Get thee to a farrier.


I am seriously considering becoming a foot model.
Said no runner. EVER.

Myself included.

Gah. My hooves. My poor, banged up, calloused feet. Thank god they’re far away from my STILL hideous, scarred, healing face. (No worries. My feet will never be near my face. I can’t do scorpion pose if my life depended on it.) I’m a godamn LOOKER these days. These poor paws have run quite a few miles the past few years. Quite a few. And lemme tell ya, they ARE worse for wear. I need to put these poor bitches UP. And then run a belt sander over them. Sweet Jesus.

Now that I’m tapering and obsessively checking for next Sunday’s forecast, I’ve been over analyzing every little twinge, cramp, tightness, ache, pain, callous and breath. This includes intense scrutiny of my piggies. The positive? Zero black toenails. I should stop right now.


Clearly, I have won! Although I do still have a black eye. So I guess I’m back to negative? Damn. So close!

I know I don’t have any black toenails because I have been sans pedicure FOR MONTHS. That’s right. No polish. Why? Because distance runners need to see their ugly toes. At least this distance runner does. The one time I left Opi’s “Lincoln Park After Dark” on them, I didn’t realize my nail was longer than I’d like, and it banged against my sneak for an entire half marathon with 3 miles STRAIGHT DOWN HILL. RIP ring finger toe nail. RIP. Ever since then, I’ve been proactive about foot health. And in order to be proactive, you need to keep a close eye on those puppies. Wrong sneaker fit? Ill fitting socks? Blisters? Jacked up foot strike? Whatever the problem, you’re better off discovering it sooner than later.

On this, One-Week-Till-Marathon-Eve, my nails are all firmly on. I have decided on my socks and race day running duds. With weather options. Must have options. My left knee feels weird. And if my lower back was any tighter, you could totally play the opening chords to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit on it. Massage on Tuesday. πŸ™‚ I am fighting off Taper Madness by beating the shit out of it with a foam roller. The callouses however are staying for now. They’re like little badges of honor. They’ve got one week. Then it’s time to apologize profusely to the Pedicurist and Pick My Color. Christ. I may even send her an Edible Arrangement afterward.

How many toenails have YOU lost running? Do you look like you bought your toes at a Used Toe Sale? How do you handle The Taper?


47 thoughts on “Get thee to a farrier.

  1. I’ve lost several, but only in the early years. I started wearing shoes w/ a larger toe box. About 5 years ago I started wrapping band aids around my problems toes. This helped keep friction off of them. A few years ago I switched to 3M first aid tape. Not the white stuff that will stick to anything, the beige/tan stuff that sticks but will peel off and leave your nails in place.
    I haven’t had any issues since I started wrapping my toes in band aids of 1st aid tape.

    • Lookit you wrapping your toes! I’ve read about people wrapping them. Or even wearing two pairs of socks to reduce friction. I’ve only had that problem one damn time. I’m knocking on every piece of wood I can find……:-)

  2. Ya gots ta look after yer feets. I started using Vibrams about 3 years ago as I was getting back into running. This slowly toughened up my feet. Only do the odd short session in them now to check on my technique and make sure I’m keeping my foot-strike light. I’ve been running trails almost exclusively for 18 months, racing distances up to 50km without the faintest hint of a blister (‘touch wood’). My secret weapon? Well fitted shoes and two pair of socks; Injinji toe socks on the inside and Icebreaker merino wool socks on the outside. When tapering I try to stay moving, stretching, keep going to yoga etc. I’ll still run the week leading up to race, just not as often or for as long. The legs need to feel fresh…but not asleep! Good Luck!

    • Ahhhh. So you’re one of those two sock guys! I’ve been curious about those Injinji toe socks. People swear by them. After my unfortunate toe nail loss a few years ago, I switched sneakers. And since (bang on wood) I’ve been golden with regard to nails. Trails are even worse on your feet! Although man, nothing like running wild in the woods. πŸ™‚ Here’s to a Good Taper!

  3. Oh girl! I just got off my foam roller after extensive hamstring and glute work because training for San Francisco is no damn joke. Have I mentioned I hate hills? And am a masochist? Haha I haven’t lost any toenails knock on
    wood but am obsessive about foot health aka ability to wear open toed shoes. I do live in so cal after all. Good luck with taper madness and next week’s marathon! 18 mile training run for me next week. Now off to grab a fresh ice pack

    • Hills are just mounds of opportunity Amy. GO, YOU LITTLE, TOUGH BILLY GOAT! GO!!! We’re all a little bit masochistic. It keeps things spicy. I’m looking forward to Sunday. And thank you! Tina had to talk me off of the ledge the other day, but that’s what a running BFF and blog partner is for. The work is done. I shall calmly taper on. Take care of those gams! And good luck with the 18!! πŸ™‚

  4. I have never lost any toenails or had fully black ones, but my feet are generally a mess except for the 20 hour period between getting a pedicure and my next run. When I went for a pedi the week after the Marine Corps Marathon, the lady took one look at my feet and SENT A GUY OVER to do the pedi. #truth

  5. Ha, I lost my first toenail this year, and since then have kept up with painting my toes to hide that fact that a nail is actually missing. But it doesn’t hide the overall ugliness of my calloused runner’s feet, which is ok since I consider them a badge of honor too πŸ™‚

  6. TAPER BUDDY! It’s like you know my life right now. I have the most epic zombie toe right now. Big toe on my right foot. It’s so disgusting. I almost want to go get a pedicure just to freak them out. I laughed my way all the way through this post.

