If you're like me, you often wonder how exactly one cares for one's vagina the day before a race. What are potential pitfalls to avoid? What are some of the worst-case scenarios? Well, Runner's World's all-women's site Zelle is here to answer the age-old question.

In a post titled "Is It OK to Have Sex the Night Before a Race?" writer K. Aleisha Fetters lays out a bleak picture. Bleeding cervixes. Spotting. The coauthor of V for Vagina. And possibly the most unsettling, because of its myriad possibilities, "an unexpected reaction." These are all very real experiences you may encounter should you dare to have sex the night before your next race.

There are many, many types of sex to avoid, Fetters advises, including:

  • Marathon sex
  • Rough sex
  • Deep sex
  • Acrobatic sex
  • Experimental sex
  • Unprotected sex
  • Distracting sex

But should you be foolhardy enough to have sex the night before your big race, there are a few critical steps you must take.

First, use a condom. It prevents "the morning-after outflow of ejaculate happening while I'm getting ready to run a race," one exercise physiologist says, which may be both embarrassing and uncomfortable, but is definitely a more interesting topic to discuss with other runners than how your training has gone.

Next, jump in the shower immediately. It "will help normalize your vagina's pH," Fetters says, "which can get thrown off from contact with his manpart."

Finally, treat any lingering "vulvar irritations" with diaper rash cream to soothe that post-sex burn before you turn in.

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While Fetters ultimately concludes that night-before sex is an individual choice, she paints a bloody, abraded picture of its dark side. The vagina, one comes to learn, is a fragile organ that should be treated in the same way that native Hawaiians view the ocean: with respect and a healthy measure of distrust. It is obvious that you should never, ever have sex the night before your race. But if you do, make sure your mort stays petite.

Photo: Rich Orris, Flickr