Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Playing it Safe Doesn't Stop You From Falling


I don't even have a great way to begin this post. Maybe, The Day I Fell? Or Playing it safe doesn't always pay off? I think I like that one the best. 

Let me back up to Monday's run so you'll get an idea of why I felt this urgent need to play it safe this morning. I am hesitant to post because I don't want to worry family and friends. I was finishing up my run, 1 mile left tops, when I heard this lady yelling out. I tend to ignore people during my runs. I hear people call out to me, to others, whatever, so I ignore it unless it's a "hi" or "good morning." This was urgent, frantic. 

I've passed this house countless mornings. The lady is often on the porch with her large, barking dog. I stay on the other side of the street. But she started rushing down her porch steps towards me. Of course I stopped immediately and also started to reach for my mace. Was she crazy? What the heck? She had what looked like a remote control in her hand too. 

Long story short, she was warning me not to continuing in the direction I was headed because a man had just held a gun to her head and tried to rob her on the one morning she didn't have her dog out with her. 

She was so visibly shaken, scared, panicked that it of course shook me to the core. She even offered to drive me home. I assured her I'd be ok and headed down to a main street where there was heavy traffic and plenty of light. I will say my last mile was a 7:30 pace though!

It's so flipping dark in the mornings that it can make anyone jumpy. Yesterday, Jason and I ran together for the majority of the run. I finished out 2 additional miles when it was getting mostly light. This morning, however, it would be a solo run. 

I honestly contemplated waiting and running after work since it's cooled down a bit and the humidity is lower. I even posted on Facebook that I was going to sleep in. Well, I didn't. I got up to get my run in. I don't want to be afraid of running. Ever. I had my mace, my blinking lights, my phone. 

Today I was going to play it safe. I was going to take a totally different route at a totally different time. I was playing it safe. Well lit, lots of traffic. Safe safe safe. I will admit that I was pretty jumpy. I jumped at my own shadow twice and picked up the speed more than I had wanted or needed for this run. I realized then that I should not have run. I was too nervous, not paying attention to my form, running too fast. I finally tried to talk myself down and calmed myself enough to return focus to myself. 

Continuing with my plan to play it safe, I even decided to take a left and get ON the sidewalk rather than go straight under an overpass or run over the trolly tracks. Playing it safe doesn't always mean you'll be safe though. I started to turn the corner and I lost total control. I have no clue what I even tripped on, if anything to be honest. I just felt that forward propulsion. I was going down. 

You know how you hear about people falling and it was slow motion? Yep, that didn't happen. I went down fast and I went down hard. I tried not to slide, but I couldn't stop myself. I hit with the palms of my hands, my right knee slammed down next, then I landed flat on my stomach. 

The first thing I did was jump up and stop my Garmin. Yep. I'm "that" runner. I couldn't let this fall skew my data now could I? I know, some of you are shaking your head, others are nodding and smirking. Yes, runners are certifiable. Plain and simple. 

I brushed off my hands and hesitantly looked at my knee. It was already purplish in color and the blood was springing to the surface. On the upside, playing it safe had me landing this fall right next to a newly built hotel. See, there is a bright side to this whole thing right? I hobbled over and the concierge took one look at me and grabbed a first aid kit. I've never been so happy to be in a hotel lobby before. I cleaned up the wound as best as I could and bandaged it up. 

I thought about calling Jason to come get me. I was 2.11 miles into a 6 mile run. Oh, you know what I did already. I finished the run. I ran faster, I ran through the pain, I winced, I cursed, I wanted to cry. But I'm stubborn as hell and I was fairly ticked off. 

Playing it safe huh? See where that landed me … literally. That got me to thinking about playing it safe in life. This whole run can be a giant metaphor for life really. It's one thing to prepare ourselves - to pack up our phones, mace, blinking lights. You can plan out that safer route, the one that's well lit and makes you feel more secure. But in the end, you will still have those falls. Those falls you can't prevent no matter how safely you're trying to play things. 

The good thing is, you will have a concierge in your life to help you up. To dust you off, bandage your wounds. And that's all you can do. Pick yourself up and finish what you started. It might hurt. You might cry, curse, yell. But that's life. We learn from our mistakes, from our falls and we move on. 

So don't be afraid to get out and run. Prepare yourself of course, take precautions, but don't forget to get out and run

Warning - bloody knee photos ahead so don't look if you're squeamish.