Sunday 9 November 2014

Thames Path: the daily admin side

One of the great successes of the trip was the lack of injury and damage.  This was mainly down to preparation, testing kit out, doing 2 days a week of specific strength & conditioning for months beforehand, and a daily regime on the tour itself.

Each morning, I used Sailfish anti-chafe/skin protect lubricant all over my back.  I have suffered in the past with bad chafing on my back, that I still have scarring from now.  It's painful and if it can be avoided, it should.  The avoidance, for me, is limiting the amount of stuff that causes ridges on my back; so not wearing a heart rate monitor strap any more is a great start.  Having a race pack that fits closely and doesn't move is essential.  And using lubricant, just to be sure, was extremely effective.  I didn't use it on the first day and I had a slight abrasion long the underside of where my sports bra ends.  I used lubricant every day after that and there was no more chafing.

I also used a stick lubricant on my feet - Compeed anti-blister stick (10ml) - small, light and plenty in a stick to last a couple of weeks if need be.  I smothered the arch and ball of each foot, along with the bits of my toes that are in contact with the insides of my shoes.  I got zero blisters in the 6 days.  Not even a hot spot.

Each evening, I massaged Sudocrem into my feet and back, I also used it on the bramble scratches and wasp stings I got, after a good hot shower first.  I also made sure my socks were free from any solid grit or mud and hung out my race pack, shorts, t-shirt and sports bra to dry to make sure they were completely dry again in the morning.  Occasionally, they got a rinse with some washing leaves, but I stopped bothering with that after a couple of goes.  I checked out my toes and feet and made sure there was nothing stuck in them, no grit between my toes or down the sides of my toe-nails and that the nails were not catching on anything.

The results of this - no blisters, the chafing from day 1 cleared up by day 3 and no further chafing, no blood blisters, no lifted or discoloured toe-nails.  The only injuries were scratches and a few stings.  Yes, my feet were pretty swollen by the end of it, but that's from hitting them with my bodyweight a bajillion times over the days and that subsided slowly over a week or so.

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