Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Painful badges

A while back, I took a quiz that tried to figure out what kind of runner I was. One of the questions centered on injuries and what types of injuries I'd suffered through. At the time, I hadn't really gone through anything too harrowing. That question was worth a lot of points in that quiz, and it was the difference between me placing as a 5K-type runner and a middle-distance runner. I knew then and I know now that I'm no way a 5K runner, so I was kind of struck with how razor-thin the margin was.

Well, I've been running a lot longer now and I've put a lot more wear-and-tear on my body. I'd say that if I took that same quiz now, I'd definitely be able to answer with more authority that I have carried injuries before.

Here's a quick list of my running-related injuries, which I actually consider a bit like badges of honor:

* Bloody nipples
* Black toenails
* Strap pain (side)
* Heel pain

I've had some progress and some setbacks. The heel pain that was so rampant during the winter is gone. I haven't laced up my soccer boots since March I think and that pretty much spelled the end of my heel pain. I'm going to have to do something next soccer season though but that's not for a while.

Surprisingly, my nipple pain has gone away as well. I think I may just have finally toughened them up enough. Yes, it's okay to giggle. I can't ever write about this subject with a straight face. But really they don't hurt me much. I don't wear the Vaseline much these days, partly because it was ruining shirts. One shirt, and I'll have to take a picture of it because words don't do it justice, has some strange looking rings, and said rings have demoted that shirt to the point where I might not even wear it around the house. But I think changing my attire has helped as well, in that I don't wear cotton shirts when running at all. Cotton does a number on my nipples... ha!

The two things right now that are bothering me the most are my strap pain and my toenails. The strap pain is, for now, what I'm calling it until I come up with a better name for it. I wear a strap to measure my heart rate and that strap goes around my torso, like this. On my right side I have a mark where it's pretty much worn right through my skin. Whenever I run more than four miles, it hurts. I ran six miles on Friday and it hurt. On Sunday I ran four and I felt it but it didn't hurt, but I could tell that a few more minutes and that would have changed.

Short of not wearing the strap, I'm not sure what I can do to help stop that pain. Now, I don't think all straps would cause that pain so I'm not trying to discourage anyone from wearing one. I used to have it really tight against my body because it would slip and then it bothered me and distracted me during runs so I figured tight would make it better, and it did but I had to loosen it a while ago because I feared some sort of pain, and this might be it.

It's kind of a trade-off, though. I need to monitor my heart rate - I can't let myself run in the high 180s for too long, for instance - so it will stay on my chest. But I think if I only wear it during runs I might lessen the damage.

The other pain is my toenail, specifically the second toe on my left foot. Each of the second toenails on either foot went black a while ago, which I found simultaneously strange and awesome. The one on my right foot has returned almost to normal, and I'm a bit sad by that because I like the black toenail. But the one on my left foot is more than making up for it.

Now, sorry if I give you too much detail but we like to keep it real on Muddy Runner. So, the toenail is strange looking. I tried to trim it with nail clippers but there wasn't much nail to clip. It was like trying to cut a stone, kind of like the nail started growing into a rock-like substance on my toe. Worse, it started to hurt after runs. The other one hurt but once it went black, the pain went away. Same with this one. The pain came, blackness ensued and the pain dissipated. Now, the pain is back.

I asked Mrs. LB to take a look at it and she grimaced and told me it looked like the nail was going to fall off. Great. That's just what I need, 10 toes and nine toenails.

I don't know what to do with it, at this point. I've thought about a band aid or some tape or something but I don't know if that would do any good. It might even do more harm than good since I'd be introducing something into an already cramped space, and that's sorta what led to this to begin with. I trimmed what I could off of it, to try and ease some of the pressure to it.

The Book actually suggested taking a needle or something sharp and cutting the wound to relieve pressure that way, but unless I'm stuck out in the wilderness and it's a life or death situation, like that'd be the only way to stave off gangrene or something, maybe. But right now, that's not a great option.

For now, I'll just have to deal with the pain and try my hardest not to pick at it. When I'm lounging around in my sandals or flip-flops, I have a tendency to want to pick at it, but I'm just asking for trouble there.

Anyway, here's the toenail of honor:

I know the last thing you wanted was to see my toes up close and personal but at least now you have an image of this, and maybe it will inspire you to get some black toenails of your own!


Amanda said...

My second toe looks exactly the same except it's incognito under nail polish. My Mother in law, the runner, says it happens when ones second toe is longer than the big toe. Hmm who knows, but it is a nice badge of honor :)

Angie Eats Peace said...

My second toe nail was the same way, and not big toe nail is on it's way out. Thank goodness I can hide it with polish.

Have you tried body glide at all? It really helps with chaffing, and does not stain clothes.

L.B. said...

I've not tried body glide. I'll have to consider that if the problem comes back. I anticipate that, with an increase in distances (if and when I train for a marathon) the problem might come back stronger than ever.

I do kinda want to paint my toenails too. I think I might paint them all black :)