I wish you could have been there with me. But if you’re like most ‘normal’ people, you were probably still sleeping.
It was Saturday, 28 June 2019, and at 5:30 am I left my condo for my morning run. When I hit the Martin Goodman Trail, and even though the sun was on the rise, I could only see a couple of hundred yards ahead due to the thick fog. Running away from the downtown core towards the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, the view was spectacular. The fog blanketing the city rendered the CN Tower — all the buildings, actually — invisible. I usually run without stopping, but this time I planned to stop and capture the view.
Running for me is like meditating. I go into a zone, clearing the mind of all thoughts. The music streaming through my earphones fades away. I hear nothing, my concentration held to the path ahead. On this particular morning, though, I was building this massive to-do list in my head, and eager to start crossing off each project.
But I hadn’t forgotten about capturing that view. And the rocks along the shoreline at the base of Sheldon’s Lookout offered the best vantage point. I was too caught up in my thoughts and wasn’t paying attention to my footing. When I veered to the left, I knew the surface underneath my foot wasn’t hard enough to be asphalt. But by then, it was too late. I’d already launched into the air, then came crashing down — hard — first on my left knee, then my hand and finally my hip.
And what was the first thing I did? Looked around hoping that no one had seen me wipeout. Took a good layer of skin off my knee, the wound gushing blood. Even though the pain throbbed, I hobbled down to the shoreline and snapped the photo (see photo at right). And silly me, at the time of the fall, I still needed to run 0.5 km to hit my weekly running goal. Stubborn as I am, I ran — with a pronounced limp and bleeding knee — to the nearest parking lot where I met the Uber that ferried me home.
By the next day (Sunday), the swelling had diminished, but I could only bend my knee to a certain point before crying out in pain. On the following Monday (Canada Day), the only way to see a doctor was to go to an emergency room. Wasn’t happening. Sometimes I like to foolishly self-diagnose and decided to run to determine the extent of my injuries. I didn’t want a repeat of February, when I fell ill and didn’t run for ten days. And back then, when I started running again, I struggled and didn’t hit my weekly goal for another two months. I had to run, had to keep the momentum going.
With my knee bandaged and moving at a slower pace, I ran 15 km. The next day (Tuesday), I saw my doctor to confirm that I hadn’t broken or fractured any bones. When I think about it, things could have turned out much worse. I’m grateful they didn’t.
But the incident taught me something. There are times in life when we ‘fall.’ We set a goal, but life interrupts and we don’t meet it. We launch a product or a book, and no one buys it. We’re passed over for the promotion we thought was in the bag. But because we’re determined, we don’t stay down. We pick ourselves up and march on. We’re not defeated.
Maybe you’ve suffered a fall recently and are struggling to get back up. Don’t stay down. Rise up and march on. If you wait for it to get easier, you might never start again. Click Reply to share how you picked yourself up after a fall.