Feb 01


I was so proud of myself for getting out for my 3 hour walk yesterday in spite of the -19°C/-2°F temperatures. I bundled up, set up my technology, and headed down what was actually a beautiful pathway with fresh snow that sparkled in the sun.

VFF_Flow_in_the_SnowAs usual, my toes got pretty cold when I started out, but I knew that once I hit training speed, they’d warm up and be fine. Or, so I thought. Yesterday was a “ladder” walk, a kind of Interval walk where you jump around into different heart rate zones, several of which are quite slow. At times my feet felt fine. Other times, my toes were quite cold, but not painfully so.

On the way home, however, I began to feel quite uncomfortable and about 1km from home, when I should have been in HR Zone 2 (HR in the mid-90’s) I just kept it up in HR Zone 5 (HR in the mid 130’s) because my right foot felt numb, and both feet were feeling uncomfortable.

I got home and found a hot meal waiting for me, so I peeled off my shoes and snow gear, and sat down to eat. My feet began to thaw over lunch, but my toes were still numb. After lunch and a cup of tea I finally got my socks off – and realized how wet they were. I looked at my feet and discovered 3 toes were an odd grey-colour, and all my toes were bright red. One was swollen. My feet, however, were very warm.

It was then I realized I had frostbite.

Thankfully it wasn’t really serious frostbite, but I quickly did some research to treat my feet to make sure I didn’t damage them further.

Following instructions to continue to keep them warm and dry, I had a quick, not-too-warm shower, put on clean Injinji socks to keep the toes separated, wrapped those in fuzzy warm socks, and then slipped on my hut booties. Feet were toasty, but as the toes began to heal, the pain started. By dinner time I could no longer walk – it felt like a 200lb someone was standing on my bare toes with work boots on. There was no place to “put” my feet. No place brought release – raised, down, with weight on them, without weight. The only relief came from walking so I walked around the dining room table for about 40 minutes trying to cope with the pain. I have no idea what serious frostbite feels like, but if this is mild, I never want to find out.

Finally at about 6:30 I took some ibuprofen and crawled into bed. It was after 7:00 before I could tolerate covers.

This morning I’m still in quite a bit of pain, but it’s tolerable. I don’t walk too well, but at least it’s not excruciating when I just sit. Toes feel like they’re soaking in “too hot” water.

The real dilemma is, where do I go from here? Looks like new VFF’s won’t be ready before March (!!). I don’t have any shoes to walk in other than my regular day shoes which will get totally wrecked in the snow and salt outside. Do I pay $160 for shoes that will “do me” until the VFF’s are back in stock?  I do have my Sketcher‘s (which I stopped wearing almost right away because they “re-activated” an ankle issue I used to have), but with the lack of feedback from the thick soles and the rocking soles on sheer ice, I’m liable to end up in the hospital with a concussion wearing those.


Well, one thing is for sure – no walking this week! I’m not sure what I’ll do with all that extra time…


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  1. I know that feeling as they warm. I used to cross-country ski in high school. One ski meet I forgot my gloves and decided to ski anyways. It was sunny but only 25F. When I got to the finish line I didn’t notice the color but my coach did. He told me to run warm water over them. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! I will never forget that misery!


    admin Reply:

    Indeed, Stephan! That was NO fun at all. Trying to make sure I avoid it in the future! 🙂


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