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.


  1. Owwww! Excuse me. I am going to get sick now. That looks very painful.


    Please heal quickly.

  2. No kidding. Ouch. I did the same thing this week at dusk (twice in one run - ack!) but with less blood. Thought I may have broken my arm but didn't. Still hurting in spots.

    With me it always happens when I'm short on sleep. The balance is gone.

    Heal fast!

  3. BTW - Be interested to hear if you like the 310XT. Does the stop button activate accidentally with long sleeves? That's one of my problems with the 405. That and the battery is dead under 6 hours. Thx.

  4. Anonymous1:14 AM adults we are'nt "meant" to trip/fall! Last time I tripped while running with the poochie, he kindly sat on my chest till I got my breath back.

  5. WOW! That's an intense injury.I'm glad you're OK. Way to be tough!

  6. Durango Joe7:00 AM

    Hope you scrubbed all the gravel and dirt out of it....

  7. I'm so klutzy I had a hiking crash yesterday. Somehow, I caught my back foot on a rock, and as I tried to use my leg to catch myself, just tangled it in the other leg...went straight down on my shoulder with my knee into a rock...yeah...super-graceful. I hope you heal quickly!

  8. Dang Jill...your trail-running 'crash' looks worse than my Mt bike crashes. But still, one truth in life is that crashing sucks, no matter how it happens. But hey...chicks dig scars. Oooh...wait, never mind. I guess we need to amend that...'Guys dig chicks with scars'...there, how's that? Anyway, glad to hear you're not seriously hurt.

    And to comment on your prior post, glad to hear you've now tasted the sizzling speed of a true road-machine. I have 2 road bikes to go with my Mt bike (one is a take-apart frame for travel, otherwise there'd be no need for 2 road bikes). I just like riding bikes, no matter the venue. Tho I must admit I PREFER the dirt. But as has been said, road riding in groups can be quite fun AND challenging!

    And fair beating up on a guy on a mt bike when you are on a road bike...they are apples n oranges. There's some good rides up your way that will have you sucking wind for sure. On some weekday when u have a few hours to kill, park in Saratoga and climb up hwy 9 to Skyline rd...the descent back into town is full-on super-fun! I took that rd back all the way ino Santa Cruz n back one fine day a few years ago...that was a fun ride for sure! Just don't do it on a weekend...too much traffic, n the motorcycles go up/down that road like maniacs.

    Keep the rubber side down (and that includes your running shoes).

  9. You're not a real trail runner until there's some blood!

    Heal up quickly :)

  10. OUCH!! I guess trail running can be hazardous as mountain biking. To didn't even have clipless pedals.

  11. OUCH! Been there, done that, got the scars and torn t-shirts to prove it. I've 'tripped on air' more times than I care to remember! For that very reason, I wear either weight lifting gloves, or old biking gloves when I run. I can at least save my palms!

  12. Oh, I hear you! In my first trail race, I fell twice...both times on the smoothest, flattest portion of the trail...thank goodness, because there were some nasty rocks in other parts! I've also managed to go down hard on the sidewalk twice on early morning runs. Now, if I come to school with any scrapes, my students ask, "Did you fall AGAIN??"

  13. Don't feel too bad. I've also had a few accidents running. In high school I was running and slipped and dislocated my shoulder. Last year here in the Campbell tract in Anchorage on a smooth trail I hit the only stick there was and my knee looked like yours.

  14. Yep, always seems to happen when you least expect it; probably because we're not focused enough on our feet...mind wandering, looking at the scenery, etc. Agree that your trail rash looks worse than most bike road rash. Also looks like your Garmin survived OK ;). Lucky cause that model reportedly has a crystal that breaks more easily with impacts than the older model.
    I'll be running in Big Basin at the end of the month--can't wait! Run/bike well, Ann

  15. Do please get better soon! And keep us updated with pictures of all places you enjoy!



  16. I have come so close to doing that many times, but so far have been lucky. Sorry you crashed! I hope you heal fast!

  17. Mtrunner2: I really like the Garmin 310XT. I used during the White Mountains 100 and had it on the entire time: 18 hours of running time in the cold, and a great record of the track, elevation and speed. I've never had it switch off on its own, although it's so large that I usually wear it over sleeves (I've long since stopped caring about being a geek.)

    And sorry I haven't put up a new post to bump this disgusting one down. I've been super tender with bruises and road rash ever since Sunday, and I haven't really done anything all that interesting. Soon, hopefully.

  18. Awww just wash it off and get back on the trail girl! Whats this, Silicon valley makin ya soft? :) Alaska and Montana women don't let a few trail burns hold ya down!

    Now that I'm finished sounding like one of my old football coaches.......Keep em clean and I hope you heal fast.

    Speaking of Beat and his achilles, I've been wearing a metal and foam boot now for 6 weeks. They are trying to keep me FROM having achilles surgery. At least my shoes are only getting worn out on one foot. Only exercise I am getting is wearing slippers on my recumbent bike, watching the TV. Achilles problems are no fun.

    Again, take care of that road rash!


  19. Ouch - wow - lots of damage from a running fall. Heal quick.

    Years ago, wife and I were on a backpack trip - well sorta. Within 100 yards of leaving the trail head, she tripped with a full pack - knee into rock. Bloody, swollen mess - trip over before it even started.

  20. OUCH! That sure was tumble to remember. Heal up quick, I love to read about your adventures.


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