I’ve never ever been graceful… it is actually kind of a running joke (pun kind of intended here) that if there is a way to fall, I’ll find it. Kind of my luck, it seems. I have been getting better, though, about being able to avoid falls since I’ve been back to running. I’m getting stronger. I could use a little more balance, but strength seems to be working (and a lot more incentive for continuing with the weight training classes I my friends all recommend I take). And… truthfully, one of the biggest fears I have is wiping out and injuring myself to the point of not being able to even run any more at all, let alone finish the 50-states. I’m passionate – and excited – about my 50-states goal. An injury barring me from finishing it will deflate me.
So… falling during a run, while it happens to all of us, scares the bejesus out of me.
I’m not off to a good start, my friends…
I went for a run yesterday – alone – and planned a pretty simple route – nothing fancy. Just an out and back from my office to the middle of the NCSU campus and back. Easy, peasy, parcheesey… or howerver that is spelled. I wanted to get a good tempo run in by myself. I didn’t want to have to rely on my training partner – who is much faster than I am – to pull me along to make me faster. I wanted to prove I could do it myself.
And I can… I’ve proven it in races… just not as good about proving it on training runs.
So, yesterday was the the day. I hadn’t run since Tuesday morning. I hadn’t done much else since then because of a surprise in my schedule, so I was eager to get about 4 to 5 miles in at a goal tempo pace of 8:45 and work down from there. I was pretty sure I could do it. Besides… it was a lovely day – upper 50s, sunny, no wind – perfect day for a perfect run.
I start out – going a little faster than I should have, but I thought “I’ll be ok – I’ll slow it down a little… don’t want to burn it out too quickly” so I did – I thought. I had earphones in because I was alone and I tend to prefer music when I’m alone. About .25 mile in, I my legs started to feel heavy – ironic, I thought, because I hadn’t run in a few days… I shouldn’t feel heavy at all. I should be fresh. I slow down a little more. Around .5 mile, I felt myself trip a couple of times – “ok… take it easy… If you don’t make it to 8:45, it’s ok – you need to do a speed workout anyway, so this is a benchmark run, right – see how you do. Goal pace for the half is 8:55 or so anyway…” I told myself. I thought I slowed down…
Then, it happened… not quite a mile. I didn’t even feel myself trip on anything – I just went down. Although I’m right handed, my left side has always been my strongest side – I always start off on my left, I always catch myself with my left… I go in phases with using my left over my right for things other than writing (I call it “situational dexterity”), but I usually end up using my left. So… I was surprised (and disappointed) when my left leg (ok, knee) hit first.
I then did some kind of flip thing where my face went down and my legs went up behind me (my lower back still hurts today) and then I rolled or something because I ended up on my back. Still not sure how that happened. It took me a second to realize what had happened, and my instinct (because I’m a runner nerd) was to pause my Garmin – haha… priorities, people! (in looking at the data, though, I didn’t actually pause it, so that makes my stats for this run even more impressive to me). I got up and immediately inspected my knees because they were what hurt – pretty minor abrasions, especially compared to a spill I had in December of 2010 – and, amazingly, no holes in my pants. Thank you Champion! I dusted off the dirt and started to check my hands and head for any blood – a few scratches on my hands, but nothing major. Good.
I started to take a walk – good, no pain yet… then I thought to myself, “this isn’t as bad as the last fall… I can keep going” so, I did. In the fog of the “Crap!!” and “That hurt”, it took me a few minutes to even consider looking at my phone (which was in a case attached to my right arm) and my Garmin (on my left arm). I looked at the phone first. Crap. All I saw was broken glass… it still works, right? Right? please… right? I turned it on, but saw nothing (turns out it was too bright – it does still work!). I then looked at my Garmin – I guess to turn it back on (though I never stopped it) and noticed the scratched bezel. SIGH. I said the requisite expletive that starts with the letter f, and decided that if my legs didn’t hurt too much and I wasn’t gushing blood, I should go on.