I learned a valuable lesson recently. When dealing with pregnant women, it’s sometimes best to keep certain thoughts to yourself, even when those thoughts may be factually accurate and supported by science.
Let me explain. A few years ago, before I discovered yoga, I fancied myself something of a runner. I was no Dean Karnazes, but my weekly mileage often soared into the double digits. I envisioned a future filled with health and happiness, jogging strollers and Gu packs, spandex onesies and body glide.
All those dreams disappeared one cruel day at the TriBeCa Equinox. Fresh off a sub-60 minute 10-K, I set out to become the world’s chubbiest sprinter by employing a training theory called “Speed Work.” To do speed work, you supposedly just start at a nice warm up pace and then add periods of sprinting followed by a nice easy cool down. I did my first speed work session on a treadmill. I began with a nice warm up at 6.0 MPH and, when the time was right, cranked that puppy up to 6.2. Whoa baby! I had that thing humming! I loved speed work!
I’m a very logical person, so the next week when I tried speed work, I thought I should progress to see whether I’d improved. Indeed I had. I did my short warm up at 6.0 MPH and then steadily increased the speed to about 100000 MPH. Here’s a video of what happened:
About half way into my last lap of speed work, I pounded my foot into the treadmill belt and screamed out in pain. Fine, it was more of a yelp. Or a whimper. But holy hell did it hurt. I limped off the treadmill and immediately consulted a medical professional, WebMD, where I learned that I definitely had either cancer or scoliosis.
Some more research and a trip to an actual doctor confirmed my worst fears. I had something called Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the nerves between the third and fourth toes. Anne still questions the existence of this condition.
Although I am prone to exaggerate things, I hope you’ll believe me when I describe the pain. It felt like there was a little pebble in my shoe and every time I took a step, the pebble caused me a slight degree of discomfort. On some mornings, the pain got so bad that I would take one, or maybe even two Tylenol. On the worst day, I had to use extra strength gel capsules.
You might be asking yourself, “why is Rob talking about Morton’s Neuroma? How does this relate to offending pregnant women?” Good question, and believe me, I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “why is this jackass trying to predict what I may be asking myself right now. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know anything about me. I wish he’d just write about yoga again. Or interview Ryan again. That guy was funny.”
Well it turns out that studies have shown that Morton’s Neuroma may be as painful as childbirth (refer to the section on symptoms). Lucy Waite, a well-established blog commenter over at the Angry Orthopod summed it up best. She said, “[The] only comparison [to Morton’s Neuroma” is natural child-birth, which I did four times.”
Who knows if the pain caused by Morton’s Neuroma actually is anything like child-birth. Lucy Waite, that’s who. But in case you don’t believe her, then let me give you some helpful advice: If you ever find yourself in a hypnobirthing class where scared pregnant women are discussing their fears about pain, just keep your mouth shut. I promise you that they will not feel comforted when you say, “Actually, I’ve had a Morton’s Neuroma, and according to studies conducted by researchers at KimsFoot.Com, it is supposedly just as painful as child-birth. I didn’t think it was so bad, actually. In fact, a little cortisone should clear it right up.”