I Need NEW New Sneakers

I think one of the biggest hurdles/slash motivators toward buying my own home is my tendency to save everything. I have drawers full of clothes I haven't worn in years, either because they became unfashionable, no longer fit, or more likely that I blocked my bureau with growing stacks of DVDs. I need to move so I have more space, but I also need to start getting rid of things because I need more space. It's fine to keep a few old pairs of sneakers around for when I do yardwork or any other kind of manual labor that would mess up my good ones, but in addition to old clothes I have plenty of piles of dusty shoes.

Now, the last time I bought new sneakers, it turned out to be a disaster, because they were too tight and/or defectively made with a groove on the inside that gave me a serious blister right before a big race. So I switched back to the old ones I'd been running in for a few years, worn but broken in, and I was comfortable and fast. The new sneakers went into my basement to be forgotton, while I continued to beat up the old ones.

Nothing lasts forever, as attached as I seem to become to everything. There's a point where “broken in” crosses the line to just broken, and running six miles a day five days a week will take its toll. Little plastic bits popped out along the heel. The logo fell off in several places. And still I ran, I ran so far away. They started to feel loose, no matter how tight I made the laces. At this point, I'd probably be better off running barefoot.

Last week, the second toe on my left foot began to throb. Visually it looked fine, although I was due for a nail clipping. So I figured the nail was just irritated from being on the longest toe and striking the inside of my shoe, and after some trimming all seemed well. I took a few days off from the gym over the holiday weekend, and resumed my routine full-steam on Monday, determined to shed the extra pounds I'd gained. Every day that toe felt a little worse, and was starting to look dark underneath. It was as though I was getting a bruise under there.

As of Friday night, there's only a mild throbbing and pressure, but it does not look good. There's clearly a blood blister which has started to emerge from under the nail. Contrary to tradition, I'll spare you all a photograph. Consider it one of the many changes I might actually make in 2010. I've definitely made it worse every time I put those sneaker back on and ran again, and I'm hoping staying off it for the next two days will help. My research tells me that this is not an uncommon problem for runners, especially those of us idiots with improper footwear. The swelling should go down after 24 hours and I should only seek medical help if there's severe pain. The home care solution seems to be to pop and drain the thing with a sterilized pin, but it's preferable to let it heal on it's own. As with any other blister, breaking the skin can make it vulnerable to infection, and then a mild annoyance becomes a serious problem.

So, there's not much I can do now other than stay off the thing and not run. I'll be spending most of my Saturday with my folks at my cousin's house for a late Christmas gathering, but I think I need to get good sneakers on Sunday and go to a professional running store that a friend recommended. I guess I finally have a use for some gift cards I’ve accumulated. And even with a new pair, I probably should avoid the treadmill for a few days and stick to low impact cardio, either on an elliptical machine or a stationary bike. I tend to sweat more and burn more calories on the treadmill, but it's bad enough that I'm going to lose this nail(hopefully when there's a fresh one underneath). I really don't want to lose the toe or sustain any other long-term damage that will permanently hamper my ability to exercise.

35 years on this planet and I'm still finding new ways to mess myself up. Maybe someday I'll learn. I guess I'll go soak my foot in some epsom salt now....


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