Pouting FaceAn old teammate, and good friend of mine coined the term “chub rub” when we were at Stanford together. As division one athletes in the top ranked cross country program in the NCAA, it would be an understatement to say we kept our bodies very fit. We were lean, mean, fighting machines. Six years later, I’m proud to say the vast majority of us stay in great shape, even if only a small handful of us do it for a living.

Chub rub was something that you encountered about half-way through freshman year for the first time; suddenly your shorts were climbing up the inner thighs due to friction that didn’t use to exist. Once the shorts rode up, the skin rubbed together, creating chafe on porcelain skin that wasn’t used to touching anything.

Non-elite athletes have no sympathy for this, I know. “Oh waah, your thighs rubbed together. Shoot me in the effing head.” And I can fully appreciate that. I’ve long ago gained the street smarts to never complain about race weight or body issues in front of anyone other than elite athletes. Its just rude otherwise.

But in my job, one pound of non-productive weight (i.e. fat) can be worth 4 seconds per mile. In a 5k, that’s 12 seconds. That can be the difference between an American Record and not making any USA team. That can be the difference between sponsored and unemployed.

Now, I don’t want to get into a huge discussion of how women take this too far, or how simply losing weight doesn’t give you a long, successful career, or how you can easily reach a point of diminishing returns (before most athletes would think,) or how the vast majority of female athletes trim down in ways that create short term success and long term health issues (physical and mental). Different day, different blog.

Healthy, fit women all experience weight fluctuations, and the fitter you are, the more you notice small changes. That is what is hilarious about chub rub. When you are really fit, your legs don’t rub together violently. As soon as they do, its time to buckle down.

Today, I experienced chub rub, and I am not pleased about it. Through the ten weeks of this hip injury, eight of them were spent doing massive amounts of cross training in an attempt to maintain the fitness I worked so hard to gain over the previous four months. Each leg maintained its own peaceful, separate environment.

These past two weeks, (since the previous eight didn’t give me the hip result I wanted,) I’ve cut out the vast majority of cross training, and have been spending that time meditating on healing elves working on the injured tissues of my body. Turns out meditating doesn’t burn very many calories.

I’ve also boosted my sleep from 8 hours to 10.5; that’s 2.5 more hours where my heart rate is hovering at 35, barely alive. I’m practically hybernating for the winter. Hence, chub rub.

Its not the first time, and it won’t be the last. Its just a thermostat that goes off, saying “um, Lauren? in case you didn’t notice, you are digging a bit of a hole here that will require extra work to get out of. Minimize the damage, starting now.”

Aw, man. I hate buckling down.