Out of nowhere, I found myself falling to the pavement, hands out to brace for impact. The Busted Runner was down again.
I’m really not clumsy. For a guy my age, I consider myself to be rather agile. But when you run and bike, every once in a while you are going to fall. Sometimes the fall is out of your control and other times you only have yourself to blame. Take for example the time that I was running with my German Shepherd, Fel. I always thought it would be cool to have a running companion, and Fel was full of energy and needed the exercise. The second time out, we were running along on the sidewalk and Fel suddenly decided that she needed to sniff a bug and she cut right in front of me. Over the top of her I went and down to the pavement I fell. Clearly not my fault. Fel and I didn’t run together anymore after that.
Another time, I was about nine miles into a 10 mile run on one of our popular running trails here in Austin. I was on a slight uphill grade and feeling a little fatigued as I was passing a nice elderly couple walking on the trail. I caught the toe of my shoe on a rock and did a nice “face plant” right in front of the couple. They were quite startled by the guy floundering around at their feet. I hopped up, waved, smiled and went on my way – too embarrassed to let anyone know that the fall REALLY hurt. Ok, that one was probably a little clumsy and a little bit my fault.
We just got a new anti-distracted driver city ordinance in Austin that prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving or cycling. As a runner and cyclist that is out on the streets a lot, the law couldn’t have come soon enough.
A couple of weeks ago I was out on my run and I briefly needed to be on a fairly busy road. This particular road has sidewalks, bike lanes, and a center turn lane. I sometimes run in the bike lane against traffic but I am also respectful of the bike and auto traffic so I often pop up onto the sidewalk if there is oncoming traffic.
At one point when I was up on the sidewalk, I noticed a car moving very slowly in the center turn lane. So slowly that we were kind of going along at the same speed. Curious me needed to look over to see why that driver was going so slow. It turns out the driver was talking on a cell phone – yes, a distracted driver. I shook my head and was mildly annoyed. Just at that moment, I hit an uneven part of the sidewalk, tripped, and went down landing hard on the palms of my hands and on my right hip.
Damn! I was guilty of being a “distracted runner.”
I quickly got up and looked around to see if anyone saw my unfortunate mishap. Of course someone did. Not the distracted driver who was oblivious to the whole incident, but it was a nice lady in a car that slowed down to ask me if I was ok. Yes ma’am, thank you. I waved and went on my way, cursing the new scrapes and cuts that I now had on my hands and hip. Ok that fall was totally my fault.
Lessons learned: beware when running with dogs, on trails with rocks, and on uneven sidewalks – and always avoid distracted running.