I’ve been running daily for the better part of twenty years. Certainly not competitively but as a means of exercise. During that time I’ve suffered from the various minor afflictions common to the amateur runner, including shin splints, Plantar fasciitis and of course blisters. I have, fortunately, said while touching wood, avoided the more serious afflictions like knee problems, hip troubles, taxis and Dobermans (should that be Dobermen?).
However the most annoying thing I have had to deal with for some years has been a chronic case of what is known as runner’s nipple. Put simply, the friction caused by even the most expensive of running shirts on one’s nipples results in them becoming highly irritated and, in my case, bleeding.
Is this a serious life-threatening condition? Absolutely not. Is it a somewhat painful annoyance? You bet! Yet mention of the problem is usually met with puzzled looks or outright laughter – dare I say tittering!
I have read numerous running publications and blogs trying to keep abreast of possible solutions but to no avail. I tried everything I could think of, from band-aids to sensitive skin tape (I drew the line at duct tape or the Wendy O. Williams electric tape), as well as several products made specifically to ease the discomfort.
The problem with all of these options is that once you start sweating, they come off. I would start out with these things in place and all seemed fine, but the insidious nature of runners’ nipple is that while you are running it doesn’t really bother you. Then you look down and, especially if like me you often run in a white shirt, you find that you look like some sort of weird stigmata-themed holy picture as blood stains appear.
But the real fun begins once you hit the shower. I’m sure that wherever you live on this grand planet you have probably heard me bellowing as soap and hot water hit my bleeding nipples, and perhaps wondered what it was.
I’m not sure if this condition affects women runners, given the assortment of running bras available, but I’ve never been able to conjure up the bravado to go to the local running store and try one on!
But now I’ve found the solution. Beer. You see, by consuming a significant amount of beer, over time of course, this isn’t a binge thing, I have developed a new friction point when wearing my running shirt. No longer do my nipples bear the brunt of the shirt rubbing against them. My belly has extended beyond my nipples and now they are pain free and scar-less.
Don’t think this was easy. Oh no. To create a different friction point just south of my nipples required dedication and determination. Missing the last half of each family gathering while I snore away in the corner risking decoration during holiday seasons, waking up on strange sofas, sometimes on strange lawns. All in the name of running!