On runs like this morning, I often wonder how I started being physically active in the first place. While I am certainly graceful enough to occasionally be complimented on my backstroke, springy enough to execute Jazzercise moves with precision, and nimble enough to dance in public, there has rarely been a time when I would not also be accurately described as clumsy, though I am smooth enough to artistically take a tumble. Being able to fall memorably requires agility or some battle scars. I have examples of both such falls.
During my first year at the University of Oregon, I often found myself wearing flip-flops despite the city of Eugene’s complete climate change from the Bay Area. Where the bay was temperate, Oregon was damp. There is no other way to describe the great green state. It was just a constant precipitation of one degree or another. So thongs were not the best choice for foot apparel, but I had yet to buy into that notion. So there I was, pleased as penguins to just barely have confidently found an on campus coffee shop in which to procure hot chocolate from, when I swung open the door and set my go-ahead on the tile floor.
CLA-BANG. My left flip-flop flung out from under me (because of course, the tile was moist from the rainwater that had been pulled in on the sensible shoes of others), and I crashed to the ground, falling directly on my ever so hip red shoulder bag. At least twenty pairs of eyes twitched upon me, and without missing a beat, I threw my arms into the air and struck a pose. Two years of competitive dance classes had taught me well. If you’re going to fall, make it look like you did it on purpose. My audience wasn’t sure whether to clap, to laugh, or to help me up, so they went back to sipping their coffee as I staggared to my feet, and much to my own surprise, continued up to the cashier.
Fall number two took place in front of much less of a crowd. It was a quiet Sunday morning, early enough that even the church goers were not up yet, and I was running an all too familiar route by my high school alma mater. There was a downhill portion (oh, how I miss those Bay Area hills!) and I was distracted by a giant white van parked on a side street for no particular reason. My trusty running shoe clipped a raised piece of curb, and in that ever-cliched slow motion, I hit the concrete with both my palms and my top lip. How I hit my lip and not my nose remains a mystery.
I immediately knew I was bleeding, and luckily found an open restroom in a nearby Catholic church. My lip was swelling, I was praying I hadn’t lost any teeth, and with the wounds on my hands, I couldn’t help by think I looked a bit like I was suffering from stigmata. Which should have made the priest whose door I knocked on to borrow a phone happy to see me. Instead, he just looked like he sincerely hoped I wasn’t going to bleed on his phone. I dialed my parents number, and within fifteen minutes was picked up on a street corner (classy!) and driven home.
The scarring on that fall was significant — it took a good six weeks until the scar was light enough to not show up in pictures. And with such a face, I was forced to repeat over and over again that I had fallen while running simply due to my own lack of attention to the sidewalk. Not a pretty sight any way you look at it.
Before today, it had been awhile since I had taken a spill. I’ve managed to remain upright for many runs, rollar skates, and bike rides. But as luck would have it, after I dropped Ken’s truck off at the shop and I was headed on my way home by way of a run, my foot clipped the side of a fallen constuction zone sign, and I face planted it on the corner of a busy intersection.
Interestingly, a cop was a the front of the intersection, and surely must have seen my body connect with the pavement without my permission, but I was ignored by both him and every other car in the area. I pulled myself up, wiped the gravel from my palms (my poor palms!) and inspected myself for other injuries. Tiny rip in running shants? Check. Dust all over my clothes? Check. Scrape on elbow? Check. But other than that, I seemed to be working order. So I wiped the shock induced tears from my eyes, and ran the rest of the way home.
So klutzy people can take a peaceful jog through town. Still though, I spent the rest of my run considering using the elliptical tomorrow morning.