Bumps. Bruises, And Falling On My Face

Alternate titles for this rant:
Using your head to break your falls: A tutorial
Reasons Someone Should Buy Me A Helmet
Rocks: The Foots Natural Enemy

It’s no new story that I have a tendency to fall, in fact I’ve written about it several times, starting with some stories about backpacking through NH this summer, training for a 50k that didn’t happen, running in the snow, and the all to frequent stumble over a benign obstacle, which, for some reason, is the most likely cause of injury for me. Yes, that’s correct, when I take a spectacular digger, think the kind of fall that would make for a great outtakes reel, I never get hurt, but an errant pen cap on a technical trail, now that’s dangerous!

Where am I going with this? Well I had been talking about my tendency to fall on my face/ass more often than I would necessarily like, and was talked into writing a post about it, but with one stipulation, I had to fall again, that way there are some fresh scrapes/bruises/embarrassment to fuel the rant. Today, the trail decided to provide me with exactly that opportunity.

Descending from the mountain, after 4 consecutive summits, feeling good, somehow the idea that “this would be a great time for me to take a digger” slipped into my head, this is usually how things happen, I’m tired, often a little over-zealous, and more often than not, I have the road/my car within sight (yes, it’s ALWAYS this close to the end of the run) and blam! my face, on a rock. Fortunately, today’s digger was uninjurious, excepting the token bump/bruise/scrape, we’ll call those battle scars. Now while still ranting, let me explain why I have a love/hate with falling on my face. The Hate part is easy, falling hurts, usually a lot, every so often you get off scoff free, but more often than not there are at leas some bruises to answer to, and not to be a sissy, it just simply sucks. The Love part however, is a little more complex. For starters, falling is funny, there have been entire TV shows based on this premise (America’s funniest home videos?) as long as you don’t actually get hurt, a fall is never not funny… Also, falling, in my opinion is indicative of improvement. Strange? Yes, it may seem so, but if you think about it, falling implies that the person eating dirt took a risk that didn’t pay off, this is a learning experience, and is simple proof that you’re going out of your comfort zone. Without pushing the limits, we never improve, which easily translates to, if you don’t fall on your ass a few times, you’re not getting faster.

Now for a recap of some of my favorite spills/diggers/opportunities to eat shit from the past year.

July: Mahoosuc mountain range, descending a steep dew covered rock face with a 30 lb pack on my back, I lost my footing, and fell face first into the dirt. The only thing that stopped me from going over a ledge was my forehead conveniently connecting with a rock. I proceeded to take 6 or so more diggers in that day alone, but the first is always the most memorable.

July: Same day as before, Mahoosuc Notch, Bouldering with a 30 lb pack, after stowing my trekking poles, I leaped off of a rock, and lost my balance on the landing, narrowly avoided slamming my head on a rock (this may be a trend) and subsequently fell on my butt, Another benign landing, but it certainly made me think twice.

August: Schooleys Mountain, On a second ascent towards the overlook, a slip caused me to roll my ankle and land sideways on a few rocks. Not a particularly spectacular fall, but the ankle twist affected my mileage for several weeks afterwards

November: Powerline trails, I tripped on an errant piece of wire, landing directly on my knee, keeping me off the trail for several days… this would be a prime example of embarrassingly simple obstacles laying me out for a few days.

December: Today’s fall.. Near the end of the trail, I tripped on what I think was a rock… All I can really say for sure is that my left shoulder, knee, and chin took the brunt of the impact, I think I laid there for a few minutes simply stunned at the absurdity of it, and surprised that I was completely fine

So fortunately everything is behaving normally, although I expect a little soreness tomorrow, but for now, I think a solid smoothie, some Yerba Mate, and a couple of delicious beers should wrap up the day pretty well.

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