The Fall

My fall on Sunday was a slap in the face. Almost literally. Three miles in on a long slow run and I crashed to the ground. Splat!
Now, if this sounds familiar, yes, I did the same thing and, in almost the same place two weeks prior. Not such a coincidence, though, when we’re talking about the same disintegrating pathway from Skerries to Balbriggan.
The funny part was, that in that millisecond before I embraced the pavement, I noted a cool sports car coming down the road.  So, as I made my grand descent, it wasn’t my life I saw flashing before me. No, it was a low slung, sleek, silver, motor and one very alarmed male driver.
Yep, he  saw everything: total smackdown. I felt like a right eedjit altogether, and, even though it was so tempting just to lay there and reflect on my injures, I knew couldn’t bear to be fussed over.
So I jumped up like a hare. A wobbly, old hare, it has to be said.
“Are you okay?”  Yep, Mr Cool Sportscar had pulled over, was out of his car and walking towards me.
But I was in full-blown denial mode.
“Oh, I’m fine” I said, smiling and suppressing the need to keel over in mortal agony.
He hesitated but I smiled again, waved my least sore, least bloodied palm and watched as he he drove off. Then,grateful for an adjacent low wall, I hobbled over to assess the damage.
Luckily, my capri leggings were doing a great job in staunching both knee wounds, and I addressed the bloody palms with some nearby leaves.  But my left elbow was in a bad way. The pain from reach down along through my fingers.  And I couldn’t be sure if the lump at the end of  it was a permanent feature, a recently bestowed gift from  Mother Nature from her over supplied ageing department, or a protesting bone trying to peek out.  My head was throbbing. I was glad of the wall.
I glanced down the road again and there was Mr Cool. Oh God. He thinks I am a little old lady and I am going to die here on the side of the road. Can’t he see I am twenty two?
I waved and smiled. See, I am fine? He waved and drove off again. Such a nice man.
But now he was gone and I was all alone.
A three mile run is one thing. A three mile hobble back into town was another.
I was freezing. My head hurt and my elbow was probably broken and blood was trickling down my fingers. Maybe I would die, after all.
It was all a question of how. Maybe a fragment of bone would seep out, lodge in my brain and kill me. Or maybe that blow to the head would lead to a haemorrage. Or shock could set in and that could be fatal too, couldn’t it?
Then I thought about how much I did not want to go to A&E. A&E, Accident and Emergency to us here in Ireland, Emergency Room to you. But, honestly, that’s where the comparison ends.
A&E, Any Hospital, Ireland is a hole of a place, full of drunks, junkies, puking people, bawling babies and the broken ones. The bawling babies get seen to first. Thank goodness. After that, the triage system would probably mean oh, a mere four hours to be seen and then another few of hours to be shuttled S L O W L Y through the system.
Eventually, they’d slap a cast on, and, as a precaution, and given the potential head injury, I’d be kept in for observation overnight. Between that upheaval and brandishing a plaster cast, my life as I knew it, would be turned upside down for at least a couple of months. Oh God.
I decided my elbow COULD NOT be broken. Sure it’d be grand in a couple of days. Nevertheless, I could only walk with elbow attenuated, as if it were in an invisible sling.
My head was another matter. Luckily, the band on my beanie had cushioned some of the fall. But still it hurt. It scared me more than the elbow injury as I was afraid of fainting or worse on that lonely road. Haemorrage, stroke, concussion. Who knows?
I cursed my stupidity at letting Mr Cool get away.
All of it made me feel fragile. To go from utterly enjoying the scene, my run, the gift of being able to trot along for ten miles, to suddenly feeling frail, alone and vulnerable was shocking.
My lack of preparation for such an event was shocking too. No phone. No extra clothing. No drink. Nothing on board, except a stubborn nature which refused help when offered.
I got some strange looks as I limped back towards Skerries. While clothing screamed runner, my gait said frail little old lady. Mud encrusted my top and my capris were torn at one knee.
As for letting Mr Cool. Knowing my luck the guy was probably an orthopaedic surgeon. Or a physical therapist. Or a masseuse. More likely, knowing my propensity to let a good man get away, he was probably all three.
The return three miles took a lot longer than the run out, of course. A reminder, whether I needed it or not, as to why I prefer running to going for a walk. Eventually, though, I caught sight of my car. Never was I so glad to see it as it glinted a fine welcome in the afternoon light.
Home brought a welcome shower, a change of clothes and a chance to assess the damage. Which really was another exercise in convincing myself that I did not want to take the trip to A&E.
A few days down the track, and luckily for me, I am on the mend.
Sure, that head blow probably killed off some much needed grey matter but otherwise it’s fine. The bruise even had the decency to centre itself behind my hair line.
The surprise blow was to my feet. Whatever jolt I took, or maybe it was on the hobble home, the chronic tendonitis issue has resurfaced again. After a one mile test run on Thursday, I headed for home. I need this to recover and running on it won’t help.
It’s a minor sacrifice for a lot of lessons.
One lesson is to be Stop Whinging and Be Glad. I am damned glad that I can run need to appreciate every second of that. Because one day it will be gone forever. Pffffft! Snuffed out like a candle.
Oh, and there’s a lesson for the people in Fingal County Council too: Fix That Footpath. It’s a bloody dangerous mess.  I won’t go running there again because, despite what they say, I do believe, it would not be a case of third time lucky.
But, of course, the most important lesson is this: no matter what the circumstances, no matter how you feel, no matter what the reason, Never Let A Good Man Get Away.

