Driven to Distraction

Pedaling as fast as I could, I raced along the busy street, staying in the bike lane whenever possible.   I admired the blue sky that was dotted with clouds, and the autumn trees that were just beginning to turn colors.  I breathed in the fresh air, breathed in joy and freedom, as I celebrated my independence, strength, and ability to travel miles from home.  I looked at my watch to find my pace; it was my fastest training speed.  Happily distracted, I noticed a side street coming up and cars that might turn onto it, including one car that was passing me.  There was no real danger, but quickly, I braked with one hand and turned the front wheel to take the right turn.  Inadvertently, I ended up locking the front wheel with the rear wheel still spinning, and I flipped over the handlebars, slammed my chin on the pavement and broke my jaw.  I had also scraped skin off of my shoulder, hands and knees.  I sat on the street, dumbfounded.

I won’t go into the details of the ambulance and the x-rays in the hospital and such.  I will, however, mention that my mouth was wired shut for a month.  The irony of the situation was that I had been told by orthopedic doctors to stop my favorite sport, running, due to my damaged knees, so I biked to avoid injury. Hah!

I missed running terribly.  I had run for decades, completing short distances, marathons, and everything in between.  I sprinted with joy in field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.  I coached runners for years.  On a good day, running was like dancing to me – a delightful way to move through the air.  It was much more enjoyable than biking and I longed to return to it.  However, doctors had been warning me for a decade to stop.  I already had three surgeries on my knees, and problems still arose.

After I broke my jaw, when I was allowed to exercise again, I went back to running, but I cut down the distance and frequency, and chose soft surfaces.  Looking at the biking accident, I realized that I could not play it safe. I decided that there was risk inherent in all things, and that I should do what I love.

2 thoughts on “Driven to Distraction

  1. Oh wow. This is a shocking story, a reminder of how fast things can change. You portray that very well by describing the day and the feelings as you tool along. I am so glad you take away the message that risk is inherent in all things and to do what you love (with reasonable parameters. ). Another person might have let fear take over. Kudos to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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