When I woke last Saturday to “Santa Barbara Weather,” I committed myself to my first run since my return from a challenging twelve-day trip to Morocco. I wanted to get back into the swing of running. I put on black shorts and a white tank top and headed out the door around 11 am. As the 1980s pop tunes blared through my headphones, I actuated a pledge to practice self-care and engage in positive self-talk.
My running app—MapMyRun—had just informed me that I had completed one mile when the run turned south. As I passed a stand selling barbeque chicken, I tripped. I may have been distracted by the site--and the yummy smells--of this Midwestern culinary custom occurring in my neighborhood. Or, maybe, I was just tired, but, trip I did, and in a big way.
I was lucky that things were not worse. It turns out, I still have good reflexes, so the damage to my body was minimal, There are scrapes on my left hand and right knee, and my right shoulder hurts enough that I started a round of steroids today. The barbeque chef dodged traffic to come to my aid, and I convinced him I could walk home unassisted. My husband Mark just happened to pass by with the car two minutes later.
Once in the passenger seat of the car, I burst into tears, the big ones accompanied by gasping breaths for air. I was not in physical pain, though, yes, my white shirt had blood stains on it. I just felt old, fat, and ungainly. I had suffered what felt to me an ignominious setback. At forty-nine years old and seventy-five pounds heavier than I wanted to be, It seemed that I should no longer run. I used to be young and svelte, with a runner’s body and concomitant abilities, but now… As I explained all this to Mark, I burst into tears once again, the big ones accompanied by gasping breaths for air.
The lesson is that you should try not to overthink the implications of a Bad Fall. Instead, you just get up and move on.
In a perfect world, this is where the light from heaven shines down and I have a Very Good Insight into Life. Such has not been the case, even though that fall is seven days behind me. I have since been outside every day so as to get some exercise. Sunday and Monday I walked, because it was impossible to manipulate my arm enough to put on a sports bra. Tuesday, I forced myself to put the dratted thing on and just run so as to not let too much time pass before the next run. After all, I am set to race in Portsmouth on 11 June, less than two months away!
But these activities were not accompanied by exultant thoughts about how I “got back on the horse” or “triumphed over adversity.” I got out the door only because physical inertia would lead me further down a dark path that ended at a place I did not want to be. So, the lesson, I guess, is that you should try not to overthink the implications of a Bad Fall. Instead, you just get up and move toward your goal.
And, anyway, as my therapist noted, the shame I felt after falling last Saturday should not be something that I hold onto. My goal, after all, in committing myself to this blog is in part to Run Unashamed!