff. Thanks!

  2. I can ONLY wear compression shorts. The 2 or 3 times I\’ve tried wearing standard running shorts, my inner thighs chafed very, very badly. The kind no amount of bodyglide could prevent.

    For me, compression shorts can cause a whole different brand of chafing, that generally bodyglide CAN combat. However, it requires putting bodyglide in places.. where you really don\’t ever want to let anyone else borrow your bodyglide. (Hey, you started the TMI thing, not me.)

    One problem I\’ve had is that it\’s hard to find compression shorts. Usually RunTex only has maybe one or two brands, and usually not in many sizes. And some of them are so short, it defeats the whole point of covering my inner thighs. So I usually find one or two pairs, and wear them until I\’ve worn holes in them. Predictably, in the upper inner thighs. Maybe the answer is just to lose 30 pounds so that my thighs no longer rub together so vigorously.

    1. Thanks, shubbe. Yeah, but if you lost 30 pounds you\’d blow away! I\’m always a little leery of sharing BG anyway…you never know where that\’s been….

      1. Hint: go easier on the HE detergent. I recently noticed foaming shorts so I washed a load of clothes w/out using detergent at all and the amt of soap suds in the washer was amazing. The HE stuff is so concentrated and the washer decides how much water to use so although I love my front loading washer, I have found you have to go easier than they even suggest on the detergent.

        Your butt stories are fine.

  3. I help with the laundry at home, especially on weekends. And I end up doing my running stuff usually.

    We switched to the HE washer and dryer about a year or two ago.

    I use WIN on my running stuff. I got some at Runtex one time. I\’m sure they have it elsewhere. I had to experiment with how much I use to find the right amount because I don\’t recall that it advises on how much to use in the HE set up, and because I don\’t have enough running stuff to fill up the washer.

    But now that you have brought this up, I think I can blame my issues on the HE setup. I should have thought of this sooner.

  4. hahahahha!

    Hey you! I just added you as a friend and went to read some of your posts and what do I get but novel on your butt.. hahahahahhahaa. I\’m cracking up. Sriously, I totally understand. I dont usually get chaffing but then randomly I will and it is paralyzingly painful! I only wear tri shorts anymore and dont seem to have problems \”down there\” but sometimes under my jog bra it\’s bad. And I never know why or when…I\’m sort of thinking it\’s related to the humidity.

    1. Re: hahahahha!

      ginsnap, I just know you want an update to my butt novel!

      I ran yesterday (3:30)and tried out a new skort with compression shorts underneath that had never been washed in that detergent. I had no chafing issues whatsoever! It was pretty darn humid, too, so I\’m hopeful that the combo of different/less detergent and new style of shorts will cure my issues.

      I\’ve also taken coj\’s advice, cut down on the amount of detergent, and actually ran everything through with no detergent whatsoever. I peeked in the window during the cycle and was amazed at the amount of soap in my \”soap free\” run.

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