Oh oh, Sue's in the wars again!
On Friday night after work I headed down to Holyrood for the technical rehearsal of the NVA speed of light. It was really exciting watching the lyrca-clad ones marching purposefully towards the small village of tents on the parade ground. I've lost track of the number of times I've headed to this patch of grass for some event or another over the past 20 odd years.
We all sat round in a massive marquee. My group (white) was really great; lovely people with lots of energy and very friendly and chatty. I was a mix of awe-struck and horrified by some of the ultra hill runner guys, but I'd done the rehearsal and training so I wasn't too worried; this wasn't being done at race pace! What made it even more special was that I knew one of the run leaders - the lovely Sarah who used to teach aqua aerobics at virgin omni.
After a pep talk from Angus, we changed into our light suits and headed off onto the hill, the air thick with the smell of manure and midges. Unlike the last time I did an NVA session, we took the low route up, between the Crags and Arthur's Seat. My group was doing a mid level path on the other side. 'No worries' I thought, 'nice dry path, no slippy grass - result!'. Does that count as pride? Smug definitely, but pride? Well maybe given it definitely preceded my fall.
We'd run a few yards and were heading back down the incline at a gentle trot. I was looking around thinking what a glorious night it was and how lucky I was to be able to run, when suddenly I was hurtling face first towards the path. It was a classic time-slowing-down moment. I could see the path getting closer, I can still see every pebble and every rock in my mind's eye. I thought I'd manage not to fall, I thought I'd get upright, but I fell, and with quite a thump. There I was splayed out like the chalk figure at a crime scene.
I picked myself up; I could walk; nothing too horrendous I could see. Phew! I managed to jog down to the very calm and reassuring Medic Dave who regularly medics at running events and does Mountain Rescue. I was in safe hands. I'd got a bashed cheek bone; a banged up knee, ripped leggings and a pretty deep cut on my hand where I'd landed on a sharp stone. Oh bugger.
I felt ok and wanted to carry on with the run, but Medic Dave thought I might have some gravel embedded in my hand so packed me off to A&E. I felt fine to finish off the run but having been brought up by a nurse, I tend to obey medics. I'm glad I did, I think I was probably a bit shocked at the fall and I may well have had another fall when the adrenaline wore off and I might not been as lucky that time.
The next day I was glad I hadn't run on. My knee was really sore and swollen and I hurt in all sorts of places I hadn't noticed before. I slept for hours that afternoon, but I think that might have been the tetanus jag. It wasn't too bad really. If I was going to pick a day to collapse in front of the the Tv, I couldn't have done better could I? Olympic golds non stop all day. Brilliant.
The biggest wound is to my pride. I was running on a path, in daylight, somewhere I've run before, not going fast and I took a skite. But yet again, I met my nemesis on a hill. Hills are beginning to spell trouble for me - even the flat bits!
At least I came off as walking wounded (yes they do use that term!); and I have to say NVA had everything handled beautifully. I tested their safety procedures and I was very well looked after; it all went without a hitch. I hope I was and am the only injury they have to deal with - then I wouldn't mind feeling a bit silly.
But what about going back up that hill for the main event later this month? My confidence is a bit jangled and I have this sense that if I do the run I'll be pushing my luck. It's good to get your confidence back, but is running on the hill in the dark the best way to do it? I'm not sure and my instincts are being pretty clear about what they think I should do. Maybe I should compromise and be a walk leader or support some of the wheelchair runners - but maybe that'd be placing others at risk!
I managed three other runs this week without taking a tumble. Short 30 minute-ers (I was saving my legs for the hill!). I did two on the beach (including some rock scrambling so I could practice rough terrain - humph!); one on the treadmill. All done without falling over.
Off back to watch the Olympics. As I type Murray is playing Federer but if I watch he starts losing points, so I'm doing this. What a week eh?
Whatever you're up to, keep safe, run strong.