Last night as I sat talking with Miena we both looked down and noticed my toenail was sitting on the ottoman. It had just fallen off without even a whisper of a warning. Upon closer inspection we discovered the entire nail was turning white and unattaching from my big toe. We squealed in disgust, oh my God my toe nail is falling off! I have toe cancer, I am dying! Of course I headed straight to Google and searched "toe nail fall off runner" and up popped a million forums devoted to runners congratulating each other on losing their first toe nail! I guess it is considered an initiation of sorts, separating the occassional runners from the true devotees. No matter your speed or number of medals, if you run consistently you start losing nails. Forgive me for being less than grateful but I have always loved my feet and tend to be a bit vain. If this is shocking to you then you really don't know me at all. I cannot believe I have an "ugly toe" now attached to my body and following me with each step I take. What is a bit ironic is I was going to have my foot tattooed today, which would require me to wear sandals for a week as it heals. There is no way in hell my funky toe nail is making a public appearance until it stops looking like it has leprosy. I could pull a Michael Jackson and cover it with a Hello Kitty bandaid, but it would probably just slip off as I walked, leaving my shameful appendage exposed for all to taunt. Definitely not an option.
The unavoidable truth is that I am probably going to lose more toe nails, and will be lucky if this one grows back. Most people would quit an activity that corroded the nails from their skin, but I do not know a single runner who would quit over such an inconsequential nuisance. It is the persistent need to run past all barriers that inspire the congratulatory pats on the back at a toe nail lost. When we rise alone at 5am to run down dawn filled streets, it is our lack of toe nails that binds us together in a common cause. So I will run on, a freak with no toe nails hobbling along, and know I am not alone no matter how empty the streets may be.