July 31, 2009

Accidents Happen

Every time I get on my bike there is a tiny thought in the back of my mind that I could crash. I've had two accidents on my bike in six years and while that's not much, the memory of both is enough to keep a healthy respect for the danger of the sport. However, I rarely think about having an accident while running. Today changed that.

I had a 15 mile run on the schedule and it was my only workout for the day. I had some work to do in the morning so I got off to a late start and it was incredibly hot and humid. I felt it right away and my pace was significantly slower than usual. I ran a full loop of Central Park and decided to do the rest on the bridle path, a dirt and gravel path that gives the legs a nice break from the pounding. I've run on this path hundreds of times. It's always really uneven, but was even more so due to all the heavy rain tearing it apart. I've seen people fall here before, but in my nine years of running, I have never fallen on any run. Today ended that streak.

About 10 miles in I tripped on a rock and went down really hard. It happened so fast I had no chance to break the fall and ended up landing on my right elbow and shoulder and sliding a bit. I just laid there for a moment and then slowly sat up. Two strangers stopped to help. I couldn't move my arm at first so I gave it a moment. I had scraped up both knees and could see they were immediately swelling. I had cuts and scrapes all the way up my right thigh and some rocks embedded in my right palm. But the worst was my elbow. It was totally torn up and dripping blood. I decided to continue my run but stopped at the nearest water fountain to rinse everything off. The pain was setting in and it was nasty. My pace slowed significantly.

I think the heat and humidity had taken their toll and I likely wasn't picking my feet up enough. I kicked a big rock and that's all it took. I struggled in my mind over whether or not I should stop, but would I stop in a race if I fell? No. Yes, this is training, but I at least had to get back to the southern part of the park where I started so I decided to run. I slowed as much as needed and paid attention to my body. I was definitely ready to stop when I hit 15 miles.

My coach adjusted my schedule for the weekend and encouraged me to focus on the positives and the things I can control. Yet it's hard not to feel a little sorry for myself. My race is in six weeks and the last thing I want is down time. Ironically I had chosen to run without my iPod in preparation for the race so I had a lot of time to think. I had this wonderful thought about how I haven't been sick at all or had any injuries during this long training process aside from a brief cold back in the very beginning.

It could have been worse and I'm thankful. I came home, had a super healthy dinner, cleaned up all the scrapes, got into my compression tights and have been icing my knees on and off. I will continue the ice tomorrow and stay off my feet as much as possible. If all goes well I'll be on my bike Sunday for the long ride I had planned and this will be a minor setback.

Distance - 15 miles
Time - 2:21:25


  1. some ice and bacitracin and 24 hours later you'll be too restless to hold back. Just another "kiss my ass" to the obstacles that present themselves when you spend the majority of your time out there fighting for your goal.

  2. ouch! I hope you rest and heal up quickly!

  3. Way to keep going ! // I've fallen before while running, and only becuase I am a total klutz. I was running in the city (Baltimore) and I tripped over ... well, I'm not sure. I don't think anything. I chipped my tooth, though, and had to find an emergency dentist to fix it on dec 31. nice.

  4. Falling sucks - no doubt - but way to pick yourself up and dust your knees off!

  5. Strange to read this as it just happened to me during my run this past Tuesday. I hurt my ankle so I was off from running and swimming for 3 days. Just another battle to fight in the quest for IM!

  6. LM,

    You're right, things happen, and you are training properly for the 4th discpline needed for IM's and that is the mental aspect. In 2007, I crashed at mile 40 of the bike and if I hadn't been ready for the unexpected it could have totally messed my day up, but i got back on my bike and forged forward. In every race something unexpected, albeit small or large, you just need to keep on moving. You'll be ready in 6 weeks, the hay is in the barn now and now you just have to maintain and taper, and the day will be here before you know it! P.S. Learned a big lesson in 2007, always have ibuprofen in the T2 bag just in case!!!

    Happy training,




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