Bitter Falling

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This morning I planned my evening training run route.  I had four miles on schedule for today, and I had debated making it five. I played around on Map My Run for a few minutes, finally deciding a 4.75 mile route, starting at my office, making a big ole loop, and ending at my apartment.   104_6074I keep a map of the route for the race I’m training for posted near my computer at work.  It helps me to remember that my training doesn’t only take place during runs, out on the trail or sidewalks near my apartment.  My training takes place in the food I choose to fuel my body, how much rest I am allowing myself, my dedication to rid stress from my days, and so much more. 

Around 3:00 PM this afternoon, I told Julie that I was trying to get “amped up” for the 4.75 miles I was running after work. “Hooooray!” she responded. I concurred. I checked the weather four times throughout the afternoon before finally deciding I should wear my long sleeved t-shirt.  “Feels like 40, mid to heavy wind".”  Twenty minutes before I left the office I took four Advil.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but I swear that any run over 3 miles feels 100 times better if I take some anti-inflammatory before I run. This is arguably one of the best and worst things I do, but I believe it works for me, and until I’m convinced I need to stop, I plan on continuing this practice. (Owning it. Sorry, I’m not sorry.)

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When I left the office, I strong. I made my first two turns, gaining speed as I hit a slight downhill.  I turned onto a street which has a short sidewalk-free span, so I kept as close to the grass line on the side of the road as possible.  As I approached a block of the first mile mark, I glanced down at my watch.  It was under 9 minutes.  I typically run my first mile in around 10 minutes, so I wanted to push through to keep it as close to 9 minutes as possible.  When I looked up, I saw a car about 20 yards ahead of me doing a three point turn.  Remembering Emily’s recent terrifying experience, I kept my eye on the car, trying to assure that the driver saw me, and that I didn’t run into the car’s path. 

 

I didn’t take my eyes off the car.

 

Which explains why my clumsy ass tumbled over a stick in the road. 

 

I dove forward, hitting my left knee on the road, twisting my right ankle, and bracing my fall with both of my hands.  And I lost it. I felt like I couldn’t control my emotions.  I told myself to stop crying, but it seemed impossible.  My ankle hurt, my hands stung, and I had trouble catching my breath.

I tried to focus on taking deep breaths, and thought about standing up, but I decided to wait just a minute until my heart stopped racing.  A man who was working on a roof a few houses down came running over to me, asking if I was okay.  We talked for a few minutes, and oddly, I apologized to him several times.  I didn’t realize I was doing it at the time, but I must have told him I was sorry at least five times. He helped me up and offered to drive me home, but once I realized I could walk, I refused.  I thanked him for helping and checking on me and the offer, and wobbled away. 

I could walk on my ankle, but I definitely felt pain.  I noticed I was limping slightly, and my hands stung so badly.  I looked them over and realized I had several pieces of gravel/asphalt imbedded in each palm.  I was crying again.

I was pissed off and scared.  I am running my first 15K in two weeks.  I was just talking to my boss Jennifer today about how I feel that I am training the best I’ve ever trained.  I’m dedicated and I’m not giving up.  I am feeling strong and powerful, even during my most difficult runs.  And then I fell.

I grabbed my phone and signed into gchat to talk to Julie. I knew she would calm me, and she did.  She gave me instructions for what to do when I got home (“ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE and elevate” and “cleannnnn your hands with alcohol. It will hurt like a bitch, but not as much as an infection would”) and assured me that I would be okay. 

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[note: it is hard to take a photo of your own gigantic ankle.
in the dark. with your Kodak easy share camera.]

When I got home, I washed up, and tried to pull the pieces of asphalt out of my hands.  This was not fun.  There is one piece I couldn’t get out, not even with tweezers.  [I looked around for Marc Sloan to operate, but alas, he was no where to be found] I wasn’t sure what I should do about this one piece of road in my hand, but thanks to my twitter friend, Nicki, I decided to wash and disinfect it well and not pick at any longer.

I looked at my ankle and saw it was ridiculous.  I laid on my bed and whine-tweeted.  I calmed down slightly, and thought to myself “oh. my knee kind of hurts.”  I lifted up my pant leg and found a nice large gouge and a bit of blood. So I took to the bathroom again to clean up.

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Then I remembered the 800 mg of Advil I had taken at 4:40 PM.  I started to wonder how my already sore ankle would feel after that wore off.  I started crying yet again.  I called my parents house, and talked to my Dad, who gave me instructions (the same as Julie) and helped me to feel better.

 

While on the phone with Dad, I said out loud what I had been thinking for almost an hour.  When shit like this happens, I feel so alone.

