Running

A Dirty Little Secret

It is an inevitable fact of life that when one decides to start running more, one must be prepared to set aside a whole lot more time.

More running = more injury prevention = more warm-ups and cool downs, more foam-rolling, more stretching

More running = more eating = more cooking

More running = more rest = more naps *snort* (one can always wish)

But here’s the other thing, more running also translates more of the mundane stuff. Stuff like showering and doing the laundry.

Ah yes, laundry. Scourge of the Ninja Turtle’s life, it is a Sisyphean task that punishes a runner’s discipline with the reward of the most eye-wateringly boring household chore that simply cannot wait longer than a few days or else the stink will permanently linger on that $55 wicking shirt. In winter, because she wears layers, she reaches a full load 3 times as fast as in summer. At the rate she’s going, it’s probably time to buy shares in some laundry detergent company. The only way around more mileage = more laundry issue is if her runs become longer. A 6-mile run will produce the same laundry load as a 20-miler, but of course, the human body doesn’t reason with laundry load efficiency, so…

And don’t even start on the showering.

“Wait, what?” you say. “Don’t you take a shower everyday anyway, you filthy animal?”

Sure, the Ninja Turtle showers on a daily basis. She just finds herself showering a lot longer on days when she’s been out running. In summer, it’s to wash the sweat away. In winter, it’s to re-heat her fingers, face and toes, which are usually so numb from the cold she probably wouldn’t even notice if someone broke her nose.

But what about runners who put in twice-a-day sessions? Do you shower twice in a day, everyday? Or do you expect these runners to pick only one of those training sessions to shower after? What about all those people who have been telling the Ninja Turtle not to wash her hair daily lest it all falls out before she turns 30? Do some runners really forego a good deep cleanse even after ten hard miles, simply to maintain those luscious locks? Don’t they get itchy scalps?

The Ninja Turtle has always been demanding in the area of personal hygiene. Mother Turtle recounts how even as a baby, the Ninja Turtle would wail  like a diva and wake the whole household as soon as her diapers were merely damp (Baby Turtle on the other hand, could sleep blissfully through the night, filling her diapers without a murmur and patiently waiting for the morning to be changed). It is important that she not only IS clean, but also FEELS clean and SMELLS clean. The problem with this of course, is her definition of what clean feels and smells like.

A lot of money probably goes into focus groups for toiletry companies researching ways to market their products to customers. Some of you may be thinking “by customers you mean women, right?” All those body wash ads of women with figures unattainable for the average Jane, or women shampooing their hair with so much happiness, you wonder if it’s laced with something questionable. Hence, the conclusion that all women’s toiletry products are sold at a premium. But you’d be wrong. Have you seen the price of men’s shavers and face wash? It totally explains the whole beard trend that’s been going on. No daily shaving = no money wasted on facial cleanser, shaver, shaving cream and aftershave. Men, save your money and grow a face bush.

And herein lies the Ninja Turtle’s issue with gender-stereotyping  toiletries. There is literally no women’s shower gel that smells clean to her. None. They smell like your grandmother’s garden (think of all that ylang ylang, orchid, rose, etc), some kind of spice, or fruit, or dessert (cinnamon, vanilla, mango, kiwi, pina colada, even caramel friggin’ mocha). The last thing the Ninja Turtle wants to smell like after a hard run is a Starbucks beverage. Men’s products on the other hand, simply smell CLEAN.

The Turtle started out by sneaking some of GodzillaPin's shower gel, but he eventually caught on to her thievery, and decided it was just easier to buy her men's shower gels. She's may or may not have started borrowing his shampoo after long run days too... 

The Turtle started out by sneaking some of GodzillaPin’s shower gel, but he eventually caught on to her thievery, and decided it was just easier to buy her men’s shower gels. She’s may or may not have started borrowing his shampoo after long run days too…

Has running changed your daily habits?

What are your thoughts on gender-stereotyping of things like hygiene products?

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6 thoughts on “A Dirty Little Secret

  1. Oops, smartphone fat thumb post error. As I was saying, icebreaker tops are really smell resistant, and you could wear them for a couple of runs straight if you don’t get too sweaty.

    Regarding toiletries, I use bar soap which the missus doesn’t care for, so no such incidents in our house!

    • My compression undershirt is always soaked after a run (I wear three layers at the moment!) so that must be washed although I do worry about it losing elasticity. I wash my top layer after every run too because (I can’t believe I am about to share this on the net) I wipe my snot on my right sleeve. And in winter, it’s a lot of snot. Sorry, TMI. But seriously, who’s got time to fiddle with tissues while running?

      Some bar soaps have a lovely industrial-grade clean smell but I found they make my skin dry out and flake. Then I have to do this horrible thing called moisturising, which is the third worst to wearing stuff on skin (second being sunscreen and first being make up).

      • Haha oh well – can’t really help you there! I have to confess – I don’t have these issues ‘coz J really really likes the smell of fresh laundry (read: she does all our laundry).

  2. A little trick I learned re: laundering of running apparel. Wash them with a cup of vinegar. No detergent necessary. Which equals huge cost savings.

    In Canada we only have a couple of wicking material-approved detergents. All expensive. All way too perfumy. As if trying to mask the smell not kill it. And believe me the smell still lurks! Ruining said $55 (or more!) wicking shirt.

    Vinegar though is a natural antibacterial which is what causes the stink to begin with. And not to worry, as the clothes dry, the vinegar smell is gone.

    • Awesome! Thanks for the tip, Rod! Don’t know why I didn’t think of vinegar, I use it for almost all cleaning purposes. Probably better for the environment than detergent too.

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