Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Disclaimer: Long post ahead!

I hadn’t originally planned on writing about this, and initially wasn’t even really talking about it for fear that people would worry and/or get judgey, but I may as well confess: I took a bit of a fall last week. Okay, full-disclosure, I was a bit airborne for a quick minute there. I spent most of that day plugged in and hooked up at the hospital monitoring baby – who it turns out, looks fabulous and totally and completely a-okay. It was also my thirtieth birthday. An epic little Thursday if I do say so myself.

So, the reason I decided to come on out and say it is because in the past few days I’ve come to find that little glitches like this are actually quite common during pregnancy, and also, because this was the accident that stopped my running streak dead in its path. Still, in the past five or so days, I’ve heard about falls, car accidents, spills on ice, and a tackling two-year old. Mine happened – you guessed it – running, but after finding myself on the defensive when colleagues and friends assumed that meant I’d be hanging up my shoes for the next three months, I was reassured and encouraged by a capable and competent nursing team that keeping on keeping on is actually the best thing I can do.

I lamented to my mom that people would think I was reckless if I kept running even though all I craved was getting back out to build back my confidence. She replied, “Jill, you can’t stop running because of what other people think.” God bless you, Mother. Even my anti-exercise enabling husband has my back.

Here’s how it went down (oy).

I was having a beautiful, early morning birthday run – what was meant to be five miles over a route I’ve run a million times. The sun was coming up, it was comfortable, I was feeling great. Just before the fall, I debated crossing over to run on the sidewalk or up the shoulder against traffic (where I usually run). I thought it through and stuck with what I know (the sidewalks aren’t all flat and/or completely safe themselves) and about a quarter mile later, my toe caught a chunk of detached pavement stuck in the mud and I. Just. Flew.

It’s incredible how in a split second you can actually think as you fall. I stumbled four or five steps first, trying to catch myself, and as I actually fell I was very aware of making sure I didn’t land on my belly. I caught myself with both forearms and twisted my body, landing on my side. There was road rash. My arms bled almost immediately. There were tears – from worry, mostly – and though I could have continued running, I called and woke Nik up to come get me. I can only imagine how I looked to anyone driving by: bloody, muddy, and tear-stricken.

After I showered up and calmed down, I headed into the office and reached my doctor’s office when they opened at 8:30. They had availability for me to come in so I left my office two hours later, letting everyone know I’d be back in 45-minutes or so. Whoops. Fast forward to bypassing hospital registration and getting hooked up to all sorts of funky devices to track Baby P’s heart rate and any hard-to-detect contractions. By this point, I felt pretty much okay since a delightful and down to earth nurse told me she was actually more concerned about my arm than the baby. They were obligated to monitor me for four hours, so the blessing in disguise was that I got a bonus ultrasound (baby looks “PERFECT” – do you think they say that to all the panicky mom-to-be’s?) and I spent my 30th birthday relaxing and listening to the baby’s heartbeat. Pretty darn cool, actually. Oh, they also turned down baby’s “volume” because s/he kicks so much and so hard that they could hear it out at the nurse’s station. Nik joked about how active the baby is, which is validating since s/he reminds me that s/he’s in there all day every day.

To be honest, I was totally freaked out about my fall because other than everyday bumps and bruises, I really don’t just FALL DOWN. It’s very strange to feel out of control of your body and to have everyone weighing in on why your balance is off (if it’s even that at all) and what you should do about it. Sometimes well-meaning advice can be a bit much. Needless to say, after this incident and taking one day off to recuperate on Friday – again, my arms more than my belly or my legs – I needed to get back out there to restore some of what makes me feel like me. Breaking the streak and taking the day off was a serious emotional struggle for me, so I was committed to getting back on the road Saturday morning. I took it deliberately slow, one foot in front of the other bigtime, and ran one mile out and back from my house. Sunday night I decided the next step would be covering the same route that knocked me over in the first place. That one was even slower, but also more meditative, a literal retracing of steps. We made it. I was upright. Order was restored.

I guess what I want to say is that it happens. Often, actually. We get derailed. We fall down – sometimes literally – we keep running. I broke my running streak by falling on my birthday and missing a day on Friday the 13th… naturally, right?! But going back to square one, the first mile, the first day, is okay, too, as long as I keep going.

Also, for the record, these nurses were basically the nicest people ever. They brought me a birthday cupcake!

ALSO, for the laugh, as we parked our car outside the hospital and I tried to keep from hyperventilating, Nik told me what he’s gifting me for the big 3-0: “It’s practical,” he assured me.

It’s a treadmill.