April 11, 2014: There's a first time for everything!

Goal: to cover 11K    

After giving the right leg a couple of weeks to recover after the Luckie 5K, I began running again, first a couple of easy 3K - 4K runs, and then a 10K jog on Tuesday evening.  That went well - I was not that fast - 67 minutes - but felt that I was ready to gradually build more distance.  Friday evening around 6:15 pm, I left the chemistry building with the goal of an 11K jog.  The weather was beautiful, around 70 deg F, a perfect Atlanta spring day.  I ran south on Clifton Road, past Ponce de Leon, and turned west on Clifton Terrace to intercept the PATH trail at the Candler Golf Course.  This pleasant green space extends past the Carter Center, and the trail apparently goes all the way to Centennial Olympic Park, although I got off at the Eastside Beltline at 5.5 km, a perfect midway point to turn north and begin to make my way back to the Emory campus.  There were a few families on bikes and some kids on skateboards, and a few faster runners passing me (but they were all younger), and not as crowded as on Saturdays or Sundays.  At Virginia Avenue, I left the Beltline and started heading west, towards Virginia-Highlands.

I must have been daydreaming in the midst of the pleasant run, just as the 8 km alert was sounding, when my toe hit an uneven place in the sidewalk.  I was thrown off balance, although I first thought that I might recover, with my legs racing faster to get under my center of gravity, but BOOM! I went down.  I had enough control to fall to the right side and to roll with the fall, so that I landed mostly on dirt instead of the sidewalk.  A group of children and a few adults were in a soccer practice in a small park, and they were calling out to see if I was alright.  I stood up quickly, relieved that I could do so.  My right knee was abraded, as well as a couple of spots on my hands, but my right shoulder had taken the brunt of the fall.  Right then I knew that my run was over (8.01 km in 52:19 minutes) and I hoped that I could manage to walk back to Emory, estimated distance 4 to 5 km.   

The pain in my shoulder wasn't too bad in the beginning, but was increasing by the time I returned to the chemistry building, 51:37 minutes later (4.64 km walk).  I cleaned up the abrasions in the restroom, and went to my office where I kept a zip-loc bag for ice.  The shoulder was quite swollen.  Fortunately there was plenty of ice in the ice maker on my floor, and I put the ice bag on my right shoulder while I packed up my papers and laptop with my left hand.  I thought about walking across campus to the emergency room, but decided that I could drive home with my left hand (fortunately I have automatic transmission!), clean up, and then better assess the situation.  When I got home and looked in the mirror at my badly swollen shoulder, in addition to the worsening pain, I realized that I needed to go to the emergency room.  I took a shower, got dressed in some clean clothes, and Bonnie drove me to the Emory emergency room for our Friday evening date. 

We brought our iPads and snacks, thinking that we would be there for several hours.  Fortunately when we arrived at 10 pm, the emergency room was not (yet) busy.  We waited only a few minutes before the first nurse took my history and symptoms, and in another few minutes I was in a treatment room.  X-rays revealed a broken right clavicle!  With that diagnosis I was definitely glad that I didn't try to gut out the weekend at home.  I was fitted with a sling, a prescription for pain pills and a referral to the orthopedic specialist for followup, and we were out of the ER in less than 2 hours!  That was a PR in my limited ER experience - thanks, Emory Hospital!  Fortunately my legs are fine, but it may be a few weeks before I will feel like running again, mostly because I don't think that I can run without pumping my arms.  

Fortunately the injury was not worse - I definitely did not hit my head, for instance, and I will recover completely from this injury.  I've read about other runners that seem to fall about once per year.  I've been running for just over a year now: this was my first accident, and hopefully it will be my last for awhile.  I'll be paying more attention when I resume running.  Thanks to Bonnie for taking care of me last night! And she will be helping me get dressed for the next few days. 

Goal: to cover 11K:  Achieved?  Does 8K running and 4.5K walking count? 

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