Whenever someone in my family does something clumsy, stupid, or flighty, they affectionately refer to it as “pulling a Jennifer,” in honor of my many dubious misadventures. When I was a little younger, I consoled myself by thinking that maybe my absent-mindedness meant I was brainy – after all, wasn’t Einstein know to be incredibly absent-minded? But as I am 27 and have yet to see any signs of latent genius, I grudgingly accept that my missteps are more related to idiocy rather than high intelligence.
I am still adjusting to my work schedule, and it is honestly wearing me out. Of course, if I went to bed at an early time like a normal person, it perhaps wouldn’t be so bad. I’ve been going to sleep at 11, which is “early” to me; but when you’re waking up at 5:30, it’s not enough. I drove back yesterday and very incredibly tired. I haven’t driven that poorly since I was a teenager. At one point, I switched lanes without looking. IN THE DARK. I KNOW.
I haven’t done that since I was sixteen and learning how to drive. My dad took me on base, taking me out into the general traffic (which made me extremely nervous). He instructed me to switch lanes. I looked in my rear view mirror and dutifully switched lanes, not knowing I was supposed to check my blind spot. I knew I did something wrong immediately once I heard my dad’s frantic, “JENNIFER NICOLE, ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL US?” After several more driving incidents in that vein, he shipped me off to driving school.
This morning, I was much too tired to wake up at 5:30 to go running with my group, so I rolled out of bed at 9 to complete the 9 mile route by myself. It was a beautiful morning. The temperature has dropped a little, which means Texans are freaking out and wearing all their winter gear. I saw an inordinate amount of winter hats on the trail. It’s a little unnecessary, especially since the weather was maybe in the 50’s at the lowest.
I was about halfway through my run, feeling strong and happy, when I suddenly tripped without warning. There was no reason for me to trip; the sidewalk was perfectly level. When I talked to my dad later about it, he said that I must have been tired and unknowingly dragging my feet. Either way, I fell, and I fell harder than I have in years.
There’s a millisecond you take while you fall to freak out about your potential injuries. My brain went, “NOOOO!!!!! I CAN’T FALL! THE MARATHON IS IN TWO WEEKS! NOOOOOO!” I tumbled hard on my right side, landing on my right arm. I stood up quickly. I did not whimper. I did not cry. All I said was ,”Fuck!” over and over. At this point, my bruised ego throbbed harder than my knees. I was wearing my water belt, y’all, so already I was looking slightly dorky. And here I go taking a spectacular fall in view of the suddenly busy road. More than one driver must have gotten a good laugh out of me this morning.
After a couple of seconds of cursing myself, I started running again. What else was I supposed to do? I ran for a couple of yards before I stopped to fully access my injuries. My knees were throbbing and scraped. Two knuckles on my right hand were bleeding. My right arm appeared a little scraped, but seemed fine otherwise.
The pain in my knees lessened as I continued running. Then I started laughing. It was so ridiculous. Here I had been earlier in the run, worrying about a sore muscle in my upper thigh and wondering if it was injured, and then I make a serious attempt to break a bone.
“Man, I’m lucky I didn’t break my arm,” I thought. Then I got a little worried – it was stiffening a bit; I did fall with my body weight on it, after all. I moved my arm through a range of motions. I don’t think it’s broken – it’s moving too well. But I couldn’t help wondering if maybe I was still in shock. NOOOOO, I thought. I HAVE TO DRUM. MY MARATHON IS IN TWO WEEKS. DON’T BE BROKEN, WUSSY ARM.
I’m sure I got more than a couple of quizzical looks as I ran the rest of the trail, with my bloody knees and knuckles. It ended up being a great run though, despite my fall. It was a much better run that the 9-miler two weeks ago.
I’m a little sore and icing my knees (just in case), but I think I got really lucky. I don’t think my arm is broken or fractured, just scraped. My knuckles had a mean amount of skin scraped from them, but they’ll be okay. If anything, this is just a hard lesson – I need to make sure I rest properly, because I do really stupid things when I’m tired.
Of course, I would be the person to scrape all her limbs the night of the Halloween party when she’s supposed to be wearing a dress. I’m not too worried, since it just adds another element to my costume – “Clumsy” Betty Draper, or perhaps “Needs an Intervention” Betty Draper.