Lessons not “Legends”.
If you’ve come here looking for ruminations on the 1994 Brad Pitt Epic “tale of three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of 1900s USA and how their lives are affected by nature, history, war, and love.” you are going to be sorely disappointed.
No, this is all about the lessons I learned tonight when my Worst Fear About Running became A Reality. I fell. Not some cute little “Oopsie doodle!” mis-step that had me losing a step or two. No. This was a full-body, Superman sprawl of a fall. To my credit although I did go straight, flat-forward down I didn’t actually “face” plant. It was more of a knee/elbow plant. I’m fine. My elbow looks rough, but thankfully Ye Olde Knee shows no signs of being any the worse for the wear. Thank You Lord for that!
Back to my post title. I came away from this little experience slightly worse, but far wiser for the wear. Here are my Lessons From The Fall:
- It isn’t the fall, it’s the fear of the fall that’ll getcha!
As previously stated: Falling has been my Worst Fear since I started running last summer. Okay, maybe my second Worst Fear behind snakes on the trail and finding a dead body. Technically that dead-body-finding thing doesn’t count since it isn’t technically running related, it’s a lifelong fear with absolutely zero basis in experience. And totally not germane to the point.
But the Snakes On The Trail thing? Yeah, that’s real and definitely running related since most of the trails we run on are in an urban park and go through wooded areas that are “in their natural state”. And really if I do run into a snake on the trail what are the chances that Samuel L. Jackson is going to show up to kill it with the force of his profanity? See? This is a real fear.
Back to falling. Falling is also a real, running related fear. I hate falling. It is: A) Embarrassing; B) Painful; and C) Potentially running career ending. And tonight it became: D) A Reality. And in so doing I learned that – in all truth – the fear of a thing actually is worse than the thing happening itself.
Oh, it wasn’t fun! And I will do everything in my power to avoid it happening again. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had built it up to being in my brain.
It was also divine providence that it wasn’t any worse than it was. I was on a boardwalk rather than pavement; there were no other runners (HCRP notwithstanding) around to witness my humiliation; and most of all there were no cyclists coming up fast behind us because when I Supermanned it I sprawled myself out in fabulous fashion all across the middle of the trail that had no shoulder for anyone to dive off onto to avoid plowing over me.
- You never know what you’re going to do until you’ve done it!
The instant the toe of my right shoe caught on the uneven board I knew I was going down. It was unavoidable because gravity isn’t just a good idea, it’s The Law. I managed to land sprawled face down with neither my face nor my forehead making contact with the boards. Once I was down and realized the falling part was over my first impulse was to hop back up and keep running. As I was rolling over to a sitting position I realized “Holy Crap! I just fell!” Of course my first ‘rational’ thought was to make sure I hadn’t shattered my phone that was tucked in the armband. (I didn’t.)
HCRP helped me to my feet and at first, again, I started to turn back in the direction we’d been heading and take off. HCRP, in his infinite wisdom and good sense, stopped me and suggested I do a ‘damage assessment’ which sounded like a good idea so I did. that was when I discovered that my left elbow had likely taken much of the brunt and of all the moving parts was going to be the worst for the wear. We walked along while I caught my breath, determined that all 2,000 parts were in working order, and then we started jogging again. That’s when it hit me that: A) I freakin’ FELL; and B) I got up and kept on running. Of course that “I freakin FELL” think came out of my mouth with a slightly more colorful descriptor, but still. Instead of crying or quitting or crying and quitting I kept going.
HCRP’s assessment of this reaction was “Well, you’re really a distance runner now, you’re a masochist!”
- Adrenalin is over-rated.
And, in (more of) HCRP’s inimitable and insightful words: Adrenalin can be an asset in a race, but this isn’t exactly the best way to get it. Personally, I found it to be more hindrance than help since it was the adrenalin rush that had me wanting to pop right back up and keep running.
- Timing is, as they say, everything!
If I were going to have ‘scheduled’ this it couldn’t have come on a better night since I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning to address my ongoing TFL tightness/soreness that just happens with no identifiable cause.
It doesn’t always happen during a run, or after a run, or even before a run. It just happens and hurts.
It isn’t on both sides, just the left.
It isn’t a pull. It feels more bruised than any other sensation. I haven’t pulled anything.
Yes, I’ve been using my foam roller. Religiously. Okay except tonight because I can’t use my left hand to support my weight.
So I’m going to see a doctor in my PCP’s office who is a runner to get her input and possibly a referral to a physical therapist. And praying she doesn’t say the dreaded word: R-E-S-T. I have 40 days til my first Half Marathon and I am finally beginning to see myself doing this thing. I really don’t want to have that taken away from me. Again.
In Olympic Watching news, I woke up at 4:50 am this morning to watch The Women’s Marathon and was absolutely dumbfounded by these women! Somewhere in the instant before my right toe caught and all those lessons started being learned I think in my brain I was one of them for about half a second.
Oscar Pistorius absolutely humbles and inspires me. I watched him in his semi-final run as I was pecking away at this post and was in tears as he ran with nothing but the pure joy and triumph of being where he was doing what he was doing.
Kirani James doubled those tears when he asked to trade name tags. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what The Olympics are about.
And now it’s late and I’m tired and it’s time for bed.
Thanks for slogging through all this. I’ll likely read this in the morning and wonder what I was thinking.
But for now, I’m okay with it all.