Today was my first day with the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team (or MTT, as it will henceforth be referred to). It felt like the first day of school - I thought very hard about my outfit, laid everything out the night before, and slept fitfully, waking up numerous times convinced that I had overslept and missed the whole thing.
Last year, I debated joining MTT and ended up going it alone. Although I made it halfway through training before the incident-which-shall-not-be-named, I wasn't looking forward to slogging through the increasingly lengthy long runs by myself. I probably could've done it, but it wasn't going to fun in any way.
This year, I'm thrilled to being a part of MTT and look forward to meeting lots of new people and being part of a team. Over 1,200 people participate in MTT so the Sports Backers divide the group into smaller training teams based on pace and intensity. Since Greg and I have been having such success training together, I opted to self select into the Navy (Intermediate) Team, which he has run with for a few years now.
This morning, all participants met at the Sports Backers stadium for "orientation" and our first group training runs. After what felt like forever (it was really only 40 min or so), the speeches were finished and we broke out into teams to finally run.
Being a terrible pacer (and Greg wasn't stopping me), we ended up in the front of Team Navy and were happily making our way through the North end of Richmond. I was having a great time chatting it up with the other Team Navy members who were hanging in the front of the pack. One of my favorite things about running is making new friends, so I was in heaven.
We were on Brook Road, running in the shoulder against traffic. Greg hopped up onto the sidewalk and after a few paces, I jumped up to join him. "Running on that grade will probably not be good for my foot. The sidewalk will be better," I said and then...
Generally, I am not a clumsy person. In the hundreds and hundreds (maybe thousands?) of miles that I had logged, I have only fallen once before. It was two years ago on my birthday. I was running Monument Avenue with Prabir, teasing him about his taste in women, when karma got me and I fell, tearing a huge gaping wound in the heel of my left hand. I don't fall over myself often, fall off of things, drop stuff, spill waters, etc. By no means am I the most graceful person in the world, but I'm not accident prone.
But this morning, just as I finished my statement about sidewalks being better for me, I caught my right toe and found myself body surfing. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that my Garmin actually signaled Mile 2 as I skidded to a stop.
Anyway, I immediately heard people yelling around me and my first thought was, "I am such an idiot. All of these people probably think I am such an idiot" followed quickly by, "GET UP. NOW."
I jumped up and didn't even bother to take stock of my injuries. I knew I was scraped up, but nothing really hurt (except for my pride), and dammit, this was Day 1 of training, mile 2, and I wasn't stopping!
We jumped back in and it wasn't until I looked down and saw the stream of blood running from my shoulder to my wrist that I stopped - not because I was worried about bleeding - but because I was wearing my most favorite yellow Lulu running tank and I did NOT want to get blood on it.
Priorities, people. Priorities.
Greg tried to offer me his shirt to wipe off the blood. As he was wearing his Florida Keys RAGNAR shirt, I said, "No freaking way man! I am NOT putting my blood on your RAGNAR shirt!!" At that point, one of the other team members who was going by stopped and offered his washcloth and some water. Thank goodness for him, whoever he was. I protested - I didn't want to take his cloth and ruin it - but he insisted. So we rinsed off my shoulder, where there were two pretty deep gashes, and my right hand which is not pretty either, and wiped up the blood.
I was determined to keep going, so we did. Another 5 miles during which I got to meet and make friends with a few more people, which almost took my mind off of my oozing cuts.
When we got back to the stadium, I immediately sought out a Coach or Sports Backers employee. Greg found Lisa Randolph first - the Race Director of the Richmond Marathon. She was awesome, and helped me peroxide up my wounds and try to clean them as best as I could. I was literally singing opera when she poured the hydrogen peroxide on my hand. Another fellow team member was a paramedic, so he came to have a look at me, along with a second team member who was a doctor. I was hating having such a big fuss made over me. This was NOT the impression that I wanted to make on people! And besides, if I could run another 5 miles on top of the spill, it couldn't have been that bad.
The paramedic was awesome and I am very grateful for his help. After looking closely at my shoulder, he told me he thought that a stitch or two would be a good idea for my shoulder. As he explained his reasoning to me, I started to panic. With my needle phobia, the thought of stitches was making me feel quite faint. I think Lisa could tell I was freaking out, so she went and found the doctor who took a look and told me that it would be ok if I cleaned it out well and then used butterfly bandages to hold the wound together. I liked that diagnosis, so after getting some neosporin and band aids, I creaked to my feet and walked to my car with Greg, who was awesome and stuck with me to make sure I was ok.
"Well, at least you got to meet Lisa and some of the coaches," he said. "And, for the rest of the season, you'll be known as the girl who fell on day 1 of training! Everybody knows who you are now!"
"Great," I replied.
Apparently news of my spill had traveled up and down through the coaches and teams - I learned that coaches on bikes were looking for me and that lots of people who saw me go down have inquired about me. A few even messaged Greg on Facebook, asking after me. I am truly grateful and overwhelmed by their concern, but 100% humiliated at the same time.
So... my Marathon Training has gotten off to an inauspicious start. In addition to taking the spill, I forgot to restart my Garmin, so I don't even know how we did pace wise. I know that we ran just over 7 miles (that felt overall pretty good considering the circumstances of heat, pollen, humidity, and open wounds).
I just hope that this is the worst thing that happens and that it's smooth sailing from here on out.
Next week I'm going to have to do something to somehow lose the title of "The Girl Who Fell on Training Day 1." Other than streaking for the last mile of the run, I'm not sure how I'm going to live it down, but I'll come up with something.