June 15, 2011

Tiny Bubbles

Since I started running seriously at the end of last year, I've seen and experienced some pretty crazy things. Weird squirrels? Almost daily. Ant infestations? Check. Oddly outfitted other runners? Definitely. Random, intense leg pain one single day a month like clockwork? Don't ask me why, but it definitely happened. A heron practically as tall as me? Almost gave me a heart attack. Unexplainable and awkward sweat patterns? Too many to count. But this week I've added a new and infinitely more strange occurrence to this list: bubbles.
After the past few workouts I've completed in the heat, I've noticed what look like a few teeny tiny blisters on my back and shoulders. They were clear and soft, and when I gently ran a finger over them they popped really easily and completely disappeared. They didn't itch, weren't red or irritated, and even the biggest one was still incredibly tiny. Odd.
This morning, I dragged myself out of bed and talked myself through a tough 5+ miles on the treadmill. I just wasn't feeling it this morning -- actually I haven't been feeling it all week. I guilted myself into finishing, though, and headed home to shower before work. Just before jumping in, I reached to scratch a little itch on my back and was met with...
You guessed it. Except this time there weren't just a few here and there. There were hundreds, miniscule little bumps stretching from my shoulders all the way down my back. I ran my hand across my shoulder and it was like rubbing a sheet of bubble wrap.
At first, I freaked out. Should I pop them or leave them alone? They burst so easily -- just the lightest pressure made a tiny little popping sound, and that area was left smooth and a little wet. Apparently they had water in them. Sweat? I had no idea. Was I falling apart? Was it an infection? Did I have some kind of icky disease or fungus? So I did what any logical terrified 23 year old would do when confronted with a sudden and strange mass of bubbling skin: I googled. 
Luckily, it didn't take me long to come up with a diagnosis. Apparently I have miliaria crystallina, essentially a fancy term for, uh, little bubbles on the skin. No other symptoms. No scary complications. No real treatment besides "get thee into an air conditioned building." No risk of dehydration, or contagion, or death. Phew. Satisfied, I hopped in the shower, and by the time I was dry, everything was normal again. I'm not sure if it was the water pressure, the towel, or just time, but they had all disappeared as mysteriously as they had "popped" up (pun completely intended).
This episode is without a doubt one of the strangest things that I've ever experienced, but thankfully it doesn't appear to have any lasting consequences. Over 6 hours later, I'm still bubble-free and completely unaffected. I'm just waiting to see whether I will turn into a live sheet of bubble wrap again tomorrow...
... although apparently Toby might not complain.



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