Sunday, April 10, 2011

Running crash

After two weeks of feeling rougher than normal, my string of illness and minor maladies were finally starting to clear up. Finally, for the first time since Fairbanks, I felt strong. I joined Beat on his long Sunday run that he unfortunately had to cut short due to lingering Achilles pain. But we were still in it for 13 miles, climbing 3,000 feet of dusty trail, wending through a tight corridor of chaparral and descending on steep, root-covered singletrack. With the hard part completed, we were coasting home on the smooth, wide fireroad, running fast enough that I could feel a strong breeze on my sweat-drenched face, when suddenly ... thud.

My body slammed into the dirt and skidded several skin-scorching inches to a dusty stop. It was a full-body superman crash without even the dignity of handlebars to launch over. I had heard of such things happening — runner crashes — but I can't say I believed in them. Aren't people just inherently supposed to know what they're doing when they're on their feet?

But apparently, I don't. There wasn't even a discernible obstacle sticking out of the ground. I had simply tripped on my own foot and hit the deck, hard.

The remaining three miles of the run were rough. I was wearing thick nylon pants that prevented road rash from tearing up my leg, but my left knee had taken the brunt of the impact and was swollen and throbbing with pain. The road rash on my hands and left arm started to sting something fierce, and I could actually see little bits of gravel still lodged in some of the larger wounds. My left elbow was swelling, too, and I could only hold my arm limply at my side. Just like that this relatively easy, strong run turned into a difficult challenge, with blood smeared on my face, skin shredded and confidence blown.

But you gotta be tough if you're gonna be klutzy.