Running is a strange mixture of extremes. For example, I regularly run 16-18 miles in 90+ degree heat, feel like I want to die at the end of the run, have even gotten heat exhaustion on a couple occasions!–and yet, I still love the feeling of accomplishment and (next day) sense of feeling healthy and alive, which is completely at odds with the laying on the ground, can’t even eat because I am so nauseous, please let me die self of the night before after I finish these long runs. And I keep doing it over and over, week after week, in my quest to push myself to the limits and test my endurance in the quest to run 26.2 mi this October.
So this brings me to the changes that have been wrought on my body as a result of such intense and often extreme effort that I have put forth in the last few months of distance running. Namely my feet. When I danced and did gymnastics, my feet were ‘ugly.’ When I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1998 for 2 1/2 months, my feet were really ugly. The pounding I have given my feet in my life is pretty unreal, now that I think about it. But in spite of the many blisters, callouses, bruises and such that they have sported in the past, nothing has compared to the last 6 months of running.
Now, I can claim that my feet ‘proudly’ sport permanent blisters, callouses, bruises PLUS the indignity of losing toenails–a first for me. And since I live in a place where flip flops are acceptable footwear for even many office environments, my really, super ugly feet are not on constant display for the world to see. Ugh. There are days when I don’t even want to look at them, in spite of the fact that they work hard for me and deserve a ton of respect for the conditions to which I subject them.
Now here is the tradeoff. I lost decent looking feet. Yes. But in return, I have developed an incredible lower body (and overall sleeker, more muscular body). Yes, I now have some of the sexiest legs and bums of anyone I know. And that, my friends, is well worth the extreme downfall of my feet. So no complaints from me. I’ll take this tradeoff, and contemplate it as I put myself through another 16 miles of 98-degree temps (and the inevitable I-want-to-die feeling that will follow) this evening!