As I felt myself falling, the warning from the beginning of the race ran through my brain.
Be careful racing tonight. There is a lot of single track and there are many technical parts on the course – leaves, roots, logs and holes.
Confirmation that the course was extremely technical was given as my knee hit a rock, my hand rammed into a small boardwalk and the woman running behind me leapt over my body to avoid starting a domino effect on the course.
It was official, I was holding up about 100 other runners. What else could I do other than jump up and keep running?
- There is always time to assess the damage after you cross the finish line.
My knee and hand were numb, so I decided I was fine.
There is a reason I rarely train to race or even race at all; it usually ends up with me requiring some sort of medical attention.
In reality, running a 7 kilometre cross country race should not be a problem … but as life goes, there are always problems.
- Problem #1 – I am competitive
- Problem #2 – I am a klutz
My latest foray in trying to overcome my inner klutz and be completive in sport resulted in paying a man I barely knew named Jeff to bend me into a Donloree pretzel and hurt me for my own good
Welcome to active release therapy.
“You’re going to have to stop holding my hand Donloree … Donloree … its ok, just let go on my hand! ” was heard alongside my laughter and shrieks of pain as I tried to remove his hand from my hip while he worked on releasing my IT Band.
Three days before I was due to fly to Victoria to run in a short race as part of the Victoria Marathon, I was unable to walk and I knew my ridiculousness from racing the week before had gotten the best of me.
Watching your speedy running friends cross the finish line while the t-shirt you got for not running is already packed away in your suitcase, well, it is hard not to feel lame.
- At least my feelings matched reality – I was walking like an 80-year-old woman in desperate need of a hip replacement.
Being the lame, very average athlete of the group means you sometimes have to make your own fun. The day after the race, the super runners were off to run up the side of a mountain or four and I was left to my own devices.
Sending them off with their speedy ambitions and a happy wave, I found myself at the base of Mount Finlayson, ready to go for a hike. Alone.
Only one small problem, I couldn’t find the trailhead.
After meandering through a day use area full of families with small children, looking at three different maps made up of very small lines and following a few people with fishing poles around for a little bit, I finally stumbled across a couple that looked outdoorsy and were also searching for the trailhead.
- Before you knew it, a hiking threesome was happening.
The hike up was glorious, full of roots and steep portions, finally ending in a scramble; AKA don’t look down or you might fall off the mountain.
Stories were swapped about past adventures and life challenges and perspectives were shared on everything from politics to cooking; laughter and loud storytelling scared away all wildlife within a 5 km radius.
- My number one goal while traveling or adventuring alone is to not get raped or pillaged; everything else is frosting on the adventure cake.
It would have been easy to let this goal keep me from venturing out to see the world on this morning, well that and the fact that I was walking like I was an old woman; but no woman named Donloree lets a little plantar fasciitis and complete hip misalignment keep her from seeing and experiencing what the world has to offer.
While standing on the top of Mount Finlayson with my newfound friends, my heart was full and I remembered a few important truths about life.
- Starting out alone doesn’t mean you have to or will finish alone.
- Silence and solitude have more to say to you than you realize.
- When courage meets you at the crossroads of opportunity, you need to follow where it leads even if you are limping a wee bit.
- Thoroughly enjoying the people on your path while you are with them is one of the best things you can do with your time.
- Feeling lame and incapable doesn’t mean you actually are those things – doing your best with what you have results in fabulous adventures.
At the bottom of the mountain, I hugged Jen and Mark goodbye and wished them luck on making it to their plane on time. I plunked myself down on a picnic table to stretch out my newly seized legs and I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot; it was a perfect hike and my heart was full, overflowing in fact.
My trip to the island was full of beaches, hikes, sea stars and anemones, lighthouses and even a castle, but there was something special about the hike up Mount Finlayson. Perhaps it is because it reminded me that doing things you aren’t sure that you can do, things which are very you and require mental grit and courage to complete, results in expanding your capacity to live well.
- There is always an opportunity in front of you, sometimes it just takes looking at three elevation maps, wandering around somewhat aimlessly for awhile and then inviting perfect strangers to be your friends in order to find it.
And yes, it is highly possible that once I was back home, I was immediately back in Jeff’s office paying him to torture me while holding his hand and screaming under my breath.
Racing … am I the only one who has injury-itis as a result?
**And the pictures are still sideways for some reason – oh the joys of the interwebs! Just tilt your head to the right while reading … and imagine them less squished than they are! **