Sunday, February 15, 2009
Pride Goeth Before the Fall(s)
Another possible title might be, "Dan's Terrific but Terrible Tumble." I’ve taken a few, perhaps more than a few, memorable falls in my time. Today’s ranks up there with some of the best. Those others include, but are not limited to:
1) I was running down a grassy hill (ok, it was a grassy knoll) and onto a parking lot in the dark at Oakland Community College in Michigan. I caught my foot on a curb (who put that there?) and as I tried to roll with the fall, I couldn’t because my foot was still stuck. I semi-crushed my shoulder with a rotator-cuff injury that took a while to recover from. I also had a real lot of trouble getting up and getting home.
2) I was cutting through a small parking lot with a friend when I tripped and fell. I couldn’t figure out what did it until I found a plastic newspaper tie loop around both ankles. I didn’t get hurt, and I laughed a lot taking it off. I guess I caught it when one foot hit the ground, and it must have then stood up and caught the other foot, until both feet were inside the loop. What were the chances?
3) Also near OCC, I was running with a friend down a different hill that was covered with snow and ice. I landed on my butt, and slid for a mile or two. OK, it wasn’t quite that far, but it sure seemed like it. A real “Romancing the Stone” type moment. No injury – I’d landed on a soft spot.
4) Then there was the famous Maui incident. Far to the south, away from any civilization, I was running on a lonely, extremely dark road at about 5am. Heading up a hill, I was suddenly hit hard by something big that had been flying down the hill and right into me. I never saw the biker at all until after the impact. I was knocked down hard, but the biker fell harder. I got up and was in some pain, but it wasn’t too bad. The biker was almost incoherent, however. I helped him get up and onto his now crooked bike, asking all along if I should get help. He didn’t want any, and he continued crookedly on his way. Neither one of us had had any lights, and neither one of us had seen the other at all. Of course my reflective vest had been useless in this case. I sometimes wonder how that biker wound up.
Enough about the past. This morning I awoke extremely early, still being on European time. I plan to stay that way with my early calls next week. I was to meet Joe Jurczyk at Edgwater at 8:30, but had plenty of time before that, so why not go for an early run before meeting up with him? Light snow was falling, resulting in a dusting on the roads and lawns. I did my 11-mile loop at a steady sub-9-minute pace. That’s not bad for me these days. I even had time to do more before meeting Joe, but thought better of it.
Joe and I wanted to check out Edgewater as a possible site for the 24-hour run that we’re planning. He and Dan Fox had done so before, but I wanted to see it, and Joe didn’t seem to mind looking at it again. The snow was still falling, but still not accumulating too much as we started off on the lower .95 mile loop. We ran that loop once in each direction, taking still shots and videos as we went. We had to be cautious, as there were a few icy spots. I felt that that loop was a great option for our run.
Now it was time to check out the upper .67 mile loop. It was perhaps a ½ mile from our cars up the hill to the start of that loop. “Do you want to drive up?” asked Joe. “No” said I, “let’s just run up there.” That part of the asphalt trail turned out to be extremely icy. We had to run parts of it on the grass so that we could have any solid footing at all. The upper loop is a bit more scenic, more secluded, and partly sheltered from the wind. On the other hand, there was several twists and turns on the path, and at least one sharp turn. As nice as that upper loop is to run on, my preference for the event is the lower loop. But both are really great.
We’d seen what we wanted to see; time to quit. As we headed back down the hill on the asphalt trail, we passed a couple walking on the grass to avoid the ice and exchanged hellos. A couple seconds later, Joe went down. About a nanosecond later, I went down, hard! I’d been about 5 feet away and on a different patch of snow-covered ice. It’s amazing how many thoughts went through my head in such a short period of time. Here are some of them:
-Joe fell. Ha ha. (Something I’ve done since childhood is laugh at myself or others who fall down. I know that will strike many as mean-spirited, but it’s what all my friends did whilst playing baseball, football or basketball in our pre-teen and teen years. Don’t get me started on more falling stories from my more distant past. I am a little better about this now – I can usually catch myself from laughing out loud.)
-Dan Fell. Ha ha ha. (As noted, I do laugh at myself too.)
-Whoa. It hurts. It hurts a lot. All on my left side. Joe and the couple are asking if I’m ok.
-I’d better try to answer them. I don’t want them to be overly concerned. That would be the worst that could happen. I try to say that I’m ok, and I can hardly speak at all, making mostly only a pitiful wheezing sound.
-As the seconds pass, I am trying to say that I’m ok, and eventually I get that out. But it’s clearly not even remotely true. Breathing hurts too. I finally figure out that the wind was knocked out of me, and I say so in my wheezing voice.
-Joe was fine, but had stayed on the ground in sympathy. We got up and walked back, thanking the couple (the lady was a nurse – she said I’d be really sore tomorrow).
Hours later, my entire left side is still hurting. And I can feel the pain as I breathe deeply. So now I have yet another physical malady. Can’t wait until tomorrow when it may feel even worse.
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