And Then There Were Nine (Again)

6 months ago, I regaled you with the tale of the first marathon training casualty. A little right pinkie toenail that disappeared into the night. Later, I gladly reported the little guy’s return and a once again full set of stubby toenails.

It is with a heavy heart (but lighter foot?) that I report today the loss of the left pinkie toe toenail.

When I first decided to train for the ridiculous impossible foolish challenging marathon, the first piece of advice I got was “Read. Read. Read. Read everything and try everything.” So I created some bookmarks, got a subscription to Runner’s World, and starting amassing as much knowledge as possible. The first article I read? “101 Ways Running a Marathon Will Totally Destroy You and the 1 Single Way it Will Be Cool.”* Way at the top of the 101 Ways This Will Be Miserable was the loss of toenails. And it was followed by all these phrases that tried to make the disappearance of a body part seem normative: ‘It happens to everyone,’ ‘don’t be alarmed’ blah blah blah. Don’t be alarmed when part of you is completely missing?! Please.

In my mind, I envisioned this bloody war between running shoe and human body, complete with the stained socks of battle, weeks of taping the toe in hopes of saving the nail, and finally the literal agony of defeat (de-feet?) when the little guy finally lost his will to be on my pinkie toe any longer. It was destined to be a battle that I was prepared to fight, even though I knew the end result would be the same.

But it didn’t happen like that at all. No blood. No savagely bruised foot or toe. No futile efforts to save it. It just quietly slipped away. Less heroic and more like the little nail said, “Eff this, I am sick of being rubbed by this damn shoe all the time. I’m out.”

In a lot of ways I am glad it went this way. Realistically, running socks aren’t cheap and I didn’t want to ruin a million pairs in a daily battle for toenails. Also, I bet most of you cringed more than once reading this because severe toenail pain is totally one of the worst kind of pains. I don’t need that. But there is something about having this great battle story, the “mind-over-body, woman-goes-all-out-to-save-nail” epic that I feel I didn’t get. I was prepared to fight for it, and my body didn’t give me the chance.

Luckily, I have some MONSTER blisters to battle. Sexy.

*I mean, this could be a tiny bit of an exaggeration, but hardly.


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