If there’s a rock on the trail

If there’s a rock on the trail, try to step over it. (If there are lots of rocks, dance your way through them!)

If you trip on a rock, try to regain your balance.

If you can’t regain your balance, try to fall gracefully.

If you go down too fast and hard to fall gracefully, then take your lumps, get yourself up, start running again, and finish the last 0.7 miles of your otherwise-awesome 11 mile trail run.

Then get yourself to the emergency room.

If you follow my running blog, Slow Happy Runner, you’ll know by now that a few days ago I tripped over a rock while trail running and wound up breaking my left arm just below the shoulder. No running or cycling for me for at least 4-6 weeks. Therefore no OAT Run trail half marathon on April 26, no Bikes and Brews group ride in Seattle on May 3. Even my local North Olympic Discovery half marathon on June 1 is looking iffy.

I’ll know more about the recovery prognosis and timeframe when I see the orthopedist tomorrow, but the writing on the wall is pretty clear. My priority now is to heal both quickly and well. As a lefty, I shudder at the thought of not regaining full use of my left arm. Once the bone has healed, I’ll want physical therapy and lots of it!

My right arm is trembling right now from the unaccustomed effort of pecking out letters on the keyboard one by one. Trying to feed myself is a chore. Cooking is nearly impossible. Brewing a batch of beer is out of the question.

I’m committed to continuing my activity streak, which is now at 461 days. I’m still walking daily, although it’s surprisingly difficult to walk several miles, even on a flat paved surface, while focusing on keeping one arm absolutely still in its sling.

Perhaps the toughest part was looking at all the gaps in my calendar after I removed all my planned training runs, bike rides, and brew days. I caught myself this morning wondering why I should bother getting out of bed if I couldn’t run, hike, ride, or brew. I don’t like thinking thoughts like that! So I know I’ll have to watch my attitude. I still have LOTS of reasons to get out of bed! It’s crucial that I find a way to feel happy in the midst of all of this.

Slow happy living, indeed!

On my walk today I made a point of looking for things that I don’t always have time to see when I’m running or riding. The salmonberries are starting to bloom. So is the evil, invasive, but undeniably beautiful Scotch Broom. Small black-and-white butterflies are suddenly everywhere. Parents and small children are out on the trail enjoying slow, wobbly bike rides. Spring has finally reached the Pacific Northwest!

Maybe I’ll make one simple practice — slowing down to observe — the focus of my coming days and weeks. This setback is temporary; meanwhile I still have my health and my desire to make the most of each day.

What did you do with this precious day of your life? And what will you do tomorrow?

One step at a time!


4 responses to “If there’s a rock on the trail

  1. This weekend, I went to the quilt show 3 times (I had a quilt in it though it didn’t get a ribbon), walked a short trail that had some snow on it in lieu of spending $50 to ski for 2 hours and went to U of Phoenix faculty meeting while Mark and Joseph went to OC to celebrate Vince’s 60th birthday. Slept in for the first time in several weeks. Sat out back with a fire and white wine. Sewed a little until something black and squiggly (spider? cat fuzz?) landed on my face. It’s been a good weekend.

    When I broke my shoulder, my boss ‘joked’ that, since I was working half-time then, I was down to 1/4 time.

  2. I hope you’re adjusting to all the changes, Lori! You may remember that I took a bad fall in September. To this day I don’t really know what I tripped on, but I can say that I am much more observant following that fall. It was so alarming at the time that I was very nervous, for a long while, even walking anywhere unfamiliar. So I’m sure you need to do just as you say, be more mindful as you run. And then sometimes and accident is just an accident and you can’t be sure you’d have prevented it had you been more aware! So for now, just heal quickly. This really is a bummer!

    • Debra, I’m becoming accustomed to the sling, accepting my temporary limitations, and no longer feeing ashamed to ask CFL for help with some things. As for fear of falling, that’s definitely a new thing for me. It’s hard to shut off the doom-whispering voices in my head, but I am certainly talking back to them! One step at a time.

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