    It’s almost time! I’m still weather stalking, outfit planning, and generally losing my mind over here. It’s going to be a looooong week.

    • A BIG TOE Zombie Toe. Oh Taper Buddy. Your paws won’t look decent until 1Q 2015. But we’ll get through this.

      It is almost time! Massage on Tuesday, easy, zippy runs all week, rest, WATER, and good nutrients. Now if I could just stay off of…….WE CAN DO THIS. By the way, NICE 5K for you Ms. Zippy McSalt. You’re gonna kick this marathons ass with that Zombie Toe! πŸ™‚

  7. Bonjour mon ami. Or is it amie? Anyway, I have been lucky in the ” This little piggy went to market department.” I run in Thorlos, the heavily cushioned type but you don’t need advice right now about changing up your routine or your battle gear.
    Since you run with music I do have a few suggestions – Anything by Little Feat, especially ” Let it Roll.” How about a little Fats Waller and ” Your feets too big” or Nancy Sinatra -” These Boots are made for walking (Running)” And of course, the Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell classic, ” By The Time I get my Feet Fixed.” Then there’s Runaway by Del Shannon and Runaround Sue courtesy of Dion avec Les Belmonts.
    You should just pre-emptively paint all your toenails black and on your back I suggest a sign with the following ” Feets don’t fail me now.” Bob Dylan once sang ” It’s time for my boot heels or Nikes to be wandering ( running). No, really he did. Bon Chance.

    • That would be: Bonjour mon amie. Because I’m a girl. πŸ™‚ but not ma amie because the noun starts with a vowel, even though I am feminine. And girls are. In general.

      Madame Ruthman is kicking back a glass of champagne and tossing handfuls of confetti right now. I just know it.

      Little Feat is on my iPod. As is Nancy Sinatra. Oddly enough. Although she’s not a part of ‘My Sure Footed VT Marathon Mix’. I may have to reconsider. You’re a clever rabbit.


      • I could set your feet up here in town for a pedicure at the local Black and Decker Nail Salon, Collision Repair and Body Shop.
        Our motto: ” We Never Met a Foot We Didn’t Like.”
        Merci pour la lesson du gramatique.

  8. I’m tapering too! My marathon is on Saturday. Good luck!!
    I’ve only lost one toenail, but there is a spot on each big toe that I can’t even feel because it has like 10 layers of calluses

    • Lookit us all tapering and shit! Salt, of Run Salt Run is also my Taper Buddy! And we’ve been (not so secretly) freaking out together. I love that we’re not alone! Which are you running? Are you anxious? Gimme the scoop. πŸ™‚

      • TAPER TRIO! I’m running the Bayshore Marathon in MI. (What race are you running? I didn’t stalk hard enough yet to find out). YES I’m anxious–but I’ve readjusted my goal to just run instead of going for a PR, which makes me a liiittle less nervous. How are you feeling?? πŸ˜€

      • Taper Trio fo’ shizzle! I’m running the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington VT. Oh go ahead and stalk. I’ll be doing the same shortly. πŸ™‚ You’ll see that after The Long Run Where I Wrecked My Face, things have been a little rough for me. Although I am ready now—not sure if a PR is in my midst, but I’m going to try like hell. One of my best marathons was a Just Run one! Go with your heart. And give it everything you have on that day. You’ll never be disappointed. I’m feeling good! Taking this particular taper a bit more seriously. Short zippy runs, plenty of sleep, water and more water, protein, carbs…..blahblahblahnervesblah. Oh and a massage. Which I’m counting the hours until.

      • ohhmygoodness I just read about your face. holy cow!! glad you didn’t break anything! And your taper week sounds perfect–I’m trying to rest, hydrate, fuel up, and sleep as much as possible this week–though a massage sounds amazing. Can’t wait to hear about your race!

  9. I am lucky in that I haven’t lost any toenails, although I haven’t trained for anything longer than a half. But I get blisters between my toes – what up with that?! If it helps, my left hip is so tight I am limping a little. Gah. Go get that massage and rest up!

    • Blisters BETWEEN your toes?!?! Huh. Friction? A narrow toe box? (Wait. That sounded kinda dirty.) Why do we kick the snot out of ourselves?! Good grief! Mind that bum hip!! Can’t wait for the massage. I’ve texted my massage therapist and told her to go to bed early. She has work to do. She’s replied- I. Am. Ready.

      Suddenly. I am afraid.

  10. LOL! Had some pretty gnarly black blistered bleeding toes when training for Dopey Challenge. Now it’s funny how my chiro always comments each visit on the progress my toenails are making in their comeback. Haha.
    Couple things I learned – Features socks are da bomb, Bodyglide on the toes before a run helps, and Rocktape on them helps too.
    Good luck with your taper and I hope your pedicurist doesn’t cut you off.

    • Features Socks ARE THE WAY TO GO! High five! Love ’em. They have my vote for Best Running Sock. Toes down. (See what I just did right there?)

      Dopey challenge?!? That’s on my list!!! Was it brutal or what?

      • High Foot Five! And ha, yes, I toe-tally see what you did there πŸ˜‰

        It actually wasn’t that bad. I did months of training for it, so I was pretty well prepared. That said, I took it super easy the first three races. That strategy helped me PR the 26.2 on the last day! Mickey was all like, ‘Hey Scott, you’re so fine. You’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Scott!”

  11. Pingback: LAY OFF ME I’M TAPERING! {And playlist suggestions, pretty please??} | Run Salt Run

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