Sunday, April 01, 2007

side effects

Its seems that I have inspired a number of my friends to begin running based upon my blog posts here. While my posts aren't always positive (ummm...see the last week) regarding my running experience, they generally point out the good aspects or involve minor complaining. I just thought I would give you all a realistic idea of what bad side effects I've had from running.

First, there are the feet issues. I've been lucky so far with my feet. I haven't lost a toenail (happens all the time if your shoes don't fit right - one of the reasons why it is seriously worth it to go to a running store to buy your first pair of running shoes). I also haven't had bad blister issues. For a while last year, I had developed a blister on the inside of my right pinky toe that wouldn't go away - from rubbing against the next toe. No one could explain why I was getting it. It healed up while I wasn't running last summer and miraculously hasn't made a reappearance this training season. Even so, that blister wasn't a big deal cause it didn't hurt. Just looked ugly. The main reason why I think I have been so lucky with blisters, even on my long runs, is that I wear good socks. Repeat after me..."Cotton is Rotten!" Cotton socks cause blisters and make your feet stink (I think if I wore cotton socks my next foot issue would be even worse). I love my Wright Socks - they are nice and thin and prevent blisters. Worth every penny.

But, both last year and this year I have developed a WEIRD foot reaction to running - pitted keratolysis. Its a wonderful bacterial infection that causes pits in the bottom of your feet. It doesn't hurt and its not contagious. But, it can cause VERY stinky feet. Amazingly my feet have actually been less stinky lately than they were when I didn't have this problem. I discovered I had this for the first time last year while I was getting a pedicure and pedicurist freaked out. Apparently, soaking your feet makes the pits get bigger and more noticeable. Before that, I had no idea, it really didn't hurt and my feet honestly weren't that stinky. I knew it didn't look like athlete's foot, so I went to the health center and got diagnosed. The treatment is easy: wash your feet with anti-bacteria soap at least 2 times a day and apply an antibiotic cream. This time, when I went to the dermatologist, I talked to him because the treatment wasn't working (I suspect the extra miles are just creating a happy breeding ground for the bacteria). I got myself prescribed some expensive gel antibiotic gel (yay health insurance!). So far this is probably my worst side effect from running. The problem isn't really the infection - nope, its the fact that I'm too embarrassed to get a pedicure until it clears up.

Other side effects are usually only on the days I do a long run (6+ miles) - knee and hip pain. My Ace reusable cold compress is one of my favorite things these days. My knees don't hurt while running, but maybe an hour to two hours later - OUCH! I told you that I walk like a drunk old person after a long run, and this is why.

So there's your warning. Running can hurt and make you mortified to go to a pedicurist, but its worth it.

Miles: 11.5 (2 hours 5 minutes - with a couple stops :-D)
Weight: 160 (boo hiss)

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