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Please don’t tell me to slow down

POSTED: August 24, 2017 9:32 p.m.
A couple of weeks ago, I tripped while running down a mountain, sending my knee smashing into a rock. The impact was so hard that I ended up splitting the skin and tissue wide open below my kneecap, resulting in 22 stitches to piece me back together.

As one who has run most my life on various terrain, I am no stranger to superficial injuries, or “battle wounds” as I like to call them. I have gotten track burn from leaning too much at the finish line of a sprinting event. I’ve been spiked on my legs by competitors while battling for space in middle distance and cross-country races. I’ve tripped over curbs and uneven gaps in the sidewalk. Heck, a few weeks ago, a cat managed to cross my path without me noticing, and the furry animal softly grazed my legs before causing me to land not-so-softly on the pavement —something I'm still scratching my head about.

And, yes, the mountain trails have been home to a good share of rolled ankles and scuffed elbows, shoulders and now, a gashed knee.

With each injury, I have chalked it up to part of the game and continued on. However, after many — especially the more serious ones like this latest fall —people will say things like, “Maybe this will finally slow you down," or "It looks like you need to slow things down a bit." One good friend recently suggested I take up crocheting as a safer and apparently better-paced hobby.

While I know all comments made are either done in jest or for genuine concern for my physical well-being, they have definitely fallen on deaf ears — and not entirely by choice.

Simply put, I am a mover.

Whether by nature, nurture or a combination of both, I simply cannot sit still. As a child growing up in a large family, if I wanted to watch TV it was done on the condition that I fold a basket of socks while doing so. But, mostly, and not because I didn’t like folding laundry (I actually did), I chose to play outside, run around the house or go to my quiet place in my room to write the words I had floating through my head.

When I discovered running, it was a way to both use my endless amounts of energy and relax me at the same time, and the occasional battle wound was just evidence of all the fun I was having.

Now, as I find myself forced to sit and rest my knee, the pain from the injury is nothing compared to the frustration I feel not being able to get out and move. This injury is not a cue to slow down, but merely a bump in the road forcing me to take it easy until the speed limit sign is raised to an acceptable level that I may or may not exceed slightly when given the go-ahead.

So, if you see me or someone like me who has been forced to temporarily slow down, don’t suggest that this is a pace they should keep up, but wish them a speedy recovery so they can get back to what it is they love to do: move, move and move some more.
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