Finding Bargain Priced Running Shoes Via the Web

In a recent visit to one of my favorite running shoe stores in the Conejo Valley (to be left unnamed), I noticed a trend that I did not like...nearly every pair of running shoes was in the triple digit range.

I also noticed this price trend at another one of my favorite stores to purchase running shoes, the Sketchers store. I've had decent experience with the GoRun shoes in recent years. But all of a sudden it seems the pricing on the shoes is up by $15 to $20 per pair. 

So while I purchased shoes for my son, whose feet are growing by leaps and bounds and thus ensuring a solid fit is critical, I passed on buying myself new running shoes because I'm tired of getting gouged on shoe pricing. 

Before I continue, let me just say that I still do patronize our local running shoe stores as I value their service and supporting local business. But when I find a shoe that I like, I don't want to spend $110 on them. 

Finding a bargain priced shoe on the Internet is not rocket science. Simply "Google" the name of the shoe you are looking for and you are likely to find it on clearance somewhere. Not always, but often.

In my case, I searched for Mizuno Wave Hitogami and came across the Hitogami 2 at sierratradingpost.com. Although the color of the shoe wasn't optimal (bright orange), the price was right. $49.95 for shoes that fit great on me that have a retail price of $110.

Often though, closeout deals like this have limited sizes available. I was lucky in that not only was my size available, multiple pairs were available. When I find a shoe that I like and at a bargain price, hell, why not buy 2, 3 or 4 pairs! 

So I added 3 pairs of shoes to my cart and went to the checkout, entering my information. Then, I searched for Sierra Trading Post promo codes and seconds later had a 25% off and free shipping promo code from RetailMeNot.com. That lowered the price to $37.46 per pair of shoes.

So within literally 2 minutes' time, I ordered 3 pairs of shoes that fit me well for the price of one and got free shipping to boot.

Disposable Wipes Make a Worthy Addition to One's Post-Marathon Routine

Had a discussion with a friend about his 3 day family camping trip in which they had no access to running water for bathing. He was running 10 or so miles a day on this trip. So the most pressing question was, how does his family stand the smell!!?? (I asked him in a more respectful way then that. I think.) He said disposable wipes did the trick.

I didn't think much of it until September 7th, the day before the Ventura Marathon. After sweating through 26.2 miles, I generally want to head right home or hotel room for a shower. But this time I planned to meet my family after the race for the Ventura County ComiCon event at VC Fairgrounds. So what the heck, I brought a package of "wipies" with me to see how well they work.

As usual, I was smelling quite pungent after the race. But those trusty wipies actually did a great job cleaning me up...to the point that I didn't, at least in my own humble, olfactory opinion, have post-race stench. The next four hours brought no pained looks and plugged noses by those around me.

Find a Race Anywhere in the USA at RunningInTheUSA.com

In planning for an upcoming trip, I decided to look around to see if there are any upcoming races in the part of Texas I will be visiting. I Googled around a bit and found random races here and there and figured it was going to be a long process. But soon I came across the site www.RunningInTheUSA.com and was pleasantly surprised.

Running in the USA is clearly and simply organized; in fact, it reminded me of this website (www.ConejoValleyGuide.com in case you forgot!). In navigating the site you can quickly drill down to upcoming races by state, and from there, by date. Then they give you the option of searching by distance (5K, half marathon, triathlon, etc.) or by month or other criteria. From there, they link to the race's website.

Nice, clear and concise. Exactly the way I like it.

There currently is over 40,000 upcoming races listed in the Running in the USA database. This includes nearly 2,800 in California alone.

It makes you wonder, how do they compile all of this information? The owners of the site are a husband/wife team, Bill and Mary Flaws of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Mary is the runner in the family and does the website and database programming for the site (in addition to her "regular" job). Mary's marathon PR is 3:08 in the 2010 Lakefront Marathon in Wisconsin (2nd place in her division).

I took a look at another great online running resource, MarathonGuide.com, and quickly discovered that Mary ran 11 marathons (at least) in 2010 alone, including 2 marathons in one weekend, two weekends prior to her PR performance, preceded by another marathon the week before. That's crazy! Heck, I'm usually tapering my mileage the last three weeks prior to a marathon! She is a diehard runner!

Bill works full-time on the site,checking literally hundreds of links each week for race updates, results and new races.

I have appreciation for what they are doing as this is quite similar to Conejo Valley Guide. And the result of their work is an extremely comprehensive and as a result popular resource for runners throughout the country. Check it out!

