The misfortunes of a Hot Mess Runner

To say I haven’t been blogging much would be an understatement…to be fair I also haven’t been running much either. I’ll spare you the boredom of a drawn out, excuse ridden apology….Long story short, I’ve had other things in my life I’ve had to make a higher priority over the last year and sadly competitive running had to be moved to the back burner.  I plan to start picking things back up in a couple of months when things settle down.

Today was a beautiful day; I had some free time and a sudden surge of motivation so I decided to head to the C&O canal for a nice, easy run.  I parked my car at the Point of Rocks; threw my chap stick, key fob, and phone in my camel back, then started a slow trot down the leave covered trail. The first mile was clumsy and my joints felt like needed some WD-40. I made a conscious decision to be kind to myself and just enjoy the fact that I was outside in nature, and getting a little exercise.  After the first mile I settled into a rhythm and was bee-bopping along with my music. I started to daydream and was thinking to myself how beautiful everything was. I was like Bob Ross, “Oh what a happy little tree!” “What a happy little river!” “What a happy, blue, blue sky!!!”

But that didn’t last for long….About a mile and half into my run….my toe caught a rock, I went flying through the air, then I toppled and rolled into a huge pile of leaves. ..*KA-BOOM!!* I sat there, covered from head to toe with leaves, and pouted for a minute. I felt a dull throbbing in my left knee and began to tear up. I decided I’d like to spare my self the additional embarrassment of another runner finding me there, trying to rescue me, so I climbed to my feet and started running again. “Just go out one more mile, then you can turn around and run back to your car.”

I felt tears of frustration on my face as I gingerly jogged for another half mile, then started I started to feel good again, so I decided to run out a little bit further. (Isn’t that always how this story goes) At 3 miles I turned around to run back towards my car. I was feeling great so I opened it up a bit, and was happy that I was able to easily maintain a 8:30 pace  (given my current lack of fitness) all the way back to my car. I felt amazing, I was on top of the world, smiling ear to ear as I skipped to my car. I reached into my camel back pocket to pull out my key….”Oh. my. god. Where is my key?!?! Shit!!!!!” After several minutes of panicking, I have a flash back to  my roll in the leaves around mile 1.5….”Oh no!”

I open up the Garmin connect on my phone, and look for the sharp drop on my graph that would indicate a dead stop. I think it would be a great idea to walk back to that point on the trail and hope somehow miraculously, I would find my key fob buried somewhere in a 3 mile long sea of leaves. I ended up walking 2 miles back up the trail, and realized it what a not great but totally terrible idea that was. It was absolutely helpless. So I start walking back towards my car, making panicked phone calls to every friend and neighbor I could think of. I finally get a hold of somebody, my neighbor Kevin. “Oh thank god!” Then he tells me that he’s at the Penn State game (3 hours away). *Sad face* But he has a friend that he always calls on in emergencies, and he would see if he could come get me. I’m vaguely hopeful, but at this point resigned myself to walking the 8ish additional miles from my car back to my house. Trying to see the silver lining I tell myself, “At least I’ll get extra exercise today….”

About 10 minutes later Kevin calls back to tell me Malcolm is on his way.  I’m so freaking relieved! I get back to the parking lot, sit on a bench, and wait. That was when I realized that my knee is bleeding through my tights. A fellow runner seemed to sense my “damsel in distress” vibe, and comes over to ask me if I need any help. He’s wearing obscenely tight running tights, which make me a bit uncomfortable so I make sure I’m maintaining full eye contact as I assure him I’m fine, and help was on the way. He offers me a gu, runners are so funny! Again, I tell him I’m fine and he leaves. Then I begin to wonder if I was really talking to another runner, or just had a hallucination of David Bowie’s ghost….in runner form of course, because that is the only thing that could possibly make him any hotter…This thought makes me giggle. (You think I would have at least temporarily learned my lesson about day dreaming).

Finally Malcolm shows up, I’ve never met Malcolm before. I realize what a hot mess I must seem like; stranded in a parking lot, covered in leaves, with a blood soaked knee, and at this point shivering because I’m so cold.  I thank him as I climb into his car and we make small talk on the way back to my house. Of course, obligatory small talk comments on the weather are made….and I say “Oh yes, the weather is amazing! I hope it’s nice like this again tomorrow so I can go for another run!” Malcolm looks at me like I may be clinically insane. He may be right. 😉