The other day I was supposed to run 5-6 miles, and I was not feeling it. To be honest, I haven’t been feeling most of my runs lately. Running in this stupid knee brace drives me nuts. Some runs end quickly when the knee pain starts. Other runs remind me how little endurance I have when I am winded a mile in. I’ve started to dread each run… unsure of what will go run but pretty dang sure something will go wrong. It sucks.
So at 6:30am when I was contemplating the undoubtedly painful 5-6 miles ahead of me, I considered scratching it. But then I knew I’d be more upset than if I had a bad run. But it just sounded so awful. I wanted to have fun! I wanted to play and feel free. I wanted to not care about my watch or my miles. The trails were practically calling my name.
But not just any trail. I wanted to do something that seemed a little ridiculous, something that would completely remove myself from my running routine. So I decided to run up a mountain! The Appalachian Trail near my house has a 1.5 mile climb up to an awesome vista. It’s called Pinwheel Vista, and the way up is called the Stairway because parts of it are a stairway made out of rocks. The rest of it looks like this.
Yep, that’s the trail. You can see the white AT blaze on the tree up ahead. There would be no worrying about pace here, and there would be no guilt about having to walk. Perfect. My husband thought I was crazy and was certain I’d get hurt. Nah.
Halfway up the mountain as I was running up the rocks, my foot was supposed to land where it is in that picture. Except I missed. And I fell flat on my side. I hit hard. Pain shot through my left arm, and once I could breathe I began to sob. There I was laying on a rock halfway up a mountain, crying hysterically fairly certain I broke my arm. What did I think? Well after thinking that my husband was going to kill me and that thank God it wasn’t my knee, I freaked out because I couldn’t do my physical therapy exercises with a broken arm. Oh dear.
After getting myself up and figuring out I could, in fact, move my arm but could not hold my handheld water bottle in that hand, I considered whether to keep going. On the one hand, if I got down the mountain I could get medical help if needed. On the other hand, if I got down and had shaken it off, I’d be pissed I hadn’t kept going. I texted my husband to say I fell and nothing was broken, should I keep going. Like the good husband he is, he said keep going. So I did. And I’m so glad I did.
When I got to the top of that mountain, it didn’t matter that my arm, shoulder and hip were all scraped up and swelling. It didn’t matter that I had to walk more than I liked. I was in love. I was in love with life, with where I live, with where my body can take me. My head was clear and my heart was happy. I need those runs every once in a while, and even if I have to climb a mountain and get a little beat up to get it, I’m game!