Note: This post was drafted a few months ago (November 2015), but was never published. However, upon rediscovering it, I decided that the message still resonates as much today as it did the day I wrote it. Running is tough. Sometimes despite doing everything “right,” bad things happen. The best we can do is listen to our bodies – with no regrets.
Last weekend my greatest running fear came to fruition (again). I fell.
When I got outside, the roads/sidewalks were deceivingly slushy. Even worse, was the icy wind that seemed to be coming from all directions and the snow (that hadn’t been falling when I left the house) pelting me so that at some points it was almost impossible to open my eyes. I told myself to suck it up – reminded myself that not even a year ago I would have given anything to be out there, plugging away. So I slowed my pace and committed to running on the streets only, so as to avoid the icy patches that seemed to be building on the sidewalks.
My phone then decided that despite the fact that there are 100s of songs saved in my iTunes (and it was set to shuffle mode), it only wanted to play the same three songs. Over and over. With it being so cold and not wanting to take my hand out of my gloves to figure out what was going on, I decided to just go with it. Just as I was finally starting to get over my anger at the elements and my music, the elements reached back out to remind me. While I had been able to keep my footing by running on the street, there was a short stretch of a few hundred feet where I would either have to run on the side of a main road or a stretch of sidewalk. I (foolishly) opted for the sidewalk. As I was turning the corner, out of the subdivision – down I went. Hard.
And then I lost it.
I don’t know if it was the stress of the run, the stress of life, or what was going on. But as soon as I hit the ground, the floodgates opened. I hit my knee first, then my hip. The same hip that I had surgery on just a year earlier. The same side of my body that had been fighting me every step of the way during my recovery process. And it hurt. It hurt to bend my knee. As I stood up, I found that putting any weight on that side of my body was difficult. I ripped off my gloves and fumbled to retrieve my phone from the plastic baggie, tucked away in my pocket. I dialed my husband, who quickly picked up the phone. Somehow through my hysteria, I was able to get out the fact that I fell and that I was hurt. But on the other end, all I could hear was “hello”? The phone dropped the call. Then dropped it again. So I did the only thing I could do. I got up and tears streaming down my face, made my way home.
I prayed that the neighbors wouldn’t see me. I’m sure I have already made a name for myself as the “crazy” neighbor, who unabashedly will run circles around the cul-de-sacs to add mileage or will leave the house long before sunrise on cold, dreary mornings. Averting eye contact with every person or vehicle I passed, I limped home. When I finally got inside and was able to assess my injuries, I knew right away that it was more than a minor bump and bruise. My entire knee was swollen and it hurt to put any pressure on it. My gait immediately regressed to the pattern I adopted after surgery – rather than one foot in front of the other I could only step out with my left foot and meet it with my right. I could only take stairs by leading with my non-injured leg.
I ended up having to take a week off of running (and CrossFitting) because of the swelling and pain. However, in retrospect, this forced down time may not be the worst thing that could have happened. I asked my body to do a lot this year. To recover. To get healthy. To attempt to run a marathon (and then to actually run a marathon a few weeks later). While I would love nothing more than to be running, my body says otherwise. And I have finally learned to listen.