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One week, 13.1 miles, 10 gnarly toes

There was no rain on my final group training run, but it was rather gloomy and chilly. So, I can officially say the weather for every Saturday morning long run of my half-marathon training sucked. Not a nice day in the dozen.

Our final long run before the Mini-Marathon was uneventful. I came. I ran. I drank Gatorade. It was all so normal it was almost mundane, which is a good thing, because it means I’m prepared for the race. Our group leader said it was common for people to get jitters the week before the race, but I feel as cool as the Gatorade I was drinking. I’ve been doing the running and I know I’ll be able to finish. I’ll probably get anxious-excited the night before the race, but only out of anticipation, not worry.

There was one weird thing about the final run. I was only a block away from the end point at the running store when I had to run past a wooden porch next to a local restaurant. There were half a dozen people standing there who suddenly started cheering and whooping and looking at me as I ran by. Um, was I supposed to know these people? They yelled things like, “Good job!” and “Way to go!” I gave them a confused look, and then they looked confused when I kept running past them. I think they were part of another training group, the Team in Training organization that had a water station right at the bridge. However, it was rather fun having people randomly rooting for me. It made me wonder what it would be like if this happened in other aspects of our lives. You could be walking down the office hallway and suddenly encounter your coworkers yelling, “You rock the copy machine!” or “Way to refill the coffee maker!” It would make life so much more exciting and surprising, if somewhat creepy.

Now that training is almost over, I want to show you what it’s done to my feet. And yes, I know I have no future as a foot model.

Running feet

The black color is due to dried blood under the nail bed. Consider it organic nail polish. It’s way cheaper and better for the environment. I’ve had the black toenail on my left foot since my 5K two months ago. The half-black toenail on my right foot showed up a few weeks later, and now my long toe on my right foot has turned a bit red. It’s not painful, though if you squeeze those toes, they do hurt a little. This can happen if you don’t keep your nails trimmed or if your shoes don’t fit properly. My shoes feel pretty comfortable, but since I have the gene that makes my second toe longer than my big toe, I think that toe may be brushing my shoe slightly during my runs. As a result, I can now peel that nail halfway off my toe. Cool! If I were a spy, I could hide a microchip of secret documents under there.

As you can see, I also have crossed toes, or bunions. This is another genetic trait that I’ve had since birth, not a condition due to ill-fitting shoes as it can be in many people. For most of my training I wore separators to straighten the toes, but decided to stop a month ago because I thought they might have contributed to my foot injury. As a result, last week I started developing a blister on my long toe, not because of bad socks or poor shoes, but because my toe is now rubbing against…MY TOE! It’s not painful, just rather ridiculous. I’m rather proud of me feet. They’re not as gnarly as a ballerina’s feet (warning, gross foot image), but they show how much I’ve used them. And the blood will go away eventually.

This week the training winds down to only 20-minute and 30-minute runs. I’ll start carbo-loading a couple days before the race, gaining weight in glycogen and water right before my monthly weigh-in. (Oh, fun.) Carbs get converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is instant energy that your muscles can access immediately. However, for every pound of glycogen your body stores it also stores 3-4 pound of water. When people say you’ve lost “water weight” at the beginning of a diet, that’s the weight they’re referring too. I’m going to be gaining water weight, so I’ll just have to remind myself I’m not getting fat, I’m just storing energy – heavy, heavy, energy.

My training group is making pace bracelets for everyone which I’ll pick up at the end of the week. You give them the time you want to finish in and they give you a bracelet that has the time you should hit each mile marker printed on it. I’m aiming for two hours, 30 minutes. I’m planning out what I’m going to wear on race day and I’ll lay it out the night before. It should be all good. The best thing is knowing that a week from now all this running will be over!

ETA: A couple people asked if that last sentence meant I was going to stop running. Nope, I’m still going to run, just not so much. Those 60-minute long runs on the weekend are killer.

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47 Comments

barbara • April 27, 2008 at 11:59 am

Great work, PQ — you do sound ready! It also sounds like you’re planning to stop running after this event – are you? I just finished your book; a great read. You inspired me to try kickboxing class at my gym this morning for the first time. I liked it! I was surprised that I didn’t feel as uncoordinated and klutzy as I expected to. I guess I have some natural ability to PUNCH! KICK! PUNCH-KICK-PUNCH! Also, reading your book motivated me to get on the scale, which I’d been avoiding. I weighed in at 156.5 — my short-term goal is to get below 150, then eventually to get to a healthy 135-140. Sigh. It never ends. :)

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Heather • April 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I just finished making my pace bracelet today! What a coinkydink! I’m aiming for 3 hrs. Been a slow year, don’t see why the race will be much different. My mini is in 2 weeks. Good luck to us!!