Interview with John Fedoroff of Thousand Oaks, Winner of 2012 Malibu Marathon

John Fedoroff of Thousand Oaks demolished the course record at the 4th Annual Malibu Marathon on Sunday, November 11th. His finishing time of 2 hours, 37 minutes placed him nearly 12 minutes before the 2nd place finisher and was almost 5 minutes faster than the previous course record.

I met John several years ago at The Oaks Mile in Thousand Oaks and was impressed by his speed. In 2011 he ran the Boston Marathon in a personal best time of 2:34:45. He had trained to run the New York Marathon on November 4th but the race was cancelled on the 2nd as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

John is married, has 4 kids and at age 43 is running like he is in his twenties. I figured, why not ask him about his training as perhaps we can all benefit from whatever he's doing!

1. How do you feel about your performance at the Malibu Marathon? Were you happy with your time, given the challenging course?

I ran about what I expected I was capable of running. I didn't think the course was that challenging compared to what I was expecting in New York which would have been over 2x the elevation gain. The hills toward the end of the race were a bit challenging, but I was expecting them so I made sure I had enough left in the tank to finish well.

2. Were you expecting to win the race? At what point did you know you were going to win? Was there any point in the race where you felt any self doubt?

A couple of days before the race, I spoke with Blue Benadum (the Malibu Marathon race director who placed third in the Santa Barbara Marathon the day before in an impressive 2:28) who warned me that I would probably be running by myself. I wasn't necessarily looking forward to running by myself, but I just thought of it as a training run with aid stations. My goals were to win the race, run a course record and try to run as close to six-minute pace as possible. 

There was a point at about mile five where I thought I might not be able to finish because my hamstring started acting up. I thought, "Oh no, this would be embarrassing--dropping out of a marathon at mile six," but I was able to relax just a bit and the pain went away. Half the battle, as you well know, is getting to the start of the marathon in one piece.

I had several setbacks during the final weeks of this marathon build up. It started with a groin strain during a 20-miler I ran the day after running a cross country race with the kids I help coach. I learned it's not a good idea to run 20-milers the day after a race. As soon as I started getting over the injury I ended up catching a cold which set me back another couple of days. As soon as I was well enough to run I went out with the kids on a 10-miler and got hit by a car! I had to take a few days off of running to allow my knee to heal.

As soon as I was ready to get back to the marathon training I went out and bought some racing flats to try out on a 15-mile marathon pace run. The problem was that the shoes were a bit too small and I developed blisters on the ends of my big toes. Unfortunately, I developed a strep infection and had to take two different antibiotics to get over the infection and I had to have my toenails removed.

Thankfully, I still had about two weeks before the NYC Marathon so my toes had time to heal. After all of the travel to New York I returned home feeling exhausted, but still wanted to run a marathon so I decided to run one last tempo run. Unfortunately, I didn't warm up properly and felt a strain in my hamstring which took several days to recover from. As any master's runner knows, running at this age is mostly about managing injuries.

[Editor's Note: HOLY %^&*!! And I thought I had a lot of setbacks in my training! Wow!]

3. The marathon started over half an hour late this year. What goes through your mind when this happens and how do you deal with a change in plans like this, both mentally and physically?

I figured it would start late having read that it started late last year. I heard they were waiting for a bus to arrive from Santa Monica. When it comes to punctuality I do not have a very good track record, in fact I'm one of the worst. I joke around with my family that we should change our last name to Feder-late-than-never! I just kept doing my warmups and tried to stay warm. Also, I was happy that I had the chance to use the bathroom one last time.


4. Speaking of change in plans, where were you when Mayor Bloomberg cancelled the 2012 New York Marathon on Friday, November 2nd, what went through your mind, and how did you end up choosing Malibu?

I was in a toy store in Montclair, New Jersey with my family when I received a call from my friend telling me about the marathon being cancelled. It was a hard thing to hear and at first I didn't want to believe it was true. So much time and effort--not to mention the travel expense--goes into preparing for a marathon that it makes it hard to think about things rationally. My thinking was that since they ran the marathon after 9/11 that they would run this year as well. However, it was just too soon for a lot of people. It was a sad time to be in New York and we returned home sooner than we had planned. I still wanted to run a marathon, but found that all of the big races had filled up. After all of the travel I felt it was best to run a local race. I couldn't run Santa Barbara because of a conflict with high school cross country CIF prelims at Mt. SAC, so I decided to contact Blue to see if he could get me into Malibu.

5. You ran a fantastic time at Malibu. Can you give us mortals some training advice...how about the most important things you did in your training?

