Friday, February 12, 2010

First Barefoot Run This Year

My first barefoot run this year was on a treadmill at the Philadelphia Loews Hotel today.  Three miles.  It felt great!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Running Barefoot = Underwear with Less Cushioning & Support

I am going to write a post about underwear.  This is related to running barefoot in two ways.  First and least important is it is about me and my running in a tangential way.  The second is in questioning what we have thought to be right all along may actually not be right.

Running in the winter months in NJ requires one to usually wear more clothes than during the spring, summer and fall.  This unfortunately includes footwear, long running pants and underpants.  When one runs in the winter, one still sweats.  The sweat often makes the underpants wet.  During warmer weather, all of my running shorts have built-in underpants that tend to wick the sweat.  Cotton underpants briefs do not do that job.  This has led to a condition collectively known as "jock itch", even though a jock is not involved.  (Well, unless you consider me to be the jock.)

This condition has been driving me crazy for about a month.  I have been using sprays and creams for relief, but their effects wear off in a few hours and the itch kicks in.  I also notice that the itch is at its worse after running, when a shower isn't immediate, and when other sweaty conditions happen inside the underpants.  Said sweaty conditions might happen anywhere, like at work or at a restaurant - generally in places where scratching can be both inconvenient and embarrassing.  I'm sure you know what I am talking about, all you athletic men and women out there...  So what to do?  You either scratch or squirm.  Scratching does start to almost feel good and gratifying under such circumstances.  In such public circumstances, one's self control is often put to the test!

It became obvious I needed another measure besides the sprays and the creams.  So I decided to rethink the supportive briefs underpants.  They are cotton, and their support function puts them in constant contact with my skin.  I know that I can not wear cotton socks, ever, for running or anything else.  Cotton was rejected as a fabric for active activities since the late 1970's since it holds all the moisture the body produces right there against the skin.  Not good for the old "jock itch" situation, no doubt.  So I did some online research at to see if there were any non-cotton alternatives.  And they were there.  Last night I bought 4 pairs of Jockey Go Mesh Boxer Briefs in black.  They are poly/Spandex, breathable, wicking.  So far they are working!  I have not had an itch attack since putting them on this morning, and I am way past the usual limit of the topical applications.  I think the problem has been almost solved.  Much like running barefoot, part of the solution to my discomfort involves less cushioning and support.