There is no doubt that running takes a pounding on the lower half your body. I can’t even count the times I’ve grimaced in pain from muscle and joint aches in my calves, quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, ankles, and achilles since my training begun. Yet there is one body part of my lower half that, despite all the pounding, has become extremely durable; my feet. I have no doubt I could walk across burning embers without even flinching, and I am damn proud of that. But I suppose that over time the more you beat up on something, either it gets stronger or it breaks. I have spent just over a year really beating down on the two pillars of my foundation, and as a result I have tough-as-nails feet that can sustain miles of running through mud, sweat, rain, snow, scorching heat, and with or without socks. It doesn’t, however, come without a price. Despite the ruthless superiority of my rough hooves, I have been asked to keep them hidden, like golden gems, beneath the veil of clean, fresh socks. These are the people who don’t truly understand the true beauty of the callused sole. It’s even been suggested that I treat them with a pedicure, or cover the blackness with shiny pink polish. But for all the blisters, blood, pain, and lost toenails I have endured over the last year, I would say that I’ve earned the appearance of my feet, and no one is taking my calluses away from me. There are many more miles of pounding these feet must endure, and I am certain there isn’t any shade of pink polish that is going to help me get there. So callused, bloody, blistered, raw and blackened my feet shall stay, and if only I see the beauty in that, so be it.