I’ve taken plenty of falls in my life. I fell off my bike plenty of times when I was a kid, I’ve still got the scars on my knees to prove it. I think my worst fall on a bike was when I was 14 and we were mountain biking out at 18 road in Fruita, Colorado. Like always my dad and my brother were way ahead of me. So I’m riding along until a rock stops me dead in my tracks (it’s mountain biking, out of all the rocks I don’t know what this ones problem was) and it threw me over my handle bars. I remember the first thing to hit the ground was my right hand before the rest of me came down. My arm hurt and it took me a minute to get up but I could handle the pain enough to ride the rest of the way back. It was hurting worse and I realized that soon after getting off my bike I bent my elbow up and then couldn’t move it anymore and that pain was intense. My dad of course didn’t care (thanks Dad) and by the time I got home it hurt so bad I was in tears as soon as I saw my mom (the person I knew would be a little more sympathetic). It was the weekend so my mom took me to docs on call for an xray the next day. Turns out I had dislocated my elbow, either it just subluxed (out and right back in) or it relocated after riding my bike back. Either way I was lucky that nothing was broken and just had to be in a sling for a week before the pain stopped and I could move my arm again.
Snowboarding is probably actually where I’ve had the most falls. When I started snowboarding that’s basically all I did; falling over and over for hours. Then I finally figured out what I was doing and I didn’t fall as much but when I did they were usually a lot harder. I remember falling once right after coming off of Bill’s Run through Looky Looky (at Powderhorn) catching an edge and hitting hard enough that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to move after that. One of the scarier and more recent falls that I had must have been the last year that I had a season pass at Powderhorn, 2011 I think. I had taken either Mudslide or Thunder Mountain Glade (possibly my 2 favorite runs) and I’d just gone through a really fun boulder field and was just going through the last few trees before coming out on Snowcloud. I usually go through that boulder field pretty fast, mostly because it’s fun and because if the powder is deep enough you can get stuck. I was being stupid and not wearing a helmet even though my mom was always reminding me, especially when I’m alone going through trees. I caught my back edge just after I got into the trees and came down backwards and was sliding on my back. It’s weird how slow things seem to go in your mind even when everything is actually going really fast. In the 2-3 that I was sliding on the ground all I was thinking was “oh crap, I know there’s a tree that I’m sliding headfirst for.” I managed to jerk my body around enough that I just hit the tree with the side of my leg. It hit me right around the top of my boot and it hit hard enough that I decided that was my last run for the day. Thank God I hit my leg instead because if it had been my head I probably would have been lucky to get away with just a concussion.
Never mind snowboarding might not be what I’ve fallen the most while doing. I’m sure it’s actually rock climbing. Why I didn’t think about that sooner though is probably because very few of my falls while climbing have been bad. People hear about rock climbing and think it’s dangerous or scary, but really it’s probably one of the safest things I’ve done. I’ve always got plenty of things to protect me if I fall while climbing. Now if you’re into free soloing than that’s a totally different story…The only time I really even have a chance to hurt myself when falling is when I’m bouldering, and with padded floors and crash pads those have pretty much always been okay. If I fall (or more likely jump) from the top of a bouldering route I might twist my ankle or hurt my knees a bit if I land wrong but that’s about it. When I’m actually top roping the falls are sometimes scary but it’s not like I’m really falling.
Even with all the falls I’ve taken until last Sunday I’ve never fallen while running. I’ve slipped while hiking and even tripped while just walking, but I’ve never before actually falling while I was running. I had gone running at Rustler’s Loop near Loma, Colorado the Friday after Thanksgiving and it was probably my best run ever out there. Then Sunday I almost didn’t go because I was being lazy and getting ready to head back to Mesquite, but I decided I shouldn’t be so lazy and go run. My run already started off poorly, I don’t really know what it was but I wasn’t running very well and I wasn’t doing a very good job of pushing myself. I was just about halfway through my run when I caught my foot on a rock right in the middle of the trail.
I don’t know if I had looked down at my watch or what but I completely missed it and hit the ground. I’m pretty sure I slid a couple feet after coming down. Every time I fall I wish that life somehow had instant replay, seriously, I want to know what actually happened because it goes way too fast to process. Even though it hurt I was really mostly surprised. I sprang right back up off the ground though because I knew some bikers were pretty close behind me and more than being concerned about getting run over it was mostly my ego that I was protecting. Luckily I think they were far enough back that they didn’t see my fall, at least they didn’t say anything so that means they were jerks and didn’t care or were being nice and sparing me ego. I think they just didn’t see though. Right away I noticed my right hand and left knee hurt, they were the most scraped up.
But when I started to walk I realized that it was actually my toe that I had caught on the rock that hurt the worst. It kinda felt like my toenail wasn’t quite where it was supposed to be so I took my shoe off and noticed my sock was already bloody. I was scared to take that off cause I really didn’t want to find out the status of my toenail attachment. Fortunately the nail was mostly intact but I somehow had torn up the skin over the whole end on my toe. Apparently I kicked that rocked pretty hard, it got back at me by throwing my to the ground. In a great coincidence I was able to salvage a bandaid from my heal that was protecting an on blister from some other shoes and used that to keep the skin in place on my toe. I was seriously right around the halfway point of this loop and had to walk back limping. Luckily I had just passed where the road goes across the trail and I knew this would cut off part of the distance so I walked back to the road and took it back to my car. By the time I got back to my car I was really thinking that I should have just been lazy and stayed home. But what’s life without experiences right? Also me and my brother had just been talking the day before because he was telling me about falling while mountain biking that day. I said something about having less distance to fall while running so it’s not as bad. Well I’m only 5’3″ and I can say that even that far of a fall is still pretty painful.