Last Saturday morning I fell down and broke my crown.
I didn’t really break it, but I certainly gave it some rough treatment.
I had gotten up early to check Weather.com. When could I work in my run? The forecast the evening before had been gloomy, threatening rain all day. I hadn’t run in the rain for decades, choosing as I advanced in years to wimp out and use a treadmill. But this time I had no choice: my gym, with its trusty treadmill, was closed for a three-day mega-maintenance and facility projects weekend. Weather.com told me I was in luck: 0% chance of rain between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
At 7:00, I strapped on my Garmin watch, started my warm-up walk … and heard raindrops patter in the leaves overhead. I kept going. After five minutes I shifted into my usual slow lope. Two minutes went by, and the raindrops came a little faster. I decided to persevere. The temperature was mild and it wasn’t exactly pouring. I continued my trot. Two more minutes went by, and I turned right, onto the old concrete walking path that had been laid down 80 years ago.
The next thing I knew that concrete path was rising up to meet me. This was no Irish blessing. I saw the sidewalk coming with some green lawn beside it and had just enough time to put out my hands and think, “Aim for the grass and roll.”
It half worked. The right side of my head bounced off the concrete and I was on my side on the grass. Interesting sensation that – one’s head bouncing.
I lay there for a moment. I hadn’t seen stars, but I felt a “sensation” on my forehead that I was pretty sure was the inception of a goose egg. I drew a couple deep breaths and stood up to take stock. Two scraped knees, the left one oozing spots of blood, the right one dripping a minor flow. Two scraped palms, the left one slightly abraded, the right one gouged, with blood leaking along the edges. And that interesting sensation on my forehead.
I took some more deep breaths and started the walk back home. At one intersection, I greeted a gentleman walking his dog, who gave me a strange look. (The man, not the dog, though I can’t swear to that.) I put the unbloodied fingers of my left hand up to my face and pulled away with some sticky red stuff. I kept my head down for the rest of the way home to avoid more greetings.
When I came in the kitchen door, Jon looked up from his paper and said, “That was a quick three miles.”
“I took a tumble.”
“Oh. I thought you stopped because of the rain.” And he went back to his paper.
Well! No use crying if no one notices, so I didn’t cry. I inspected. I already had a good idea of the condition of my knees and hands, but the face was fresh territory. Having caught the edge of the sidewalk, I had scratches along the brow bone above my right eye, now very tender; scrapes high on my right cheekbone, giving me a rough-and-tumble action hero(ine) look; and a sprinkling of bright red pockmarks along the right side of my nose (from pieces of loose gravel?). I did my best at mopping up.
After disposing of the damp and bloodied paper towels, I grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the freezer to hold against my pate. It was only then that the adrenaline drained out of my body, leaving me dripping with sweat and feeling lightheaded. Jon sprang into action, fetching for me the magic elixir for all ills: a glass of ginger ale.
An hour or so of holding a pack of peas against your face can get pretty boring, and I had done less than five minutes of my run. I went back out to finish, but this time to the local college track and Jon came with me. It was either that, he said, or he was going to make me wear a helmet.
Three days afterward, the major reminders of the fall were:
(1) A swollen top joint of the pinky finger on my right hand, which I apparently jammed when I landed but which also apparently kept my head from hitting any harder than it did (well done, pinky finger) but now hurts like the dickens (and does anyone even know what a dickens is?).
(2) An intriguing black eye that wasn’t swollen but looked exactly as though I have gone wild with deep purple eyeliner and eye shadow, from my eye lashes right up into my eyebrow. (An office colleague commented that the color looked good on me.)
It could have been worse.
I do not know what triggered the fall. I’ve run that same route, padded along that same path for more than ten years, two or three times a week, April through October. Perhaps I was just too focused on being so proud of myself for running in the rain just like I used to do 30 years ago. (A physical manifestation of the proverb?)
I do know that I had not gone up a hill to fetch anything.