I never saw the concrete coming, but it came quite quickly.
Right up to my right eye as my head slammed into the sidewalk. Again.
I fell when I was out running last week. I think my left leg, true to its traditionally sporadic toe-drag form, clipped a sidewalk crack about two miles into my workout.
Up to that point in my run, I hadn’t dragged my MS-numbed left foot. Not once. I was feeling fresh. Even was sporting a brand new pair of Mizuno running shoes and new Under Armour running shorts.
I don’t remember having time to think about the potential of the fall hurting me. Itjusthappened.
The dull pop of my skull striking the asphalt was the first indication that something had gone wrong. The pop, followed by the sting in my scuffed left palm that had done what it could to break my unforeseen fall.
I slowly stood up. Slowly, not because I was hurt but because I was disappointed that this nothing-new-to-me incident occurred. It’s happened before. It will happen again.
Perhaps my washed-up white wicking running shirt was to blame. Consider this: As I changed into my running clothes that night, I had honest-to-goodness commented to Jennifer – as I sniffed the shirt that I first wore in the 2010 Alma Highland Festival 5K – “I think I need to throw this one away after tonight’s run.”
While I originally could have reconsidered my decision to dispose of my shirt post-run, the continuous stream of blood that poured down my cheek and steadily dripped onto my shirt sealed its fate.
A young couple in a car passing by who noticed my bloodied face and shirt immediately stopped, aired their concerns for my wellbeing and offered me a ride to the ER. I thanked them for their consideration but assured them I’d be fine to walk home. But their kindhearted insistence overruled my pride and stubbornness, and in less than three minutes Mike and Isabel – I was sure to get their names to thank God for them when I prayed that night – got me home to Jennifer. As I always say, I know she’ll make everything better.
My appearance understandably upset my loving wife. But once I convinced her that I was fine, she regrouped and was fine too.
It was a quick trip to the ER (been there, done that) because this time they didn’t need to give me any stitches; only some medical-type glue to close the wound and a tetanus shot. Turns out the tetanus shot was the most painful part of this ordeal.
I wish I could say I’ve learned my lesson and that I always hear Jennifer when she reminds me to pick up my feet each time I leave the house for a run.
I hear her, but I don’t think my MS is listening.
It’s like my MS has a mind of its own, as though it feels it is in control. I think I’ve got it all together and decide that if I want to run, I’m going to go for a run, with or without my MS. And all the while that I’m lacing up new shoes, pulling on new shorts, and debating when I’m going to trash a subtly stinky shirt, MS is developing its strategy to stop my momentum and make me question who has the upper hand in our relationship.
It seems like MS is gradually making my feet more numb, legs a little more tired, interest in setting running goals less passionate, fear of falling increasingly relevant.
I hear the MS, but I know I’m not ready to listen.
Some may say I’m in denial. But I’m more convinced that it’s determination and perseverance that keep me focused on maintaining my control over this damn disease.
And so, I’m going for a training run tonight after receiving a postcard in the mail today to enter the 11th Annual Run-A-Trail Race on Sept. 22. The R.A.T. Race is two days before my birthday, and I think it’ll be awesome to finish one more 5K in under 30 minutes before I turn 40.
In more ways than one, MS be damned.