I Lost My Toe – An Athletic Badge of Honor

Posted Sep 28 2011, 1:06 pm in , , , , , , , ,

Okay, I didn’t really lose my toe. It is fortunately, still firmly attached. But, on my left foot, I did lose my second to the biggest (is that the pointer toe?) toe nail. And I’m ecstatic.

Sure it looks a bit strange and pedicures, if I ever got them on a regular basis, will be awkward for awhile, but I am celebrating this missing toe nail. Before you think I’m totally insane, let me explain.

Since I made the decision to add activity in my life a few years ago, and then slowly began accomplishing some of my fitness goals, one thing has been missing. I don’t look like an athlete. I don’t have the ripped abs and tight buns that are typically associated with athleticism. In fact, there is really nothing that looks even remotely athletic about me. Sure, sometimes I wear cute running clothes, but that’s about it. In fact often when people find out I’ve run half marathons they raise and eyebrow and give me one of those, “you?” looks. It’s true.

And mostly, I’m okay with that.

So back to my toe. For me, this is kind of like a badge of honor. Losing nails is one of the most common running ‘injuries’ for endurance athletes and now I’ve joined that club. Back in July I accomplished my Holy Sh*t goal of completing the Heart of the Rockies Olympic Triathlon. It’s important to note the word ‘Rockies’ as this particular race takes place in the mountains, meaning there were hills, a.k.a MOUNTAINS.

Right at the end of the run portion of the race, is a long, steep decent, coming down from, yup, you guessed it, a mountain. My toe must have been slamming against the front of my shoe because when I finally crossed the finish line, and after I was able to get off the ground, I pulled off my shoes and sure enough…purple nail bed.

Two months later…the badge of honor.

I get how ridiculous this is. But hey…it’s the little things that count right?

Without further ado…my toe. And yes I’m aware of how freakishly large my feet are.

I'm sure it'll grow in soon

What injuries have you had that have made you proud? Alternatively…any injuries with dumb stories? They’re fun too!



10 responses to “I Lost My Toe – An Athletic Badge of Honor”

  1. Annie says:

    I’ve lost both of my big toenails. The first one was when I was nine months pregnant and awkwardly yanked my heavy Kirby vacuum back into my toe nail.

    The second time was just last month. I was in a car wreck, wearing flip flops, and the front impact jammed my toenail into the brake pedal, ripping it off.

    Having them ripped off violently hurts like crazy! πŸ™‚

    Congrats on your running success! Looks like we will get our toenails grown back in at about the same time. πŸ™‚

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Ow, Annie! Your lost toes sound WAY more painful than mine.
      My lost toe was more or less painless. But super cool. My husband thinks I’m insane, but that’s not new!

  2. Laura says:

    Congrats! I’ve yet to have this running badge of honor.

    I used to figure skate and I would celebrate my awesome bruises from falling. And show off to the football players. And wear shorts to showcase my hard work.

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Thanks, Laura.
      Figure skating bruises are also a badge on honor! You were totally right to show them off. I’m the same way with grease on my leg from my road bike. Not really the same as a bruise…but still..:)
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hartford says:

    Congrats Elena – that’s wonderful (it feels weird saying that…LOL)!

    When I a young teen, I love gymnastics but sooo did not have the body for it. I was long and sturdy and not flexible in any of the right places. But I tried…hard! And then one day, I was on the uneven bars, going from the high the low and I tore off most of the skin off the palm of my hand. It hurt. A lot. But I was so proud because only “real” gymnasts ever got that injury.

    I get it. Wear your badge with honor and pride – you my dear are a RUNNER!

    • Elena Aitken says:

      thanks, Natalie.
      Your hand injury sounds WAY more painful than a silly toe. But I totally get it. We must celebrate the little things (or painful things in this case) I love my poor, defective, nail-less toe. πŸ™‚

  4. Su says:

    I’ve never actually lost a nail, although one of my big toenails turned black and felt loose after my first marathon. It stayed attached, though!

    What really freaks me out are the ultramarathoners who remove their toenails ON PURPOSE just to save trouble later. Ow ow ow ow!

    • Elena Aitken says:

      oh, that may be one of the grossest things I’ve ever heard. They remove their toenails? And that, right there, is why I will never run an ultra. Um…that and a few other things…
      Thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚

  5. Who needs a ribbon or a trophy when you can have a badge of honor like that, right? πŸ™‚

    My worst injury was when I broke my collar bone when I was kid. I don’t think I can count that as an athletic injury though since I wasn’t even doing anything – not jumping or spinning on the bed or anything. I was sleeping and just fell out. (That pretty much sums up my athletic ability to this day. ) πŸ™‚

  6. Elena, I’m always impressed when I read about women accomplishing the kind of goals you are setting for yourself. I’m not a runner at all but can hike forever and did lose a toenail after a particularly long 5-day trek. I didn’t realize, at the time, that it was a badge of honor! Woohoo!
    Marathons, triathalons? They are another story … and in the mountains? You go, girl!

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