I waddled into our campsite after a 20-mile day. We'd only completed a fourth of the total mileage of our hike, a big long walk through Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah during the oppressive heat of July. It was day two of our five-day trip and I was sauntering about camp like I had a cheese grater between my thighs. The culprit? Chafing. My undercarriage was ablaze with the fires of Hades. Needless to say, I was a sad, sad man. How was I going to finish this hike with inner thighs and a back porch that resembled charred ham hock? Luckily, my friend Tim saved my bacon.

Long distance running and hiking? They’re not for the weak. Photo: Jeremy Lapak/ Unsplash

"I've got some glide you can use, Paddy," he told me with the saintly song of a cherub. At the time, I'd never used runners glide before, only heard stories of its benefits. Runners glide is an anti-chafing lubricant. There are a handful of brands that make it, like Body Glide, Rocket Pure, Akileine Sports, even Monistat. It'll typically only set you back five to ten bucks at your local gear/running shop or in the gray matter that is the interwebz.

Tim reached into his bag and pulled out what looked like a stick of deodorant. He instructed me to take a swipe off the top with my finger and, ahem, apply said swipe to the nether regions of discomfort. I did and I was immediately amazed. You know the sound a campfire makes when it's doused with a bucket of ice-cold mountain stream water? Yeah, it was like that. I continued the swipe-n-spread routine with Tim's glide for the remainder of our hike.

Push through the pain. Photo: Pablo Garcia Saldana/ Unsplash

Back in my football and lacrosse days, I powdered my chassis with Gold Bond or baby powder. That's recommended as a post-workout practice, though. Puff some of that under there prior to your sweaty effort and prepare yourself for a river of sludge. Vaseline or Neosporin work well, but only to relieve and medicate the chafe, not to stop it before it starts. They're also very greasy, so be careful how much you apply. Runners glide seems to be the only during-workout solution that has worked for me.

Body Glide makes a stick and a cream that perform really well. I apply to my bathing suit area, the small of my back where the hem of my compression shorts scratch, and sometimes to the right side of my neck where the hose of my hydration bladder occasionally rubs. It's been a game changer.

Conquering the chafe. Photo: Hunter Bryant/ Unsplash

Last summer, I trained for an ultra marathon. When I first started long-distance running, I thought that the stories of nipple chaffing and inner-thigh catastrophes were nothing but shock-n-awe fairy tales. I haven't experienced anything that extreme, but when daily and weekly training mileage started to climb last summer, so did my awareness of hot spots in those already sensitive areas.

At the peak of training I was averaging 75 miles per week. That's more than I drive typically, like, by a lot. My favorite piece of gear, or rather most relied upon - more than the shoes and the socks, more than the cool mileage tracking tech, more than the t-shirts and shorts, the headbands, playlists, even more than the food (and I pretty much only signed up for an ultra so I could eat more) - was runners glide. I could run 50 miles shoeless and naked if forced, but I wouldn't run it if I wasn't all glazed up like a spiral-cut Christmas ham. Runners glide is a must.

Run on, and on. Photo: Alex Gorham/ Unsplash

I can deal with knee and muscle pain. I can push past the voice in my head that tells me to stop or not go for a run at all. I've gutted out runs after exhausting water and food supplies, in the dark, in unknown territory. I've made it through feet that look like ground beef and eff-word-inducing blisters. But nothing will sideline me quicker than the burnin' and squirmin' of chafed 'tween meat. Do yourself a favor, friend. Before you go for that long run or that epic hike high in them hills, lube up. Your mommy-and-daddy zone will thank you.

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