It was a gorgeous morning and unusually warm for October.
The air had that well-baked late summer feeling, not the crispness of fall. The leaves are really just starting to change, and when I went out for my run I was transfixed by the play of sun and shade through the thinning leaves, mostly still green with some yellow, in the canopy of trees.
I have set 3 1/2 miles as my run, with some speeding up in order to get out of the totally pokey pace and into just plain pokey. I figured it wasn't going to kill me to speed up, and if it did actually leave me breathless, I could always stop. But I think totally pokey has become a comfortable habit rather than a necessary place to be.
Anyway, I was thinking of these two things – the beautiful leaves and the intention to go more quickly – when I started my first loop around Mount Holyoke's upper lake.
I was not looking down at the ground, and then, all of a sudden I ran straight into a root (there are a lot of roots and rocks partly hidden under the leaves) and instead of stepping over it, I tripped. For a second or two I tried to regain my balance, but I couldn't do it, and I fell down hard on my knees.
I rolled over and sat up, rubbing my knees, which were scraped but at least protected from the dirt by my three-quarter length running pants.
There weren't a lot of people out yet. A young woman walking two little dogs stopped and asked if I was OK. I said I thought I was but I needed a second. As we talked, I lay down on my back and extended one leg at a time to see if they worked. The trees looked nice from that angle.
The woman with the dogs told me that first of all she has tripped a few times herself around there and that second of all a student flying by on a bike on a different path had nearly run her and her dogs down. After offering her solidarity in mishaps and wishing me well, she continued on her walk.
One thing's for sure: I love jogging around the reservoir in Central Park, but they would run right over someone lying on the path. (I feel bad for possibly underestimating New Yorkers, but some of those runners are very determined.)
I was about to get up when two more women came along. One said she had been wondering why someone was lying in the path with legs up. But then she realized the person was OK, and her friend confirmed that by guessing the person (me) was doing yoga stretches.
They each took a hand and pulled me up, and I walked with them for a few minutes.
Turns out they were both nurses, and again, one offered solidarity, saying she had just gone for a bike ride and flipped over the handlebars from going too fast. Luckily she was OK.
A little blood was dripping out of the scrapes on my knees, and I asked them, as nurses, if they thought it was OK for me to finish the run and ice later.
"You have to live," one said. "Go on and finish your run."
As I took a step ahead to jog, she said, "You look like a woodland faerie."
Apparently leaves were stuck to my back from the fall.
I laughed and then asked her to brush them off, explaining that they would be a signal to my son that I had fallen...again.
As I have noted before, Joe keeps track of my falls and doesn't find them amusing, especially since he was the one who drove me to the hospital after I banged my head on the pavement after a fall last year.
Also, being a woodland faerie is nice and all, but I didn't want to continue my run like that, so the nurse brushed me off and wished me well.
I picked up speed and even ran a route on the way home that included some hills. It was a good run, signaling, perhaps, that it's time to increase again.
Joe saw me icing when I got home and asked, "What happened now?" We had the usual talk about how I need to watch where I am going, which is totally true and and something I am going to try with new resolve.
My knees hurt and swelled up later. They were pretty scraped up, and I had a black and blue mark near my ankle from the fall.
Oh well, none of it was serious, and I got to have those nice encounters at the lake and be a woodland faerie for a moment.