Blood on the Trail: The Ins and Outs of Latex

Supporting an ultra athlete is a sometimes thankless, often tireless, and forever rewarding job, and that goes double for when you’re out on the trail. You, and you alone, will inevitably find yourself serving as not just cheerleader but makeshift medic, slapdash sports therapist, and ad hoc nutritionist — or at least lunch lady (and for those of the male persuasion, lunch lad).

That’s why there’s a piece of gear I never leave home without: latex gloves.Industrial-latex-gloves

And I’m not just talking about that prissy little pair in your handy-dandy medical kit. What I’m getting at is industrial-strength, properly fitted gloves, and a giant box of ‘em at that.

For the quick-and-dirty doc, there’s nothing worse than trying to take care of a little road rash without a pair. Trust me, there’ll be road rash…and a bloody nose or two…and some ungodly chafing…and a fair share of blisters to pop. Yeah, I think you get where I’m headed. Ultra athletes have a habit of getting bloody.

But the necessity of latex gloves doesn’t stop at blood.

They can be super helpful for putting on waterproofing after bandaging up even the nastiest of wounds. And in a pinch, they can sure substitute for a traditional tourniquet…though you’d probably need to be a nudist or something because an article of clothing can always do the trick.

Besides medical emergencies, latex gloves can also help with food and beverage duties, like serving up veggies or chips and dredging out the bottom of that disgusting cooler — not to mention, cleaning up the occasional vomit off your new pair of shoes (it’s been known to happen to me on more than one occasion).

And let’s not forget one of the more important uses, especially for those female road warriors like myself. Latex gloves ain’t half bad for touching up your roots while out on the road.

Buy a box or two before the next race or marathon. Better yet, buy a whole bunch when they go on sale. You won’t be sorry. And the next time you glove up, think of me. I may just be down the road, doing the same.

Trail well.

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