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Marathon Reflection: The Battle Scars

by Meghann on June 10, 2009

I am glad everyone enjoyed my previous Marathon Reflection post on Weight & Hunger. To hear everyone had similar experiences is really encouraging and eye opening.

I thought long and hard on what to focus on this week, but all I really had to do was look towards my feet for inspiration. Last Friday I was lucky enough to enjoy my first pedicure in who knows how long, but before then my feet were tore up!

But just to put a fair warning out there, this post is a teeny bit graphic. So, if you don’t want to be grossed out then please don’t read it. Thanks!

When I would tell people I was running a marathon they would quiz me on black toe nails, blisters, chafing, etc. Basically what I would like to refer to as Marathon Battle Scars.

I was very lucky throughout my training on what scars I did endure. The worse I had were the severe calluses forming around my feet. The worst of which presented themselves on the outside of my big & pinky toes. My heels were rubbed dry and my ankles were permanently pink, dotted with fainted scars of blisters.

I would get comments on my beat up feet when ever I wore flip flops, but I live in Florida and not wearing flip flops is not an option.

I know team mates that had it much worse. They were experiencing the black toe nails and the ability to peel their own toe nails off. A couple had the toenails break right down the middle!

My only experience with a black toe nail came in my last week of training when the very tip of my big toe turned a deep purple. After the marathon is still looked the same as before with the deep purple corner.

I was also lucky to never experience any chafing during training, minus from the drawstring of the shorts I wore for my final 20 mile run.

One of the biggest lessons I learned though, is with all the training you  accomplish, you still have no idea what is going to happen on race day!

On race day I wore a skirt and sports bra I had ran in plenty of times before, including my success 18 mile run a month prior. During the trainings I had experienced no chafing. However, after mile 20 I discovered is when all hell breaks loose. After 3.5 hours of running my legs had somehow found their way to each other and I could feel the rubbing starting to burn. After running by dozens upon dozens of volunteers holding up sticks of Vaseline I grabbed one of mile 20 and slathered it on my inner thighs. That really hit the spot!

Some time before then Bobbi and I had actually got a kick out of a man in an Elvis costume, whom we witnessed grab Vaseline, unzip his jumpsuit and proceed to go to town with his business and the Vaseline. We were laughing at just how bad he must have been chafing at that point.

I didn’t notice the other areas I chafed until the race ended. Once I crossed the finish line, I could feel the burn in my arm pits. I lifted my arms to red marks all underneath. It really stung. I then discovered my bra burn that had occurred from the lower end of my sports bra once I was in the shower. In fact the hot rushing water does a great job of informing you of all the exact areas you had chafed or blistered.

At the end of the race the calluses that had formed on the outside of my big toes had expanded and tore. My feet wouldn’t let me wear real shoes for a few days! I also had a blister form between my pinky toe and the one next to it. I felt like I had a piece of paper or something between my toes.

Eventually the chafing marks faded and the pedicure helped with my toes, but for a brief moment is it strange that I wanted to show off all the battle scars? Every chance I got I would brag about my beat up feet or lift my arms to show the red marks. I guess after you run a marathon you have the right to be proud of every aspect of the journey. :)

Does anyone else have any Marathon Battle Scar stories to share?

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