Sunday, May 16, 2010

Seriously falling, what the ?

So, for the third week in a row, I’ve fallen while running. Serious falls, two of which (including this one) have led to visits to the Emergency Room. Each time the fall was between 13 and 14 miles. The first time I was only 3 blocks from home when my foot hit a rock and I literally flew in such a way that I landed on my bony shoulder. No break there, thank God, and it doesn’t interfere with running. I got some good anti-inflammatory painkillers which really helped. But two weeks after, it still hurts in this spot in the middle and the two things that hurt the most *are* running related: taking off my sports bra and tying my shoes.


Then last week, I fell again, but on the other side of my body. Except for inflaming the already hurting shoulder, that fall let me off lightly with only a hold in the palm of my right hand. I was graciously cared for by the women in front of whose store I fell – she gave me water to wash at least the top layer of muck off and some tissues.


Today I was having a great run. Mostly on the road because the marathon I’m training for is on the roads and I thought I should test and see how that felt. Around 12 miles in, the outside of my right knee was hurting some, I’m sure it’s my IT band. So I got off the road. I was moving my leg around, playing with my foot placement. The pain in the knee went away, so  that was good. Then, as I was passing the Gecamines Mine, the road started to descend and I was even looking at the ground. Next thing I knew, I was *on* the ground. Whack! Oh, my head hurt. Oh man. I laid there and some guys came by. They tried to make me get up, but I told them to leave me. I hit the right side of my head pretty hard. After a minute or two I was able to sit up and I could tell the head wasn’t concussed (having done that several times in my life, I know how it feels. . .), but I was still pretty dizzy.


For the first time ever, I had decided to throw my phone into my camelback that morning.  Geez and now I needed to use it. So I called the driver and told him where I was and decided to get up and start walking. That was when I looked at my hand and saw my pinky bent at more than a 45 degree angle over my other fingers. While I was walking, I was joined my a young man, a woman and a boy. The young man spoke French, so we talked about what happened. And I was able to look a bit at myself and see how filthy I was (it’s dry season, so the dirt is about inch-thick dust and I was now covered in it). So far, I was still in shock and nicely distracted by my companions, so I wasn’t yet feeling the pain except for a bit of a headache.


Met the driver who took me, once again, to the Don Bosco clinic emergency room. Embarrassingly, everyone remembered me. . . The x-ray technician came from church and took an x-ray which showed a complete break of the pinky at the knuckle. They put a popsicle stick splint on it (after straightening it out – aaaaahhhhhhhh!!) and, despite their worries about my low blood pressure, let me go home.


Fate? Fatigue? My shoes (Newton Gravity’s)? Running form? Freak accidents? Low blood sugar? Blood pressure? Gotta say that three falls in a row is kinda freaking me out.


I wouldn’t have ever expected this in Lubumbashi (where I moved mid-March). It’s much flatter than Bukavu. All the major roads are asphalt. The dirt is mostly sandy (not red and slippery). And we are in the dry season now, so no mud or moss to slip on. I used to pride myself on my ability to “catch myself” and stop a fall. I’m pretty light and nimble on my feet. But this is mighty discouraging.


And now it matters, of course, because I’ve registered to run the Foot Traffic Flat marathon in Portland, OR on the 4th of July. I’m scheduled to run 20 miles next Sunday. Thank goodness my legs are still in great shape and I’ve had several massages from the Don Bosco kinesiotherapist which seems to have completely resolved my lower back issues.