Ask Me About My Embarrassing Running Maladies!

Disclaimer: As I’ve mentioned before, I have trouble with boundaries. I never know whether the information I’m sharing falls into the Too Much, Not Enough or, in most cases, the Much Too Much category. But if you’re into things that are gross and sort of personal, good friend, read on! Here’s where you get to find out all the interesting things that have been happening to my body since I started training for the Key Bank Marathon back in January.

1. Chafage, and not only in the places where one might expect to be chafed. After my first 20-mile run, I stepped into the shower and stepped right back out again, shrieking in pain. Although I hadn’t noticed it at all during my run, the elasticized ankles of my ultratight (and ultracheap) spandex pants from a national retailer had rubbed the dickens out of the skin around my ankles. Now it looks like I’m wearing a pair of really cool snakeskin belts around my lower shins.

2. And while we’re talking about bargain-priced pants – not only do they have amazing hair (and skin!) removal technologies, but they also fail to stay in place on my hips. One day, I wore an entire fashionistic spandex ensemble for a long run along a busy street. It was only later, while I was stretching in triumphant warrior I pose, that someone told me, “Uh … your butt is hanging out.” There’s a lesson in here somewhere, but I don’t know what it is.

3. Thick, bruised, unmanageable toenails:

Wait! Where did you go? Didn’t you read the disclaimer at the top? I was hesitant to post this picture because I would like for you guys to think I’m some ethereal being who just kind of floats and doesn’t experience any of the weird effects of pounding my body weight against pavement for 10-plus hours a week. When I took this picture, the situation had escalated to the point where I could no longer clip my toenails myself. Thick to begin with, they had been crunched up against the toes of my running shoes for so long that they had turned into calcified knots.

The other day, I decided to take action and I treated myself to a professional pedicure. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, there’s a scene where Harry and Lloyd go to a spa and an entire team of mask-wearing professionals tackles their toenails with an electric sander. I used to think that the sander-in-a-day-spa concept was just a hilarious embellishment for the movie, but no. It’s real. Pedicurists have electric sanders, and they keep them in special storage for clueless men with no personal hygiene skills and marathon runners with no personal hygiene skills.

4. The delightful look and sensation of Bleeding Nipples doesn’t affect me, fortunately, because of the amazing technology known as the sports bra, available mostly to females. If you are a woman, you’ve probably been asked the question, “At what point did you first realize that you are a woman?” For me, it was back in college when I went out for a jog and didn’t wear a sports bra. Ouch! I’ve embraced them (and vice versa) ever since.

5. I wish I could also say that the phenomenon referred to lovingly as Runner’s Trots doesn’t happen to me, but it does. A runner’s diet high in whole grains and lentils doesn’t help. Sometimes I wonder if sports nutritionists just make up all that stuff about whole grains and lentils so they can look knowingly at each other every time a runner has to dart off into the woods. Nike should invent an ultralight trowel for such things. Or maybe I should just start eating more cheese and Hostess products.

6. The ol’ Leaky Bladder. It seems that I have something in common with new mothers and sufferers of whooping cough. Unlike the trots, this only affects me after I’ve been running. If someone tells a joke and I laugh really hard, it’s over. So, you guys, please just don’t be funny until the end of May, okay? I’m sick of bringing along spare pants everywhere I go.

Mari Zagarins

When Mari isn't running, biking, hiking, or jumping-jacking in and around her home in Montpelier, she is practicing her facial expressions in the mirror and contemplating whether she should learn to swim.