One of my goals for the year was to figure out how to take better care of my feet. I started with a book, because that’s where I usually start. In the book, I learned that runners often need pedicures to keep things in check. So, when my girlfriend suggested we go get pedicures, I gave a tentative yes.
In the past, my response would have been along the lines of, “Pedicures are for other people.” But I’m trying to do better. I’m trying new things. I’m working on taking better care of myself. I went and got a pedicure.
The salon was a really well decorated place in a strip mall. We walked in and my girlfriend ordered up our services. While we waited for the chairs and soaking tubs to be ready we wandered over to the ENTIRE WALL of color options one could put on their finger and/or toe nails. I’ll spoil it right now – I went with no color. But if I had to do it again… Maybe I’d pick out something for my toe nails.
We wandered over to the chairs with the little soaking tubs for your feet. I was nervous and even a touch scared. I didn’t know exactly what to do. It’s rather confusing, really. Where do your socks and shoes go? Is there a better way to manage jeans than just scrunch them up and hang on? Well, that all got worked out, and I was happily soaking my feet in what I hoped wasn’t blue toilet water. (Do they still make that stuff?) The massage chair was poking my back in weird ways. I guess it sort of felt good, but having had several real massages, it was a bit lacking in accuracy and execution.
The lady who would be taking care of my feet sat down on her little work stool and got herself organized. She grabbed one foot and started scrubbing with this weird file looking thing. Then she stopped. There was an awkward pause as she looked at my feet and the callouses that so many miles and years had put there. The weird file looking thing slowly drooped as she turned to the guy working on my girlfriend’s feet next to me. In a foreign language, she pointed and asked something along the lines of “Just what the hell am I supposed to do with this?” He looked over and paused his own work briefly before responding. I have no idea what he said, but it was either “sucks to be you” or “just use the big tools first.” I felt bad for the lady. I figure it can’t be a good sign when the pedicure person needs to seek a second opinion.
And out came the big tools. It was… It was a cheese grater. There’s no other way to describe it. And she carefully yet deftly took it after the grossness of my feet. I could watch the material being knocked away and see something really gross growing on the back side of the grater. Both feet. So many callouses. And she took after them with a rapid care and carefulness that would indicate either an intense will to be anywhere but there, or a tender care for this poor idiot sitting in front of her.
The scraping ended. She went after the toe nails next. The more abused toes went quickly as the nail there is usually minimal (like today) or missing like after a big mile race. The big toes were interesting. I had been cutting them straight across like it said in the book. This was intended to limit ingrown toe nails. Before I could ask to keep things straight across, she nipped off the corner and then started DIGGING the tool into my toe to get the rest of what I can only assume is a minor case of ingrown toe nails. I guess that explains some of the weird toe pains on the longer runs.
I closed my eyes briefly during another quick foot soak. I opened them to the sight of the lady squeezing what looked like orange marmalade on my legs. If that wasn’t weird enough, she grabbed what I thought was a fruit salad for her snack and started rubbing my legs with it! Ok. This actually felt pretty good. I’m assuming this was some sort of grapefruit salt scrub based on the grit of the jam and the clear presence of citrus fruits. This wasn’t so bad. There was lots of scrubbing and rubbing of the lower leg. She rinsed off the fruit salad and applied what seemed to be toothpaste. The toothpaste got all rubbed in and I figured that would be the end of it, because, you know, no one eats after brushing their teeth, right?
Well, the lady went back into her lunch box and pulled out the guacamole and started to smear that all over my calves and feet. I’m not exactly sure what recipe she uses for the guacamole, but it had a minty, tingling feeling. My lower legs and feet then got wrapped up and the toe nails got more detailed attention. The whole time, the mechanical chair was poking, prodding and kneading my back in ways that I’m still not sure felt good or if I just endured because it was part of the experience. (I’m inclined to say it felt good, but unlike a real massage, I have no desire to run out and buy one of the chairs.) And things wrapped up with a good foot soaking, rinse, and dry. I was permitted to sit in the pokey-chair while my girlfriend got the nail polish applied.
And that pretty much sums up the event. A few days later, my toes still hurt where the nail was dug out. I’m going to assume this is a good thing. The callouses feel almost like normal feet parts again. Would I do it again? Probably. Having had a blister under a callous, I can see the need to keep those things in check.