The Heartbreak of Running…When Can I Go Again?

Amazing miles. Fast miles. Average miles. Punishing miles. Humbling miles. Incomplete miles. The sport of running.

Twenty-one invigorating degrees at somewhere around 7 a.m. today. A doable cold for running. Dressed for the elements I made my way out the door. The driveway showed signs of the week’s relative warmth. More gravel than ice. Eager to run this morning as I was anxious for some time in nature.

My body cold. My legs yet to warm. I headed down the street surrounded by the quiet I craved. The pavement clear of ice. First run in several weeks that didn’t require Yaks. I trotted along dodging uneven surfaces.

About a half mile into my run where the pavement meets the town line and a dirt road my right foot cleared a small pothole, but the left toe of my running shoe kissed it. Slow motion played out in my brain while being contradicted by the actual speed of my impending fall.  Fate had another plan for this run. Uncontrollably in control my reflexes reacted. In a split second with not a moment to lose I placed my arms in front of me to break my fall. The thud. The pavement rock hard. The burn of road rash on my elbows was immediately felt through the layers of running apparel. My favorite running gloves torn and dirty. I had danced over icy conditions all winter, but a pothole was my demise this morning. Had I dragged my left foot? Lagged my left leg? My knees not high enough? I hadn’t fallen while running in many many years…

Assessing what hurt happened instantaneously. A mental body scan was immediately underway. How bad was it? Could I run? Could I finish my run? Trot trot trot. Nope. Can’t run. I needed to get home. A life lesson was illustrated on the road this morning. One must always be able to find their way home. The onerous was on me. The wherewithal was solely mine to find…

Some important attributes for living are employed daily in running. Discipline. Determination. Endurance. Finding one’s way home when the challenge at hand seems insurmountable is sometimes required. As I navigated my way towards the house knowing this time, I was not so far from home. I was at some level angry at myself for the fall since I have run nearly the entirety of my life and know the importance of form and cadence. I did not have the option of giving into whatever discomfort I may have felt because I just needed to get it done and get home…

As I iced my angry knee and soothed my wounded spirit, I couldn’t help but ask myself; “How long before I can run again?”

                                       “All it takes is all you got.” Marc Davis



Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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