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  • Writer's pictureLisa Safran

Running Into Trouble

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

The following has been posted on behalf of Lisa Safran's physical body parts (PBP), post-marathon training for the 2022 NYC Marathon.

Dear Reader:

Please accept this petition as we, a collective body, seek agreement between Lisa Safran, as well as all other runners of the world, and us. We call ourselves Physical Body Parts (PBP) and we insist upon an agreement with Runners Ignoring Physical Body Parts (RIPBP), so that before runners sign up to train for a race and ultimately run in it, they must gain our approval first.

The following testimonies are from the various PBP of Lisa Safran, who ran her first (and perhaps only marathon if we have anything to say) full marathon last November.

Here goes:

“I was broken. Literally broken before she began training for her first full marathon ever. Yes, it was just a hairline, but with the arthritis that showed up in an X-ray, I was, undeniably, in bad shape. When she took me to the podiatrist before signing up for the New York City Marathon, I thought I had a chance. When the doctor said, and I quote, ‘I wouldn’t do a marathon if my toe looked like that’ I thought my wishes to not train for the next five months would be heard. Instead, she asked the doctor for options. Options! What are my options? The doctor fitted her for fancy orthotics and recommended different sneakers. No one asked me about how I felt about this. Big T, pinky, and the other piggy knew my pain. They did everything they could to support me throughout the grueling training cycle and then the actual 26.2 miles, which was rough. Sure, ice felt sweet after hours of pounding out there. But, come on. I should have had the right to say, ‘NO! I am not doing this.’ At least it would have been nice to be asked to participate in the decision-making process.”

Signed by Second Toe

“You would think that the clicking sound I send to her every time we walk down the stairs would be a sign, a sort of Morse Code to stop all the pounding each week, but alas. She doesn’t even pause to ask me, ‘Are you OK?’ She hears me! Maybe I’m not OK. Maybe the thought of being smothered by that clunky black brace with the heavy Velcro doesn’t feel like a great option. Is the little window opening on the center of the brace there so I can look out at the world? Or so the world can see me and look with pitied eyes? Either way, I’m not in favor! I want to be there for her to accomplish her dreams and goals, but some days I feel like I’m going to blow. But she doesn’t seem to be worried one bit. You know that ice pack she puts on Toe after every run? She puts it on me, then back on Toe, then me, and so forth until I’m too numb to question why I’m not even worthy of having my own ice pack.”

Signed by Knee

“I’m sorry, what did you say? Oh, the petition, yes! I didn’t hear you talking to me. When my hearing was a little keener, I heard one of her doctors mentioning that the clogging was probably from all the sweat that drips into my canal. Those little ear buds really stuff in the wax, affording me with a votive candle. I can’t stand candles. That same doctor also said it was because I have a narrow ear canal. Excuse me? Narrow? I have been one of the most broad-thinking parts ever. You realize how much I have taken in through the years? Q-tips, pinkies, self-talk both good and bad. Enough is enough. At least if you’re going to train for a race, can you not plug me up every time you hit the pavement? How about a headset? Or did you ever think of allowing me to just enjoy the sounds of nature instead of all those playlists and podcasts? Or how about whispering a simple thank you sometimes?”

Signed by Ear

“We felt terrible about broken T going into her marathon training in such bad shape. All nine of us were willing to pull together to get through the grueling weeks of training. We dreamed about the infamous taper week. We’re not going to lie, the rumors about what could happen to us from marathon training did freak us out. Blisters, black nails, bleeding. And yes, the worst of all: the fallen. All of these things did happen, and we somehow all survived except for one. It was during a post-marathon pedicure when we lost her right between soaking and clipping. Thank goodness a new nail was waiting quietly underneath, ready to step up, protect, and accept two coats of bold cherry red.”

Signed by Full Set of Toes

“She and I are tight, and I really don’t like to complain, because I really do have her back. All the sitting at the computer all day is one thing, but when she adds in all the mileage each week, and then sort of/kind of warms up and sort of/kind of stretches before and after each run, then I find myself in a precarious position. Be supportive but be honest. Suck it up but be true to yourself. How do I strike that balance? I ache to this day. You know those commercials for muscle ointments where they show others like her with her hands on me, leaning back in pain, grimacing, and with a throbbing red circle around me to emphasize the commercial’s point? You know which ones I mean? That’s not a commercial, that’s my documentary. I remember the good old days, decades ago, when she would deadlift in the gym or climb trails for hours and I would gleefully join in. Nowadays, I can feel myself pulling in directions I’m not happy about. Instigating trouble for my fellow PBP, many of whom have also signed this petition. I feel so connected to them, and it’s my hope that we can (IT) band together to find a better way to co-exist with RIPBP.”

Signed by Lower Back

“I’ve heard her call me dull when comparing notes with her runner buddies. Maybe that’s her way of coping with my pain. I appreciate that she backs off a little when I get cranky, but dull is an insult to my intelligence.”

Signed by Shin

“We are cracked, dry, inflamed, puffy, tender, swollen, twisted, bloody, discolored, and chafed, but please do not make us invisible. To all the places where you point to us, push a thumb in us, roll a tennis ball on us, wrap us, tape us, lubricate us, ice us, heat us, thump us, and speak the word ‘tweaked’ to whomever is helping you find the precise source of discomfort, PBP ask that all RIPBP think of us before the next race.”

Signed by Other Lesser-Spoken-of Parts

Thank you.

And if you're thinking about asking Lisa Safran if she is ever going to run another full marathon, do us all a favor. Don't ask.

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