Running. I have a love/hate relationship with it. And this past week, I got to experience both sides.
Wes and I signed up to run the 2018 miles in 2018 challenge, and we’ve been getting it done. Six miles a day with an occasional rest day, which we’ve supplemented with long training runs for the marathon we’ve got coming up. We were ahead of schedule when we went to the Middle East last month, but on the way back, we lost a couple of days trying to get back into a regular schedule here. (Because we didn’t know what year it was, what planet we were on, or who we were most days. I think jet lag is worse coming west than it is going east, y’all.)
All that said, we’ve been consistently running without any rest days, doing our regular six miles and finishing up the last bit of high mileage runs for the marathon. I told Wes at the beginning of last week that there’s never an absence of soreness in my legs these days. Just more soreness added on to the ever present ache, every day, day after day. Doesn’t running sound like fun?!
We’ve been continuing on like this without incident. Well, a few days ago, I ran out of clean running socks. I put on a regular pair and went to the gym, determined to get my six miles in anyway. Well, my feet protested mightily a mile into things because they’re spoiled now apparently. Our marathon is a week away, and I knew if I kept on running in those socks, I’d end up with even more black and missing toenails going into race day, which would be dumb. (You could argue that having any black or missing toenails is dumb, and you’d be right. But whatever.) I came back home and put on a pair of dirty running socks, telling Wes that I was going to run the last five miles in the neighborhood.
All good and well. Except my body was tired, as was my mind, which was probably why I wasn’t paying attention a mile into the run when I tripped over these weird nail things that they have right in the road. (What are those things, local friends? They’re on the levee road then randomly on the side of the road between Willow and Locusts streets. Just sticking up, ready to cause all kinds of trouble!)
I’ve fallen on a run before. Back in Houston, I was rounding a corner in our neighborhood, tripped over a break in the sidewalk and went down hard on my knees and elbows. There was blood everywhere, making me pretty sure I’d punctured an artery (because human knees are full of arteries, right?), and I’d hobbled through the rest of the run, much to my detriment later as all the excess sweating made the open wounds that much oozier (is that a word?) and grotesque. It took a long time to heal up from that, and I ended up with scars on my elbows from it.
So you know what I was thinking about when I started falling, don’t you? “Protect your elbows and knees!” my head was screaming. Which I did, by falling right onto my face. Sigh. My head was screeching again as my jaw met the pavement, but my knees were all, “We’re all good down here!” Umm… yay?
Once the initial impact was over (lol), my thoughts went straight to my teeth, which had been gloriously straight moments before thanks to years of orthodontia. While still lying on the ground, I was feeling around my mouth, making sure everything was where it had been and that nothing was loose. My middle-aged mind was torn between the vain, youthful exclamation that “I’m going to look hideous if this messed up my teeth!” and the practical, old lady concern of “This is going to cost a fortune to fix!” Fortunately, though, there was NO DAMAGE! Praise the Lord. Seriously. Praise Him because I can’t afford what I’m sure my dentist would have suggested. (The last time I had a filling done, she told me that had it been just a tiny bit worse, she would have had to do a root canal and a crown. To which I responded, only half kidding, “Or an extraction.” Honestly, y’all, the thought of spending thousands of dollars to save a tooth makes me think longingly about dentures. My dentist cut that thought process off right away by being completely horrified that I would even joke about something like that. I can’t even imagine what she would have said had I really done some damage with this fall.)
Assured that my teeth were fine, I got up and checked everything else out. My shoulder was throbbing, but the greater concern was my right hand, which was dripping blood on the pavement. And they say running isn’t a contact sport. I called Wes and tearfully informed him that I was done with running. Forever. And ever and ever. He’s already heard me say that a few times (a few thousand times) so he wasn’t too bothered about it, but he was concerned that I was bleeding, so he drove out to come get me.
“That’s gonna hurt tomorrow,” he said when I climbed up into the truck. To which I responded, “It hurts right now, actually.” Making him respond with, “You’re taking the rest of the day off from running. And tomorrow, too. This is tapering week anyway.” To which I said, “Ha! Tapering my foot! I’m never running again!”
I was still insisting that I was done (done forever, I tell you!) when we got home and looked over all the injuries together. My jaw had turned purple by this point, and my shoulder looked even worse. The greater concern, though, was that I couldn’t raise my arms above my head without significant pain. Yep, Old Lady Faulk can’t fall on a run anymore without feeling it down to her very bones. (I don’t remember hurting like this when I fell in Houston! I was five years younger then, though, which might be the difference. Ugh.)
“I feel like such a fool,” I told Wes, putting pressure on my hand to stop the bleeding and looking at my spreading bruise.
“You’re not a fool,” he said. “But you are beau-ti-fool.”
And that? Made falling on my face worth it. (Not really. But it did make me feel a teensy bit better.)
I was able to cover up the worst of the bruising with makeup (and by wearing long sleeves) so that only a few people at church noticed that I looked like I’d been punched in the jaw, so that was good. Wes told me I needed to blog about my misfortune because it had become a funny story to him by this point, with those few people saying, “Ahh! What happened to your face?!” when they saw me. Nice. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t blog about it because I was ready to be done with running. Forever, remember?
But then I got up this morning and put my running clothes on like normal and went out to get it done – sore body, bruised face, and all. And would you believe that the six miles I got in this morning were the most pleasant I’ve run in weeks? Maybe that little bit of rest was just what I needed because I feel good again. Still sore and still unable to put my arms above my head without wincing, but hey – I don’t need to raise my arms to run. And I sure don’t need a pretty face. Which is good, because mine isn’t pretty at all at the moment.
So, all that said, I’m running my thirteenth marathon in six days. Woot, woot! And it probably won’t be the last. See? Love/hate.
And fortunately for us all, my right hand is all bandaged up, and I’m still able to write. Woo-hoo! I’m looking forward to releasing First Love at the end of this month, and I’m super excited about the projects up ahead…