I try to follow the Jack Daniels approach to running which breaks up training into four phases. The first is the Foundation/Injury-Prevention (F/I) phase where you just build up your miles by running easy. The second phase, called Early Quality (EQ), involves short repetitions (200s/400s) at mile race pace with long rest to work on running economy. The third phase called Transition Quality (TQ) is the most difficult phase where you run longer intervals (1000s/1200s) at 5K race pace with equal rest based on time. Lastly, there's the Final Quality (FQ) phase which focuses on race-specific workouts which for marathon training involve a lot of tempo runs and marathon pace workouts. I try to get my miles up to about 70-80 miles per week during the F/I phase so that my body can handle the more demanding phases to come. Daniels says that it's important to know what the purpose is for every run. Before I read his book, Jack Daniels' Running Formula, I really didn't understand how to prepare for a marathon other than just go out and run. I don't always follow the plan exactly because of injuries or other interruptions, but I know how to get in the necessary work so that when I step on the line I am confident that I can run my goal pace for 26 miles. Probably, the most important aspect of marathon training can be distilled down to just one word...consistency.

6. Some specific training questions: What is your peak weekly mileage, how many long runs did you do prior to the marathon, do you do any speedwork, how often do you take rest days and how long was your taper for the marathon?

For this marathon build-up I think I got up to 90 miles once, but I usually just try to hit 70 miles per week. I always hope to do more, but injuries, etc. seem to get in the way. I got in about six long runs ranging from 16-20 miles in the final three months leading up to the race. I definitely try to get in speed work in preparation for the marathon. If you want to run fast you need to run faster than marathon pace in your workouts. It's not always fun especially when you are training by yourself, but if you can workout with some runners that are close to your ability it's much easier to finish the workouts. A typical week consists of a long run on Sunday followed by two or three rest days then an interval workout followed by another two or three easy days and then a long tempo or marathon pace workout. I'm not a big fan of the long taper because my immune system lets down when I back off the training, so I usually just taper for one week. However, I was forced to taper two weeks due to the cancellation of the NYC Marathon. I actually felt like I was ready for a faster race on less rest a week before Malibu.

7. You are a self-employed graphic artist with a wife and 4 kids - how do you balance your training with work and family?

The short answer would be I don't--if you have figured it out please let me know! Unfortunately, all of these other areas in my life take a hit because of my obsession with running and yet, running has helped keep my life moving forward. I can get down sometimes when the business isn't going well or a family relationship is strained, however the very act of just putting one foot in front of the other keeps up the forward momentum.

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is found in Philippians which says, "…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Probably the best thing that has come out of running is that it can be an inspiration to others.

My wife, Adriana has been running for about a year now. Also, our daughter Bella started running cross country at Oaks Christian High School this past season and made some really good friends along the way. Our oldest son, Nathan just finished his first season of cross country with the Newbury Park youth cross country team. He's really gotten into running this past year. For example, he had an assignment in his 5th grade class to write a famous person and he chose one of America's greatest marathoners. He was so excited when he received a handwritten full-page letter from Ryan Hall a couple of weeks later. Lastly, our boy Xander said the "R" in his name stands for "Runner" in a recent school project (hey, it's a start!) and our youngest boy, Christian considers himself the fastest runner in the family because he's beaten me in a couple of "races" down our street.

Thank you so much, John, for sharing such great advice and inspiration! I think any runner will find your advice quite useful. Keep us posted on your next big race!

Marla Runyan Half Marathon Today Indicates Possible Sub-3 Hour Marathon Time

The Inaugural Marla Runyan Half Marathon in Camarillo Sunday morning started off on time and as planned, behind the Target store. Great weather was on hand - overcast, low to mid 60s, minimal wind.

Marla Runyan is a legally blind runner who graduated Camarillo High School in 1987. Stargardt’s Disease caused her childhood macular degeneration that took away her eyesight. But she didn't let this stop her.

Runyan is a three-time national champion in the 5000 meters and won four gold medals at the 1992 Summer Paralympics. She is the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympics, finishing 8th (top American) in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was the top American at the 2002 New York Marathon in 2 hours, 27 minutes with the second-fastest debut time ever by an American woman.

Quite an inspiration. And she was there at the start of the race, giving us a brief, yet memorable send-off.  The key words were "make sure to pace yourself." Solid advice.

