Gross toenail talk, read at your own risk... :)
It seems to be a topic that comes up a lot when you get into running. Almost every book, article or google search contains something referencing toenails. I remember the first time I even heard of this I was walking around Stone Mountain a few years back and this man was telling me about his daughter who runs the NYC Marathon and how she always loses her toenails. How strange I thought. I never heard of such a thing. Of course, I had pictured every last one of her nails popping off during the race itself. Like she would pull her socks off and every nail would be in there, HA HA - DUH... These are the thoughts of someone who never even contemplating running a mile back then. Little did I know, it happens all the time. It seems that everyone's experience, as with most things, is different. Will you lose them? Will it be horrifying? Here is my two cents if anyone cares.
Here I am EIGHT DAYS from my marathon (you knew I had to get the countdown in there somewhere...) and my experience is yes, you will lose a nail or two. Technically, I lost three but I am attributing one to inadvertantly kicking a rolling ice cooler (not a picnic sized one but an industrial sized, 3 foot high cooler full of ice and bottled water and I say inadvertantly because God knows, I would NOT have kicked that thing as hard as I did on purpose) as I was rolling it downhill. Yes, volunteering can hurt you and there is no worker's comp :) Anyhoo... that accounts for one of them.
So for the other two. Not particularly horrifying and, honestly, pretty easy to disguise (or at least if you are a girly girl/guy and paint your nails). My first loss just kind of came off as one grew in behind it. Perfect scenario! The other running related one is my second toe (you know, the one next to the big one - a sign of intelligence if your second toe is bigger than the "big one" - or so I am told... as it turns out, it might just be a sign that the second toe is going to take the brunt of the banging against the shoe if you do any amount of running). It hasn't let go yet but is black. It is just a matter of time. The "cooler incident" nail (a little toe) happened this way too. Eventually, it let go. I just painted the nailbed as if there was a nail there. You really can't tell. There was no pain. I won't lie, the nails don't look great but not as bad as you think they will and under a coat of polish, you can't tell. Luckily, it is winter and I can hide the babies inside boots :)
Now you know. A little too much info? Maybe....