I ran a marathon on Sunday. The Santa Rosa Marathon. (How was your run, polite people ask. Answer: Long.) More than any event I’ve ever done before, my feet and legs were swollen really a lot by the time I got home Sunday night. My poor toes were hamburger. And the “pinch” in my right glute was incredibly painful. Just this moment, it dawns on me that the swelling might have occurred as a result of flying home the same day (within hours) of doing the marathon?
This is what my feet look like after 3 days, a massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, arnica gel, phiten tape, chinese herb patches, icing over the entire time, and a soak in epson salts. (Not that I’m over-reacting or anything.) You can still see that the second toes on both feet are slightly swollen and discolored. The 4th toe on both feet also blistered, as did the left side of my right big toe. But mostly they were enormously swollen. Oddly so.
The beat-up toes bothered me, too. This is at least the second time, and maybe the third (who can remember) that I have severely blistered the 2nd and 4th toe of both feet. (And it will be the second or third time I lose the toe nails on all four toes.) I’ve lost toes nails after each marathon I’ve run. I get that. But after Born to Run in May I took my poor feeties with the blistered toes to my used-to-be favorite running store (which shall remain unidentified) and had them look at my shoes and my feet. In the end, they decided I was wearing the right size shoes and that damage is just something that happens.
Looking at my poor toes on Tuesday (at least 48 hours after the race) on Tuesday, I came to a different conclusion. I need a bigger shoe. And, although I LOVE Newtons, maybe a different shoe. What is is about women (women runners, especially) and shoe size. I don’t care a wit what size shoe I wear. (I hate that tech clothing comes so uber tiny, but that’s another rant.) I don’t even know what shoe size I wear in dress shoes. But I need running shoes that fit. So at the suggestion of my coach — who has been testing these shoes for at least a couple of weeks — I went and purchased a pair of Altras.
They didn’t have a single woman’s shoe in stock, so I bought men’s. The toe box is enormous. The heel is exactly the same height as the ball of the foot, which has the sensation of being lower. There’s a cup in the heel well…which I mask because I use custom orthotics. They are pretty comfy. And the look like baby shoes — what those white learn-to-walk baby shoes look like. And I paid full retail — which I NEVER do for running shoes. $100 plus tax. But I needed them NOW. I’ve been wearing them for two days.
Immediately after the marathon on Sunday I was fine. After my shower, my left ankle hurt so much I couldn’t walk on it. By the time I got off the plane in LA I was using my suitcase as a crutch to hobble along. I got tons of treatment Monday and Tuesday and now Wednesday. I’m in amazing shape, all things considered. And I’m intending to go for a little run tomorrow. Ankle/calf/glute “pinch” allowing and new shoes being OK.
Not unrelated to all of this, there is a pose in yoga that I cannot do. My feet don’t bend this way. Especially my big toes. Every time I have a massage the masseuse works on the big toe joint on both feet. So, when it’s time to do this variation of hero’s pose, I just do hero’s pose again. Not a big deal.
Anyway, last night I woke up in the middle of the night and thought “ballet”. How amazing it’s taken me all these years of yoga and running to remember that when I was a young and middle teen I took ballet (all of my pre-20-year-old life, really). And you know what you do when you dance ballet…
You wrap your toesies in lambs’ wool and dance on the very tips. Are we insane? And it’s what every little girl taking ballet aspires to. And we let them — their mothers let them. And if you’re really good, of a certain height and wispy/wiry (which I wasn’t) you do that until your feet look like — well, I honestly don’t know like what. But bad, I have to assume.
I have to go off on a sub-rant here. I had a pretty severe overbite when I was little; my bottom teeth hit the roof of my mouth and there was blood involved. I wore a head gear and braces and a retainer from the time I was in 3rd grade until I graduated from college; the retainer even longer. The orthodontist literally moved my top jaw backwards with an exterior head gear plugged into bands around my back teeth; pushing my jaw backwards at night. Today I have pretty significant TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction). It is best described as my teeth can sometimes not find “home plate” and sometimes (very rarely for me these days, luckily) the jaw can get stuck open. Am I the only person that thinks all that force applied to my jaw when I was 10-15 MAY have something to do with this?
OK, we’re all doing the best we can at any given moment with the knowledge at hand. although you’d think in the zillion years since ballet has existed that somebody would tell parents that floating as a princess when you’re 12 will be hell on your feet when you’re 45.
Enough!! Starting tomorrow I’m on a march to Berlin. I will do my best to catalog this march, for my own benefit (when it’s over). It will be A LOT of running — a lot of quality, focused running — and a fair amount of complaining. Let me say here and now I LOVE that I can do this. I’m delighted that I can do this. I really, really want to succeed at this. My goal is (public announcement) is 5:5something.