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It Was Bound To Happen

It's the reason why a lot of people won't try trail running. Honestly, it was why I didn't try it for a very long time. I'm clumsy and stumble just walking across the floor, I couldn't see myself running trails.

But last year after a trying year and burnout, I took to the trail in a last ditch attempt before I gave up running altogether. (I Ran. I Walked. I Fell. I Bled - It Was Awesome) 

And that one run/hike changed a lot of me. I loved it. I truly did. I overcame so much by adding trail running to my routine.

So yesterday, after a trying morning, I had just enough time for a 30 minute hike. I didn't really want to run since I had ran 6 road miles on Wednesday. My legs tend to need a day's break from running; so I try not to run back to back. Instead, I took the hillier section of the Appalachian Trail and decided to hike for cross training.

I set a timer for 15 minutes as I had planned to walk 15 minutes in, and 15 minutes out. But as I got closer to my 15 minute limit, I thought just a little farther up was a slight clearing and the power lines. I wanted to make it there.

And I did.

But this also ran me late - about 6 minutes late. I try to be very respectful of Hubby's time, and if I say that I will be back at a certain time, I really try to stick to that. I do the majority of my running before he goes to work.

So I tried to pick up my pace to make up for the extra time that I took. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning. Cool temps (in the 50's and I was wearing pants), no humidity, slight breeze, and overall just a gorgeous hike. I had time to pray, settle my thoughts, get myself mentally situated for the day, and I was heading back to car thinking that this was an awesome time.

I don't remember falling. It happened that fast. One minute I was standing -  the next I was on the ground. I was aware there was a rock in my thigh, then I felt the burn on my arm and hand and the awkward angle of my shoulder, and I was aware that my head landed on my arm, then I felt an oozing on my knee. (If you are a little squeamish you might want to scroll through this part)

After a brief moment I stood up, and when I did I knew I had landed almost completely on rocks. My pants leg was in my knee. (note to self, if you have to pull your clothing out of your body, the gash might be a little deep)

I gave myself a quick overlook, snapped a picture, (for bragging rights of course), and called hubby to tell him that I was going to be a little late. I was probably just a little over a quarter mile from the house where I hobbled back to the car.

Here is the big huge NO NO. Don't ever make this mistake, but I was so queasy from looking at the gash that I didn't irrigate it. I simply dabbed it with a wash cloth thinking that was 'clean' enough. I had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop. I thought it had stopped, but an hour or more later it was still bleeding.

I took Lil Man to the playground, hobbled my way through Target, and by the time I got back home, I couldn't bend my knee. It was piercing pain, and by this point I knew that I probably should get checked out.

I made arrangements with Hubby to get Lil Man. I knew that this was not something that he needed to see (his Momma crying and possibly passing out in the clinic when they were dealing with the wound).

The Dr was not impressed that I didn't irrigate the wound - especially since I fell on a trail - where there is dirt, leaves, animal feces etc. She mentioned stitches, and I tried to convince her that wasn't necessary. But due to the swelling, the pain and my inability to bend without screaming, she ordered an x-ray to see if I had fractured my patella.

While we were waiting for the results, she numbed me up (at least 8 shots) so that she could irrigate the wound. Because it had been about 5 hours, she had to pull the gash back open where it had started to heal so that she could flush everything out. (I sat pale, cold sweats, barf bag, fanning myself telling her as I whined Mother of god that hurt, that I was sorry for being such a baby, but when this story was retold she needed to tell her coworkers how tough I was and that I was one bad Mother Runner (literally). She laughed and said she would.)

We both agreed it needed stitches even though there wasn't a lot of skin to stitch back. She put in 3, although said it probably needed 4, but the 4th one was going to be really hard to get in. I said that's enough. Let's see if we can make do. So we did. I'll go back in a week to have them 'dug' out since she said there wasn't a lot of skin and that it will scab over the stitches.

The preliminary report shows that I broke off part of a bone spur from my patella.

And I got a tetanus short.

The takeaway from all of this?

First, if in doubt seek medical attention. I thought first thing that morning when the bleeding wouldn't stop that maybe I needed to get checked out. I shouldn't have waited 5 hours.

Second, taking along some first aid items in my running belt would probably be a good idea (especially in my hydration pack where there is more room and for longer runs)

Third, always clean out a wound. I waited until I had some hydrogen peroxide, but was told just running water from the shower would have been ok in a situation like I was in.

So there you have it - my first big fall. And as soon as the swelling goes down, and I can walk without pain, I can't wait to get back out there - on the trail and on the road. 

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  1. Wow, good read but sorry this happened to you...great lesson learned. recover well


  2. Ouch, I hope that it heals quickly. You are a super woman in my book for waiting until 5 hours later to see a dr.

  3. I used to work in wound care, and wounds are nothing to mess with, please take care. I did enjoy seeing the x-ray and the stitching up. :)

    1. :) Yes, I'm glad that I went in. I know for future reference never to wait like I did this time. It seems to be healing!

  4. Oh no! I tore my Patella years ago. I know your pain! I hope you recover quickly!

    1. How long did it take you to heal? It's still SUPER sore!

    2. I tore mine around 5 years ago. I still have "gravel knee" and a slight discomfort going upstairs. I've just decided to try running again this year since I found some really supportive shoes that take a lot of the brunt off of my knee ( and other various joint injuries). We'll see how it goes! I'm trying to face the fear too :-)

    3. Good job getting back out there!

  5. Yikes, lady. I am also a wimp with pain so I feel ya. As a future healthcare professional I'd always rather get something checked out in case it is more serious than I think.


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