On April 16, approximately 25,000 runners will take to the streets of Boston and its suburbs to complete one of the most challenging physical feats in the country. The Boston Marathon is the holy grail of athletics for many runners, some of whom endure months of hard training, foot pain, shin splints, bunions, hammer toe and fallen arches to earn a spot on the roster of athletes who have completed the 26.2-mile race.
The Bunion Blog was lucky enough to sit down with one of this year's runners, Amber Christoffersen, a Boston resident and landscape architect, to talk about the challenges that come along with being a marathoner, and the glory of crossing the finish line.
Christoffersen ran her first marathon in 2002, and since then has completed one every other year, making the 2012 Boston Marathon her sixth.
"I've had a lot of painful moments during the races, but I think it's like having a kid where you block out the pain of pregnancy once you have the baby," Christoffersen said, referring to the mitigative feeling of accomplishment that one has after completing a marathon.
Foot pain topped the list of her running woes, as she's been plagued with blisters and calluses. Moreover, Christoffersen said she's beginning to develop ankle tendonitis, which may be the result of overuse or imbalanced foot landing mechanics. (These are also known causes of bunions and hammer toe, though at age 30, Christoffersen has a relatively low risk of the bony foot conditions.)
In order to take care of her feet, the runner said she buys good-quality running shoes – Nike and Asics being her brands of choice – and also remains conscious of the footwear she chooses not when hitting the pavement, but going out on the town. She explained that a blister that developed on her arch from wearing a trendy new pair of wedge booties wound up being a significant annoyance when training for the marathon.
"I tend to walk a lot in the city," Christoffersen said. "If you walk a couple of miles in cute shoes, that can do a lot of damage. You can have the best running shoes in the world, but if the ones you wear out at night hurt your feet, that can affect training."