Down to Earth

As you can tell from our recent posts, the PMC experience left me and Colby walking on air.

But my 20-mile run the other day brought me right back down to earth.

Literally.

More specifically, my major-scale wipeout at mile 10 brought me straight down, face first, to the ground.

You know how skiers sometimes have “yard sale” falls? Man down, equipment flying everywhere? Well, I managed to achieve one on foot. Quite the spectacular accomplishment, if I do say so myself. (Pats self on back)

As I was running past a very crowded preschool playground – oh yeah, lots of witnesses, size 4T – I reached for my sports beans at the same time that the sidewalk became a little choppy. One minute I was up, the next, I was flying toward the ground. It happened so fast that I am surprised that I had time to block my face from kissing the sidewalk.

Everything I had with me – my mp3, my water bottle, those damn sports beans, my sunglasses, MY DIGNITY – went flying. In different directions, of course.

Many small faces peered in horror through the fence lining the playground. Why does this nonsense never happen in privacy? All those times I ran at 5 AM with only a few deer to see me. Embarrassing fall couldn’t have happened then?  Yeesh. Now, thanks to me, there will be a whole generation of Fairfield students who will “Just Say No” to running.

It took me a second to realize what had happened. Then it was time to pick myself up and assess the damage. Right knee: huge scrape, lots of blood. Right hand – scraped palm, moderate bleeding. Right shoulder and elbow: heavy road rash; no blood. Face & head: unharmed. Teeth: still in mouth & attached. Nothing broken or swollen. Garmin, mp3, clothes & sneakers – intact.

Damn, I was lucky.

For me, eating and running is like texting and driving. Not advisable. I’m the person who has to slow to a near stop at race water stations because attempting to drink while running just results in me watering my shirt. Perhaps I need to slow down more to get out my beans, as well (ya think?).

Multi-tasking is apparently not something I can manage during a long run. Not too surprising, really – I have plenty of names- first name, middle name, confirmation name, maiden name, married name, plenty of nicknames. At least 8-10 names that I will readily answer to, but not one of them is “Grace.” No accident there.

On the plus side, I accomplished my first 20 mile run in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27! Finished well despite the bumps and bruises.I was much slower than I would like, but I don’t think I can blame that on the fall. I just have been really slow lately. Feel steady and strong, but SLOW. Not sure what is up with that.

I have been reading a lot about marathon training and one thing that everyone seems to echo is that you have to be prepared for the unexpected on race day – that things often don’t go as planned. I take some small comfort in knowing that I can probably survive a large-scale wipeout in a marathon and continue on. I just hope I don’t have to prove it on race day.

Although I was a bit intimidated by the idea of a 20-mile run, it was really manageable. If I hadn’t wiped out, I may have even found it pleasant. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I was happy to stop when the time came. Yes, my muscles were starting to feel fatigued. But I wasn’t dizzy or weak or nauseated or depleted. In fact, I felt pretty well at the end of the run.

Other than the bleeding knee & hand, banged up elbow & shoulder and injured pride, of course.

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15 thoughts on “Down to Earth

  1. I am glad there’s no permanent or serious damage from your fall. Top effort finishing yourvrun after the fall. I would’ve cracked a darky and walked home. Haha.

    Very well written post. You made me feel like I was there in the playground watching on in horror 🙂

  2. Oh my. I had a fall like that years ago in front of about 500 other runners at our local, crowded, city lake. It was spectacular, and I remember hearing this collective “Ooooooooooh” as I hit the ground in slow motion. Glad you didn’t knock out any teeth–my worst fear!

  3. Lots of witnesses, size 4t….brilliant. You probably didn’t scare them away from running but they probably saw you gather your stuff without making a big deal and get back on your way, likely thinking you were pretty bad ass. I have no idea how your running has been going since you just got out of OMC training but man, its impressive either way!

    • I sure hope they thought I was bad ass but based on the looks on their faces, I think I just horrified them.
      My running since the PMC has been comfortable but SLOW. I’m trying not to let it bother me. I just got a Garmin in August and have decided that I can only use it to track mileage and not pace. I know I’m doing the best I can and there is no sense in going nuts over speed since I don’t think I can do anything about it right now anyway. How is your NYC training going??

  4. Yikes! Just about everyone I know has taken a tumble while out for a run. Glad to hear you didn’t sustain any significant injuries.
    Those kids were probably excited and scared all at the same time. What kid doesn’t like to see a good wipe out?
    Now that it is getting dark earlier, I debate weather it is better to run in the street and take my chances with cars, or run on uneven side walks and take my chances with gravity.

    • I like to think that I may have provided the best entertainment they saw all morning!
      Know what you mean about street vs. sidewalks, Sidewalks around here get a little choppy, but the streets are windy and the drivers all seem to be distracted and fast. It’s a “choose your poison” everytime I head out…

  5. Touch wood, I’ve never wiped out on a run before. Never. Which is weird. My girlfriend probably wouldn’t believe me either, considering I stumble when just walking around ALL THE TIME. But it’s true, I’ve never fallen over while out running. Of course having now written this I will go out for my long run on Sunday, get knocked over by a dog, slip on a banana peel and fall head first into the canal…
    About the slow feeling – are you doing any speedwork? If you run all your runs at the same pace your body just gets into that groove and its hard to break out. If you’re not doing speedwork then maybe try some 400m repeats at a local track, or adding threshold runs into your schedule on your short runs. If you’re already doing that stuff, then it sounds to me like you might be just be going through an adaptation phase as your body adjusts to less cycling and more running. Whenever you start new exercise or change your major exercise, about 4-6 weeks after that point your body ‘slows’ as it nears the end of the adaptation process. Usually after that time it is adjusted and things get going again.
    Hope that helps.
    Oh, and I’m seriously considering wearing knee pads on my next run now I’ve out the mockers on myself…

    • Thank you so much for this. I did do one run last week with speed intervals and was able to get my pace up. Haven’t been able to do it this week because my legs are just too tuckered from my long run earlier in the week. Hope to be able to do it again this weekend. Really appreciate the advice and I hope I didn’t jinx you re: wiping out.

      • Haha. I managed to avoid the dog, banana peels and the canal when on my run. Still stumbled and missed a kerb when walking with my girlfriend that afternoon. She tells me I’m the clumsiest person she knows. I must save all my coordination for my running!
        All the best with your speed increase!

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