Monday, January 28, 2008
I went out to the cheap no-they-didn't-fall-off-the-back-of-a-truck shoe store on Saturday because the soles of my running schoes were literally worn down to smooth rubber (do as I say and not as I do: Replace your running shoes every 350 miles or so, which for me ideally means every three months--I can get away with going a little longer because my body weight isn't as high and I don't run on sidewalks very much--or when the spring or tread on them is shot; running on old crappy shoes is one of the best ways to get injured, next to running on concrete, sprinting without warming up, and running with scissors). The new ones were the least expensive Adidas they had, Ketchikan, which is also a city in Alaska and (according to Wikipedia at least--don't cite this in any official academic papers, kids) "The Salmon Capital of the World" and home of Misty Fjords National Monument, which frankly sounds like it belongs in Scandanavia and not the US. Everyone knows that proximity to fjords leads to socialism, female elected officials and universal healthcare. So depending on your political perspective, they mark either the gates to paradise or the gates of hell.
To return from that lengthy aside--which, if you are one of the five people who reads here regularly, you are quite used to doing--I got my new shoes and thought to myself, "Hmm, for the first time in weeks it's not ass-biting cold outside. Perhaps I will go for my weekly long run outside, and cover a nice 7 miles, and the sun will feel good on my face and the wind will whip exhilaratingly through my hair and I'll break in my shoes." Note the thing I did not think about, in fact the very thing that breaking in shoes is supposed to help you avoid: Blisters. Midway through the run I thought, Hmm, there's a slightly uncomfortable sensation on the side of my foot. When I got back home and took off my shoe, lo and behold, an angry swelling the size of a quarter full of gross fluid, like a little bitty waterbed.
Which got me thinking--what is that fluid in blisters, anyway? I figured it was probably just blood serum, plasma, the same clear fluid that leaks out of scrapes sometimes, but I had to make sure. Because I'm such a biology badass, of course, I was right: blisters are full of plasma, the liquid part of blood--water, minerals and vitamins, and proteins (albumin especially, and antibodies of various kinds). If your white and red blood cells are people tubing down a river, hopefully not swigging beer as they go because alcohol and water sports don't mix, as Uncle Ralph taught us all that summer when he had to get his scalp stitched back together and lost his fishing license--the plasma is that river. When tissue is destroyed, as in a blister, plasma leaks out into the space between the epidermis and the dermis, and you get that waterbed effect. I've put a bandaid over it, am putting my new shoes away for a few days, and am hoping things heal up quickly. Today's going to be another unseasonably nice day.