The Runner’s Rite of Passage

27 Apr

So here I sit at work…looking like THIS.

It's sexy, I know.

(Please don’t judge me by my awesome purple argyle socks from Target or my uber sexy Doc Martens steel toe work boots.)

Last night, at the Happy’s Running group I must have pushed it a little harder than I should have. Don’t get me wrong, I was by no means a speed demon out there, but my knees, calves, and ankles are having a harder time adjusting to this extra 15lb of baby weight than I’d like to admit.

No worries, a little icing (Thanks to my handy dandy Peas Cold Therapy from CVS! Ha!), a little elevation, and a little stretching and I should be good to go again tonight to stay on my half marathon speed training program.

The occasional sore muscle is certainly nothing to be seriously complaining about, but it got me thinking. What was my “Runner’s Rite of Passage?”

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had that injury or running issue that, once conquered, made you think, “I am a RUNNER! I made it through! I have ARRIVED!”

When I first started running, it was the shin splints. But I was able to conquer that by getting better shoes, adjusting my running form, backing off on my mileage and then building up properly again.

About a year ago, it was Achilles tendinitis in my right ankle. This SUCKED. It took me out for almost a whole month! However, I was able to conquer it with rest and a good, tight ankle compression brace. I also committed to refusing to be a slave to the treadmill. The continuous identical foot strike motion from the treadmill was wreaking havoc on my ankle. So, I took my training outdoors and never looked back! I still hit the treadmill
on super cold or rainy days, but I mostly like to kick it outside.

This past February during the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon, I developed the ULTIMATE Runner’s Rite of Passage. That’s right…the dreaded BLACK TOENAIL.

Look, I know its gross and I’ll even do you the favor of not posting a picture of it. If you’ve never had one, consider yourself lucky. If you have, wear it like the badge of honor that it is! You earned it with all those miles!! (Okay, so its not quite as cool as a medal or trophy, but deep down, you know it means that you’ve been training like a boss!)

So, after blisters, sore muscles, shin splints, achilles tendinitis, and now the black toenail, I feel like I have arrived. I AM A RUNNER!

What was the biggest Runner’s Rite of Passage YOU have conquered?

10 Responses to “The Runner’s Rite of Passage”

  1. Katherine at 3:44 PM #

    Oh, the black toenail and subsequently losing that toenail after the Mardi Gras half was certainly a rite-of-passage moment for me. But probably completing my first 10k last year was the thing that really made me feel like I could call myself a runner. The feeling of accomplishment after your first big race like that is pretty amazing.

    • katieRUNSthis at 3:49 PM #

      Yes, hitting certain distances certainly counts as Rite of Passage! I should have been clearer. 🙂 As far as injuries go, my black toenail said to everyone loud and clear, “This girl trains hard!!”

  2. Karen at 3:46 PM #

    I SO want that Toenails are for Sissys shirt!!!!!!!

    I have 2 black toenails that 9 months later never fell off and are still working to grow out, but may never be the same again.

    There will be no open toed shoes in my future, but that’s a small price to pay for being a RUNNER!

    Loved this post!

    • katieRUNSthis at 3:50 PM #

      Glad you like the shirt! You can find it at! They have some really hilarious running shirts!

      So far, my black toenail hasn’t completely come off. For now, I have the luxury of disguising it with toenail polish! Camouflage!

  3. Stephanie at 5:11 PM #

    ohh! the black toenail is the worst!You can always tell you are a runner by your feet! I am always a bit embarrassed when I show up for a pedicure because my feet are in terrible shape!

    Anyway, I’m going to have to try and run with the Happys group sometime. I can never make it downtown but most of my runs are solo and I miss running with a group!

    • katieRUNSthis at 1:04 PM #

      Stephanie, please do come out to the Happy’s Running group (on Tuesdays) or the Varsity Sports running group (on Thursdays) sometime! All levels are welcome and it really is a fantastic group of people! Would love to meet you in real life! 🙂

  4. Daria at 2:18 AM #

    Found your blog through the Black Girls Run comments. Hello!

    For some reason, falling and scraping up my knee, made me feel like a “real” runner. After 10 years of running! I was training for a marathon about 2 years ago and tripped on a piece of raised sidewalk. I hopped back up (even though I wanted to call it a day) and continued on with my 8-miler with blood and sweat running down my leg. I felt so hardcore! I hadn’t had a scraped knee in about 20 years so I felt real rugged and tough. I’ve since gone on to fall several more times and realize that I’m just a clutz but the first time was very memorable.

    • katieRUNSthis at 1:02 PM #

      Hi Daria! Thanks for stopping by! (I hope you make it a regular thing!) 🙂

      Its so funny that you mention falling as your “rite of passage”. While this didn’t happen to me running, this did happen to me when I got my bike. I literally had it two days before I apparently had a brain fart, braked too hard, and went right over the front handle bars. I busted up my knees, elbows, chin…everything! But then I got up and thought, “Well, now that I’ve gotten THAT out of the way, I should be good!” I’d like to say I haven’t fallen since, but alas, I have. And for some reason, every time I do, it sort of makes me feel like a kid again. You know, to not care and just be outside doing something fun and active! Its the little things, you know? 🙂

  5. Brittany at 11:19 PM #

    Yay for Louisiana awesome people 🙂

    I’ve had some achilles tendinitis in my right foot/leg too! Do you remember where you bought your compression brace?!

    • katieRUNSthis at 9:32 AM #

      Ha! I think you mean braceS! I swear I bought 4 or 5 of them before finding one that I really felt was tight enough and giving me TRUE compression. I actually bought several “levels” of brace as I was healing to provide me the right amount of compression that I needed. As it healed, I bought braces that were looser.

      I started out with the Mueller Double Adjustable Ankle Support. This offered some serious compression. Its fully adjustable and I could make it as tight as I needed it. I mainly wore this one to work while I kept the ankle elevated throughout the day. I did NOT exercise in this one.

      For when I wanted to start back exercising, I got the TruFit Adjustable Ankle Support. It still offered great compression, but it was thinner and still allowed me to wear it and fit my foot in my shoe comfortably.

      The final (and favorite brace) I got was the McDavid Elastic Ankle Support. I wore this one for a good while when getting back to walking/jogging/running. It was very comfortable and the thinner material almost felt just like an extra sock or something. It wasn’t nearly as noticeable of a feeling in my shoe. AND, you can wash it easily when it gets funky. Trust me, it WILL get funky. I just hand washed it and then let it air dry.

      I bought 1 or 2 others but they sucked so I won’t even bother telling you about those.

      The brands above are typically found in Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and sometimes, even CVS or Walgreens! I hope this helps! Good luck nursing that ankle! Seriously, give it all the time it needs to heal. I know that’s frustrating, but it will just keep coming back if you don’t and it CAN develop into a chronic condition, which you DON’T want.

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