I took a fairly bad tumble this week on mile 2 of an 11 mile run. I think it is funny when people ask me how I fell, since I can easily trip on any flat surface. In this instance I was distracted by a leaking water bottle (I wear small flasks on a belt) and I was trying to figure out why when I tripped and went down hard.
In addition to knocking the wind out of me, I scraped up both palms and my left knee, jammed two fingers, bruised my chin, and managed (somehow) to get what looks like a rope burn on my left shoulder. I’m thinking the rope burn was caused somehow by my sports-bra, but I’m not sure. It could have been much worse. None of the scrapes were deep, blood was minimal, and within a few minutes I was up and running again. I ran 9 more miles, so I couldn’t be too badly injured.
Normally I do my long runs on Sunday because that is the day I have very little else to do, comparatively speaking. However, this week I’m leaving for a business trip on Sunday so I decided to do my long run on Friday. My sister was having a birthday dinner at her house. According to Google she lives 11.2 miles away, so I thought that would make a great destination. This would be my longest run yet – two miles further than my previous record.
I like the idea of running to a destination, especially for long runs. When I run a course or a there-and-back run, I always struggle on the “back” part. Running to someplace is infinitely easier than running back. I thought that running to a party had infinite appeal – Something that would carry me through the final few miles. I had arranged for my mother to bring a change of clothes, packed my utility belt with emergency cash, water and gummy bears, put on my wireless headphones, and hit the road.
And when I say “hit” the road….This was one of those life experiences where you get to see the kindness of strangers. I was on a major local street when I fell and, surprisingly, three cars stopped immediately to help me out:
- “I can call the police” the soccer mom in a mini-van full of kids offered. “Please don’t” I replied, completely embarrassed.
- “Don’t be alarmed, but I think you hit your head badly,” said the older gentleman who got out of his car. “I think we need to get you to a hospital.” I assured him I hadn’t hit my head – the red mark on my forehead is a birthmark and not a sign of concussion.
- The pretty college-aged girl just offered her hand to help me up off the ground and looked worried.
I assured my good-samaritans that I was not badly hurt and that despite the growing collection of bruises and scrapes, I had every intention of finishing my run. I surprised myself by how little time I spent making that decision. I was close to home (relatively speaking) and I’m sure soccer mom would have given me a lift if I needed it. Old guy wanted to bring me to the emergency room. If I had been seriously hurt I would have done just that, but just a few scrapes? No way! I wanted to finish my run.
I took it nice and slow for about a quarter mile, making sure everything was working the way it was supposed to and then kicked back up to me regular long-run pace. Getting up and finishing my run was empowering. Anytime I felt like slowing down or taking a walk break, I thought about falling and getting up again. I don’t think I ever felt more like a real runner.