Sunday, April 24, 2016

Like a Blister in the Sun 

illustration of runner
Chemtrail - Paul Tebbott via Designspiration

I'm not sure why I kept going when it felt like there was a shard of glass in my foot but I did. I guess I thought if I stopped running then I'm a quitter and I would still have to walk back the rest of the way anyway. It was the first blister on my foot from running I'd had in almost a year. I figured this blister was probably from running over every possible kind of surface you can imagine in a single run (paving stone, concrete, asphalt, tramped earth, wet grass, wooden boardwalk). By the third run of the week, I was sure it was really that the shoes and/or insoles were done. Kaput. After less than 800 km by a rough estimate. Considering I'd only owned these shoes for 9 months, I was impressed I had done that kind of mileage. I think my previous best yearly total was only about 550 km so I've easily eclipsed that number. This fact did not however ease the hot pain from my throbbing foot.

As soon as I was finished I went to drugstore to get a blister plaster (which for some reason is the only kind of bandage in the pharmacy referred to as a "plaster" which sounds like a very WWI traige term to me) and hoped it would be fine in a couple of days. It turns out it wasn't that bad. So I ran again. Pain again. New bandage and another day of not running. Two days later again, it felt okay. Not entirely healed but fine.

I certainly wasn't going to waste the finest day of 2016 by not running. Halfway through and approaching my turnaround point, it started to sting. With almost 4 km to go it was getting very serious indeed. Not unsurprisingly the pain in my foot slowed me down enough that my heart rate and breathing dropped considerably. Ironically if my foot didn't feel like I was walking on a sea urchin I could've gone all day at that pace. Which might be something to keep in mind if I ever run anywhere again.

After a week of dealing with this, the one benefit is that I can give you a pretty insightful product review of the three different blister plasters I've been using.

Moleskin: totally useless and over-priced because of the uselessness. If this is your only option, know you are basically getting a fuzzy Band-aid. Minimal padding. Terrible adhesion. I bought this ages ago at a camping supply store which was the only brand they carried and I usually travel with it in my carry-on bag. Thankfully I've never needed it while traveling because it is complete crap.

Band-aid: very affordable and cheapest of the bunch but only slightly better than a normal band-aid. Small padded area and modest adhesion. It stayed on longer than the Moleskin and longer than a regular Band-aid but not rugged enough to survive a shower which should be one its main properties - to keep the blister dry.

Polysporin: we have a winner. Excellent adhesion - it might be day three before this starts to fall off (if you're not running with them on which I was). Even wearing it in the shower and running, it took two days to start to fall off. It has thick comfortable padding all the way to the edge which the Band-aid ones don't. It would be nice if they were a tad larger but maybe in general it would be wise to simply stop running before your blister becomes the size of a campaign button. Also, they come in a handy plastic case so you can throw them in your bag and not worry about them getting smushed and wrecking the adhesive backing.

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