My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
Two weeks ago today I was being discharged from the hospital. My current reality is a parallel reality to the one I had been envisioning for myself a little over two weeks ago. It all came crashing down on me on January 18, 2014. Through this blog I hope to tell my story to facilitate the healing process. Sadly, I can’t honestly say there is a lesson to be learned from this for anyone, but hopefully there will be some amusement in it for you along the way.
That Saturday morning dawned warm and sunny, breaking several weeks of cold temperatures that took our house down to 14C. My husband and I were both inspired by this change in the weather, such that he took the dog out for a morning run even though I am the runner in the family. As such, I opted to leave her at home when I finally headed out at 2:45 pm. I had a plan to use my new heart rate monitor to try a method for determining my maximum heart rate. I would walk a few laps of our local park first as a warm up and to see what my heart did if I merely walked.
When I got to the park there were quite a few people there, children and/or dogs in tow. It seemed everyone was trying to absorb some sun and shake off the concrete chill that settles in to the houses of northern Mexico whenever the weather stays cold for too long. I was walking to a dance beat and feeling very happy as I rounded the corner and saw a pair of women trying to control an excitable young boxer. It was clear that they weren’t very well-versed at dog training, or maybe they were unfamiliar with this high-energy breed. I’ve known some boxers and they are near impossible to tire, but generally friendly, so I stopped to talk to them and check the personality of the dog. I already had a thought in my mind, and it would be my undoing.
I learned that the dog was friendly, and after exchanging a few pleasantries, I had the dog’s leash in hand, and I was going to take it for a lap of the park. I was trying to help the dog burn some energy and to get it more calm for the owners. They seemed appreciative, if not a little cautionary, because the dog really did have a lot of energy. I was doing laps anyway, and I usually run with a dog, so why not?
I started off the way I do with my dog, leash short and in my left hand, dog close to my side. I wanted the dog to understand what we were doing, so I was sprinting a bit to show it the plan. We were on a downhill grade on a park path and I was very optimistic that the dog would fall into step and enjoy the run the way my dog always does. I made it approximately 100 m and then I tripped badly, seemingly on the feet of the dog. Did it trip or “box” me in the feet? Was it just that boxer feet are bigger than blue heeler feet and our feet became tangled? This I will never know, but I basically fell like a tree and I knew something was very wrong with my right hand. Horribly wrong.
I was having a hard time getting back up from the fall, and I was screaming. What was I saying? I listened to myself. I was hysterically screaming, “My hand! My hand!” The hand wasn’t sore, but it felt other-worldly somehow. I finally sat up and used my left hand to help hold up my right hand to see what the problem was. I started screaming louder, and crying. All the people enjoying their day probably knew that I was hurt, but maybe not how I was hurt. Even if you are bilingual it is hard to understand your non-dominant language when it is practically rendered incoherent through screaming and crying. “Fingers aren’t supposed to do that!” This was all I could think to say as I came to grips with the image reaching my eyes.