Writing and running in Austin, TX.
Today, I am in pain. In fact, I think I’d go so far as to say that if you want to be a distance runner, you must have a high threshold for pain.
“But don’t all the running books say don’t run through pain?”, you ask.
Well, yes and no. Let me explain…
It’s Saturday morning, and I’m enjoying the best part of a runner’s week–relaxing after the long run. We were slotted to do 14 today, but due to the usual comical-but-not-quite-actually-funny-in-the-moment inaccuracy of Rogue’s route maps, we technically did about 12.6. Given that the marathon is still 4 months away, I decided that was okay by me. Especially considering my toe was about to fall off.
For the past two days, the second and third toes of my left foot have hurt every time I try to extend them. Like, say, when I’m walking. It feels just like that feeling when your foot is cramping and you frantically try to bend your toes in the opposite direction before your foot curls up like you’ve been the victim of ancient Chinese foot-binding.
But those weren’t the toes that were about to fall off.
Before each run, in my pre-dawn haze, I sift through the basket of clean laundry (that somehow after an entire week STILL has not managed to fold itself) in search of matching socks. My favorites are my Champion ankle socks that I bought at Target about 5 years ago. I have several pairs of these, and they all look almost identical, except that the little “C” on the back is filled with blue on some, pink on others, and lime green on the ugliest of the bunch. (I realize that this “C” is in my shoe and no one but me will actually see it, but my OCD tendencies just won’t allow me to match a lime green with a pastel blue. Honestly, now! Fashion disaster.)
Anyway, these socks are cotton, which is kind of embarrassing to admit, because a “real runner” wearing cotton is kind of like an Orthodox Jew eating bacon. These “sinner socks” also have a thick cotton seem across the toes. If you position it correctly (which I never do when I first pull them on), you don’t notice it at all. If you have it even slightly off, it will shear off the side of your little toe.
So every morning, I go through an extensive sock-straightening routine. I pull on my sock and shoe, walk to the kitchen, realize the seem is twisted, pull off my shoe, straighten the sock, walk to the living room, pull off my shoe, straighten the sock…you get the picture. Well, I must have messed something up this morning, because by mile 7 or so, the second toe on my right foot felt like I’d been rubbing it over sandpaper.
If you’re keeping track, we’re now about halfway through the long run and both my feet are borderline non-functional. Luckily, the pounding of running has a numbing effect, so we continue on.
Around mile 10, I start to feel a sharp pain in my right side. No, it’s not my appendix. It’s my shorts. Or maybe it’s my “curves” that are to blame. I am one of those women fortunate enough to be blessed with a waist that is disproportionately small in relation to my hips. I know, a small waist sounds good, but in reality this means that in order to get shorts wide enough to fit my hips, the waistband is a little loose. This in turn means that after a couple hours of running, my skin is a little raw.
To add insult to injury, I have a similar problem with my sports bra. This garment inevitably rubs a 3-inch wide red mark on the right side of my chest. By October, I think it will be permanent. (But hey, cheap tattoo! I’ll thank you all not to share your opinions on why this only occurs on one side of my chest.)
The run is over. I stretch out my calves and thighs, ignore my side, chest, and toes, thank God that I remain “uninjured”, and head home for a relaxing warm shower. Which is where I realize how medieval jailers figured out that pouring salt in a wound is an effective form of torture. I stifle a squeak as the sweat I think I am rinsing off actually rinses right over my raw side. Owwww…
Finally, I am showered, refreshed, and presumably out of danger. I pull on my most comfortable pair of casual shorts, a soft t-shirt, and a pair of squishy flip-flops. And since we’re in Texas and it’s 900 degrees here, I re-apply deodorant. Which is when I remember that in a fit of concern over looking un-ladylike in my sleeveless running shirt, I had done a “quick” shave, using only water from the sink. OWWWWwwww!!!
And now we’re headed out for a hike on some rocky mountain biking trails, where I’m sure nothing will go wrong.
Happy Saturday, all!
It's funny that in all those miles, legs pounding and rebounding off the ground, what causes most of our discomfort are our clothes! If only it weren't so awkward to run in the nude! haha