Flaming nipples and a case of the bad runs

I’ve read, with some trepidation, the stories about runner’s nipples. Where the sweat mixes malevolently with the fabric of your shirt, and seemingly bores holes straight into your chest via your secondary sex organs, resulting in blood spewing from those fragile udders.

It sounds painful. And now I know it is. Well, kind of.

It may look like a evening sun, but trust me, that's 100% me there.
It may look like a evening sun, but trust me, that’s 100% me there.

While I’ve suffered from sore nipples before, I’ve never ever got to the stage of them bleeding, but during a long trail run last Sunday, it finally happened. About 5k into a 12k trail run, I looked down to see blood pooling around the chest area. It wasn’t incredibly painful, but certainly they were irritated, in spite of the fact that I had applied a liberal amount of Vaseline to the area.

The thing that annoys me most is that it could have been avoided. Once again I’ve learned that being properly prepared for longer runs is essential to performing well.

A shame, since I’d been running well over the past week.

I’ve been training with the Intraining Marathon School, a training group for people of all skill levels but particularly good for first time marathoners. I’d been meaning to join for a while, as training in groups is much more enjoyable than training alone. It must be that shared sense of pain and achievement. I’d done some speed work and a tempo run and completed them feeling really good and happy with my level of performance.

However, I should have figured that I was due a bad run sometime soon. They come around every now and then – runs where things don’t work out for you, where you don’t perform as well as you could. For me, it was the trail run.

The night prior, my partner Kate and I were out visiting family and friends and didn’t get a chance to make dinner. Unthinking, we picked up some thai takeaway on the way home and got stuck into that around 8:30pm. An hour later, Kate started complaining of an upset stomach, but I felt fine.

I was up early at 4:30am, and I immediately felt a bit strange in the stomach region. I couldn’t eat my oats and pain started radiating from my stomach. I thought it may have been the body complaining about being up so early on a Sunday, so carried on to trail run, throwing on a running shirt I hadn’t worn running previously.

I turned up right as the group began running, meaning no warm up, and felt rushed. And about 5k in, somewhere deep in my innards, there was an ominous rumble, and I was forced into stopping in order to avoid a serious accident.

Then, as I’ve indicated, the nipples started burning, and bleeding.

These things happen, and it was a reminder to make sure I always have that long run in the back of my mind when the weekend comes around. Oh, and it seems the nipples are back to operational status.

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