March 22, 2015-
My race morning started like many others. Up early to an alarm clock piercing in my head, verbally cursing words that no one should hear at that hour of the day. Ok, ok, I’m up.
What was ahead for the morning was the usual. My race gear had been laid out the night before, so all that was left before heading out the door was some relaxation, coffee and a shower. My son and I jumped in the car at O Dark Thirty. 4:30 to be exact. Meeting a friend by 5:45 who had picked up our packets at the expo, because alas, I had to work both days of the expo.
We met Todd right on schedule. Then a ten minute drive over to downtown Fayetteville to find parking, which was an absolute breeze. After getting a drop bag ready, and pinning our bibs on our shirts, we walked over to the park where the starting line is. All was going too smoothly….
We walked into the park, and found the bag drop area. Met a few friends there and snapped a few photos. All was relaxed, stretching taking place to ease into race readiness.
For those of you who don’t have any background on this race, it is a point to point military themed marathon, half and 5k. A truly inspiring race that I have now been proud to be a part of for the second straight year. Starting at Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville, NC, runners wind through town, onto the All American Freeway and eventually into Ft. Bragg. An army installation that is home to the US Army Airbourne forces, and Special Forces, as well as US Army Forces Command and the Reserve Command. It is an inspiring run in every way. Thank you to our military.
At this point, before heading to the start line, my son disappeared while I was stretching. By the time I realized that he was gone, I started scanning the bathroom lines. The lines were mega long, like most races, and I didn’t see him. Then he appeared from behind me, stating he had gone to pee back behind the main stage in the park where we were standing. Ok, I said. I will forego the long lines and do the same thing. What happened next was a tad startling and almost ended my race before it began.
Maybe I was channeling my inner paratrooper, or muttering the words from a current song by Sheppard. It kinda goes like this….. Say Geronimo, say Geronimo, say Geronimo…. Bombs Away, Bombs Away….. Ok, I love that song, it’s very catchy. But, yep, here is what happened….
I was not clumsy, just maybe careless. I started to jog to the the back of the pavilion stage. There were like 8-10 concrete stairs leading back behind the stage to the parking lot and then eventually to the woods on the perimeter of the park. It was pretty dark still. It wasn’t a well lit area. Any guesses as to what happened next?
At the bottom of the steps there was a curb, which I didn’t see. Why is there a *bleeping* curb at the bottom of a set of stairs? I guess the curb was there because it was protecting about a two foot drop down to the parking lot. OMG…. Here comes the explanation to the earlier paratrooper metaphor. Before I knew what was happening, my big toe on my right foot slammed into aforementioned concrete curb, and I launched into the air in relative darkness. Without much time to think, flying through the air, I thought, this was not going to end well. It didn’t.
Before I knew it, my left hand broke my fall partially (well it was the first body part to make contact with the parking lot). I then sort of tried the tuck and roll to the best of my ability. Next to make impact was my right elbow, and then my right knee and outer right leg. I popped back up as quickly as possible, hoping that my flight and landing were kinda graceful. There was one guy back there that saw it all happen, but remained quiet and probably happy that I got up on my own. Like Santa Claus, he spoke not a word and went straight to his work. Yes, he was back there to urinate, too. Hurting all over from my fall, knowing that I was probably bleeding, I quickly peed and went back to find my son.
Time to see the damage, as I emerged back into the light of the stage.
Road rash on my hand, lots of skin peeled off, but very little blood. Oops, I could feel blood running down my leg from my knee.. I check out my elbow next, as I was trying to avoid looking at my leg. Again, plenty of scrapes, redness, some blood, but not too bad. My knee and leg… Another story. Lots of pain. I knew I had hit it pretty hard. There was a good portion of the skin on the bottom part of my knee that was gone in the battle. The leg hair at the site of impact was gone, the only thing left was road rash, and pounding pain.
Can you say Geronimo? No time to find a medical tent, and probably still in shock, we walked over to the race start. Ok, good news, I could still walk, and would race no matter what. I wiped away blood with a paper towel I had stuffed in my race belt to use to blow my nose. I picked off dangling skin that I knew would annoy me during the race, and I got ready to race. There was no way I was going to allow this accident to deter me from the 26.2 mile task at hand. Ten minutes to race time this song starts playing…. So Say Geronimo, say Geronimo… No lie! It was me! They dedicated it to my pre-race launch. Ok, no they didn’t, but that’s exactly what I thought.
My finger nails tingling, with pavement gauges in them, blood running down my leg, it was time to lose the focus on the blood and pain, and run.
And I did!
And I finished!
And I hurt like hell today!
True story, I couldn’t make this shit up. I may not be a paratrooper, but I am a trooper.