I had my third wipe-out while running this past weekend. For the third time, sections of my knees and their surrounding areas are scraped raw, with oh-so-feminine Band-Aids clumsily draped atop. Large black-and-blue marks surround this display, making me look both bad-ass and beaten. I wonder what people think. I’ve been limping now for two days at work, and no one has said a thing, so I basically think people are too absorbed with their AP Physics manuscripts to care about my gait.

Although I really went flying this time, right at the corner of Congress and Henry, and hurt myself far worse than the other two times (I had trouble actually moving my leg for a day or two), this fall pales in comparison to my first.

It was Summer 2005, and I was pretty out of it and bummed in general. I needed to concentrate on something, so I decided training for the NY Marathon was a good goal toward which to channel my life. I was a tad obsessed, which you kind of have to be while marathon training. I would NOT miss a run, ever ever ever, and became an insufferable bitch if someone tried to make plans with me at a time when I was supposed to run. Summer 2005 was no fun.

Anyway, one Sunday I set out for my longest training run yet – 8 miles. I, being silly, never ran (and still don’t) with a MetroCard or a phone, because I’m a badass. Or lazy. Either one. I loped from my East Village apartment down to Battery Park and then up the West Side Highway. I think I was on mile 5 or so as I ran toward Chelsea Piers, Whitney Houston cranked in my earbuds. I was into it. I was feeling it. “I HAVE NOTHING…NOTHING…NOOOTHIIIIIIIING..” And then…I went FLYING. I suppose my toe caught on an off patch of road; I have no idea. My iPod and dear Whitney went in one direction, and I fell knee, belly, and face first into a patch of dirt. I had managed to fall right into the one unfinished section of bike path, ensuring that my now raw and bleeding knees and elbows were caked with mud and rocks. Sweat, blood, raw skin, rocks. A 2-mile walk from home. Perfect.

I had managed to fall directly in front of an NYC Sanitation truck filled with about 5 men who, oh dear God, came running over to see if I was okay. They picked me up and escorted me into this random shed (and I went without question…?) where they showed me a sink and a bar of soap. They were lovely men and very concerned, but the only thing that got me through the pain and embarrassment was cracking up inwardly as they all watched, confused and awkward, as I cleaned myself up. They just had no idea what to do or where to put themselves. One might have held out a tube of Neosporin from an ancient first-aid kit. I kept thinking of topics with which to put them at ease. “Hot out, huh?” and “I hope my iPod is okay,” did the trick.

I limped the whole 45-minute walk home and still have the scars to remember Summer 2005. (I actually proudly - or nervously? – showed these to Jeff on our first date. And who ever said I’m not charming?)

This time I stumbled and fell to “Miss You Much,” which is awesome. I was probably jamming and gyrating mid-run and lost track of cracks in the sidewalk.

I never understood how people could get used to falling while doing gymnastics, or skiing, or horseback riding, but this time around let me see that I might have a bit of athlete in me yet. Mid-air, I kind of thought to myself, “ah well, here we go again,” hit the ground, cursed, and popped up for my walk home.


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