After three years of running on the trail near my house, I discovered tonight that there is a small piece of metal protruding from the middle of the path as it opens onto the street. Talk about discovering it the hard way! My toe caught in mid-stride and I did a full-body face-plant into the asphault, skidding to a halt in a pile of mud and leaves! I picked myself up and brushed off. My chest and knees hurt, and my hands felt like they were on fire, but nothing felt broken or sprained so I finished my run.
When I got back to my building, I saw that the expanding spots of darkness on my palms were, indeed, pools of blood (I’d tried to ignore them during the last half of my run). I also saw that I was covered in mud and leaves, with a tear in my running tights. Naturally, I kept as much of the blood and debris intact as possible before climbing into the elevator with my neighbors as they came home from work. There’s a certain macabre glee that comes from bleeding in front of people and pretending as if everything is okay — they become so disconcerted. (That was the key lesson from my last major face-plant, which involved a bicycle, a garbage truck, two lanes of traffic and a rainstorm in Rennes, France, leaving me with a scraped face and blood running down my knees — it was truly spectacular and very public.)
|Out, damn’d spot; out, I say.|
Now I get to pick the rocks and dirt out of my hands. Fortunately, nothing else is quite as bad off. I’ve got some lovely scrapes on my knees and chest (I admit I’m kind of proud of that last one — when’s the last time YOU fell down and skinned your chest?), but thanks to my shirt and tights, no rocks got in.
P.S. [The next morning] I feel decidedly more ambivalent about the bruises and scrapes on my chest after having tried to sleep on them… It’s one thing to look gruesome; it’s another thing to feel like you have something drilling into your sternum all night.