Did you know that this ailment is common in every runner? From the bare bones beginner to the supreme professional, this harrowing issue is with us all.It is one of those things that we try not to think about, but it happens, and if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. It is coming and you need to be prepared for it. The dark shadow of embarrassment is heading your way and it may come more than once like a very bad nightmare, re-occurring forever.
What am I blabbering on about? Oh, nothing, just the fact that as a runner you need to accept that at some point in your life you will for some unknown mystical reason, fall over. I recently made that fateful tumble last week and thought that it should be brought to everyone’s attention. Awareness is key and here are the stages we all go through.
Turn that denial into acceptance
I forever had it in my head that I was never going to fall over when out on a run. Who the hell falls over when running? Why aren’t you concentrating on your run? Look where you are going! If you are too tired then stop, don’t let yourself stumble and fall. What are you doing?!
Then I saw a lot of people fall over in races I was competing in. Now some of these were trail races and I would put it into my head that these would be acceptable as conditions could cause slips or falls, lots of debris. But road running? You shouldn’t fall. But the Belfast Half Marathon 2016 came along and I saw 6 people fall during that race. To me, that was an unprecedented amount. What was going on her? But this brought it to my attention, I am going to fall over and I can only pray and hope that it is on a quiet run and not during a big race. But time was officially ticking…
The clock strikes 10 and we all fall down…
Let me set the scene, it is late February, it is a cold night, but not too cold, the snow has decided to stay away for a few days. I am enjoying a slow run to mount up the miles and I am just easing into the depths of the 3rd mile. I am hoping for a 10 miler tonight, not going to push it too much as it is a little late and I don’t want to be running when the temperatures plummet. I start thinking about when I should start to increase my pace, if I should. How this can be good for that start of my training again. How happy I am to be out on a run, how great it makes me feel. Not for a second do I know what is coming…
Then I feel my foot hit a raised bit of tarmac caused by the root of a tree, sneakily hidden by a shadow. I am caught off guard and I realise, in crazy slow motion… It’s happening. My time has come. I feel my feet clear the floor and I try my best to take the impact on my side, but I haven’t had enough time to react. I am in trouble and I know I deserve it for not focussing enough. I close my eyes and hope for the best.
I open my eyes and look around hesitantly. Did anyone see this? No, thank God, no one was on the towpath, it is clear, thankfully running later at night has its advantages. I pick up my headphones and check my phone. Everything is intact. Hurray! I have gotten away with it!
Wait, why is my elbow a little sore? Why is my knee stinging? Oh no! I have gotten a little damage, my knee is grazed, enough for it to be bleeding and my elbow is a little scratched, but for the most part, I am okay. I then have a decision to make, do I walk or run home or do I keep going. My knee is bleeding, but that is nothing but a little war wound. I can show this off later to people to show how tough I am. So I tune up the next song and stretch my knee a tad and kick on. I let my girlfriend know what happened and I can tell she isn’t pleased I have continued. But telling someone that you have fallen over will probably have that response! Why would you keep running you fool! Rest up and clean up. But I have all this adrenaline and I need to run, if I don’t I will feel like I have wasted my night. So I kick on.
Have you fallen over? What happened? How did you feel? Let me know!
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Wow, great post. Yep I’ve been there more than once. The last time was about a year ago in February. Snow on the ground. Running with my dog, she is about a 60 pound dog, and strong as an ox. So she pulls hard. And the snow was just enough to not see an uneven part of the pavement, my toe hit it and just like you, I knew I was going down. I tried to break my fall with my hands, and ended up with a sprained wrist and sore knee and wounded pride. Your post is timely as I was just thinking this morning as we traversed icy patches that I don’t want to fall like that again!
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this is so true! i’ve run my whole life & one day just skidded on some loose gravel & really injured myself! I had to wear a boot for a month & every time someone saw it they wanted an exciting story & it was such a bummer to try to explain that it just kinda happened!
This post is so insightful! Being that I used to run track, I would hate falling! But I would always give myself to pep talks ! Maybe it’s good to fall at least once! lol!
That’s an interesting post. I have fallen over, though not while running but while walking!! However it was pitch dark that time and I had no light on me. So I can’t really blame myself.
I can’t run from years of ballet and bad knees – but I imagine falling while running is the same while dancing – even if you’re a pro!
I honestly have had the same thought process as you that a fall just wouldn’t happen to me and never understood why others went down. Now I know my days are numbered. It’s only a matter of time. Walking with my dogs took me down twice last year, which I also thought would never happen. Nothing will surprise me anymore
I’ve fallen. Yes you feel stupid but you get over it. As long as you don’t break anything. I broke my wrist walking down the street. That was worse
Wow!! This is such an interesting post to read. I do really love to run every morning.
I fell over last week. In front of a row of traffic. It felt like slow motion and I swear my legs came over my head! Instantly got up before anybody attempted to help me and carried on with my run. Did the last mile with bleeding hands and left knee. Had to chuck the running leggings out because of the hole caused by the pavement. Cried in the shower because it stung like hell! Good times!
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Really an interesting post to read…I fell over 2 years back and was on bed for almost a week because of extremely bad pain.
I am usually very careful; and working in a healthcare field…falling is a no no. But it still happened to me (not running) but when I was about to pay my groceries, my vision just got suddenly altered/ I was not in control. Then I just realized I slipped, on my butt at the grocery store. No harm done. But it was an experience.
I love this! I’m not a runner, but I do yoga and the occasional tumble is just expected. Similarly, in yoga it always happens when you’re feeling confident and not even worrying about it!
I love the embarrassment-fueled writing! But this seriously happened to me last week. My foot got caught in a hole in the ground and I tumbled over. I have no cool battle scars to show for it though…