when running & cycling collide

May 18, 2012

nope, this isn’t a post about brick workouts or training for triathlons, although I did mention to Billy a few days ago that I would like to tackle a sprint triathlon one day.

this is a post to tell you about an accident I was in yesterday in the hopes that someone reading here will take something away from it, or share with someone who might. I know I’ll benefit from writing, so thank you! here we go…

warning! there are bloody photos in this post.

I was headed out for a run yesterday morning and Billy decided to join me. that’s sort of rare, but I’m certainly glad he did. we ran south on the West Side Hwy down the same path I’ve run many times. I moved on ahead of him after a mile or so, and it was a gorgeous morning so the path was really crowded with runners and bikers.

as I ran through a pedestrian crossway, a super speedy cyclist coming from behind me caught the left side of my body, and his speed caused the impact to throw me onto ground as his bike ran over my left foot and caught my left wrist.

it happened so fast, I literally had no idea what hit me, but I’d been taken down hard.

the left side of my body took the brunt of the fall, and I immediately felt the sting all the way from my ankle to my face. I have porcelain veneers on several of my top front teeth from another accident many years ago (a story for another day – it’s actually quite funny!), and two of them popped off when my face hit the ground.

I got up quickly (under the circumstances) as a group of people gathered around to help. I told one of the women that my husband was nearby and she ran to get him. poor Billy! he said his heart dropped when she told him his wife was in an accident.

I felt so much better once I was with Billy, but I was really disoriented and everyone who witnessed the collision kept telling Billy that I hit my head really hard and needed to go to the hospital. we cabbed it home to get our iPhones & wallets. I changed out of my (really short) running shorts, and cleaned up a bit. I have road rash all over my body, and my worst fear is having someone clean scrub it to get the dirt out.

of course I snapped some shots. #bloggerforlife

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that’s just a few of the cuts pictured. I kept finding new ones on my hip, elbow, wrist, etc. they sort of cleaned me up at the ER, but their priority was to test my vitals and make sure I didn’t have a concussion. the doctor determined I needed stitches on the inside of my lip. I know, so sick. the cut was deep and likely caused from a tooth.

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I managed a semi-smile when the doctor asked, “were you running a race this morning? I see that you’re in matching shirts.” we laughed because when we got in the elevator to leave for our run, we realized we were both wearing shirts from the White Rock Half Marathon. this is a no-no for us. we avoid dressing like twinsies.

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Billy had to tie my shoes, and I kept finding new minor injuries like my jammed finger.

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then we were off to the dentist where I stared at the beautiful ceiling for 2 hours while they fixed my teeth. I would not recommend having dental work after stitching up the inside of your lip, but I breathed through the pain and daydreamed.

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we got home and I showered with several pours of hydrogen peroxide on the wounds to kill some germs – oh, the pain! then Billy brought me Puffins in a purple bowl.

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the day was rough (and very expensive)! there were highs and lows, pain and frustration, and some prayers for patience. but throughout the day, we just kept repeating, “it could have been so much worse.” there were tears of gratitude when Billy looked over and said, “Birdie, nothing else matters except that you are here.”

and the pain? instead of letting the pain remind me of the actual accident (shudder), I let the pain remind me that I got up and walked away. my knees might be busted up, and I may have cuts and bruises, some road rash and swelling, but I will heal.

these types of accidents can be fatal. a childhood friend who I knew through high school died from a critical head injury after she collided with a cyclist in the fall of 2010. I thought about her a lot yesterday, and this accident has opened my eyes a little wider than before. my heart is full of love from every person who helped me yesterday, and for my friends and family who sent me support from near and far.

now I have more love to share. what a gift.

I know it will take some time for my physical wounds to heal, and additional time for me to consider getting out there again to run. on a multipurpose path, I don’t know how this could have been prevented, but as a biker (and one who rides at a moderate pace), I’m always sure to clear the runners/walkers as much as possible. I also use my bell to alert the runners/walkers, and announce that I’m passing.

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I don’t run with headphones, so I’m able to hear if a cyclist gives warning.

if cyclists are speeding through a crowded pathway, they shouldn’t come within an inch or 2 of a human body. the slightest deviation can cause a terrible collision. the cyclist who hit me was really shaken up and concerned. he even followed up with us yesterday afternoon (via the park officer who wrote up the account of the accident) to make sure I was okay. with all that said, my faith in humanity increased yesterday as so many people – from cab drivers to ER nurses – were so helpful & friendly!

ok, wrapping this long post up now. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

be careful out there,

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