Guts, Glory, and the (ahem) Agony of Defeat…

by Debra Chappell

View From the Top of Running Trail:

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Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (four out of five, slept sound – still making up for lost Z’s from  last weeks Pole Vault Summit)

A week on from the Pole Vault Summit and I feel like I’m just now getting back to *normal – (*relative term.)   I don’t know why it takes so much out of me since I’m not an athlete and don’t compete and don’t actually have an ‘official’ job, except perhaps professional coffee fetcher and “social coordinator” (that’s a nice way of saying ‘pit lizard’, a term borrowed from the air race images-3community describing the groupies that hang around top gun pilots and their cockpits.  Though I wouldn’t call myself a groupie, I admit I’ve hung around a few pole vault pits in my time.) But I think it’s that last one that gets to me. It’s not so much the daytime activities at the Summit that are so exhausting as it is several nights in a row turning in past 1 or 2 a.m. I was going to say I’m not as young as I used to be, but I wasn’t much good at it then either.

Anyway, I woke up yesterday with renewed vigor and attitude, helped along by a gloriously bright, sunny, crisp and clear morning.  Though the snow is still on the ground and the temperatures below freezing, it was wonderful to see the bright *early sunshine illuminating Job’s Whether it was the sun on the mountains and the prospect of clean fresh air filling my lungs, or the inspiration that comes from watching a week’s worth of world class, extremely fit, (and nauseatingly taught) athletic bodies running around in Lycra, I decided to take the dog out for a morning *run. (Okay, it’s not like I never do this, I try to get out several times a week. I plod along…slowly.  And then I schlep on the uphill and jog on the down.  But when I’m finished, believe me, it feels like I’ve been*running The Andes.)

So there I was, *running at a fairly *brisk pace (downhill), basking in the brilliant morning sun, the bracing wind blowing my *blonde locks in slow motion as I pumped my arms *gracefully to the rhythm of each elongated stride, imagining the faint strains of the score to Chariots of Fire images-2wafting over the mountain range.  I felt every bit the elite athlete in my minds eye, complete with rock-hard quads, a sprinters gluts you could bounce a penny off of, and while I was at it, sporting the latest chic flourescent Nike togs I’d seen all last weekend.  I was having a splendid little daydream for myself when nature abruptly jumped up and ever so rudely inserted a good dose of reality into my otherwise Olympic reverie that in short, landed me on my very middle-aged, not-so-taught  and decidedly non-sprinter’s a**!

images-1It all happened so fast I wasn’t quite sure what hit me.  One moment I was striding along like LoLo Jones and the next I was sprawled, spread eagle with the dog licking my face that had firmly planted itself in the dirt.

I had tripped on a rock.

I hit the ground hard on my left knee and hip bone and went skidding on my stomach across the frozen dirt about 10 to 15 feet. The only world-class athlete I may have images-4resembled was a member of the 2002 Winter Olympic Skeleton team… minus the skeleton.  When I finally came to a halt, I rolled on my back still stunned to survey the damage and my torn running *togs. (Suddenly my imagined oh-so-chic  Nike ensemble had reverted back to the basic weekend-wear I left the house in ½ hour prior —  baggy old sweats, long sleeve oversized Tee and a worn, frayed sweatshirt with a few dribbles of morning coffee down the front.) Nothing like a haphazard remnant of simple nature casually strewn across your favorite trail to bring you down to earth, literally, and dash any illusions (no matter how unlikely) of even the slightest measure of athleticism.

images-6My dog, ever so anxious, cocked her head with furrowed brow and kept licking my face in concern.  I patted her *reassuringly (even though I wasn’t) and slowly raised myself to standing, looking around self-consciously to see if anyone had witnessed the debacle.  Thankfully, the trail was empty as I slowly (and sheepishly) limped a few paces before trying to resume my *run.  I eventually gimped back the rest of the way home alternately *jogging and walking as my now out-of-whack spine would allow and decided that maybe I should just take up bowling.  It doesn’t require Spandex or *sprinting and I’ve always been partial to nachos with cheez-whiz .  Except for the funny shoes, I think I already have what it takes in the way of wardrobe besides.

Someone just needs to inform LoLo her berth on the 2016 Rio Olympic team is still *relatively safe.