With the Spring/Summer collection shows coming up, I started running again on a consistent basis a few weeks ago. A couple of nights ago, I ran in the rain. Probably not the best idea with the slick roads and the opportunity for the heavens to open up as part of New Mexico’s monsoon season, but it felt so good. The rain was light and cleansing, helping me to clear my thoughts and focus on the weeks ahead. I don’t consider myself a runner. My build is not the right type. My stride is not long enough and my tiny nose and nasal passage is not conducive for inhaling enough oxygen. Instead of gliding like a gazelle down the running path, I look like Phoebe from Friends with arms and legs flailing. When I was younger, I didn’t play sports that required a lot of running. I played softball because of the short sprints involved. If I put my all into connecting my swing to the ball, and knocked it out of the park, I didn’t have to run as fast.
I started jogging a little over two years ago, primarily on a challenge because my husband said I wouldn’t commit to running a 5k. One thing to know about me, I’m pretty stubborn so when someone says I can’t do it, my reaction tends to be, “you’re not the boss of me.” I started small running in intervals. I hated it. I complained about it. I used to tell people I’m a non-runner runner. Anything that bothered me or that weighed heavy on me I put it into my run. Running was another excuse for “me time” with my music. I started challenging myself to run further, to run hills, to run longer without intervals. There was one particular hilly area that I would run. I would start at the bottom, run up, and raise my fist in the air like Rocky when I reached the top (and every once and a while I would even play Eye of the Tiger). I completed my first (and last) 5k in May 2014. I continued to run after the race. It was my personal challenge. I didn’t get the whole “endorphins rush” as others who enjoy running do. For me, it was completely psychological. I do yoga to re-center me. I run to say “eff” you to the barriers in my way.
I reached 100 miles a week before Halloween 2015 (I didn’t track my miles the first year and a half because I didn’t want to know how slow or far I didn’t go). Later that week, I was going to head out to Santa Fe with my friend, for the day. Knowing I’d indulge with wine and Italian food, I opted to take a quick run before going to her house. I started off as I normally do stretching and setting the right motivational music. I headed out to my normal trail crossing the road, like Frogger. I started down the usual path and within 50 feet down the road, my left foot landed on a rock. It rolled to the left while my body reacted and came crashing down to my right. I landed on my right hand and knee (there is a reason my nickname is Miss Congeniality). I, of course, was so worried that I broke something… NOPE! I was more worried that someone saw me fall so gracefully. As I tried to pick myself up from the Twister pose I was in, I looked up to see someone was indeed walking my way. I wanted to die. I tried to pick myself up, but couldn’t so I sat back down. The throbbing pain prevented me from doing that. I dragged myself from the middle of the road and sat on the curb trying to figure out what to do next. The man continued on his way and I was grateful that he didn’t stop. I’m sure my face was beet red. I sent a text to my aunt, who lived in the neighborhood, asking if she was home. I contemplated calling my husband, but knowing he was on the other side of town, I didn’t want to wait a half hour on the side of the road until he could get there.
Two cars stopped, within minutes of each other, as they saw me sitting there and asked if I was okay. I was grateful that there are still Good Samaritans in the world, but I lied and said I was fine and they continued on their way. I didn’t get a response from my aunt, so I decided to suck it up and walk back to my casita. I think the rush of adrenaline kept me upright while I limped back home. I got home and the pain set in. I dragged myself to the kitchen to get ice from the freezer, ibuprofen, and the first aid kit. I popped the pills and went to the living room, wrapped my ankle, dressed my knee and palm and put my foot up. My ankle had already swelled to softball size. As I tried to ignore the pain, my dogs decided they wanted to go outside. I got up and thought I was going to pass out. I barely made it back to my sofa. I put my foot up and texted my friend asking for a rain check. She asked if I needed anything. I lied again and said I’d be fine, but it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to be walking around Santa Fe.
The pain was almost unbearable. I think I went back and forth between trying to sleep off the pain and crying. The next weekend was Halloween and I could have easily dressed as Shrek, my ankle was green and had grown to ogre size. I couldn’t drive my Jeep (it’s a standard transmission) and that killed me. I walked around dragging my wrapped ankle like Igor and I was about to host my first runway show. It made for a difficult time as I couldn’t stand for long periods of time (I sew standing up). I, of course, couldn’t run and the first time I was able to put any pressure on my foot I went to hot yoga because I really needed the exercise. I when I took off the wrap in class I think I grossed out the woman next to me, or at least her facial reaction told me that. I didn’t start to wear high heels again for about 3 months. Luckily, winter came and I wasn’t really driving the Jeep much and I could wear boots that provided additional support for my ankle. It was a slow healing process.
I still remember the day I was reminded of the fall from months before. It occurred when I was in NYC during AW16 Fashion Week. This particular trip I spent quite a bit of time focusing on self-reflection. I was typing in my hotel room bed after a particularly fantastic (and bitterly cold) evening visiting a friend in New Jersey. I sat on my bed, legs straddled around my laptop (as I normally type on travel) and I looked over to my right knee where I had hit the asphalt almost 4 months before. Looking closely, I noticed a discolored mark of where I had fallen almost in the shape of a kiss. It brought me back to that day and how I sat on the curb trying to figure out what I was going to do, how I didn’t know who I was going to reach out to, and how there were people that were trying to be helpful. However, I needed to figure it out and pick myself up before I could ask for help. That was my runner’s kiss! It is my personal, tough love reminder that I may fall or even fail fantastically, but I can pick myself up and move on again based on what I learned. I could have easily given up running after this accident based how much I loathe it. I could have told myself you tried it’s not for you. However, today, I run because of everything I’ve stated before but also because I’m not going to let anything stop me (believe me I now hyper-vigilant about rocks, debris and other obstacles that are along the way). I decided instead to say once again, “you’re not the boss of me.” It is the approach I’ve taken into other areas in my life. There will be obstacles in the path from achieving your goals, but don’t let them stop you. I came across a post from a site that I find much inspiration from. The post simply stated, “You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved” (via Woman of Power LLC). I will remind myself of that at every challenge I face and when I get to the top of the mountain, I will blow it a kiss and you better believe Eye of the Tiger playing in the background. Gotta run!