Unemployment: Day Eighteen

I guess nobody wondered why my last post was titled "Bloody Sunday." I was going to write about my long run last Sunday, but didn't have enough time. While I did delete what I started writing in the body, I completely forgot to change the title.

So now here is what happened on this past "Bloody Sunday."

I headed out for my 15 mile long run on a familiar course: cross the Queensboro Bridge and then do 12 miles in Central Park. Seeing that it was a humid day I made sure to use Body Glide on my man parts to avoid the painful chaffing that normally occurs in such weather. However, a mile into the run, with the wind kicking and the sweat already rolling down my chest I realized I forgot to put Body Glide or bandages or anything on my nipples. I could already feel them rubbing against my t-shirt so I panicked, but I also remembered the numerous times I've been out without nipple protection and have returned home fine. Knowing that I really couldn't stop and buy bandages I kept on trucking.

Miles one through seven went pretty well. There was no significant increase in pain in the nipple region. I glanced down once during mile four and didn't see any sign of bleeding. So I cruised along as if the worst was behind me.

After mile seven I noticed a change not in any physical sense but in that ever runner I crossed looked at me. I've always described New York City runners as stoic, blind to the world, etc.. Essentially the only two things that will grab a runner's attention is a cyclist cutting him off or a maimed and bloody body. I looked down at my t-shirt since I knew for sure I wasn't the former.

Sure enough two dark red circles the size of oblong silver dollars had formed on my t-shirt right over my nipples. I knew I needed to stop but the nearest bathroom was over a mile away, so I stopped at the benches at the runner's gate (which were less than half a mile away).

At the benches I lifted up my t-shirt and saw a horrible sight. My t-shirt had completely rubbed away the top layer of skin from my nipples and deep red drops of blood were coming out of each nipple.

After the initial freak-out I wiped away the blood with my hands. The drops came back. I took off my t-shirt and held it up to my chest to absorb the blood, which seemed to stop the bleeding.

Now I had a problem. I wasn't far along enough to scrap the run. I also couldn't finish the run with the t-shirt on: the bleeding had stopped but would start again--or get worse-- if I put it on. Running topless (as any other recovering fat kid will tell you) had never ever crossed my mind, particularly in Central Park where only the cockiest and fittest guys run without a shirt, but it quickly became the only option.

I bundled up my t-shirt in my hand, grabbed my water bottle in the other hand, looked down the long stretch of East Park Drive, and started running...shirtless.

At first it was awkward. Things were jiggling and gyrating all over the place--the inner workings I don't normally care about because it's all sheathed by a t-shirt. I corrected my posture and lengthened my stride because if I was going to make a fool of myself I was at least going to do it in good form.

Oddly enough, parents did not shield their children's eyes and dogs did not start barking. Actually, you would never know anything was unusual. After a few minutes I completely forgot that I was sans t-shirt.

The rest of the run went beautifully: I finished 17 seconds under my goal pace and any trace of blood had dried up. When I unrolled the t-shirt at the end of the run the blodd stains had gone, most likely washed away by the sweat. I slipped on the t-shirt (ouch!) and hopped on the subway to go home.


On the unemployment front there have been developments. But that'll be for another post this weekend.


The Laminator said...

Hmmm...so does that mean there'll be a repeat performance in the near future?

It's funny. I've always thought of running sans shirt when it's a billion degrees in Central Park, but have yet to try. We now know who's the more courageous one! Haha!

RunToFinish said...

My hubs ran for the first time with a shirt last weekend and I asked around mile 5 how he was doing... IT BURNS!! is all he could say...seriously a bloody shirt, oh man that hurts me

Irish Cream said...

OW. I am going to have nightmares about this post tonight!

I can still remember when I first witnessed this phenomenon while volunteering for the Chicago Marathon in high school. For the life of me, I could NOT figure out what was causing dudes to come running by with bloody nips (and I should mention that my assigned aid station was somewhere around mile-12! Oh, the horror to think that these poor men went on to finish 26.2 miles in such a state!)

Again, OW. I am sorry . . .

Adam said...

I had a very similar situation during a group run the other day. I finally just apologized to everyone and took my shirt off.

The crappy thing was that I even had bandaids on! It was the first time ever that they had fallen off.

jokach said...

I know the feeling of wondering why people were staring .. i was on a long run and at mile 15 I was running through a park area with lots of people around .. I thought people were admiring me for my speed and form while I ran past them, but sure enough, I had 2 bloody spots just like you ..

whats worse is when the water hits them in the shower after the run .. lol