Monday, September 8, 2014

The Fall

Last week, I had some of my best runs of the summer. Fantastic morning miles, lunch  miles, after work miles ... I loved them all and was feeling on top of the world. Naturally this could only mean I was due for a fall.  

And fall I did - on Lake Drive, landing hard on both knees. In the moments before the fall, I was watching two people that were hiding behind some bushes and taking pics of one of the mansions lining the street. I was distracted and not paying the best attention to the pavement in front of me. And the next thing I knew, my toe caught on an uneven patch of cement and I flew forward.  

My first instinct was to jump up as quickly as possible and keep running. I was super embarrassed! I was in a bit of shock and couldn't let myself look down at my knees to assess the damage. I knew it wouldn't be good. When I reached the Lake Park bathroom, I finally stopped. It was gross. Blood. Dripping. Swelling. I decided I had no choice but to pick up the pace a bit to get home faster so I could bandage my knees. Also, I knew there was a chance my knees were going to lock up at some point and it would be better if I was at home when this happened.  

So I made it home, showered, and bandaged my knees the best I could. I had high hopes they were just a bit banged up but would be fine the next day.

 
Every accident-prone girl has a full arsenal of bandages at her disposal!
 
Wrong. My knees wouldn't stop bleeding and as I suspected, they locked up. But ... I thought if I took care of them, I could still get in my very important marathon simulation run the next morning. I had really been looking forward to this run - a final long, hard effort before Lakefront Marathon. So I tried to stay optimistic. I would be cured in time to have an awesome 20-miler.  

So I woke up Saturday morning, had my usual long run breakfast, got dressed in the outfit I plan to wear at Lakefront, stashed my gels in my FlipBelt, and headed out the door. I chose to ignore the stiff feeling in my knees and covered them up with some extra strong, extra large, waterproof bandages.  

Within one block, pain kicked in. I thought I could shake it so kept running. Because sometimes a run feels bad for a few blocks but then things resolve themselves and everything feels fine. I held out hope but every stride continued to hurt. I couldn't bend my knees. I was afraid of falling again. I made it one mile - at a very slow-for-me pace of 10:53. I called it a day.  

Sunday was a rest day. Coach Matt said I can try running again this afternoon/evening. If things feel okay, I can try the marathon simulation again on Tuesday. If not, more days off may be necessary.  

Sometimes the hardest part of training for a race is working through times like this. Tell me to run XX miles and I will run XX miles. Tell me that I can't run and need to take a few days off ... And I will have a mini meltdown.  

So right now, it's not about building endurance or testing my speed. It's about working on my ability to stay positive when the times get tough. To recall the training and workouts I've already done. To believe in myself and my potential. And to have faith that the tide will turn and things will get better.  

I got knocked down but I'm not out. Just like a rough patch during a race, I'll ride it out - and then kick it up to get to the finish line, faster and stronger than ever.



My questions for you:
  • Have you ever taken a fall during a run or race? 
  • What is your weirdest running-related injury?
  • Sidenote: What are you most looking forward to this week?

I am looking forward to Briggs and Al's on Saturday. I'm doing the walk and will stroll along while sipping a large iced pumpkin spice latte :)


- ST

16 comments:

  1. Ouch :/ that sounds really painful! I'm so sorry, Sun! You have put in A TON of GREAT work and if you need to take some more days to let your knees heal up, then you need to do that. You're right, this is just a test of your mentality and has nothing to do with your physical abilities. You're more than capable of that run, so don't sweat having to take some extra time to heal :).

    As for taking a fall. I think our bandage arsenal is pretty similar if that says anything... The tough strips are a personal fave of mine haha. I've fallen so many times, but the most embarrassing one was at a really big track invitational in high school. They had a jumbotron screen at the start/finish line and I fell right in front of it a few laps into the two mile...not my finest moment lol.

    P.S. made me smile when you mentioned a pumpkin spice latte! I had my first one this past Wednesday :)

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    1. Ha, I'm glad I'm not the only one that has a complete shelf dedicated to bandages :) Your story with the jumbotron sounds terrible! Ouch - talk about a physical and mental blow!

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  2. i'm sorry sun! that's really hard to cope with sometimes. :( stay positive and take care of your knees! just like you said to me... you'll get through this. xoxo

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    1. Thanks Nikki :) It's so true - running will always be there for us when we're ready to run again!

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  3. I fell during a long run early this past Spring. I was SO proud of myself for making it through the winter without falling. Then my concentration lapsed for a few seconds and some uneven sidewalk got me. I think my knees are scarred for life. :-) I think my weirdest running related injury is scratch marks on my chest from my heart rate monitor strap. I never had an issue with that before, but I think the combination of high humidity and long runs caused it these past few weeks. Now I have to put sports tape on my chest before my runs, at least until it heals up. I am looking forward to a recovery week, I just ran my first 20 miler this past Sunday!

    Your training is going so well, this is just a small setback and you will bounce back stronger than ever. Enjoy your walk and the latte! :-)

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    1. Congrats on your first 20 miler! That is exciting :) Are you training for a marathon this fall?

      The chest scratch marks sound painful! Hope the injury heals up fast!

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    2. Yes, the Chicago Marathon in October. It will be my first marathon! The injury is healing up, I think the cooler weather will help things.

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    3. Awesome - you will do great! I spectated Chicago last year and the energy is incredible :)

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  4. I'm so sorry. I'm the same way. Resting is the toughest part of recovery. My worst fall was while trail running and I had to hobble 3 miles to get back to my car.

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    1. Ouch - three miles is a long way to hobble when injured! :(

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  5. Your mention of a pumpkin spice latte made me so happy!

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    1. Love fall coffee drinks :) Seriously, can't get enough!

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  6. I've fallen during a run, too. Hope you improve quickly!

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    1. Ouch - it seems like everyone has taken a fall at some point. Makes me feel a little less bad about being so clumsy :)

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  7. Falls are the worst! Especially in front of people :-) In 2011, I signed up for the Chicago marathon and during my first training run, I fell really hard ripping my pants and scraping my knee up pretty bad...thankfully I was wearing pants. I rolled my ankle and was on crutches. Needless to say I did not run the marathon that year, but I tackled it 2013 :-) I'm looking forward to my 18 miler followed by double date night at Parkside 23.

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    1. That sounds like a really rough fall! Sorry you missed the first Chicago Marathon but glad to hear you made it back in 2013 :)

      I've heard such good things about Parkside 23 but haven't tried it out yet. The menu looks fab. Enjoy!

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