When a good race takes a Wrong Turn

Ever notice how falling down while running feels like it lasts for a long time? But actually it just took a second to go from upright to lying in the dirt .

I was having a great race before that! The course was three loops of 5.4 miles , with an out and back section in the beginning and end of each loop on the most rocky, technical section. This means that there people going in both directions on that section. That’s where I fell.

I was feeling good , getting excited because I was almost done with the second loop. I had never run here before today and was looking forward to it but also a little nervous because the race director described the first mile as horrible. I didn’t think it was horrible but definitely a tough section, especially with the heavy traffic.

I had been chatting with other runners on the climb and decided it was time to pick up the pace when my eyes and feet became disconnected from each other. Suddenly I felt myself going down. I always fall the same way, superman style. I was freaking out in my mind . I knew it was going to hurt because of the rocks. Well boom, it did hurt because I landed smack dab on a rock right on my hip flexor.

Several nearby runners instantly came to my aid and helped me up and asked if I was okay . I knew I wasn’t because I felt that hit . I thanked them as soon as I gathered my senses and told them to go on .

After that it hurt so bad I couldn’t run and could barely walk but I made it to the start/finish. I was so discombobulated that I didn’t know what I should do. I went and washed the dirt off my scraped hands , and decided I was going back out on course.

But I couldn’t run! How could I finish 5.4 miles of these trails? I’d be there all day! People were running past me, including all the people I’d previously been ahead of , and they asked if I was okay . No , I whimpered. I was seriously upset and feeling sorry for myself. I remembered I had some Extra strength Tylenol and took two. I kept trying to walk fast but it hurt a lot. I stopped and tried to stretch it but that didn’t help much

I just kept going but my mental math was really scaring me, thinking of how long those slow miles would take. Should I just turn back ? I’d get a DNF . I really didn’t want that! I tried different ways of moving. Nothing was very good . But long story ,short, the Tylenol finally kicked in , plus I discovered that by pressing hard on the hip flexor I could do a kind of shuffle jog and go faster. I made it to the halfway point and was feeling better about my pace . 16-18 minute miles weren’t as bad as 20-30 minute miles . I want to give God the glory as well because I was praying and asking for help and I know He hears and he helped my pain and my attitude.

By the time I got to the flatter section I could jog some but my leg started cramping. I finally made it to last part and crossed the finish line with a smile! It was disappointing to fall and mess up my time like that but I’m really glad I didn’t quit. I thought of my friend who ran that hot 100 mile race recently. His knee was hurting for many hours and he didn’t quit! I thought of how running often hurts and I need to push through so I did.

For those who like data, here’s my loop splits and finish time.

I’m sitting here with an ice pack on my hip now . I’m super tired because I had to get up at 2:30 this morning to drive 2.5 hours to the race. So I hope this post isn’t too bad. Happy weekend and happy running everyone!

***Many thanks to Debbie Bush and Pamela Lockhart for the trail photos!


  1. Well done for completing the race despite your injury! I had a meniscus tear 7km into a 15km race and had to drag my leg leg through the technical terrains. I was very glad that I didn’t give up and came in last before the cut off time. So I can imagine you must be really glad you didn’t quit – well done!

  2. Love your writing. I still thank you for the no grains suggestion! I agree that things do get better with time and if they haven’t we aren’t finished with the waiting part! I do love falls for one reason—a knee with another scar:)

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