Last spring, my husband, our two kids, and I spent Memorial Day weekend with my parents at their lake house in East Texas. The lake is small, quiet,and peaceful, and it is surrounded by pine trees, one of which is home to two bald eagles.
We arrived the day before Memorial Day. My parents were already there with their two golden retrievers, Toby and Jake. That afternoon the kids ran off some of their energy with the dogs, attempting to play fetch, playing chase, and exploring. Afterwards we had dinner, settled in, and went to sleep. At least some of us went to sleep. I had not been sleeping well, and at most, I was sleeping four hours a night. Waking up early was not a problem for me, but I never felt completely rested.
When I woke up, I had breakfast and coffee, and set out for my morning run. I felt a little sluggish, so I decided not to take the dogs with me. Keeping them from going on a wild chase after a deer was not something that I wanted to do, and I knew that Jake had a habit of running off and disappearing for days.
I planned on running 7-8 miles. The humidity was already draining me, and I was sweating before mile 2. East Texas got hit with a ton of rain last spring, and while the rain had stopped, the humidity lingered and so did the flies. Not too far into my run, I heard some buzzing around my head, but I didn’t think much of it at first. I was at the lake. A little buzzing was normal. Unfortunately, this was not just a little buzzing. These huge horse flies started dive bombing my head. I spent the first four miles waving my arms above my head like Phoebe in Friends when she showed Rachael how to “run free” in Central Park. After four miles of swatting flies on the paved road, I decided to run on the dirt road that led away from the lake, hoping that would help end the attack of the flies.
This was not a straight out and back run, so when I went off of the paved road, I was one mile away from the house.
I ran up and down several small hills, being careful not to land on any rocks. I got a short break from the flies, but, needless to say, they came back. That was all I could take. Pissed off, I turned around to run back to the house. I checked my watch and saw I had run five miles.
I am an elite runner. I have good form. I train hard and intelligently. I have a good head on my shoulders. The image you are about to have in your head of me running is not normal! ; )
With the flies buzzing around my head, my arms waving chaotically, and my leg speed increasing down the hill, I clipped a rock that had loosened from the rain, and I woke up on my side covered in red clay, dirt, and blood. I didn’t move right away. I saw the tall grass on the side of the road next to a shallow pond. I figured out where I was, but I had no idea how long I had been there. Dazed, I got up and slowly jogged towards the house. My head ached, and I had that “numb before the pain” feeling all along my left side. When I got back to the house, I looked at my watch and saw that I hadn’t finished 8 miles, but before I could turn around, my mom led me up the stairs to wash off. I slept for the rest of that day and most of the next.
To make a long recovery short, I ended up with a mild concussion, whiplash, a sprained shoulder, and a cut up knee, hip and shoulder. My injuries did not keep me from running for too long, but that was by far my worst run ever.