Friday, October 26, 2012

That's Why They Call It "Fall"

My outdoor activities were dealt a forced pause about three weeks ago when I took a tumble while out for a morning run. I had just started the return leg of a roughly 5K outing and decided to detour over to the Bluemont Park restroom (my habit of slugging down a cup of coffee just before heading out sometimes brings about a desire for such a pit stop). I tripped over something while jogging across the gravel area around the restroom and went flying into a skidding belly flop across the gravel, twisting the heck out of my foot along the way. I got up and examined myself as best I could in the dim light. Both palms were scraped up; one palm and one knee were bleeding and my foot felt like someone was attacking it with a branding iron. I was so shocked that I didn’t even think to check whether I had torn the brand new running shirt I was wearing; if you know me you know that means I was pretty distracted. I dragged myself over to a nearby park bench where I sat for a couple of minutes collecting myself.

My biggest immediate problem was that I was almost two miles from home. I didn’t have my phone or any money with me and so I had no way to contact anyone or get a ride home. It was six AM and so there was no one around to ask for help. I gritted my teeth and began a long, slow walk home, each step more painful than the preceding one. By the time I got home I was in a lot of pain. I iced my foot, put it up on some pillows and watched TV for a while.

I also emailed Valerie, who, when she heard about and saw the extent of my injuries, cajoled me into going to the emergency room, where they found that fortunately I hadn’t broken anything. They reiterated the Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) advice, told me to keep weight off it, gave me crutches and sent me on my way. Over the next couple of days my foot swelled enormously and turned all sorts of colors. I think I hurt my foot about as badly as someone could without breaking anything.

Well, three weeks later things are well on the path to mending. I can fit into shoes again. I’m walking without a limp. My right ankle is still swollen and a little bit tender and the whole area is tight (I have been stretching but I wouldn’t dare think of running!). I can kayak and row on the erg, and this weekend I may even try biking if the forecast Frankenstorm holds off.

Here’s the worst part … I took a fall in exactly the same spot in October of 2008, though with less serious consequences. I even memorialized it in the description of a geocache I placed nearby. I often snicker at the people running bedecked with headlamps and flashy lights in the morning – I mean really, who needs a headlamp to see where they’re going on the urban section of the W&OD trail? – but I’m beginning to think they have a point.