 

For those of you who may be new to these parts, I moved to Upstate New York from Texas with my fiancé in August of 2008, as we began to plan our wedding which was going to take place 13 months later.  The only people we knew when we moved were his parents and step brother.  Six weeks before the wedding, he broke it off.  I didn’t know very many people in the area at the time, and still only have a handful of local friends.  I am thankful that we didn’t get married, but that doesn’t make rejection hurt any less.  The healing process is long. I blame myself for a large part of th
e experience for various reasons.  I’m working on it.  I’m working on all of it.

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Earlier this week, I read a great post by one of my top ten favorite bloggers, Rachel, about how she moved across the country for love.  I especially took note to the words, “Part of owning it is owning that it’s your decision and the other person didn’t make you move.”  This resonated with me, and challenged my heart because every time I find myself feeling intense fear here, I blame my ex.  It’s time like this that I feel the strongest bitterness.

When I sliced my hand open carving a pumpkin last October, I cried my way through the CVS aisles, not knowing what to do or who to ask for help.

When I hear noises at night and think about the last episode of SVU or Criminal Minds I watched, I hide under the blanket and pretend like I have everything in control.

When I’m sick with the flu, or feeling light headed after an especially hard work out, I get nervous and think irrational thoughts about my passing out and no one noticing for days at a time. 

When I fell today and didn’t know what to do, I thought about calling….no one.  I thought about how I have no one to call.  When I was limping home and debating what to do next, I wanted my mom, and I tasted bitterness.  I wanted a roommate to call to come get me.  I wanted a good friend to come help me remove the shards of ground underneath my skin.  I wanted my husband to rescue me and ask me if I thought we should go to urgent care just to be safe. Through it all, I blamed my ex.  I blamed him for leaving me alone, ignoring the fact that I am the one who chose to run alone.

I don’t want him to be my husband, but sometimes I wish I had a husband.  I know that’s the opposite of what a strong, independent woman should be saying.  The words appear after falling into bitterness.  It’s an especially bitter taste when I think about how I was just six weeks away from a marriage.  A marriage that would have been wrong, no doubt.  A marriage that was broken before the start, clearly.  But a marriage that would have left me with a partner, not a broken heart.

I’ve been here before.  This ugly, dark, bitter place.  I know what happens next.

Soon I will snap out of it.  I will realize that he is only as much to blame as I am.  I said yes to a proposal. I wore a ring on my left hand.  I moved across the country with a man I fooled myself into loving, making handmade invitations, and writing vows, and falling for lies from myself just as much as lies from anyone else.

 

Soon I will remember that I am better off in so many ways.  I will remember that I have the ability of taking care of myself.  I will remember that there is no “by when” date for when I will be “over it,” if ever.  I will remember that I am not alone.  That I have people who love me all over the world, and even a few in the Capital District.  I will remember that healing takes time; healing in my heart and healing on my scrapes, and cuts, and bumps and bruises.

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Soon I will move forward.  I will rely on what I know comforts me.  I will rely on the small things, the smiles, the kindness.  I will seek out the flavors I enjoy most on my plate, and most in my day.  I will surround myself with laughter and remember to dwell on the happiest of things.  I will drop the bitter and find the sweet and savory. I will survive.
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Soon the pain will lessen, as the healing runs it’s natural course.  Soon I will run again, after rest and care.  Soon I will bounce back.

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34 thoughts on “Bitter Falling

  1. Evan Thomas

    The next time you fall, you can call me. I can’t be there in 15 minutes to pick you up. And I can’t sow up the wounds like Owen Hunt. But I can answer a phone and say “Yeah, that sucks”.

    Reply
  2. maria @ Chasing the Now

    Sorry you had that tumble, but it really does happen to most runners at some point or another. So, really you were just getting it out of the way now. 😉

    I definitely feel you on the last half of this entry. I am lucky to be married to a wonderful man, but there are times I wish I had other friends here in Japan, so I can relate.

    Reply
  3. tiny

    You are amazingly strong and you can do this!
    I know we don’t know each other, but you can always call me if you need anything at all 🙂

    Reply
  4. Mom

    Sorry I wasn’t there or home when you called. I was at the post office mailing you a surprise package that should get there Monday. I agree with Julie and Dad, elevation and ice, and try ang get some sleep. Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Sara

    One time (last summer?) I was out running and I felt super strong and awesome…and then I tripped on the curb. I landed on my hands. A biker across the street laughed at me. Fo’ real. I didn’t cry, but only because I was so angry with that biker, yelled some nasty things at her, I could’ve been seriously hurt!

