April 14, 2012

Tougher Than I Thought

Folks that know me best will tell you that I am a clutz. I'm the girl that trips for no reason walking down the street, if it snows, I WILL find a patch of ice to slip on, and if it's raining and the ground is slippery, I'm likely to slip on it and land on my ass with my skirt over my head. Yes, these scenarios have all happened to me. More than once.

But this time, I swear, it wasn't my fault.

With my next half marathon just 3 weeks away, I planned on running 10 miles this weekend. And since I'm currently en route to Boston for marathon weekend, I decided to move my run up to Friday evening so that I could get it out of the way. I was looking forward to a lovely sunset run along the Hudson, and after my last awesome 15k, I was excited to run 10.  I planned it all out well: hydrated plenty all day, charged my Garmin & my Shuffle, and filled two of the water bottles from my waist carrier to wear for my run. I put on my new uber short running shorts (ok, maybe Sam G was right when she called them underwear), my Sparkly Soul headband, and all my other gear, and set out for the run I'd been looking forward to all day.

It felt easy. I cruised at around an 8:55-9:00 pace and kept on telling myself to slow down, that I have plenty of miles to go. The sun was setting, the path was full, but not packed, with runners and cyclists, I was singing to the music and really enjoying myself. My garmin beeped every 9 or so minutes and I thought "check, another mile, I could keep going like this forever." And then... oh boy.

Just after 4 and a quarter miles, at 4.28 exactly, I flew. Fall would be the wrong word. Flew is definitely more like it. A square of pavement along the park path was loose and sticking up. I stepped on it with one foot, it popped up, and my other foot got caught underneath it. And although the next events occurred pretty quickly, I remember every hundredth of a second of them and precisely what was going thru my head. It went something like this:

"My foot hit something... f*ck I'm going to fall....try to stop the fall... omg I can't stop... I'm flying... omg the railing... MY HEAD!!!... was that my shoulder? my knee... my hand.... GASP.  Should I move? Can I move? Crap my shorts are riding up & everyone can see my a$$"

You might think I'm being overly dramatic but I promise you, I am not. What happened was this. When my right foot got caught, I went flying and tried to brace myself in the air which sort of flipped me over. There was a railing right next to me, and instead of flying into the Hudson (whew! thank you railing), my lower back slammed into the railing. I then flew off the railing and landed on my head with my feet in the air. And then finally came down on my right shoulder, hand and right knee. HARD. As I was coming down, I tried to protect my face with my hand so I ended up with my arm cradling my head and the face of my Garmin crashed into the sidewalk. I'm also pretty sure I screamed the Fbomb at the top of my lungs as this was all going down. And then I just laid there, on my right side, in total shock. I felt my hand and knee throbbing, looked at my knee and saw blood and wondered what to do. About 10-12 other runners and folks hanging in the park ran over to help and wouldn't let me move until they talked to me a bit. I could tell a few of them were worried from the looks on their faces, but the funny thing was, I felt pretty ok except for the bruises and cuts.

One of the other runners looked ahead of me and pointed out the loose square of the sidewalk which made me feel a bit better. At least it wasn't a stupid fall, right? One by one, folks moved on, except for 2 guys who were walking, and another female runner who stayed with me a bit longer until I could stand up. The 2 guys kept asking if I was ok and couldn't believe I was since I pretty much slammed my head into the ground, full force, upside down. The runner checked my pupils to check for signs of a concussion, and offered to get me a cab... and then looked shocked when I told her I still had about 6 miles to do. I guess she figured I probably shouldn't keep running. But I seriously felt fine and I had really been enjoying my run. I didn't want to call it quits and regret it later if I felt totally fine. So I kept going.
The path along the Hudson where I was running.
For the next almost 5 miles, I tried to ignored my throbbing bruises, picked a steady 9 min mile pace, and cruised. But to be smart, I paid very close attention to every part of my body. I looked at all the street signs to make sure I could read them, make sure that my vision wasn't getting blurry. I took sips of water every few minutes, I turned down my music to be more aware of my surroundings, and I focused on my form so that I wouldn't sacrifice it and cause any new injuries. When I hit mile 9 and knew I still had fuel in my tank, I pushed it and finished as strong as I could.

Here is what I learned. I am one tough chick. I am stronger than I think I am and I can and will accomplish what I set out to do. Because I believe I can. In all aspects of my life, whether it be in my running, my business, or in my personal relationships, I'm learning that I really do know best. I need to listen to my instincts and although I can learn from other people's advice, I know me best. I know what is in my heart, what's in my head, and what my body is capable of. If I had thought for even a second that I was too hurt to continue my run, I wouldn't have thought twice. I would've jumped in a cab and headed home or if need be, to the hospital. But I knew that I had it in me, and that pushing myself to finish my run would be better for me both physically and mentally than calling it quits. I'm really happy I finished and I'm pretty freakin proud of myself. It's moments like this that remind me of one of the reasons I love running. It's a way to improve myself, to work on myself, and to show me what I've got. What I can handle.

I completed my run in 1:29:23 for an 8:56 pace. Less than three months ago, I was training to run a sub 9 4 miler. And today, I ran 10 mile at that pace.  Yes, I woke up this morning with a bruised and swollen knee, a bruised and swollen hand, a bit of a headache and pretty bad pain in my shoulder and lower back. But that will all go away. The fact that I've accomplished something new will not.

Now it's time to think about my half on May 6th and put together my strategy and my goals. I want to test and push myself hard, to see what I can really do. So, what do you think my goal should be? A sub 2? Hmm...
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1 comment :

  1. OMG so scary! I'm glad you're okay - you are one tough chick indeed!

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