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This little piggy went to market.

June 25, 2013

Toes! Not something you’d probably expect from a MacySwim update. (Side Note: I bet some of you were thinking that I was the Piggy and I was going to market for more food for added weight. Shame on you! Now let’s get back to toes.)

What do toes have to do with marathon swimming? I’ll tell you. Absolutely nothing. Unless of course, you are me at which point toes or more precisely toe nail polish is very important. I guess it really started with my first marathon swim back in 2007. When I went to the English Channel, I decided to get a pedicure. The color I chose was “The Lifeguard Makes Me Blush.” I don’t even really recall what color it was I think somewhere in the lavendar spectrum of purple. I was more excited that it was a water themed nail polish. And for better or worse a tradition…or superstition was born.

Now I’ve heard that many athletes have their superstitions that help make their events go just right. I read that Kara Goucher has a special safety pin or was it a bobby pin. Anyway she has this item on every event. Some people have special gear, which frankly I think can get pretty rank especially since most of these charms lose their power with washing. Seriously gross.

After that first English Channel swim, there was no turning back. Before every trip or big event swim, I need to get a pedicure. I know this seems pretty mundane “Oh she pampers herself before an event. How nice!” Oh no, not exactly nice. This is when the crazy really comes out. From the chime of the door to the comment “Pick a color,” it is all downhill. It isn’t a simple step of picking a color for me. It is a challenge to find the right color of polish. Wait not the right color of polish the right NAME of nail polish. That’s right. I look for a nail polish NAME that somehow reflects the swim that I’m about to do.

Imagine that you are the pedicure technician and you are waiting for your client (i.e. me) to come sit down in the dang chair so you can get the pedicure done. Instead your client (i.e. me) is picking up every single bottle of nail polish in the rack to look at the bottom. As the technician, you have no idea what is going on so you come over to help.

Technician – What color are you looking for?
Me – Um, I don’t know
Technician – Pink, Purple, Red?
Me (still picking up each bottle to see the bottom) – Um I’m really not sure. I don’t really care about the color. I care about the name.
Technician (getting a little frustrated)– What name are you looking for?
Me – I don’t know. Can I just have a few minutes?
Technician (exasperated sigh) – I can help, just tell me what it looks like.
Me – I don’t know what it looks like. I’ll know it when I read it.
Technician (shakes head, throws up hands with a big huff and walks away)

Yes this little charade occurs typically before every swim event that I have. That is of course unless I go to the store before hand and spend hours in the nail polish section picking up every single bottle, which I have done before. Some of my friends have gotten into the act and sent me some polish too. This puts me in a tough spot because I thought that I had to be the one to find the color name, but how do you not use your friend’s thoughtful gift? I compromised. If the color name really spoke to me, I’d use it. If not, I would value the thought behind the gift and say thank you and then go choose my own color.

Once my toes are painted, they can’t be repainted until after the event. I had my toe polish chip on my second English Channel swim and let me tell you there was a minor major meltdown. I couldn’t decide whether to repaint or not. Was chipped toe nail polish a bad omen about the swim? What to do, what to do? Ultimately, the toe nail polish stayed on. It was the polish whose name spoke to me, so it would stay put chipped or not.

You may be asking “What about your fingers?” Or you maybe wondering why you are still reading an update about nail polish, but yet here you are! I painted my fingers ONCE. It was a disaster. I completely blame my warped mental state during my Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, which is an actual race with other swimmers, to my dang fingers painted in “See You Later Sailor!” My toes in “Grand Central Carnation” were right on point, so fingers were dropped from the tradition/superstition/general craziness. In no particular order, here is a run down of the polish from a few of my swims:

English Channel #1 – The Lifeguard Makes Me Blush
English Channel #2 – Back to the Beach Peach
English Channel #3 – British Racing Green

Strait of Gibraltar – No Spain No Gain!

Cook Strait – Summer Sea

There you have it, my one and only craziness. What I find really funny is that this nail polish name thing has spread! Now other swimmers from around the globe are painting their toe nails or finger nails (if they dare) with colors whose names match their swim. I never knew I was such a trend setter.

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