Thursday, July 9, 2015

Have a Nice Trip

Last Saturday morning I fell down and broke my crown.

Well, I didn’t really break it, but I certainly gave it some rough treatment.

I had gotten up early to check When could I work in my run? The forecast the evening before had been gloomy, threatening rain all day. I hadn’t run in the rain for decades, choosing as I advanced in years to wimp out and use a treadmill. But this time I had no choice: the HealthPlex, with its trusty treadmill, was closed for its annual three-day mega-maintenance and facility projects weekend. told me I was in luck: 0% chance of rain between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., my usual running time.

At 7 a.m., I strapped on my Garmin watch, headed down the street … and heard raindrops patter in the leaves overhead.  I kept walking. After five minutes I started my usual slow lope. Down Blackthorn Road I went, and the raindrops came a little faster. I decided to persevere. The temperature was mild and it wasn’t exactly pouring. I continued my trot, left on Green Valley Road, right on Providence Road, and then right again onto the old concrete walking path that had been laid down 80 years ago between two yards to connect Providence Road to Dogwood Lane.

The next thing I knew that concrete path was rising up to meet me. This was no Irish blessing. I saw the sidewalk coming with the green lawn beside it and had just enough time to put out my hands and think, “Aim for the grass and roll.”

It half worked. I felt the right side of my head bounce off the concrete and I was on my back on the grass. Interesting sensation that – one’s head bouncing.

I lay there for a moment. I hadn’t seen stars, but I felt a “sensation” on my forehead that I was pretty sure was the inception of a goose egg. I drew a couple deep breaths and stood up to take stock. Two scraped knees, the left one oozing blood, the right one closer to dripping. Two scraped palms, the left one slightly abraded, the right one gouged with blood leaking along the edges. And that interesting sensation on my forehead.

I took some more deep breaths and started the ten-minute walk back home. At the intersection of Providence and Green Valley, I greeted one gentleman walking his dog, who gave me a strange look.  (The man, not the dog, though I can’t swear to that.) I put the unbloodied fingers of my left hand up to my face and pulled away with some sticky red stuff. I kept my head down for the rest of the walk home to avoid more greetings.

When I came in the kitchen door, Jon looked up from his paper and said, “That was a quick three miles.”

“I took a tumble.”

“Oh. I thought you stopped because of the rain.” And he went back to his paper.

No use crying if no one notices, so I didn’t cry. I inspected. I already had a good idea of the condition of my knees and hands, but the face was fresh territory. Having caught the edge of the sidewalk, I had scratches along the brow bone above my right eye, now very tender, scrapes high on my right cheekbone, giving me a rough-and-tumble action hero(ine) look,  and a sprinkling of bright red pockmarks along the right side of my nose (from pieces of loose gravel?). I did my best at mopping up.

After disposing of the damp and bloodied paper towels, I grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the freezer to hold against my pate. It was only then that the adrenaline drained right out of my body, leaving me dripping with sweat and feeling lightheaded. Jon sprang into action, fetching for me the magic elixir for all ills: a glass of ginger ale.

An hour or so of holding a pack of peas against your face can get pretty tedious, and I had done only three or four minutes of my run. I went back out to finish, but this time to the local college track, and Jon came with me. It was either that, he said, or he was going to make me wear a helmet.

Three days later the major reminders of the fall are:
(1) A swollen top joint of the pinky finger on my right hand, which I apparently jammed when I landed but which also apparently kept my head from hitting any harder than it did (well done, pinky finger) but now hurts like the dickens (and does anyone even know what a dickens is?).
(2) An intriguing black eye that isn’t swollen but looks exactly as though I have gone wild with deep purple eyeliner and eye shadow from my eye lashes right up into my eyebrow. (An office colleague commented that the color looked good on me.)

It could have been worse.

I do not know what triggered the fall. I’ve run that same route, padded along that same path for seven years, two to three times a week, April through October. Perhaps I was just too focused on being so proud of myself for running in the rain just like I used to do 30 years ago. (Clearly a physical manifestation of the proverb.)

I do know that I had not gone up a hill.