    I’m sorry you got hurt, Heather. But you’re not alone! And you’re strong! Don’t be afraid to ask for help or cry when you need to. But most of all, don’t stop writing because this was pretty amazing.

    Reply
  6. It All Changes

    Heather that pain and bitterness will go away but you will remain wonderful.

    I’m not that far away if you need me. Trust that you are not alone even if you live alone. 🙂 Praying for ya!

    Reply
  7. kayejohn

    Let’s all now channel some Chumbawumba Tubthumping, yes?
    “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down!”
    You are fantastic and strong and determined and amazing.

    Reply
  8. Sarina

    Wishing you had a husband doesn’t make you any less of an independent woman. A husband is a best friend who knows you better than anyone and can make everything ok, there’s nothing wrong with wanting that, especially when you’re feeling hurt and alone! Good on you for always getting back up! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Katy

    I am notoriously clumsy at working out…about a week before my first Olympic distance triathlon, I tripped over air while on a jog (seriously, nothing was there. I checked.) and scraped up my hands, knees and side. It was awful. But a lot of runners told me that it just made me more legit.

    I think we’ve all had that “would anybody visit me in the hospital?” moment, and it sucks. I hope that #fitblog and blogging blends help you know that you will ALWAYS have someone to call. Or call on.

    Reply
  10. Corey - The Runner's Cookie

    I think these comments prove you are not alone! Reading this made me think of the many times I’ve been driving by myself and gotten totally lost, because I usually end up so emotional/frustrated and crying, and it seems ridiculous when you say it, but it’s tough not to get emotional when you just want someone to be there to help you. I hope you get better very soon, Heather!

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    Heather,
    You are strong and beautiful. But you already know that.
    I’m only 30 minutes down the road, I’ll come pick you up and dust you off anytime you’d like.

    Reply
  12. Kate @ Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Journey

    Oh my sweet friend… What a beautiful and painful post. I admire the courage it took to write this. My heart hurts for you but I also know that when we are in “that place” we are most receptive to hear from God. I know that there are certain hurts that only He can heal. And I trust that He has good things in store for you! Xoxo

    Reply
  13. LindseyAnn

    I feel like I could have written this post, especially the line, “A marriage that was broken before the start, clearly. But a marriage that would have left me with a partner, not a broken heart.”
    I spent Wednesday evening of this week with some dear friends, who are all married. I had to listen to a 10 minute discussion about the advantages of being married, feeling like the single elephant in the room, so to speak. I went to bed that night and sobbed for an hour, pretty much thinking the EXACT same thing–I could have been married right now, and possibly joining in that discussion, rather than biting my lip and staring at my iPod touch like it held the secret to life and the universe. It would have been wrong, and I could possibly have been joining from the “I was married, and now I’m getting divorced” angle, but I could still have been part of the club instead of on the outside looking in.
    And you know what? Those moments like your wipeout SUCK, and it’s OK to slip in to that sadness. But, on the other ringless hand, you’re now learning how to handle these things as they come about. I can’t even tell you how many wounds I’ve bandaged up, car repairs I’ve tried to figure out (and revisit later… then finally ask a random guy at a gas station to show me as I take mental notes), and technology fixes I’ve worked out. You don’t even realize it, but you develop an amazing sense of strength and resourcefulness from these heinous moments, and soon you’ll be limping home from your 2340982th bike wipeout, knowing exactly where the first aid kit is, how to clean it up, and how much time it will take you. And then you’ll handle it, and head back out.
    Hang in there–you’re not as alone as you think.

    Reply
  14. Becca @ Start Over From Scratch

    This just made me so sad. I felt like this when I lived in Chattanooga for a job I hated. Please stop being so hard on yourself, you seem to be doing the best you can and thats all you can ask for. Keep your chin up. I’m a new reader and didn’t know alot of that about you…I love your honesty. Smile!!!!

    Reply
  15. Trish

    I’ve been where you are and I know how hard it is to feel alone. Even as independent as we like to tell ourselves we are, sometimes you just want someone around.

    My life has drastically changed since then, but I wouldn’t change the time I spent so alone. It taught me things I probably never would have learned otherwise. I’m a stronger more confident person because of what I had to find a way to work through.

    I know when you’re in the thick of it, that can seem like little comfort. But know that there are so many where you are or who have been there before. And we’re all here for you 🙂

    Reply
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  17. Liza

    Hang in there Heather. If it makes you feel any better I always find your honest posts so inspiring. I hope your ankle feels better and that you are able to run your upcoming race!

    Reply
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