Falling down on the run

Taking a spill while running can be painful and embarrassing. Even worse is doing it within view of lots of people.

I once misjudged a curb as I hopped onto a sidewalk on a very busy street. I performed a spread-eagle landing in front of a lot of traffic.

Another time I was part of a rare, interactive double fall. When I was in my mid-20’s, a former girlfriend and I were running through a residential area when she tripped and fell right in front of me. I tripped over her and rolled across the sidewalk. If someone had captured the moment on video, I’m sure they’d be making money with all the views on YouTube.

Considering how many years I’ve been running, taking a fall is pretty rare. I run year-round and have plenty of experience with snow and icy roads, yet most of my falls have been on dry, level ground.

After falling, my first instinct is to get right up and resume running to minimize the embarrassment. However, a few years ago I inexplicably tripped on smooth, newly poured concrete. My knee hurt so bad that I just sat there rubbing it, not giving a care to passing cars or watchful residents. After a few minutes it felt better, and I was able to continue running.

Lucky for me, my spills have caused nothing but temporary pain and a scraped-up limb. I know others who’ve broken bones requiring surgery and a long break from running.

If you’ve been a runner for a long time and never taken a dive, let me know. I’d like to present you an award for exceptional sure-footedness.

Race finish leaves me angry

Earlier in the year I wrote about a meltdown I had in the finish area of the Teen Closet 50 Mile relay race. Last weekend I ran in the Jingle Bell 5K and nearly had another meltdown.

I was one of 18 members of Shari’s Team, some of whom are in the photo below. Shari Irwin, in the front row wearing the red jacket, was responsible for raising over $700 for the Arthritis Foundation by putting together our team. I’m in the back row, second from right, wearing a headband.jingle bell

As the race started, I ran at an easy pace because I’d already done five miles with the Manito Running Club earlier in the morning. However, after a half mile or so, my competitive side came alive.

I picked it up, and Jill Heuer Gilson, wearing the pink jacket in the photo above, was just ahead of me and moving up also. I had my sights on her, but despite a couple miles of gap-closing opportunity, I gained little ground, and she finished several seconds ahead of me.

“Jill,” I said after the race, “Why didn’t you get tired? I wanted to finish ahead of you.”

She apologized and offered her condolences for my inability to catch up. She said that she wasn’t aware I was trying to catch her, otherwise, she would have slowed down to let me go by.

“Well, Jill,” I said. “That’s nice of you to say, but you didn’t actually do it, and I don’t like that.”

“Jim!” she said, giving me a gentle shove. “You’re a globnorb.”

My back stiffened and I glared at her. “Listen, Jill, I am NOT a globnorb.”

“Oh, yes you are, and you’re also a snurkglip.”

“A snurkglip? What’s that?”

“Take a look in a mirror, Jim. It’s a person who has their headband on backwards and upside down.”

headband2

 

Race wins put me in elite status

In my last post, I wrote about confiscating the medal of the 2013 Newport Autumn Bloom 10K women’s overall winner for being loud and talky while running. My friend, Matthew Kee, reported this to the race director and surprisingly, because I had possession of the medal, the race results were updated, and I’m now the women’s overall winner. This gave me an idea on how I could improve my racing performance for the past year.

A friend of mine, Gary Lewis, was the Autumn Bloom 5K winner. I knew he was having trouble installing a new engine in his car, so I offered to help if he gave me his medal. He agreed and after a long afternoon, his car was like new, and I had another medal. I called the race director with the information, and she said she’d update the results. She congratulated me on my win.

Another friend, James Dalton, showed up at our Flying Irish Club run wearing a medal for winning a 5-mile race he’d done over the weekend. The club president wanted to take photos of the men’s and women’s winners with their medals. I know this may seem shabby, but after the photo, James left his medal on a table, and I took it.

The next day, I called the race director and told him that I now held the medal, and the results should be updated. However, he said anyone could claim to have the medal. I told him I’d email a photo of me with the medal, which I did. After another lengthy phone call, he said he just couldn’t change the results.

It’s an outrage, and it’s intensely unfair. But how can the average citizen win against the powerful corporate elite. At the next Flying Irish run I returned the medal to James, telling him I found it laying in the parking lot. James bought me a beer in appreciation which helped ease my outrage.

Over the course of a few days, I managed to acquire several more medals from race winners. Below is a table showing how well I’ve done this year.

Jim’s Race Performances for 2013

  •      Men’s overall winner  –  5 races
  •      Women’s overall winner  –  2 races
  •      Winner and new course record holder  –  1 race
  •      Rude race directors who refused to change results  –  2 races

I like wearing my medals everywhere I go because I’m proud of my accomplishments. As well, people look at me like I’m a movie star.medal man

A reporter for a local TV station happened to see me while I was downtown yesterday. She stopped me and asked about the medals. She was so impressed that she arranged an interview, and I’ll be featured on a newscast in the very near future.

Three babes vs. me

Though I regularly run with a couple running clubs, I enjoy my solitary runs. Stopping to admire scenery, thoughts I have while running, and spur of the moment route selection are nice. However, I experienced a major disruption on my last outing.

I was approaching an intersection, and I heard very loud laughing, a shriek, and excited, fast conversation. Into the intersection came three women runners. They were in their early to mid-30’s, in very good shape, and one was talking about something that was cracking up the other two. As they passed through the intersection, as loud as can be, I thought how extremely, intolerably, and profoundly rude they were. My pleasant, quiet run was in shambles. I stopped in the middle of the intersection and stared. They hadn’t even noticed me, and they were quickly moving on with no idea the disruption they caused. This was not right.

I took off after them. As I caught up, I recognized one of the women. I had talked to her briefly after a 10K race I did last month. “Girls,” I said firmly, trying to stifle my smile. “You’re much too loud. Three people in the last block were covering their ears and shaking fists at you, and I’m quite upset as well.”

“Are you serious?” One asked, looking back.

“Yes. Actually it was five people, not three.”

The woman I talked to at the race smiled at me. “Hey, I met you at the Autumn Classic 10Kmedal last month.”

I ran with them a few blocks and offered fair and lenient terms for their noise violations. However, as often happens when I attempt to administer truth and justice, they turned the table and said I was in the wrong. I had interrupted their conversation, gave false testimony, and ruined their day beyond repair.

In the end, Jessica, the one I’d met at the 10K, agreed to atone for the group by forfeiting the medal she’d won as overall women’s winner.