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Out There: Tough Questions

Humor columnist Susan Lacke dips into her reader mail bag.

Humor columnist Susan Lacke dips into her reader mail bag. 

Did you know is National Peanut Butter Day? I’m celebrating with my favorite peanut-butter dish: Cold leftover pizza with peanut butter.

Stop judging me with your judgy eyes. I just finished my long run, so I’m run-gry and would eat anything, up to and including my own foot, if it were smeared in peanut butter.

Anyway, it’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t answered reader questions lately in this column. Since it’s been a while, and since my left hand is holding the peanut-butter pizza while my right hand does all the typing, I figured today would be a perfect day to open the “Out There” mailbag!

My first gem is from a reader named Christopher, who did not send a question but instead sent a slightly blurry self-portrait while wearing an elevation training mask, which you can see for yourself on the left. I do not know what to make of this, but if one day I turn up missing, please find Christopher and make sure he hasn’t eaten my liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s answer some questions:

How long will it take for blisters to stop forming between my toes on long runs? – Alyssa

With a little bit of preventive work, they can stop today. The trick to keeping your toes blister-free is to keep them happy, dry and friction-free. There’s a lot of products out there designed to help prevent blisters: toe socks, moleskin (which, I am told, is not the actual skin of the mole, so please don’t get all Sarah-McLachan-PETA on me), talcum powder, and a blister-block products (rubbery “second skin” that keeps friction at a minimum).

If you’ve tried those and they don’t work, my friend Ashley sprays antiperspirant on his feet and swears by it as a blister-prevention aid. Another friend, John, uses KY Jelly to prevent blisters on his heels. Yes, that KY Jelly. He keeps two tubes in his house: one for his heels and one for…well, other things. The “heel” tube is the only one that sees any use, which is a small but telling sign of how marathon training has affected his dating life.

During a race, do you expel gas if the urge is necessary, among crowd or make your way to an open area to do so? – John

If you’re asking me if I expel gas, let me make something very clear: I’m a lady, so I don’t have gas. Ever. The only thing that comes out of my ladylike ass is sunshine and rainbows. But, hypothetically, were I to fart, I would politely move off to the side because my farts smell bad. I mean, my hypothetical farts would smell bad. If I farted. Which I don’t. Sunshine. Rainbows. You know what, let’s move on.

I have a stress fracture. My doctor says I need to take 6 to 8 weeks off running! I think he’s being too cautious. Do you think I can run sooner? – Stephanie

Doctors are always trying to slow your roll with advice like “don’t run when you’re injured!” or “only drink one glass of wine a day!” Silly Doctors.

Being injured sucks. Whether it’s a muscle pull or a stress fracture, runners would rather rub some dirt on it and move on. When the doctors tell us to take time off, we search elsewhere for the answer we would rather hear. Go to any running forum on the Internet and you’ll see what I mean.

But here’s the thing: Those men and women in the white coats? They know more than the folks on the message boards, and certainly a lot more than this asshole humor columnist. If you have a stress fracture, listen to your doctor, even if you’re getting advice that you don’t want to hear. Waiting for 6-8 weeks for a fracture to heal, like your doctor suggests, is a lot better than running, making the injury worse, and waiting months (even years) to undo the damage caused by following the advice of RunnerGirlz800 and BostonBuck29101.

Thanks for writing, and keep your questions, comments, random thoughts, and odd pictures coming! I adore each and every one of you run geeks.




About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke