So, it's finally happened: I fell running on Saturday.
I know these things happen all of the time, even to people like Paula Radcliffe, but you do sort of think "really, I am 30 years old, I can put one foot infront of the other even at high speeds." I mean, how hard can it be? And then it happens and you're so shocked and all you can do is cry.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The Irishman and I went running Saturday morning, a light 13 miler; I wanted to take it easy and flex my lower shins. It was really more of a test to see how my leg would hold up. It was going really well, though; nice and easy pace, beautiful weather. We were doing a new route west along Regent's Canal – through Camden Lock, past Regent's Park to the south, through Little Venice out to Kensal Rise and back. I've run most of this towpath before, but only in sections, never together, and I encountered one part that literally tripped me up.
Right before the Little Venice area, there is a section of canal that is sometimes locked – it is a permanent boat mooring and the residents have some cool little art installations. They also have electricity supply points at the edge of the canal. These electricity points have cables that run to the side of the towpath which aren't buried but covered with concrete, resulting in a series of about 15-20 low-rise hurdles we had to clear. I've found a picture of the offending obstacles.
|Image courtesy of Towpath Treks|
See that white horizontal strip on the right, leading up to the red things? That's the jump. And you can see many of them moving up along the path. Anyway.
I had passed what I thought was the last of the bollards and was taking a drink from my water bottle, and trying to close the top when all of a sudden I found myself on the ground on all fours. Stunned, I sat down and just started sobbing. I think I said something to the effect of "I don't want to run the marathon" in between all of the tears. The Irishman got me up and moved me to a bench, and poured water over my wounds to clear away the dirt. When I calmed down, I had 2 skinned knees, a broken thumbnail on my left hand, deep scratches on my knuckles on my left hand, and deep wounds on the palms of both hands.
Eventually I got up and calmed down and got my breath back (you can't imagine how hard it is to run when you're crying, your throat closes up and you can't breathe and it's just a nightmare), and I continued on the run. We finished 13 miles with me much worse for wear, as not only was I bleeding but I also have some serious bruises on my knees and hands below the scrapes.
A lot of Neosporin and Band-Aids later, I am feeling better about this whole running thing but at that moment I really hated it. I have 5 more runs to do after today before I run The Race, and I need to restore my love of the effort in order to reap the reward. But Saturday I was so not interested AT ALL. My only consolation is that "this happens to everyone" and it really does.