Is it possible to fall gracefully? Can one actually twirl gently to the ground ballerina style? If so, would someone please teach me? I fall with the grace of an elephant toppling over. Thud. No gentle movement, no slow crumpling, just a solid thump.
This is true. Just watch some time. Well, if you want to watch, you’ll have to be up early because I limit my falling to the early morning hours. That way the only witnesses will be (a) my running partner and she’s so used to seeing this that she stops — still running in place, of course — and says, “Ummm, are you okay?”; (b) Randy Matter walking Harley around the National (I like to think he would offer me a ride in his septic tank truck while Harley licks my face back to full conciousness); or (c) someone so late to work at DTR that they’d pretend not to see me.
I’ve fallen so often that my body knows which body part should get full brunt of the force. This would be my right shoulder because it’s already so shot that it couldn’t get any worse. This also is true. Ask my favorite massage therapist because she always begins her routine with my right shoulder knowing that all of the knots in my body will have congregated in that spot at the mere suggestion of her arrival.
Anyway, I’ve fall so many times while running the trail around the National that I no longer run on it. At least not conciously. Until yesterday. There I was, in my usual 6 a.m. state of semi-consciousness. I’d just passed Randy and Harley on their early morning trek around the eastish side of the quarry — the paved bike path.
But somehow my body overcame my brain and I ended up running on the trail. Honestly, I don’t know how I got there. But I know I was there. This became painfully clear when suddenly I felt myself in the air — no foot on the ground — knowing full well I was not going to land on my feet. I remember this happening in slow motion but my guess is it actually occurred in a millisecond.
For one moment, I thought I’d caught myself, but it was not to be. The root won another round. There I went. Thump and oof. Smack on the right shoulder and oof to the ribs. You know that feeling when the wind is suddenly knocked out of you? It feels as if someone actually stuck a vacuum in your mouth and sucked out all the air.
Someone was groaning. I looked around. Oh, that was me. Hmmmm…was I still alive? Did I have a phone? No such luck. What to do? Well, as my dad would have said, “Buck up kiddo.” Well, he never really said that, but I’m pretty sure he thought it quite often, given my tendency toward klutziness.
Slowly the air returned to my lungs and my breathing evened out. I walked awhile and tentatively tried running. Darned if I was going to walk another mile home. I just wanted to get to a hot shower.
Now why is it that on the day that something like this happens, no one is at home? No sympathetic hugs, unless you count wet licks from the dog. On the other hand, there was also no one to say “I told you so.” I’ll take the dog’s wet, sloppy, sympathetic kisses.
I guess I should have expected a rocky adulthood. After all, I was not the most graceful child. All those stitches from running into baseball bats and stepping on rusty tent posts stakes should have been a forewarning of things to come.
So I’m thinking maybe I should just sew some padding to my running duds. Or better yet, anyone have a set of football pads?