My goal was to run a half marathon time of 1 hour, 25 minutes or less. Based on my 2.1 rule of thumb (projected marathon time = half marathon time x 2.1), a time of 1:25:43 or below equates to a sub-3 hour marathon time that has eluded me now for 8 years.  So I was thinking I'd be happy with a 1:24 to 1:25 run at a reasonable pace that wouldn't beat me up.

Cutting to the chase, I ran the race in 1:23:51, good for 4th overall and 1st in my age group. I just looked back and the last time I ran a half marathon was over 3 years ago on 9/19/09, in 1:23:53. So somehow I managed to cut 2 seconds off my time.

The words of Marla Runyan were penetrated my brain briefly but 1/4 mile into the race my body told me I was felt pretty light footed. So I pulled past 5 or 10 guys into 2nd place, within range of the 32 year old who ultimate won the race (and on that note, pretty much ALL of my personal best times were set at the age of 32).

To achieve a 1:24 marathon, all I needed to do was run a 6:25 pace the entire race. The first mile for me was 6:09 and my two mile time was 12:20. Five miles into the race I was under 31 minutes, around a 6:12 average pace. I had built up a minute cushion below my target time.

Then around mile 6 I started realizing that my body could not continue that 1:21-ish half marathon pace. While I was able to maintain the rate of my stride, my step became less bouncy and more labored. No breathing problems or anything, just muscles that started to show signs of fatigue. Not good!

Two guys passed me between miles 6 and 10 and one more nearly reeled me in at the end (in fact, I was surprised he didn't catch me but I gave it whatever I had to hold him off).

At mile 10 I was around 63 minutes or so, which translates translates to about a 6:46 pace for the final 5K, significantly slower than the 6:18 pace for the first 10 miles. I definitely struggled to keep my pace but I held it up through the finish....barely!

Lesson learned. If an OLYMPIC ATHLETE tells you to pace yourself before a race, well, dammit, LISTEN to him/her!

But it was fun making an attempt to keep it real with those 32 year olds. I'm 48, so you'd think at least I get to subtract a third of my time to even things out with them.

Would be interesting to run that exact same race again, but this time do the first 6 miles at the more appropriate 6:25. Perhaps I would have run negative splits and a faster overall time.  Next time...

Three weeks until the Malibu Marathon now. Considering one more slow paced 18 to 20 miler this coming weekend. I'll do it if I feel up to it.

Predicting Your Anticipated Marathon Time Based on Other Races

Have been running regularly through the holidays, though nothing too long, speedy or intense. Generally 30 to 45 minutes per day. Would love to kick it up a few notches but the holidays and year-end crazyness make that a challenge.

After a visit to the eye doctor the other week, my spring marathon plans may be a bit up in the air. Since the vision in the right eye is terrible and not correctable with lenses, I will be doing another eye surgery next year, quite possible in the January/February time frame. If I can get my running mojo back and ramp up to 20 milers by late January, it's possible to run a decent marathon.

Speaking of marathoning, a topic of interest to most marathoners is how to predict your marathon time based on your times in other distances. Over the years I've used rules of thumb to predict my time, such as multiplying my 10K time by 4.7 and multiplying my half marathon time by 2.1. The resulting total is my predicted marathon time, assuming I've done sufficient long distance training.

To use these formulas, you have to convert from hour/minute format to total minutes in decimal format, then after doing the calculation convert the resulting number back into hours/minutes.

For example: If I've recently run a 38 minute, 25 second 10K, to predict my marathon time, first I convert the 38:25 into decimal format. To convert 25 seconds into minutes, divide it by 60 seconds and the result is .42. Then add .42 back to 38 and you get 38.42. Multiply 38.42 by 4.7 and your marathon time is 180.57 minutes.  Now time to convert .57 back into seconds by multiplying by 60. That equals 34 seconds. Add that back to 180 and you're running a 180 minute (3 hour), 34 second marathon.

OK, that's a bit technical, so I have a better solution. Visit www.mcmillanrunning.com/index.php/site/calculator and try the great running calculator that calculates all sorts of projected race times based on a range of actual times. Typing in a 38:25 10K into this calculator generates a predicted marathon time of 3 hours, 17 seconds.  Pretty darn close to the rule of thumb.

Check it out! It's simple, quick and great!

Perfecting the Art of Blowing Your Nose on the Run

Some call it the snot rocket. I don't really call it anything. But placing a finger on one nostril while forcibly expelling air out the other nostril while running is quite a regular occurence during my runs.

I remember way back when I first started running in 1993. When I started running with more experienced runners, there was one guy that I thought had a particularly nasty habit of blowing snot out of his nose what must have been every 5 minutes.  But it actually helped my training as it always pushed me harder so that I would always be running either on the side of or in front of him to stay out of range of his boogers.

