We have less than a month before the New Year! Can you believe it? I can’t. It seems like only yesterday I had this New Year Resolution. One was: Complete a Century Bike Ride. Like most people, I set resolutions. Back up. I like to call them goals for the year. But on January 4, those resolutions/goals became a blur.
I know you’re saying, “That’s only four days into the New Year.” I know and tragedy in my eyes happened. Well, as some say, “What had happened was…” I had this cool bike ride planned with some friends. The three of us were planning on doing a 30 mile bike ride to kick off the New Year. If you’re an advent bike rider, you know there are rules to the road while cycling.
Let me say, I was in front and my workout bud was behind me and her boyfriend was in the back. If you’re up front, you let those behind you know of any debris in the road with hand signals. Well, there was a little bit, due to construction. But, just past mile three, there appeared to be a large stick in the bike lane, and I also remembered a large ant pile. This is all significant, wait for it.
Unfortunately for us, there were lots of cars coming, too. We had only one option and that was to jump on the grass and jump back on the bike lane. That option sounded reasonable to me. Apparently, by taking this option, I would discover my new wing span. Don’t laugh too hard! That moment when you say, “I believe I can fly and do it.” But, the landing… There, I was soaring over my bike. My eyes had to look like one of the old cartoon characters, jumping out my head before it happened. What happened? I hit the payment with a thud and scrapped the side of my face or so it felt that way. This is what happens when you don’t account for the extra lip in the road after the street is repaved.
I literally thought the left side of my face was still on the payment. Then, after laying there on the cold ground for a second. I heard the cars. In my mind, death was imminent. So, I attempted to scoot to the grassy area, but my friend’s boyfriend came and lifted me up as I screamed, “Don’t put me near the ant bed.” I remember him saying, “I got you.”
After he laid me in the grass, I rolled over, and I saw blood dripping down. To say I was devastated with be putting it mildly, and just like the accident, the next set of events happened in slow motion. It seemed two guys appeared out of nowhere to help. I would later find out, they stopped after I took my flight and crashed. They were generous enough to call 9-1-1. Afterwards, two ladies stopped, one was a nurse and one was just a good Samaritan, who literally had just gotten off work.
The nurse assessed me. I remember her asking, “Are you ok?” And my response was, “No. Is my face off?”
She looked at me and said, “Well…can you move your hand so I can see better.”
I worked in the medical profession for twenty years in the Navy and from experience I know, if someone has a tragic injury, protocol is to not tell them. Why? Because they will go into shock. Hell…I was close to it after seeing the blood dripping from my helmet.
The nurse was kind, she said, “It’s just a laceration over your eye. It may or may not need stitches. But, your face is still together.”
For some reason, I felt she was lying, and I would assess the situation when I got to the hospital. She asked, “Are you having any other issues?”
“Yes, I can’t move my right leg?”
She knelt beside me and examined my leg, but she couldn’t see anything since I had long bike pants on. “Can you lift it?”
“No, but it hurts.”
The nurse asked, “Has someone had called for an ambulance?”
My friend spoke up. However, I almost went into shock after her statement, “Yeah, but we can just walk up to the urgent care down the street.”
I’m thinking…Are we French now? Who’s walking? I can’t move my leg. Is she serious right now? I just took a flight not planned for, busted the side of my head, and can’t move my leg and she had the audacity to even say walk. What? I am not that motivated right now.
Long story short, the ambulance comes to whisk me away. Thank Goodness! I had the nerve to say to the EMT, “I guess swimming today is out.” He shook his head. “I take that as a no,” I said.
As I enjoyed the ride, I did get feeling back in my leg and was able to move it. Upon evaluation at the hospital, everything was fine. I had no broken bones anywhere. It was just scrapes and bruises on my body and ego. But I was still disappointed, we only got three miles in. However, the doctor was a little annoyed with me when I asked how soon I could get back exercising. Her response, “Three days.”
So, like the stubborn athlete, I waited three days and on day three, Saturday, I was out running. I started with a two-mile run. That was a mistake. Although, I did complete it very slow with a stabbing pain to the groin. The next day, I did a swim. I had the same results. However, I didn’t finish the swim. I rested a day, then attempted a slow bike ride to work. Guess what? No pain anywhere. The irony.
Take away from all this–keep pressing forward. You may fall along the way but get back up and do it again. Pause and smell the honeysuckles. Life will sometimes give you lemons…remember to make lemonade.
I’m reflecting and sharing this story for several reasons. I’m an advent runner first, then cyclist, and swimmer. I love running. So…this year, the goal was to hit the century-mark on the bike. That accident set me back. Far back. Yet, at the same time, it opened my eyes to the little things–what’s important. Not that I didn’t know, but getting up and appreciating things every day because you never know when your last one will be.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out 72 Hours in London