It is fairly widely known that there are 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Yes, everyone knows that, right? War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.
|4 Horsemen. Source|
These are all unpleasant in their own way and who hasn't been in a situation where your pants are riding up, your trousers are riding down and there’s a label itching away and pretending to be a strip of sandpaper? What is it about running that means that there is always something itching or being annoying? And usually in some place you can't really sort out in public?
And the law of running means that when this happens there will ALWAYS a crowd of people behind you. It could be the rest of your running club, a horde of runners in a race or simply a busy bus stop. When is it appropriate to simply stick your hand down your pants and sort it all out?
I imagine the Mr-Average-In-The-Street might not get away with sorting out their underwear in public but we’re runners. We can run away when the screaming starts, right?
But it’s not always as easy to sort out as a quick rummage. Chafing is sneaky. Quite often this goes unnoticed during the actual running but waits until you step into the shower before digging barbs into your unsuspecting, flayed flesh. As if sandpapering your nipples off wasn’t enough, Chafe appears in the most awkward places. Underarms? Thighs? Undercarriage? Sneaky, sneaky chafing.
And I’m sure every runner has suffered the irritating sore, itching pain that is a blister that out of nowhere on a previously unmarred foot, has popped up to ooze and irritate. And stick your sock to your foot with blister-pus.
And Poo. If Poo was a person he’d be a traffic warden. Poo waits until long runs in the country when the nearest toilet is 11 miles and 2 massive hills away. Or else the 2nd to last speed interval, where he asks you whether you’re a gambler. Go find a loo now and leave your run session unfinished. Or finish it and gamble with The Brown Shorts of Shame.
There's a distinctive lurching gait usually accompanied by a staring, thousand-yard stare when a runner is desperate to get home and is moving as fast as they can without soiling their lycra. It’s a terrible, terrible Catch 22 situation. The faster you move, the more you need to 'go' but if you go slow or walk, you won’t make it home in time. Speed Vs Time. Do you feel lucky today? And can you face your neighbours tomorrow if you misjudge it and have to return a wave with brown thighs and a stiff-legged walk.
If you’ve been running any length of time then you’ve probably encountered one or more of these Horsemen already. They're like headlice at primary school. Sooner or later they WILL happen to you.
They’re waiting for you and The Horsemen, like black toenails will appear out of nowhere. All you can do is arm yourself with the available weapons: a liberal application of Vaseline, a generous wad of loo roll & plasters and a practised high-speed zombie shuffle and the location of the nearest loo.