Opinion

Fall from grace

I enjoy running.

Check that, while I do run for cardio fitness, to say I enjoy it every time would not be an accurate statement.

I was sidelined from running for the better part of a year after a nasty bout of plantar fasciitis. With the aid of shoe arch support inserts I once again set out running like the wind or at least like someone in middle age, once I was completely healed and pain-free.

The good doctor cautioned me about running for too great a distance too soon. She really didn’t need to warn me, though, as I was going to limit myself to no more than five to six miles for a good aerobic, I mean, cardio, workout.

It’s hard to keep up with the popular lexicon when it comes to vocabulary.

A good friend of mine recently used the word “pre-octogenarian” and I thought it literarily sublime. I now have no need for the word septuagenarian whatsoever—pre-octogenarian just sounds younger and more complimentarily suits those fast approaching 80.

Personally, I like not appearing fully developed when it comes to how old I am. For instance, for those of us still regularly accused of behaving in juvenile fashion (and I would know nothing about this), the word “premature” comes to mind.

Anyway, I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love it when I find myself in the zone while running. You know that place. It’s the one where you’re oblivious to distance and time. Stretches of track, pavement and dirt just flow effortlessly by. Your breathing is in sync with your body’s movement—you feel all of your muscles and yet none of them, working, when you’re in rhythm.

The zone is sometimes fleeting, though, especially when you’ve taken some time off due to cold snaps in the weather. Your conditioning is not as good as when you’re regularly running, so you feel your body’s fatigue. You become gassed sooner than when you’re working out and running on a frequent basis.

The fall

Recently, I found myself in one of those times.

I was a half-mile from completing a five-mile run when I tripped over an uneven paver in the sidewalk. A car had just pulled into a driveway comfortably ahead of me. I had lifted my eyes off of the sidewalk to observe the car. That’s when my left foot caught the lip of a section of pavement below.

I was going down. But not fast. It felt like I was falling in slow motion. It really did.

I had enough time to gather my thoughts and instinctively extend my arms out in front of me. The palms of both hands met the pockmarked cement at the same time. I felt them slide forward, scraping after impact.

Then in sequence, my right knee and then left basted the pavement.

In what seemed like an eternity of time, but in reality was only seconds, I felt nothing as I lay face down on the sidewalk to gather myself.

Before I could get to my feet, the burning pain radiated simultaneously in both my hands and right knee.

The palms of my hands turned beet red and began bleeding from multiple puncture sites.

I popped to my feet, not pausing to examine my right knee, which I knew was scraped up pretty badly.

I did not burn though the last half mile of the run. I just ran at a decent pace, licking the blood off my hands. I arrived home, did some stretching out front and examined my badly scraped right knee before going inside.

I was going to be alright. Sore, but OK.

The rising

I showered and felt the sting of my bruised knee and sanded hands.

They don’t make band-aids big enough for these kinds of scrapes, so, as I knew nothing was broken, just bruised, I proceeded through the weekend gingerly.

I felt I needed to be given a break on some of my weekend chores.

Doing the dishes is something I do all the time, so not having to do the dishes would be a welcome reprieve.

The next day, while I was sore, I was not prohibitively so.

I thought about the old commercials for life monitor or whatever the crap those things were called. They probably still have them today, but there was a commercial where an elderly lady exclaims, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I think the device she was wearing around her neck was able to be pressed and then it called a company at the other end to send help.

That is a scary scenario. In my case, while I did fall, I was able to get up. My better half did have some sympathy for me, but I knew there could be no “milking” of my malady. I still would have to take care of certain things like laundry and folding. Also, stuff like scooping dog poop in the back yard. And I knew I would need to get a haircut, too. Not that getting a haircut is painful, but shampooing your hair with hand gashes is. The stylist did comment on how happy and peaceful I looked in the chair.

I think I’m going to take one more night off from doing dishes. While I haven’t proclaimed yet that I would not be doing them, I’m cautiously optimistic she’ll let me shirk this husbandly duty one more time, before I begin running again.

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