Leave it to me to find a way to make getting a pedicure a "deep thoughts" kind of moment. But I did. That's who I am.
Choosing to get a pedicure after the 5k was a brilliant strategy. Cross off two 4040 items in a day, and give my feet and legs a much-needed treat. I also made it a girls-only event. My mom, sister, daughter and I walked a block down the street to the downtown mall where the concierge at the hotel said we would find a nail salon.
Daughter spotted a man with a sign asking for help while we stood at the crosswalk. She asked if I had some money so she could give it to him. I handed her a small bill. The pedestrian light flashed, the numbers counted down and we crossed the street. She approached the man, dropped the money in his container. We smiled, read his sign about the money really going for beer, smiled some more and kept walking. Daughter, now a proficient reader, questioned me about the beer sign, and I told her he was making a joke.
I limped the entire way to the mall. My sister asked, "What is the matter?" I reminded her that walkers had thwarted the start of my race and in an attempt to get around them, I had run the first bit of the race on the balls of my feet and pulled my calves. The left one was far more painful than the right. There really couldn't be a better time for a twice-in-a-decade pedicure.
We signed in at the nail salon and were shown to the polish display to pick our colors. Daughter was so excited to be included in this particular 4040 activity. She asked, "How many colors can we get?" When she was told two, she exclaimed, "Yes!" loud enough for the other customers to hear her excitement. We were assigned to our chairs and the warm tubs of water. We sat down, placed our legs in the warmth and enjoyed the accompanying mechanical chair massage.
Here are the thoughts that bubbled to the surface as I relaxed into the experience.
When I added the pedicure to the list, I thought I was giving myself permission to do what I admit I thought was a girly, indulgent thing that I judgmentally thought too many women did too often. It turns out that the pedicure was actually my soul's attempt at nudging me closer to living more in my body than in my bookworm's head and heart. Who knew? I was ticklish and there were moments particularly as the woman massaged my arches that weren't comfortable. I used my training mentality to get through those moments. "This arch massage won't last forever. The discomfort is temporary. The overall experience is awesome." Turns out, I've become a mantra machine. My inner dialogue continues to get so much stronger on the side of positive self talk.
And then as I relaxed, I thought about the man on the corner we passed on our way to the salon. I daydreamed about how great it would be to offer him a chance to sit in the chair. To soak his tired feet in the warm water. To have another human being touch the tender places on his worn feet. Would that make him feel better? Different? Loved? I wondered when was the last time he had experienced a warm bath, felt clean, and refreshed?
The woman rubbed lotion on my legs. They were already feeling better after the time in the warm bath. She placed my feet into the flip flops I had carried with me. I was fascinated by the woman's steady hand and how she applied the bright, shimmery red to my toes.
She led me over to the blue light to dry and set my pedicure. There I struck up a lovely conversation with a woman whose husband had run the mini-marathon (13.1 miles) that morning. She told me about their running life, races to definitely go to (Peachtree Race in Atlanta, July Fourth each year). She told about the inspiring stories you always hear about why people are at races, what motivates them to run. I told her about my 4040 list and checking the 5k off the list with my brother-by-marriage.
Checking number #13 off the list was such an enriching experience. I love the ways this list is surprising me. Building me. Transforming me. Giving me permission to be self-indulgent in healthy ways. I know I won't make getting a pedicure a regular thing, but it will become a special treat I offer myself more often than on a decade's basis.
PS: As we walked back to the hotel, I. Did. Not. Limp.