To me it appeared quite a nasty, barbaric habit.

But things quickly changed as I started acclimating to the life of a real runner. Yes, runners do nasty things at times.

What made me think of this is the lingering phlegm buildup I've been encountering after my recent bout with the common cold. After taking a day off work and running on Monday, April 4th, the nasal buildup has been steady.

It took my body another 8 or 9 days to start feeling like I wasn't running with lead weights attached to my shoes, but getting out there and running makes me feel better in the morning after and while battling a cold. I wake up with my sinuses congested, but within 5 minutes there's a rapid flow of mucus that I'm able to expel on the run.

For those seeking instruction on snot rocket technique, it is pretty much common sense. While running, take your right finger and place on the outside of your right nostril. Twist and tilt your head to the left as best you can to steer clear of your clothing. Then blow as hard as you can. Ah! Doesn't that feel better? Now do the same using your left finger. Repeated as desired.

Of course it is nice to have courtesy and make sure no one is behind you while participating in this procedure. And if you're slightly vain like I am, try to do this when no one is around, as someone driving that car may know you and be repulsed by what you are doing. Unless they are a runner themselves.

At the end of a run, I feel invigorated and my nasal cavity is cleared of all that nastiness inside. I'm ready for a great day.

So join the crowd and blow those liquid boogers out when you need to. 'Snot anything to be ashamed of.

Hour and 45 Minutes, No Water, No Gels, But a Bit of Chafing

With nearly 18 years of running and 45,000 miles under my belt, you'd think I'd have learned from all my mistakes. But nope, from time to time, I subconsciously must seek some self-defeating behaviors. But it's all good!

Sportslick is a nice alternative to Vaseline to maintain chafe-free skin on long runs

 

 

 

 

 

           On Saturday morning I decided I should run for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or 15 minutes longer than my previous longest run of the year the previous Saturday. It was somewhat cool outside so I decided I would wing it and not bring any fluids or gels, like my typical 40 to 60 minute weekday run.

Usually on my longer runs, I have a pre-run routine, but since this was kind of an ad hoc decision, I hadn't given much mental thought. But I did do the basics....bandaids on the inner circles of my chest (a.k.a. nips) and for chafing and blister prevention, some Vaseline on the inner thighs, some on the toes and heel and the backs of my armpits. You know, anywhere.

With some light sunscreen and a hat on my head, I ran off, feeling perky. Felt good outside, this last day pre-Daylight Saving time.

About an hour into the run I started feeling very slight irriation on the left side of my upper leg, where the inner thigh meets the running short. The telltale sign that something was amiss. But I've run thousands upon thousands of miles with no significant chafing issues that I didn't worry too much, though something told me perhaps I didn't put enough lubrication down there.

Sure enough, it became a true annoyance over the next 15 minutes, to the point I had to decide, should I cut the run short by 15 minutes to minimize the what was now obvious chafing issue, or do I grin and bear it. I chose the latter. I'm no wimp.

And so I continued running on a path I knew would achieve my 1 hour, 45 minute goal. Adjusting my crotch every few minutes (drivers must have wondered what I was doing), I made it home. But I was fully dreading the shower. Ooch, ouch, ooch, ouch as the water drove the pain factor up.

But I survived. Two days of Neosporin and other topical creams later, I was pretty much o.k.

So bottom line, make sure you LUBRICATE ADEQUATELY for your long runs. Take it from me.

And one other thing. I wore a cotton t-shirt on this run. Fortunately it did not do too much chafing damage, but the bottom part of my back felt a bit irritated from the shirt.  I usually where a "technical" top (e.g. a shirt made out of a synthetic material). But once again, I was feeling foolish Saturday morning.

Lastly, even with the red welts on my inner thighs, I was able to run 3 miles on Monday morning and maintain my running streak. It is now March 15th and I've achieved 3 months straight of running. I'll be taking a day off soon though.

Feeling Much Better Two Weeks Post-Tucson Marathon

The Malibu Marathon on Nov 14th gave out finisher towels. Came in handy for those of us cooling off in the ocean after the race!It took me exactly two weeks to feel fully recovered from the Tucson Marathon. Two weeks of holiday preparations, parties, eating, festivities and fun.

What wasn't fun was the sluggish feeling a had last week as I creeped my way through 4 to 6 mile runs each day, not particularly enjoying it. My problem was that I was in a perma-tired state because more than ever I was not getting enough sleep each night. Why am I not getting enough sleep? Kids are up later because they're out of school, Christmas came and went, busy, busy with the new toys and games, etc.