18 thoughts on “The Fall

  1. Hope you’re recovering. Could have been worse by the sounds of it bt ot a nice thing to happen. Slipped over myself when I was in Cork the other week. On a wet pavement after a heavy downpour. Picked myself up (two young students rushed over to help the doddery old fool – how embarrassing) and didn’t think anything of it, but transpired I’d broken a rib – still sore 4 weeks after!

      • No hospital call needed. But I was amazed at the cost of painkillers. Over 2 Euros for a pack of paracetamol which over here would cost about 25 pence at Tescos or Boots. My Irish friends told me that was normal.

  2. Ooh, err, nasty. I can feel the grazes and the humiliation in equal measure, you poor thing – sue the council! Shame about sports car man, he should’ve been more persistent. Glad to hear you’re on the mend – hope you have a large tube of arnica cream for those bruises 😊

  3. OMG RH!!!!! I’m so pleased you are ok! TAKE A PHONE with you!!!! I let hubby know when I head out EVERY single time… He can log onto the Polar or RunTastic sites and see exactly where I am! I have a fab Flip Belt for my phone, a tissue etc… I got it on Amazon, they aren’t cheap but THE BEST I’ve had! You don’t even know you are wearing one! JYST DO IT! So pleased you are ok though 😦 sounds so scary!!!! Xxxx

  4. Ouch. Glad you’re recovering. Yes that was very man-like brushing off an offer of help. He’d have whizzed you home in ten minutes. A couple of years back I was trotting along the cliff path thinking ‘It’s a bit rocky along here, best be caref…’ Splat! Like you, miles from the car.
    And it’s strangely comforting to know that the Irish A&E service is in such good shape 🙂

    • Hmmm, yes, well I didn’t hold back on A&E, I’ll admit that. But, I managed to spend a lot of time in it with one of my kids and, from what I hear, it hasn’t improved since.
      Ha! I love the self talk before your fall! It’s the sheer suddenness of these things which make them all the more shocking, of course.

  5. You poor thing, I am glad you are alright! As someone who has fallen running more than once, I can truly sympathize. At least that man stopped for you,the last time I tripped and fell flat on my face, not one car stopped at a light asked me if I was okay and a RUNNER ran right by me and didn’t say a word!

    • It’s something I must ask all runners. Or anyone heading out on their own. I like the freedom of having less stuff on board and generally, I’m never too far from my base, except for these long runs. So yep, it’s a good idea to have the phone for that. What do you do, Annie for your solo runs?

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