Until I had to manage an ultra athlete other than my husband, Mark, I never quite grasped the pungent, repugnant power of man-sweat. I’m not talking about your garden-variety perspiration that a quick swipe of the shirtsleeve can bring to an end, but that funky man-sweat that only crops up after an athlete stops moving.
It’s like the body just decides that it’s going to let go of all its fluids at once just to cool the person down (as a side note, I now can totally see why you risk dehydration after a marathon, but that’s a conversation for another day).
The turning point for me with the odiferous world of man-sweat came when we were running a two-person relay. I let an athlete sit in my seat to transport him. It had much more legroom, and we were managing an injury.
I put the athlete in the front seat, moved to the backseat, and took maybe an eight-minute journey to the hotel. It was a choice that has forever and hellaciously changed my life —or at least my attitude about letting someone use my seat.
I hopped back into the passenger side to head back to the race and suddenly felt as if I’d just taken the ALS ice bucket challenge. Honestly, I’ve never been so completely soaked in another person’s sweat in a more disgusting way.
It’s not that the wetness bothered me. If I’d spilled a drink, drying off would’ve been the only thing necessary. But funky man-sweat? Two “Silkwood” showers and change of wardrobe wouldn’t come close to ridding the memory of what was now seeping into my skin.
Needless to say, I’ve now added gigantic beach towels to my trail driver kit from that day forward. They’re more than a necessity; they’re a requirement.
Actually, I’m also debating about investing in a small tarp for an added layer. And I recommend you do the same — otherwise your life won’t be all that dry or happy.