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Merry • April 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm

No more running? Are you going to switch to bicycling? :)

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PastaQueen • April 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I’m going to keep running, just not this much :) Those 60-minute long runs on the weekend are killer.

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Red • April 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I too have the long second toe gene. I often ponder what genetic advantage may have caused it to evolve.

The ability to poke people from slightly further away?

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Fooled • April 27, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Wow. I woke up this morning thinking I should start running, since that would save on the gas I use driving to the gym. And then I realized it was drizzling a bit and I’m not good at running. Which is a ridiculous reason. And now I’m kind of inspired. Or maybe I’ll walk fast and then I’ll move onto running.

Incidentally, I just finished your book a half hour ago, and it was extremely cool. It was a bit surreal because I’d been rereading your blog entries from start to finish and in the middle I realized that your book was probably at the Borders near me and went out and bought it, so I kept thinking, wow, I remember when that happened! And then I would go back and reread that specific blog entry again, because I’m anal. And then I would get really confused because I couldn’t remember where I was in the book and where I was in the blog. Really it is a surprise I can function.

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Kyle • April 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Hey! I have crossed toes too. It always hurt when I played soccer and now that I’m older my right big toe is practically perpendicular to my foot. I feel such a connection with you :)

Glad you’re not nervous yet, and you shouldn’t be. You’re more than prepared and I’m sure you’re going to do well for the mini. So after this are you planning a full?

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PastaQueen • April 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Dear God no, a half-marathon is good enough for me.

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Jenn • April 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Ah, those look vaguely reminicent of my feet in the days leading up to my half marathon. I have oddly long pinkie toes and they were just awful. But yes, rest assured, they’ll go back to normal eventually.

Best of luck for your race. I can’t wait to see the pictures.

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PastaQueen • April 27, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Oh cool, you got it at Borders? I wasn’t sure if it was being stocked yet. Thanks!

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Kenny • April 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm

I just found your website and I’d like to say congratulations on the massive weightloss! I really hate running. I get stitches after running for like 30 seconds. I really should up my cardio a lot more :( .

Heres my transformation!

http://www.summershred.com/all-about-me/my-transformation/

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Lesley • April 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Hi PQ. I just finished my first half marathon and LOVED it!!

Did it in 2 hours and 10 minutes and felt great nearly the whole way round. I took the first few miles very steadily and didn’t freak out that EVERYONE was overtaking me and, as my reward, I started overtaking them after 4 or 5 miles!! I’m on a major high and hope you enjoy your first half marathon at least half as much as I did!!

Good luck

Lesley`xx

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KateG • April 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Best of luck in the marathon. Not that you need luck – you are well prepared. Hope the weather is good! And I love that you brought up toe length – half my family has the longer second toe and half does not and we have had long arguments about who is normal and who is mutant…

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Laura • April 27, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Holy cow, you got black toenails? What a runner you are. =)

So, I just spent my entire Sunday morning and early afternoon reading and finishing your book. I laughed, I cried, I hurled! Well, I didn’t hurl, and I didn’t cry exactly, but I did get teary-eyed in the last chapter. I can’t wait to review it this week on my blog.

I really hope we can find each other on the race course. There’s like, 35,000 people running but it shouldn’t be a problem for 2 hot babes who run almost the same pace to run into each other, right? Seriously, if you run with your cell phone (I do and will be) I hope you call me at some point so we can find each other.

The only thing I’m dreading about the race is that I’m going to have to get up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. CST, since I’m staying the night in Carmel and you guys are an hour ahead of us. I do NOT do mornings, and I have only ever run in the early morning once (other than the 3 races I’ve run, but I didn’t have to get up until 7 a.m. for those). I am just praying I can make it on endorphins, enthusiasm, and caffeine, because a fabulous night’s sleep (in a spare room bed, no less) ain’t likely to happen.

Have a great last week of training. Stay strong.

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PastaQueen • April 27, 2008 at 5:17 pm

That’s a great time. Congrats!

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PastaQueen • April 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

I hear it’s a dominant gene (see #6 in the link).

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shelly • April 27, 2008 at 5:41 pm

I have a friend that runs so much that she has lost most of her toenails!

I would opt for yoga instead. I’m just sayin.

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Andrew is getting fit • April 27, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Aah…black toenails. Display them with pride! I know I’m inordinately proud of the one I have!

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Shelladawn • April 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

You seem well and truly prepared for your run next week.Good luck.And whats with the itty bitty pretty ballerina’s tootsies?Wow.That makes my chubby bear/goblin feet feel a hell of a lot better.Good luck again.

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Meagan • April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I can’t wait to read all about the mini-marathon. What an awesome moment that’s to be for you. GO PQ!

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Laura • April 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I’m doing my third half-marathon this weekend, and I am SO not prepared – I’ve really been slacking on the running lately! I love the pace bracelet idea – I think I may make one of those for myself.

