The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've fallen, and I can't get up!

Not really. I did get up. But it got me thinking about injuries and my recovery time. Not the major injuries, not broken bones, or hamstring pulls. Nothing that major. No, I'm talking about tripping, landing on whatever part of the body you land on, scraping it up, and then bitching about it. The kind of injury you spend the rest of the day shaking your head about, saying next time, don't do that.

At least, that's how those types of injuries are now. There was a time when these types of injuries were major. For instance, many years ago before my children were born, I played on my church softball team, which I wish was still in existence. I was on first base, and someone hit an outfield home run. As I rounded second, I tripped and went down, hard.

Remember, I was 250 pounds at the time. Instinctively I put my arms out, but after the impact, the soft dirt of the baseline made me slide a good 20 feet. Not a purposeful slide either, it was completely out of control. I skinned myself up pretty badly, but that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was somehow I injured my right arm and shoulder to the point where I could barely move it. It wasn't broken, but it affected every aspect of my life, including work. I remember it was at least 3 or 4 months before I was back to normal.

Another time, I was out doing night photography on Pass Road, out among the Sutter Buttes. The camera was on a tripod, and I was waiting for a long exposure to finish, just wandering around in the dark. To the side of the road, I took a step to what looked like solid ground, only to realize too late that it was a 3-foot-deep ditch. In I went, and my foot went to the side, making it difficult to walk.

I had it x-rayed and again, no break. After a short while it healed, but with this particular injury I kept re-injuring it by doing not much of anything. One time I was doing dishes and I stepped wrong. BAM, down I went, and the pain was so bad that I was in tears. Re-injuring the thing happened at least once or twice a week for what seemed like six months or more.

Shortly after I started losing weight, perhaps 15 pounds in, I took a hike with a friend from church. At one point, I slipped and down I went, but this time, I was able to get right up. In fact, the thought of how quickly I recovered made me laugh out loud. Of course, I explained all of this to my friend.

Nowadays, when I fall like that it's really no big deal. I fall, curse myself, get my bearings, and off I go. It's amazing the difference that extra weight can have on a person in so many aspects of life. Yes, it slows you down, but you become less graceful. And when injured, it takes that much longer to recover. Thank goodness I never had major injuries back then!

Today on my run I decided to treat it more like a tempo run, going close to what my goal pace will be on Saturday morning. I was actually proud of myself, and ran an amazingly good 5k (for me, anyway). When I got to 3.25 miles, I tripped on an upturned portion of sidewalk. That's not what made me go down though, in fact I caught myself.

No, the sidewalk was a little damp and there was some sort of fungus, whatever you want to call it. This made the sidewalk slippery, so the second my foot came down, SLIP, down I went. Hand first.

Elbow second.

Knee third, but with a strong showing.

But as I said before, recovery time is much, much better now. I probably would have gotten up faster than I did, had I not been lying there screaming at myself. Just to make sure I was alright though, I walked for a quarter mile. Then I started up again to finish it off. And there's a bonus, too, because my split chart gives everyone the bird! So I got that goin' for me.

Mile 1: 8:40.78
Mile 2: 8:18.98
Mile 3: 8:29.16
Mile 4: 13:36.67
Mile 5: 8:44.75
Mile 6: 8:40.09
.20 mi: 1:38.04 (8:17/mi)

6.2 miles total, 58:08.47, 9:22/mi pace, 766 calories burned.

My goal for today was to run as well as I could as an indicator as to how well I'll do in Saturday's Turkey Trot. Things look good!


Pat said...

shedding the pounds makes a big difference. I can't remember how long it's been since my back heart.

You should try and find a softball team. I still play and love it.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...


Certainly the more physically fit your are, the less likely you are to get hurt and the faster you will recover from an injury. Good job brushing it off and continuing. Good luck on Saturday.