This was my plan for tonight’s run: warm up, 4 miles tempo pace (around 7:45/mile), 1 more mile at a 7:25 pace, cool down. Blood sugar was 150 at the start, Florence and the Machine on shuffle, YAY all around.
This is what actually happened:
The first 2 miles were mostly YAY all around. Flo serenading me, big yellow moon in the sky, running at what felt like just the right effort level even though I couldn’t really tell what pace I was going at (silly Caro, going without the Garmin). My Dexcom started having a freakout before I left, showing that I was almost 100 mg/dl higher than my meter and going double arrows up, so at some point it buzzed at me and I dismissed its wildly inaccurate freakout to keep running.
But then, halfway through, I was skipping along in the dark when– kaBOOM– my foot caught on an uneven patch of sidewalk. I let out an “ah ah AH!” as I went down, as if I were about to sneeze instead of faceplant. And then, splat.
My first thought was, “HNNNNNNGARRRLLLLHHHH.”
My second thought was, “Oh shit, did anyone see me?”
Apparently not, a quick look around yielded an empty sidewalk and minimal embarrassment. I tried to pause Florence from perkily singing “Dog Days Are Over,” and saw the blood smeared all over my iPod. And my hands. And my knuckles. And oh crap, my– face?
At that point I tried to stand up and collect myself, until I realized that the wind was completely knocked out of me and I could barely stop gasping for breath. So there I was, sitting on the sidewalk on the side of Prospect Park where they do drug deals, huffing and puffing like I had just given birth to a hippopotamus. It’s a really good thing no one was there to see me.
Okay, self, I thought. Okay. Breathe. Stand up. Wow, I didn’t realize blood was that….red. Okay. Find a bathroom. O…kay.
Thank God that I walked just a few blocks before finding the Prospect Park tennis courts, because with the shock of falling and the 28-degree temps, my hands felt like they were going to vibrate off. I pushed open the door with an elbow and stood waiting for the sole unisex bathroom. Trying to look as casual and non-Charles-Dahmer as possible with blood all over my hands and my various accessories shoved in my armpits.
I slipped into the bathroom as the Rafa wannabe walked out, hoping he didn’t notice the blood smeared on my face. I nudged the faucet on and screamed as the water hit my open wounds. So much for casual and inconspicuous.
And then, as if screaming weren’t enough, it was at that precise moment that my Dexcom started to alarm. Not just your normal bzz-bzz high or low alarm. No, this was all-out, pentatonic scale, BZZ-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP freaking out. While it was stuck in my left armpit.
Somehow, I managed to dab some soap on my hands, rinse them off, and then turn around to drop the Dex receiver on the floor, pitifully dry myself off with the air dryer, and then push the OK button with my pinky. To be greeted with this:
And on top of that, I smeared blood on my Dexcom because my hands had started bleeding all over again.
I exited the bathroom after someone politely knocked three times and I figured I couldn’t fashion a tourniquet out of toilet paper. There was a guy outside holding a clipboard, pointing at people, and barking, “You, court number one! You, court number three! You two, take court number six!” I went over to him and asked, “Um….do you work here?”
“Sort of, ” he said. “What’s up?”
I held out my hands, blood still oozing from the gashes on my palms. I was like stigmata in spandex.
“Oh my God!” the man exclaimed. “Yes! I work here enough to know where the first aid stuff is! Come with me.”
So he led me back to the kitchen area, and told me to wash off with hot water while he found some antiseptic. Except….the only sink was part of the industrial-strength dishwasher. It didn’t have a faucet, it had a hose. Somehow, I managed to subject my wounds to this all over again without screaming. The man came bounding back in the kitchen.
“Here!” he said. “Dry your hands off, and then use these.”
He set down a box of Clorox wipes in front of me.
“Clorox?” I asked.
“Yeah!” he replied. “It will disinfect everything.”
“But isn’t it for…..your kitchen counter?” I AM NOT AN APPLIANCE, BUDDY.
He laughed and clapped me on the shoulder. “It is! It is! But it says it disinfects surfaces. You don’t want those to get infected, do you?”
“I mean, no,” I said. At that point, I figured that there was little point in arguing. Besides, the last time I took a major spill, I wiped myself down with Windex and lived to tell the tale. So I took a Clorox wipe and gingerly patted myself down. I would never wish upon a kitchen counter the stinging pain I felt in cleaning everything off.
“Okay, now hold your arm up while I find some Band-Aids,” the man said. I sat, waiting, for several minutes. Just as the numbness was starting to radiate up to my elbows, he returned. “Jesus Christ, you can’t get a first aid kit around here,” he declared. “But lucky for you, I cut myself this morning and brought a couple of extra bandaids. Here, hold out your arm.”
No First Aid kit?! He must have seen the worried look on my face, because the man burst out laughing and said, “It’s okay, swetheart. Nobody’s gotten a hemorrhage here!”
He taped up my left hand.
“Yet, anyways,” he added.
“….I would knock on wood, but I’m sort of indisposed right now.”
“That you are,” he agreed. “Lemme do your right hand.”
“So what do you mean when you say you sort of work here?” I asked as he taped on his last Band-Aid.
“Well, I organize the singles tennis league. Just singles! I would never do doubles, oh God. That’s too much work. Too much of my time. They send me schedules on my– whaddya call it?– my smartphone, my iPhone, and I can’t even read them! But maybe that’s just the phone.” He grabbed my hands, took a look, and then gave them a pat. “So, whenever these heal up, come down and play singles tennis. Not doubles. Singles. You got that?”
“Right. Right,” I said, gathering up my stuff and distributing it under my armpits once more. “I’m more of a runner, but–”
“Well, you’ll kill yourself if you keep up like this!” the man shouted. “Tennis classes start in two weeks. Come on down. Now, do yourself a favor, take a cab home, and put some Vaseline on those…wounds.”
“Vaseline?” I asked.
“Yeah!” he said. “To cover up the wounds. So that they don’t get infected.”
“…Right,” I said once more. “Thanks very much for your help, but no cab for me. I have to finish running.”
And finish I did. Not only did I finish the run, but I managed to hit the last two miles at a 7:00 pace.
Maybe stigmata makes you faster?