My first marathon and right up to marathon day my feet were virtually perfect. No blisters, no hard skin, nail varnish intact. Marathon day came and went and all the toenails survived. Just. Although there were a couple of close calls.
Marathon training finished, I then did 2 cross country races and then half of them went AWOL. Later to be found in socks ... and upsettingly in one case, floating past my face in the bath.
They were never quite right after that. I painted my toenails in several coats of pink nail varnish and pretended that underneath the cheery pink colour, my toenails were normal.
They were not. They were plotting. They were waiting for halfway through marathon training when they would start falling like confetti at a gross body-parts obsessed wedding. I’ve started moisturising my feet – which have previously needed no care at all to look respectable. I make sure my toenails – or what’s left – are kept short and neat. And I’m shovelling on the pink nail varnish in the hope that’ll it’ll weigh the toenails down enough to keep them attached. Or at least I’ll be able to distinguish when one drops off in the house and I’ll be able to find it quickly before someone else and the screaming starts.
My trainers fit well – I’ve had gait analysis, 3D foot modelling done and had a video of me running to check I’m in the right shoes. I moisturise my feet with a veritable mix of potions. I cut my toenails before running – short and neat. But I seem destined to wear closed toe sandals. Never again will my feet grace the soles of flip-flops and peep-toe slingbacks are a thing of the past. But it could be worse.
Imagine if instead of toenails, toes fell off. The athletic tracks would be surrounded on all sides by discarded digits. They’d have to create a new role possibly some sort of caretaker-janitor to ensure that the track was kept clear. And imagine at the gyms ... instead of toenail clippings and pubic hairs in the showers, you’d be treading on toes instead. And just don’t even think what the swimming pool would be like. You’d definitely have to swim with your mouth closed. It would be more dangerous than a toddler’s paddling pool in the summer.
No. I’m quite happy to have my toenails falling off. I’ll carry on painting the skin underneath and pretending there’s a toenail there. Better no toenails than less than the full complement of toes.