I woke up last Friday feeling tired…as in, really tired. The bone-tired that makes it really hard even just to get out of bed. I’d had a week battling insomnia and wasn’t feeling very motivated to do much of anything. My body was telling me to rest, but I didn’t listen. I convinced myself a that a short two-mile run was exactly what I needed. Even as I was lacing up my running shoes, I could feel my eyes wanting to close and the muscle fatigue growing just a bit deeper.
9:30 AM – Head out the door and start a slow jog down my block.
9:31 AM – Have an unsuccessful make-out session with the pavement.
In my exhausted state, I tripped a minute into my run, caught myself with my chin, took a hunk out of my left front tooth, skinned both knees, and bruised my pelvis. I was shocked from the fall and must have made a sound as I hit the dirt because the older gentleman running in front of me (who I am so grateful for!) stopped abruptly, turned around, ran to my side, and between “oh no’s!” kept asking if I was all right. He offered to walk me back to my building and to call someone, but in my embarrassed and hurting state, I told him “Thank you, no,” limped back home, washed myself off, got an appointment with a dentist that afternoon, and did what I should have done in the first place…RESTED.
Here are some things I learned from the experience.
Lesson 1: Embarrassment causes tears before the pain does. I felt foolish and clumsy and awkward. I’ve run the same route for almost a year now and couldn’t believe that the cement under my feet could be that hard (note to self: pavement is HARD!). It was amazing how much more painful my emotional state was versus my physical pain.
Lesson 2: People are awesome. There have been a number of times in my life where I’ve fallen, dropped something, or needed a hand. Sometimes, people won’t stop. They will be embarrassed for you and look away (or point and laugh). The majority of the time – those times that restore my faith in humanity – people stop and check on you. They offer to help you back to your feet, check out your shattered tooth and bruised ego, and offer to call someone if you need them to (even if the number is long-distance and their cell phone plan stinks).
Lesson 3: I am vain! I’d only ever experienced this awareness of just how vain I am once before. When I looked in the mirror after my fall and saw the gap in mouth and the giant swollen bruise on my chin…I started crying harder. Again, embarrassment flooded my body. The first time I felt this way was when I had emergency surgery on my right eye for a detached retina. When they took the gauze off my eye, I was devastated at my appearance. This whole event was a reminder to me of just how jaded I am by my attachment to looks, and not to what truly matters… my soul, my goodness, the light that is within. A good reminder to check myself and a reminder that I am not what is on the outside.
Lesson 4: Get up and try again. I felt nervous going out for another run after Friday’s incident, but on Sunday, I laced up and after 2.5 miles, my stomach finally released its knots and I was able to get in some decent mileage. In short, “try, try again.” Whether it is meditation, yoga, surfing, a work project, being a good partner or friend…we almost always have the opportunity to get out there and give it another go.
Have you had a similar experience? What did you learn?
P.S. My tooth – thanks to some quick work – is just fine (grateful for dentists with skill and open spaces on their calendars) and my body is getting less sore by the day!