In fact, I'm still kind of in that mode as I write this at midnight.

But something "clicked" yesterday, or I now should say the day before yesterday, since the clock has now struck midnight on Wednesday.

Sunday was exactly 2 weeks post marathon and I ran my longest run since then, 8.5 miles in 64 minutes. A moderate pace that I felt o.k. with. But I still didn't feel GREAT.

The "click" happened on Monday morning, when, even though I was coming off of 5 hours of sleep, there was a spring back in my step. Don't know what prompted it, but I actually felt GOOD even though I was tired.

Same thing today. I only ran 45 minute but I felt like running for hours if I could have. The air was nice and cool outside but not TOO cold. My legs felt fresh. It was enjoyable. Something I haven't felt for awhile.

So now that we are approaching the new year, I will have to figure out what's next for me. My more serious runner friends already have their next marathon on the calendar and are planning to do a 20 miler this weekend. I'm not there yet. But I will be checking my favorite marathon website, www.MarathonGuide.com, for upcoming 26.2 milers.

In other news, for the 2nd time in one month, I am about to lose another toenail. The middle nail on my right foot. This is a personal first for me. My first loss was on December 8th. For about 4 days now this nail has looked the hood of a car. It is hanging by a thread at this point but I'm not gonna force it so as to allow the newbie underneath sufficient coverage. There's one more nail on my right foot, the toe next to the big toe, that I predict will be gone in 3 months.

Lesson learned: MAKE SURE YOUR SHOES FIT. I was stupid. I went to Road Runner Sports in Newbury Park, short on time. The guy found me a shoe that I liked, but it felt a bit small. He didn't have a larger size. But I thought, why not, just buy thinner socks and it should be fine. The worker didn't try to dissuade me. Wish he had. I now have a pair of Saucony ProGrid Kinvaras size 10 1/2 that I wore 4 times. Anyone want them?

One Less Toenail Four Days Before Tucson Marathon

I think it started last December after running the Santa Barbara Marathon, which would make the process almost exactly one year. But the days and weeks are blurry and I don't track the specific time I discovered the toenail on the toe next to my big toe was black.

Black toenail for illustration purposes only. The real black toenail has been changed to protect the innocent.

On Sunday I felt something odd when I put my sock on, like there was a leaf in my sock. But I was in a rush and didn't think much of it. When you have young kids, namely two perpetual motion machine boys, you quickly forget about things.

That night after I showered I noticed what caused that odd feeling. The toenail on the toe next to my big toe (it sure would be nice if they actually had names for the toes like we have for our fingers) was loose. It was more than loose. I could actually open it up like a door, with the hinge attached at the bottom.

I didn't rush the process. It seemed fine. I just carefully placed my socks over the toes and went on with my day. It wasn't until Tuesday night that finality to the situation occurred. The entire nail fell off and underneath was a brand new nail. It doesn't look as "pretty" as the other nails yet, nor do I ever expect it to, but I do have a nail.

Although I have been running now for 17 1/2 years, it is still a pretty rare event to lose a toenail. I take pretty good care of my feet, namely, I keep my toenails trimmed, buy shoes that fit and have some room in the toebox so they don't get smooshed and on most runs 18 miles or longer I sacrifice my socks by slathering Vaseline on the toes to prevent blistering.

Given the rarity of the moment, I pondered for 10 minutes whether I should keep that toenail and show it to the kids. Yes, for 10 minutes, as I brushed, flossed and gargled, that toenail sat on the countertop (which has since been washed) as I considered the benefits of keeping it.

Some ultramarathoners have been known to keep their fallen toenails. I've seen a Ceremonial Toenail Necklace online. Quite nasty looking.

Also on my mind was the fact that one of the very few mistakes I made at the Malibu Marathon on November 14th was that I had NOT cut my toenails enough and as a result, now my RIGHT FOOT has not one, but TWO toenails that look like they are on their way out. The other mistake I made was that I bought a pair of shoes that were just ever so slightly not big enough in the toebox to accommodate the pounding in a marathon. Dammit!

My kids told me to paint all my toenails black. I don't think so.

Ultimately after these deep thoughts, the toenail made it to the trash can that night. I figured I'd spare my family from the excitement, though my 7 year old got a kick out of seeing the new nail.

Maybe I'm talking about toenails because it is only 4 days before another marathon and I'm in taper mode again (not that I had much mileage to taper from). Too much time on my hands? Nah.