I heard a story of a man who was going to Heaven and was told he could bring one physical thing from his life on Earth. Since he had a lot of gold, he chose to bring that. When he arrived, one angel looked at him with a bemused expression on his face and he asked “you brought pavement?”.
While Heaven may be paved with gold, London most assuredly is not as I found out Friday morning. I think this must happen to every runner at least once; that moment when what you take for granted, the miracles known as your legs, that you rely on for stability and motion, are suddenly whipped away as the ground beneath your feet seems to fall away. For a moment (and it only needs a moment), the combination of forward momentum and the force of gravity, have sole and unimpeded authority over your body and it’s brutal . Physicists describe gravity as a “weak” force, runners don’t!
I think if you had to design something that would hurt if someone fell on it, you would be hard pushed to better paving slabs. When you hit it (the pavement) and have got over the initial confused shock, you start to work out exactly how badly hurt you are. If you are a child, the strategy is clear: start crying – even if you aren’t really hurt then a bit of attention can never be a bad thing. However at 5:30 AM on Cromwell Road in London, there isn’t anyone else about so that plan is a dead loss.
When I saw blood dripping on the pavement I had dread thoughts of spending the day in A&E or worse. Fortunately when this mishap took me I was only about 10 yards from the enterance of the hotel where I was staying in South Kensington and I knew that they would probably have a first aider. When I looked into the mirror however, I didn’t see a gaping hole in my head and the damage looked to be more costmetic than structural. Again fortunately I had my “longs” on, which protected my limbs and I think I would have bled more if I was in shorts and t-shirt.
Since I have been logging my running, I have clocked 8,276 miles and in that time I have only fallen once before and that was on a slippery off-road route. So, what’s the moral of my story? Well I dont think there is one except this: If you do that sort of mileage this is pretty much bound to happen sooner or later but, I suspect that you won’t do anything like as much damage to yourself as you would if you didn’t excercise. So I’ll take the knock thank you very much!
“‘Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you moulded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.”
Job 10:8-12 NIVUK