Also, today at the grocery I saw some magazine at the checkout counter that had Ali from the Biggest Loser standing in one leg of a huge pair of pants. I thought, “they stole that idea for a graphic from Jeanette!” What cheaters :)

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jae • April 28, 2008 at 2:51 am

I have this weird foot fetish and think your feet are cute. (My hubby’s toes are about four inches long and his feet are crazily narrow and long but so sexy!) ANYWAY, maybe you should treat yourself to a really good pedicure after these big runs because some of the better salons/spas have great foot/calf massages. Yum. You’d have earned it for sure! And for the polish color? Either deep burgandy to go with the bloody nails or clear to show them off!!! :) ~j

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jae • April 28, 2008 at 2:59 am

Sorry I posted twice and now I’m posting again to say “Sorry”. Good grief! ~j

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Nancy • April 28, 2008 at 11:27 am

My neighbor used to run in school, and she lost her toenails from high amounts of running. Sounds like you may too! I’m afraid of that happening to me. I love my open toed shoes way too much. Are your shoes a half size bigger than you normally wear?

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PastaQueen • April 28, 2008 at 11:34 am

No, they’re normal-sized shoes. I just picked what felt good at the running store.

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Kelly • April 28, 2008 at 11:56 am

Hee hee. I would love to have people cheering me on through my day.

Did you ever see that commercial for (I think) Starbucks where Foreigner is following a guy around singing about how awesome he is to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger”? It starts out with them singing his name to those first few definitive beats: “Roy! Roy Roy Roy! Roy Roy Roy! Roy Roy Roy!” Then Roy walks away and this other guy gets in the elevator with the band and they immediately start singing “John! John! John John!” etc.

Sorry, hard to describe. But it cracked me up.

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Jennifer • April 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

That’s what I said, too! After 5 half marathons, I just finished my first marathon 10 days ago, now I’m looking for more. Maybe I can run it faster….

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Jennifer • April 28, 2008 at 4:22 pm

That was meant to be a reply to your “Dear God, no” comment

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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PastaQueen • April 28, 2008 at 7:14 pm

I am familiar with that commercial! Like all videos, it is on YouTube http://youtube.com/watch?v=14qeu7JRwt0

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PastaQueen • April 28, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Oh, that’s a good point. Maybe I’ll just wear the separator for the race.

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Morgan • April 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm

I’ve decided to train for a marathon. I have a thing about exposing my feet to open air. It freaks me out. So, even if I get the dreaded runners black-toe, no one will see it.

PS- Wanna come do the KC Marathon with me on October 18th? hehe

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Gwen >> My Relationship Resume • April 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Hey, I read about you taking out your toe separator and that your big toe would rub your second toe. Perhaps you can wrap your second toe in medical tape (make sure the ends of the tape don’t rub another toe!). Goodness knows, 2.5 hours of rubbing, sweating, and foot swelling and lead to a really annoying blister and chafing between your toes. (I do premptive wrapping of my pink toes.)

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PastaQueen • April 28, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Heh, thanks for the invite, but no thanks. Half a marathon is good enough for me.

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kathy • April 29, 2008 at 2:10 am

My only 1/2 marathon was at the end of a triathalon and it was Not Fun. But I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Try vaseline on your toes and anywhere you rub skin. It is the triathelet’s dirty little secret.

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kathy • April 29, 2008 at 2:18 am

Oh, man! THis is what You Tube is made for. Ex-pats who haven’t watched YEARS of US TV.

How about Hank? http://youtube.com/watch?v=uEKa6AjVrPM&feature=related

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Kelly • April 29, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Glen, Roy, whatever…

You gotta love YouTube for those sorts of things.

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BrightAngel • April 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Got your book this week.

Just finished reading it, and want to tell you that it’s a great job.

I’ve been reading your blog every day for the past year, so your talent didn’t surprise me,

But I continue to be surprised at the wisdom and insight your writing shows…I could add… “for one so young”…but I’ve found such wisdom and insight to be rare for any age.

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wilma • May 1, 2008 at 11:34 am

Hey PQ: Good luck!! Re the toe nails, one way of disguising them is to paint your nails a relatively dark colour–that’s what I do in the summer (it’s quick, doesn’t have to be perfect b/c no one is looking closely, and looks good) to disguise my nasty toe nails. I just reapply the same colour all summer long…it even works if a toe nail falls off (I know, tmi)…

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Dana Seilhan • May 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Henna! Dye your toenails with henna and the blood won’t show as much. :P

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Kap • May 2, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Did anyone ever tell you to buy your running shoes 1 to 1.5 sizes bigger than your shoe size? This will help cut down on lost toenails. :) Good luck tomorrow!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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