And then this happened

It rained all last Monday night and I was curious as to whether or not Tuesday weather would lend itself to walking.  As it turned out, the space between rain drops was large, so Sally and I “suited up” and trekked on down to Sailor Bar. 

Because it had been raining, very few folks were out.  Walking with Sally can present some special issues when other dogs are around, and don’t get me started on “off-leash” dogs, which may be the topic of another discussion. But today, solitude and quiet abounded.  Complete serenity.

Tuesday is also a training day, so shortly after Sally and I returned, I readied to leave again, this time solo.  My plan was to walk around the neighborhood, travel the road down to Sailor Bar again and walk along the river westward toward the village.  I had my 10-pound backpack on and my new hiking boots that I am breaking in.  I noticed, for this first time, that my pack seemed lighter, almost weightless.  This is a sign that I am getting stronger…good news!

My walk along the larger avenue was pleasant in spite of the roar of cars “en commute.”  The weather was cooperating—no rain in sight and, in fact, blue sky was peeking through the clouds.  I turned the corner into the neighborhood, admiring yards with new blooms, feeling the breeze on my face.  It was cool, but not too cool, and I was thinking about how nice some hot homemade chicken and rice soup would be for lunch when I got home.  I was probably smiling.  I was feeling great!

And then this happened:

It was in slow motion, as it often is.  A step, a misplaced boot toe, a stumble, a stutter step in hopes of recovery–but not soon enough.  And down—my knee, my hands, my chin, and ultimately my glasses and my cheek.  Contact with the asphalt. 

Raising my head, I saw my glasses broken on the street in front of me.  This is not good, was my immediate thought, as I gathered up the pieces.  A temple had detached and one lens was scratched.  Both hands on the asphalt attempted to bring me to my feet, once, then twice…the backpack heavier now.  Much heavier.  A third attempt got me up and, as Sally would, I shook it off.

I felt dampness on my chin and used my handkerchief to dab the blood away, straightened my pack and started walking again.  My phone app spoke:  One mile, split pace: 19 minutes and 54 seconds.  Wow, I thought, I was making pretty good time. 

I felt a trickle run down my cheek and dabbed at that.  Oh, another drip from another place.  Ok, home we go to take a look.

Total walk with pack 1.5 miles. 

The mirror showed me the damage, and it was not clear to me if I would need stitches.  The doctor said to come in, so I did.  Nothing hurt, adrenaline was still very much in play.  I had a pretty good goose egg on my cheek under the cut, and my chin was slightly off center, but nothing was broken. 

The folks at the doctor’s office were very kind.  My cheek got glued back together; we chuckled about their advice that I not laugh for a couple of days (to avoid crinkling my cheek and disrupting the glue).  I went to the grocery store to get some comfort food and headed home.

The next morning, I had a black eye, a Dermabond bandage on my cheek and a story.  The picture shows where I tripped–there is no crack or mound or mountain or mole hill to trip on where I fell–just inattention, a dream of soup and an errant foot.  Such is life…

The scene of the pratfall–not even a crack!

Happily, the rest of the week went as scheduled…Sally and I walked regularly.  I went on my scheduled long training walks:  Thursday with my pack but with trail runners instead of boots; Saturday with my pack and boots.  There have been no further walking accidents or incidents.  This April Fool’s Day morning I am left with a small patch of Dermabond on my cheek—a testimony to how quickly things heal—and a full schedule of things to do. 

March was eventful.  I survived a fall with minimal injury, I logged over 100 miles of walking, and I gained some additional confidence.  Life is good.

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Tear you down; Build you up (or not)


With my new training plan, I walked just over 33 miles last week.  Thirty-three miles is just about two days of walking on the Camino, and I did this 33 over five days, so I still have a way to go, but I will tell you this:  This week felt good!

I’ve been in training before.    My first organized fitness program (other than physical education in grade school) was when I attended a police academy in late 1979 and early 1980, for 13 weeks.  I was barely 25 years old at the time.

What I remember most about that experience was that the training philosophy was to tear us down–physically, mentally, communally—in order to build us back up.  This was done to help us become mentally and physically stronger and to build a strong bond between us.  We would need all of those attributes as we launched into our law enforcement careers in the 80’s.  Some of us made it through the academy; others didn’t.  Personally, I was not going to quit; If I left prematurely, they would be carrying me out on a stretcher.  Thank goodness it didn’t come to that, but I felt every ounce of the tear down…and experienced every bit of the build-up.  At graduation, I was in great shape, and felt a bit invincible!

Well, that was then and this is now–a mere forty years later.

The tear you down/build you up just doesn’t work well for me anymore.  I need every ounce of energy I can muster just to wake up and do yoga!  To dress, eat, walk, and get on with my day takes energy too.  The best I can figure is that I need to conserve and build; start with the base I have and add to it gradually and sensibly.  And this new training plan seems to accommodate that.  Thank you to the commenter on the last post who reminded me that muscles need time to mend and grow.  That is the truth!

So enough on training for now.  My mind is on what’s happening out there…Spring has sprung!  And the Sailor Bar flowers are beginning to bloom…