When Gravity Attacks


2015-02-24 14.05.00The trail is almost perfect. A few patches of mud to dance through, but mostly dry. The mid-calf snow is behind us and we’re making good time, just two miles to go in an eleven mile run.

This is the fast part of the run, downhill but not too steep, no loose shale, no braking necessary. I’m leading, even though I’m the slow one, so my daughter J gets the full view of what happens next.

Suddenly I am soaring, flying through the air. Feels good. Flying is awesome. My arms are stretched out in front of me like Superman.2015-02-24 12.24.55

Then the ground intervenes with my flight. Ugh. I can’t breathe. Stupid ground knocked all the wind out of me. Every bit.

I sit up. J unfastens the straps on my vest so I can catch my breath. She doesn’t say anything for a minute.

“Can you breathe?”

I nod. I can breathe well enough to stay conscious, but not speak. I look back up the trail, trying to find the bastard that tripped me.

Nothing. I can see where my toe dug up a bit of dirt, but there’s not even a rock. No rock and no sign of The Stick Man or his minions. Hmmm…2015-02-24 13.05.52

I feel like there are three bad things about falling.

  1. It hurts
  2. It is embarrassing
  3. It hurts later

This particular fall hurt. It scraped up both forearms, banged up my knees and hurt my ribs.

This particular fall was embarrassing. I’m not embarrassed to have J see me fall. She’s seen me at my worst in many situations, so this was no big deal, besides she falls more than I do. Sorry J. But as I was sitting in the middle of the trail there was suddenly a dog nose in my face and her very concerned human asking if I was okay.

The human was very nice. He was very concerned and I don’t think he believed that I was really okay. Probably because I was still just sitting there blocking the trail. I continued to insist I was fine, so after he confirmed that we had a phone with us, he continued on his walk.2015-02-26 15.59.49

This particular fall hurt later. As we continued our run, my rib was kind of popping repeatedly like when you pop your knuckles. I could feel it and hear it and it was really freaking me out. Apparently, there is a lot of cartilage in the ribcage and if you throw yourself onto this cartilage at a moderately fast pace, it can be damaged.

Another bad thing about falling which I did not mention above is that it might put you on the sidelines for a while. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often, but this particular fall kept me from running for a little while. Not too long, but long enough to cause me to annoy friends and family because I felt SOOOO sorry for myself. Sorry everyone.

Falls can hurt. Falls can be life-threatening. Falls can be life-ending. We all know this, so analyzing the first and third bad things about falling is pretty pointless. The second bad thing about falling is the one that deserves some attention.

2015-02-24 13.43.34Interestingly enough, on this same run, J and I were discussing exactly WHY falling is so embarrassing. Why is embarrassment the overriding emotion after a fall? I’ve been so embarrassed after falling on my bike (okay, crashing is probably more accurate) that I was downright rude to a family that rushed to help me. All I wanted to do was get back on my bike and escape those witnesses as quickly as possible. Sorry nice family.

I recently fell down a very steep section of trail and landed on my hands and knees in rocks. The pain in my knees was excruciating for a few minutes. I thought I might not be able to continue my run, and I was at least two miles from the nearest road. I was completely alone. Thank goodness.

Yep, that’s what I thought. At least nobody saw me fall. I could call a family member who knows falling is one of my hobbies and they could come and rescue me. Pride intact.

2015-03-29 13.41.11As J and I discussed this on the day of my Superman fall, I suggested that it was instinct. Maybe an injured early human would be left behind, or left out for predators. J didn’t think so. We have been civilized for a long time, she pointed out, and some early human remains have signs of pretty severe injuries that have mended, proof that somebody cared for the injured person as they healed.

So I don’t have a good explanation for the embarrassment phenomena.

You may wonder why we were discussing this before my fall. The reason we were discussing this is that J had already fallen. She was behind me, but forensic evidence (you know, mud) suggests that she did a tuck and roll maneuver, possibly reducing her injuries. Her fall was earlier in the run, maybe five miles in, so she completed six more miles with hurt knees. Tough woman.2015-03-08 14.24.13

I don’t fall much, considering the miles and terrain that I cover. I really don’t. And most of my falls start but don’t finish. When you start to fall, I suggest you move your feet faster and wave your arms around like you’re crazy. Maybe throw out an f-bomb or two if that’s your thing. You might just find yourself still running, with nothing to show for the near-mishap but an elevated heart rate. And on those rare instances when the ground wins, I think we all know who to blame.

I call her gravity.