In 2016, I ran Louisville’s Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. I’ve always loved the culture of Louisville. There’s southern hospitality, horse races, and bourbon as far as the eye can see. Signing up was a no-brainer.
Most importantly, I was able to get a bottle of Jim Beam engraved with both my name and my race time.
My mom and I made the trip, and everything was going great. I had forgotten my running shorts at home, so I picked up a pair at the Derby expo.
The morning of the race, the weather reports were calling for thunderstorms. Luckily, all that happened was a torrential downpour mid-race. UN-luckily, apparently, my new running shorts were not rain-friendly.
Around mile 13, my lower half started feeling a little odd. Suddenly, it felt like I was running in a really, really rough potato sack. I kept going, and I figured I just would have a minor chafe at the end.
Boy, was I wrong. As I crossed the finish line, a nice Kentucky gentleman came up to inform me that my legs were covered in blood. Turns out, my shorts caused a severe friction burn. A bright, bleeding cut circled around my entire hip area and both of my thighs.
The pain came slow, and finally, I begged my mom to “make it go away”. We had to walk a mile to the closest CVS. Essentially I was walking around with a rug burn on steroids. And also I had just run a marathon.
While the Neosporin we got sort of helped, I basically spent the night quietly sobbing into my pillow and making a paste of Neosporin and baby powder. I couldn’t find a comfortable sleeping position. The pain was so tremendous that my legs were actually spazzing out.
Although the pain slowly subsided, for months I had discoloration where the chafe had occurred. I was worried that I had permanently scarred myself. Eventually, everything disappeared.
Even recounting this story, I can still feel the phantom burn of how awful that was.