When I talk about trail-running, people often ask me if I fall. Of course I do. Not often, but yes, I do fall once in a while. When I do, I make sure it’s really good. I used to run in Rock Creek Park and a hill there was renamed “Butt Hill” after I fell at the top and slid on my butt all the way to the bottom. I still have a scar from that one.
Yesterday I made sure it was a fall worth talking about. Less than one hour into a 3.5 mile run on Bull Run trail, I slipped while rock-hopping across a river, smacked one leg under the knee, the other above it, and fell butt first up to my waist in the river. What’s worse, I ripped my shorts. 😉
Thankfully, my running partner Adam rescued my sunglasses. What a relief! Actually, it was good that he did because 2 hrs later, the gnats came out in force. Although it was dusk I put my sunglasses back on so they couldn’t fly into my eyes. They still flew into my mouth but I was tired of eating GU anyway…
Once I extracted myself from the river and checked that I hadn’t broken anything, Adam and I continued on our way. My knee was a little sore, which made running downhill hurt, and my other leg was scraped up badly, but the river water had stopped the bleeding. We had run less than 5 miles and I had no plans to wimp out and turn back.
The hills and my knee slowed us down a lot, so when we turned around at 1 hr 45 mins we had only gone 9 miles, but the sun was due to set right at 3.5 hrs from the time we started and I didn’t want to run the trails in the dark. We were working hard but walking the hills like ultrarunners are supposed to, so I wasn’t really concerned about mileage. I did expect to run more than the 17 we ended up running, but the run was for time, not distance, so I didn’t feel the need to go and blast out 3 extra on the road or anything like that. I did say to Adam that I was a little worried about the fact that we will have to run 14 miles further than that in 3 weeks, but I’m hoping that the adrenaline that goes with racing and morning (rather than evening) running will help.
Aside from the scrapes and bruises, which are a wonderful shade of purple right now, my legs aren’t at all sore from the run. When I got home, even though it was 8pm and I was getting cold, I made myself sit in an ice bath. Some people think this is torturous but I have found a way to make it less painful. First, I fill the bath with cold water high enough to cover my legs completely. Then I get in with my clothes still on and a hooded sweatshirt on top. This is important because clothes do take the edge off. I find it especially essential to keep my socks on, as my feet really sting otherwise. Once I’m in, I dump a bag of ice in the bath. Then I grab my hot chocolate (really helps!) and phone and check e-mail, go on Facebook, etc. It’s amazing how quickly those 15 minutes go by!
Once I’m out of the ice, I take a hot shower. The ice helps to remove all the waste products from your legs, while the heat helps pump in fresh blood to promote healing and recovery. Now I just need some warm weather so I can show off my latest war wounds…