Sometimes You Fall

Last weekend when I left to go out for my 10 mile run, I felt great! My legs felt good, I felt pretty well-rested, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I was ready! I had gone about a half mile down an asphalt pedestrian trail I’ve probably walked/ran/cycled about 100 times and then I fell. Hard.

I have absolutely no recollection of tripping but I assume that’s what happened. It felt like someone was literally pushing me forwards presumably because of the momentum I had going while running. I tried to pull back when I started to fall but couldn’t so I skidded along the asphalt about 5 or 6 feet until I finally rolled onto my shoulder, thinking that would stop me, and it did. Instinctively, I didn’t want to fall on my hands but I didn’t know how else to stop other than rolling.

There was a nice couple walking their dog who came to my rescue. They asked if I was OK, and handed me one of my water bottles still full of nuun that had flown out of my hydration belt. I was a little stunned, because like I said, I really don’t remember tripping, but I stammered something like I would eventually be OK, and I thanked them after they also handed me my sunglasses that had flown off me as well.

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I assessed the damage and realized nothing seemed broken at least. My shoulder felt like I had just ran full speed into a giant tree or something and it was rubbed raw and was bleeding. Both hands were bleeding on the fronts and backs. My left knee was gushing blood and my right thigh and right forearm were scraped but not bleeding.

In a daze, I walked the half mile home where I washed all of my cuts and scrapes (OUCH!), put on antiseptic cream and tons of Band-Aids, took a couple of Tylenol, and iced my shoulder and knee. After about 20-30 minutes I decided to go back out to finish my run. My thought process was I was probably going to just feel more sore the next day so if I waited to run then it would most likely be even more painful than if I just sucked it up and went back out then.

Surprisingly, I had a fairly good run when I went back out the second time that day. My times were pretty good and I felt pretty good overall (albeit sore from the fall). I’ll admit, I was a little tentative about falling again when I first started back out, and I decided not to go back the way I was originally going to run, which has cracks, gaps, and bumps all over the asphalt trail. I knew I would have to face that demon again eventually, I just didn’t want to do it quite so soon.

While I was out running I started thinking how sometimes it’s almost good to go through things like this when we’re training for a race (I’m running a half marathon in May). It shows me that if this happens during a race, unless it’s more serious, I can continue running and everything will be OK. A couple of weeks ago it was cold and misting light rain when I was supposed to run 40 minutes. I didn’t have the option of waiting until later that evening to run so I went out and realized it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was.

Although it’s not always been the case, usually I end up feeling pretty good at the end of a run, even if I didn’t feel so great in the beginning, or the weather was crappy so I dreaded running in it. The old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” definitely seems true in the case of runners. I think this applies to the emotional and mental aspect of running as much if not more so than the physical aspect of running.

Have any of you had a bad fall when running? What happened? Did you feel like it made you a (mentally) stronger runner afterwards?

Happy running!

Donna

 

 

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Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

18 thoughts on “Sometimes You Fall”

  1. So thankful that you were not seriously injured. I fell during our half in the Smokey Mountains, we were transitioning from the back roads to the paved trail that would take us to the finish. It happened at mile 8.25, my watch stopped!! The trail pavement was broken and my toe caught on a piece and it was like I was falling in slow motion, I didn’t even have my phone out!! I remember turning my head at the last minute, I had two friends that had fallen that same week and ended up with busted teeth and chins. I hit the left side of my head, right where the bill of the sits and gave myself a nice sized goose egg!! I had road rash on both hands and scraped my knee. Several people stopped to help, one was a nurse, she evaluated me and ran on. I made it to my feet and said let’s go!! They tried to hold me, an ambulance was on the way. I said not this close to the finish. Rick was in awe, he said he would’ve sat on the trail and cried!! At mile ten they let me rinse my palms and wrapped them in paper towels (you can see it in the race photos) and on I went. I finished and went straight to the ambulance, the paramedic said they had been looking/waiting for me. They evaluated me and sent me on my way and then…I cried!! Rick was like…REALLY, you’re going to cry now!! I was running on adrenaline and it ran out after my ambulance visit!! Plus, it was a pretty nice medal!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! What a great story, Jodi! I felt like I was falling in slow motion, too so I know exactly what you mean. I’m really sorry that happened to you. Hitting your head must have been scary because of the risk of a concussion. You’re a tough one for sure! Thanks for sharing that!

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  2. As a trail runner, falls are inevitable and I expect them. Doesn’t make them any less annoying, but I’m more surprised when I finish a trail race without falling. So far this year I’ve run four trail races and fallen four times. Routine: 1) swear, 2) get up, 3) rinse off knee, elbow, etc. 4) resume running. Get bandage at aid station if needed. Road falls are more nasty, grant you, and I’ve had a few of those, too.

    I don’t know if falls have made me any stronger mentally, but none of them discouraged me from continuing to run. Neither have my long, painful ultras, so perhaps I’m just too thick-headed anyway. In any event, good job!

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  3. glad you’re ok! I’ve fallen twice in my 5 year running career but fortunately have only suffered scrapes and bruises. I think the key is when you’re pretty sure you’re going down don’t fight it, just work on the landing. It also helps if you’re going too slow to generate a lot of impact force as I usually am!

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  4. All I run these days are sprints. I’ve never fallen while sprinting, but after you’re incident I’m kind of worries. I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t sprint on a grassy field, that way the fall will have some cushioning. Right now I sprint on a sidewalk.

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  5. d’oh! glad you’re ok. one of my regular running routes goes past a high school, and my worse wipeout ever was eating pavement in full view of the football team’s practice. . . my pride worse than my knees. . . love your dust-it-off attitude. kick ass.

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