Running is not just a hobby for me; it’s therapy. I need it, it helps me be a calm, sane, (usually) rational human being. I go out tense, on edge, and frustrated, spend half an hour to an hour alone physically exerting myself, and come back calm and happy. If it’s been more than a few days since my last run I get antsy.
It’s weird but running has helped me cope with my life over the past few years. They’ve been pretty tough years and I needed the reprieve, both mental and physical, that pounding the pavement offered.
That being said, running can be dangerous….well, for me it can.
Occasionally I fall when I’m running, maybe more than other people do. It goes in spurts; twice in the past two weeks I’ve fallen while running. Partially the weather and conditions of the sidewalks or trails are to blame. There’s leaves covering roots and rocks in the fall, snow and ice in the winter, mud in the spring, loose gravel in the summer, and cracks in the sidewalk all the time. But part of my tendency to fall is due to my lack of coordination, my inherent clumsiness which gets worse when I’m sleep deprived.
Don’t worry though, I’ve mastered the art of falling, jumping back up, and continuing my run.
One Saturday night in August about two years ago I went out for a run through the town I lived in. It was a warm, clear night after what had probably been a hot frustrating day. I don’t remember why, I just remember I really needed a run that day and had been trying to get out for a while. Finally I did. I ran about two miles and had turned around to head back. Something caught my attention so I turned my head and…BAM! I was hitting the pavement.
Knee, wrist, elbow, face.
I stood up as fast as I could. Of course someone still saw me. I nodded to them that I was okay and assessed the damage. There was blood running down both my legs and my left arm, I thought I might have broken my left pinky finger. Who breaks a finger running? Apparently I do. Go me!
In a futile attempt to clean myself up I wiped some of the blood on my shirt. It didn’t help. I still had to get back home…through town, at nine o’clock on a Saturday night, past the walk up window to the ice cream shop, past the bars and restaurants with their patios and out door dining areas. So I pulled myself together, turned up my iPod, and ran back dripping blood and all.
This was the first time I fell while out running and the worst. I don’t think my finger was actually broken but it was quite swollen for a few days. My knees and elbow still have pretty big scars from the sidewalk abrasion. Luckily the road rash on my face didn’t leave and lasting marks. For a few days I definitely looked like I had got beat.
It wasn’t pretty. But life isn’t pretty. Running is a great metaphor for life.
I’m clumsy, I have bad judgment. Life knocks me down. It hurts but I pick myself up and run on.