Saturday. A mountainous trail half-marathon. Mile 11.5. Rocky down-slope.
My legs are tired. They feel like clumsy chunks of solid rubber with hamburger for feet.
The left foot finds an unseen rock, and stops short. Then the right foot joins the mutiny.
Suddenly anchored, everything rotates earthward. Not in slow motion, either – it happens fast, unexpectedly. I twist at the last moment to land on my side. There’s a bounce and a half-roll before all motion stops.
I don’t like falling. No one does. It hurts.
I suppose you could avoid falling by not running. But if you don’t run, you never get any closer to the finish line. If we want the T-shirt, we have to cross the finish line.
If you think about it, walking and running are really just forms of forward falling. With any forward movement comes risk.
From a fall, there will be some bruising. We should pause to think about what it teaches us. But then we have to get back up and dust ourselves off. We have to keep moving forward if we hope to reach the finish line.
Out on the trail, I struggle upright, massage out a calf cramp, and get going again.
According to my phone I took 19,801 steps that day – all of them were falls, really. I fell nineteen thousand times.
Only one of them hurt. Not so bad, if you think about it.
We all fall. We were meant to. If you fall hard, the thing is to get back up. Massage out the cramp, and keep going.