Some runners go to extreme lengths for a comfortable run; they have their toenails surgically removed. While beat-up toenails are marks of distinction for the ultra-marathon runners, toenail injuries are serious business. Blistering under the nails, bruising, ingrown and lost toe nails effect the gait and cause suffering. Pain and the love of the sport are enough to motivate drastic measures.
Permanent toenail removal is not for the faint-hearted. Runners tend not to watch as they undergo the 45-minute procedure. A podiatrist anesthetizes the tip of the toe, applies a tourniquet at the base to limit bleeding, softens the tissue, trims the nail to its root and then pulls the nail out from its bed. A final swipe of carbolic acid prevents regrowth.
Normal activity, even running, can be resumed within days of the removal, although it takes weeks to fully heal. Repeat procedures may be necessary before the toenail stops growing back completely.
The headlines retell the story:
“Make your Dream of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon a Reality.”
“Boston Marathon Map (2013)”
“TERROR AT THE MARATHON.” ( Globe coverage of the April 15, 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon and the events that followed.)
“War Zone at Mile 26: ‘So Many People Without Legs’” (by Tim Rohan)
“Victims of the Marathon bombings.” (list of names, ages and types of injuries)
“Courage in the Face of Chaos: EMT Response to the Boston Marathon Bombings.” (by Chris Nelson)
“At the End, the Telltale Runners’ Bags.” (by Mary Pilon)
“Thousand-mile relay to bring donations to Boston Marathon victims.” (by Tim Ghianni)
“Boston Marathon Winner Will Donate His Medal.” (by Michael R. Gordon)
Photo Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/sports/at-the-end-the-telltale-runners-bags.html?_r=0
Of the 800 ultra-runners who have attempted the Barkley Marathon, only 12 have finished. That’s the same number of people as have walked on the moon. There is no prize for this “test of all limits” just the feat of finishing. The first person to do so in 1995 had a time of 59 hours and 28 minutes.
The Barkley Marathon is known as the world’s toughest and most secretive trail race. (Nevertheless, the NYT does report that it takes place in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee.)
“All the other big races are set up for you to succeed. The Barkley is set up for you to fail,” said Gary Cantrell, the race’s director and creator.
This race is quirky. The entry fee is $1.60. Entrants are selected and must answer bizarre questions such as “What is the most important vegetable group?” Cantrell collects license plates from first-timers. All participants walk for the first part of the race. They only begin to run after rounding a bend where Cantrell can no longer see them. He hides books (with dark, oppressive titles) at various points along the race course; the runners must rip out the page that matches their race number.
Other marathons pale in its wake.
Thirty-six thousand runners completed the 26.2 mile marathon course in London in 2012. So did Claire Lomas.
The paralyzed 32-year-old conquered the course of uneven sidewalks using a bionic suit to control her legs. Her effort took around 40 hours, averaging between a mile and 2.5 miles spread over 17 days. Claire is a former chiropractor and competitive cross-country horse rider. She broke her spine after being thrown from her horse five years earlier.
Claire’s is an overcomer. From strenuous athleticism to immobility; from a wheelchair to a pioneering bionic suit called ReWalk which gives her mobility through motion sensors, battery operated motors and an onboard computer system. She can stand, walk and climb stairs. When her daughter was learning to walk, Claire joined her – one for the first time, the other for the second time around.
She completed the race with her husband in tow. Tourists, supporters and family clapped her along to a marathon success.
See also: http://www.amazon.ca/Finding-My-Feet-Claire-Lomas/dp/0992799015
Can a marathon runner from Kansas City train like a Kenyan?
Here are some tips for that cultural transition:
- Do extra slow warm ups
- Do extra slow cool downs
- Do extra slow recovery runs
Diet and Rest
- Eat local fresh food
- Sleep 10 hours per night
- Nap 1-2 hours per day
- Spend lots of time off-feet
Live Simply with No Distraction
- No TV, internet, cell phones or technology
- Read or go for walks
- De-clutter your mind
Train in Tough Conditions
- Run on soft ground for strength, flexibility and efficiency
- Overdress in extra layers of under clothes, also wear baggy clothes and heavier shoes
- Believe you can win and a break world record
- Don’t limit yourself; dream big
- Don’t complain about life or a workout
- Listen to your body, back off if you are tired or something hurts
- Otherwise work hard, increase intensity or duration to point of exhaustion
- Practice block training: build up for 3-4 months, then completely rest for 2-6 weeks before starting next block
- Train in groups – ‘iron sharpens iron’
- Do lots of lower leg drills and stretching with little to no upper body, do some basic core work
- Add uphill running drill with resistance band 1-2 times a week.
- Take Sunday off for studying the Bible, going to church and completely rest
- Run up hills and stride back down
- Do tempo runs: conservative start, pick up pace to finish at fast pace
- Do ‘Fartlek runs’ (Swedish for ‘speed play’) http://runners-resource.com/training/fartlek/
- Do interval workouts, adding repeats
- Do periodic long runs at a progressive marathon pace
- Do two runs per day with a recovery run
Kenyan’s Stance on Shoes
- They go barefoot by necessity, not by choice.
- Those in Kenya will wear ANY pair of shoes without complaining, preferring shoes to going barefoot.
- Those who have run outside Kenya prefer a simple, lightweight trainer given their well-developed feet.
For more details, read: http://www.runnersedgekc.com/pdf/how_to_train_like_the_kenyans.pdf