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.
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The End of the Line

Well, it looks like the marathon photo session is at an end. I’ve added new pics today in my Dublin City Marathon 2014 page.

If you scroll on down through that page you will find some of those runners I snapped from the 3:20 pacers right through to the 5:00 hour pacers just before Mile 5 on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park.

There are two more posts concerning this year’s marathon with my kerbside highly uninformed commentary here and another post regarding the marathon photographs here.

The photo gallery on this post is a selection of my favourites from the latter section of the marathon. While everything is terribly serious for the sub-three hour crew, from a kerb-side perspective, the marathon gets to be even more fun as it rolls along.

Back to the land of the running now.

Or it would be if I didn’t fall on Sunday. Darn. More anon!

Another Marathon

Another day, another marathon. But, no, not of the running kind.

 

100

Runners at the Phoenix Monument, Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin

I spent the morning wading through the mountain-there’s over a thousand-of pics I took at yesterday’s Dublin City Marathon.

Naturally, having run a marathon once before, I am made of tough stuff. But, by the time I got pic number 100 uploaded onto my new Dublin City Marathon page, I was in need of a stack of gels. Although a fine red wine would have helped either.

Anyway, if you’ve been there you might want to browse through the pics here. And if you haven’t been there, you’ll get a feel for the whole experience by browsing through the pics anyway.

Today’s additions just takes you past the 3:10 pacer mark. All of the pics have been taken before the five mile point along Chesterfield Avenue, so all you runners look nice and fresh faced.

I’ll be adding more runners in the coming days, right along through to my people in the Third Wave.

Well done to one and all! Hope you’re not in too much pain today!

Dublin City Marathon 2014

Cyclist Chesterfield Avenue

Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park

Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin waits to greet over four thousand athletes. Five miles away, at 8.50 am in Dublin city centre, the marathon had begun.

Áras

Home of our President: Áras an Uachtaráin

 

President Michael D. Higgins only had to step outside his front door to catch all the action. Meanwhile, I hung around the Phoenix monument. Maybe I’d catch sight of Michael D. or a man in a skirt, or a barefoot runner even.

Well, as the song says, two outta three ain’t bad….

Time 18 44

Lead car

There was a great buzz about the place. Buoyed up by the steady beat of music from a local pop station and armed with clappers and balloons, the crowd clustered about the monument, and  formed little knots along the footpath. Soon,  sirens sounded, and a great cheer arose at the sight of the first athlete pushing his way along the avenue.

Lead Wheelchair Athlete

Anyone give me a name for this athlete please?

Wonderful to watch, the wheelchair athletes must have serious arm  and upper body strength.

Lead Woman 28 18

Here come the women

 

He was followed, some ten minutes later, by the lead runner, Dmitry Safronov.

Lead Man

First man at the Phoenix monument

 

…while two clusters of leading men hung back, no doubt as part of their race strategy.

Leading Men

Leading men

 

Number three is Russian athlete, Aleksei Sokolov.

Leader Group two

More elites

Pavel Teplykh is leading this group along, followed by Ethiopian Fikru Teshager.

Leader Group 3

Who is this guy? I can’t see him on the results sheet.

And here’s… well, actually, I don’t know. There’s no sign of number 17 on the results page this evening. Help, anyone!

Lead Woman 2

Maria McCambridge

The lead lady couldn’t be far behind now, could she?

Yes, here she is~Maria McCambridge. Maria was intent on keeping her marathon first from last year and, while that didn’t quite run out, she ran a mighty race, gaining a personal best and a finishing an agonizing four seconds behind the winning lady.

woman 105

This lady was faring very well at this point too. She’s Gemma Rankin from Scotland.

And here’s a girl who was well able to keep up with the guys too.

Shorts

 

Relaxed Lady

While further along the line, this lady from Raheny Shamrocks looked very comfortable, making it all seem just like a nice little jaunt.

David Carrie

David Carrie

There’s David Carrie in white and blue shirt leading Team Carrie along and already looking set to earn another yet sub-3 hour marathon.

3 hour pacers

Three Hour Pacers

The three hour pacers brought a huge crowd with them.

Cool Shades

The cool shades and gloves worked well for this guy as he was making terrific progress at this point and completed the marathon in three hours four minutes and fourteen seconds.

Allez

There are pacers at every ten minutes at the DCM

While l`homme français was keeping up with the 3.10 pacers to the cries of “Allez!” from the crowd.

Conditions for running might have been a tad warm, if anything. A gentle south-westerly had brought temperatures up to the mid-teens and I marvelled at how oblivious some runners seemed to be to such heat.

Take this guy, for instance…

Warm

Today was practically balmy

Of course, he couldn’t possibly have been as warm as…

FLASH! A-ah….Saviour of the universe…

Oohh, it's hot in here

Flash Gordon

And there were other charitable folk about who suffered on for their cause too…

Skirt 2

A grand bit o`skirt!

 

Running Rossies

Another guy with a great sense of humour.

Though I am not sure if charity was the cause here. Perhaps he was being patriotic?

Kilt

I hope he has running shorts under that kilt…

Oh, and check out the barefoot look! I wonder how he fared by mile 26?

Barefoot

Ouch!

We’re only at mile five remember, and already the heat was getting to some folk.

Bare chest

Gosh, it’s warm…

 

And I wondered if this kid really stuck the pace? Three hours seems too long to be pushed around in a buggy.

 

Buggy

Mammy, Mammy, I want to get out!

It was striking how serious and focused everyone was in the first and second wave of runners.

They were so intent that they barely noticed the crazy lady photographer snapping at their feet. But as time wore on and the ordinary runners came along, there was a greater variation of expression. Some were there purely for a fun day out. For others, it had been a challenge to get to this point, and a challenge to work their way through it. These are my people, the Third Wavers.

Some took the waving literally.

Francis

Hi! to you too, Francis!

Other just laughed their way along

Thumbs up

Thumbs up!

Or clowned their way through the twenty six miles. Don’t you just love that outfit, though?

Clown

Oh, only twenty one miles to go in this get up.

While others were happy to say…

“Yes, we did it. We were part of the Dublin City Marathon in 2014”

Considering that the winners would streak through the distance in a little over two hours, the less athletic possibly suffered more as they were a lot longer on their feet and not quite as streamlined.

Five hours

In four hours time it will all be over.

 

Applause

Hey Well done you too!

It’s a challenge for everyone and for lots of different reasons.  All of them deserve a great round of applause.

 

Disclaimer: Obviously I am not a race reporter so if you want to give me feedback on any aspect of this report please get in touch or comment below. I have some pics from last year’s Dublin Marathon here and will add more from this year’s photoshoot in the next day or two.