My Romance With Running

Stories about running


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What missing toenail?

I mentioned in a previous post that I was sure I would see the death of my big toenail a few months after Tarawera. I’m always right, and I was right, as always, about this.

My toenail did die a very slow, dirt and unidentifiable particle collecting, undignified death. There is no getting around how ugly my toes look right now. The nail is making a slow comeback; it’s going through an uneven, lumpy Franken-toe awkward puberty stage right now. My feet weren’t ever model material, but with the added element of missing toenail making a return, something had to be done.

I’ll show you ten ways that you can disguise a missing toenail and have pretty, socially acceptable, non-vomit-inducing feet. If you haven’t been lucky enough to have this happen, keep a few tricks up your compression sleeve  for when it inevitably does.

What missing toenail?

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Click to zoom in for more yuck

Covering the offending digit needn’t be a chore. You don’t have to put in too much effort really, depending on the circumstance, the occasion, and who you think might see your toe it can be a very simple fix. Let’s begin with a few very basic ideas.

 1. Wear socks with bananas on them

Socks are unisex, and come in an array of colours, patterns and textures

Socks are unisex, and come in an array of colours, patterns and textures

Socks are the obvious solution, but what if you’re going to the beach or the swimming pool and your latex swimming socks don’t match your outfit? I have a solution for you!

2. Paint your toenails

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Sexy red nail polish. You can’t even tell that one toenail is a jagged half grown mess

Nail polish is fairly cheap, comes in lots of colours, and will stay on your toe until the nail eventually grows out if you are too lazy/busy/carefreeYOLO to remove it, it’s hardy stuff. It sticks to anything light coloured or expensive but will not stick very well to skin, and if you try to paint a ‘fake’ nail on to your skin patch it will only rub off after a couple of days.

 3. Add glitter to mask any imperfections

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Ruby Slippers!

4. Add a little more glitter

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Very glitter! So Sparkle. Wow.

If the toenail flaw is still a bit obvious, you can always go a step further. Apparently you can just put makeup on your feet, this would also do away with your sock tan. Can you do smokey eyes on feet?

5. Pretend a child painted your toenails for you

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My imaginary child painted my toenails last night, soooo cute!

When disguises won’t work, the next step to take is to create a diversion. Draw attention away from your gammy toenail by getting people to focus on something else, like how strange you are.

Some of these ideas are only workable in very specific scenarios and cannot be used in everyday life.

6. Toest

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Out for a bare foot breakfast? Try some Toe Jam.

 7. Toeblerone

Someone's been through duty free!

Someone’s been through duty free!

8. Potatoes

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Roast, baked, mashed, so versatile

9. Toepographical map

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Bet you barely noticed my missing toenail here.

 10. Eskitoe Pie

For those 'Can't beat Wellington on a good day' days

For those ‘Can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ days

I hope that you find at least a few of these useful, and if you have your own ideas on how to disguise those runner’s feet and missing toenails, please comment and let me know.


 

Note: Because I am injured, less time on feet (8+ hours a week) means more time on my hands, hence I have been in many different social situations requiring toe disguises.

I took away a few lessons from this time photographing my feet

  • If you have a fractured pelvis, take off your beige pants before painting your foot green or it will be difficult to wash said foot in the shower
  • Acrylic paint washes of skin, or toenail, not patches of toenaily skin.
  • Chocolate, glitter, and jam also stick to toenaily skin and are very hard to wash off
  • Don’t tell people that you ate the toest, they will think you are yuck. (Why waste perfectly good peanut butter?)
  • Ice cream on your toes for five minutes will make them numb and give you chilblains
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Runner’s guide to aesthetics Part 2: Feet

Do you have a favourite piece of clothing? One that you have worn and loved so much that threads are coming away at the bottom, holes are beginning to appear, and oily pizza fresh organic blueberry stains splatter the front?

If you use something a lot, it tends to suffer somewhat in the looks department with all the love and attention it is receiving.

Background: When I was 9 years old at Mararoa Primary School, Jenny the school secretary came to my aid once when I stubbed biggie (my big toe). When I tearfully presented my toe she laughed and yelled in her shrill Southland secretarial voice ‘Lila, LILAAAAH! Come and look at this girl’s giant TOE!’ And so began years of foot loathing and shoving my feet back in to the safe anonymity of my sneakers as soon as possible.

I’ve never considered feet to be an aesthetically pleasing body part. I do love mine for letting me run far and wide but when I wear jandals I’m aware that my runner’s feet aren’t going to be front and centre of a Havaianas poster any time soon. HOWEVER, despite me thinking I have ugly feet, I have garnered a small but enthusiastic following of foot fetishists to my Instagram account. Is it because I have really ridiculously good looking feet? I’m not sure, but I’m avoiding posting foot pictures right now as I feel my little piggies are under close scrutiny.

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Perfect ten

Your precious feet are treated to a variety of ailments when you run, here are the main ones;

Blisters

Sometimes you won’t even know when they appeared, and other times you will feel that blister grow with every stride. Blisters are just skin you don’t need any more. Sometimes it’s painful to say goodbye but you should know that other skin will come along. There’s plenty more skin in the sea?

Sock Tan

Unless you run barefoot you will have some degree of sock tan. Sock tan is sexy, you might not see Beyoncé rocking it but that’s because it has to be earned; money can’t buy a sock tan. If you have a sock tan you are awesome. Sock tan also helps you to define where your leg finishes and your ankle starts when it’s swollen from injury (I’m typing this with one ankle-less appendage raised and iced on a chair).

Toenail death

I like to paint my nails. Like painting a piece of furniture, any blemishes are covered by a few strategic licks of varnish, and if your nails are REALLY bad you can also add a bit of glitter.  Each time you take the polish off it’s like unwrapping a really awful present, and you get to see, for a few minutes while the nails are in their natural state, just how attached they still are to your feet.

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The first toenail I lost made me feel really cool. I pinned it on the wall next to my race numbers like a trophy, complete with it’s sparkly blue polish, there it was glinting on the wall (it’s that dot below them both down the bottom). I took it down because of all the nasty comments ‘That’s disgusting Amanda’. Actually no it’s abject art and you’re all mean.

The question on your lips now is ‘Amanda, how do I become a foot babe and have people leaving adoring comments on my toe selfies?’ Here are some tips for you to try.

  • Use hashtags and keywords like ‘toejam’ and ‘toeswag‘ when you post foot photos
  • Never not wear socks, if your feet look like they could be a different ethnicity to your legs you’re doing well
  • Have a point of difference, like a ginormous big toe, a missing toe, or lots of long and luscious toe hair
  • Just give the people what they want, at the first mention of ‘nice feet’, go ahead and make a full colour calendar with your foot photos.
  • Run! Run on trails, it makes your feet irresistibly beautiful. The more rocks you kick and tree roots you trip over the more perfect imperfections your feet will haveScreen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.02.32 AM

Good luck future foot babes, run hard!

Amanda (and Biggie) xx