birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

My relationship to the ground had changed

I am an intermittent runner.

Every so often at different points in my life I get inspired and begin running again. My enthusiasm lasts for a while, until it tapers off and disappears.

When I become a runner, accidents happen.

Several years ago I was talking to a friend about how much I walk, and his response was, “You should run a marathon!”

He thought, since my step count each day was fairly high, I was already doing a lot of the training people do to prepare for a marathon. He started running marathons because he wanted to stay in shape for playing tennis.

My response to him was, “Sure. That sounds interesting.”

I bought a book for non runners who wanted to run a marathon and registered for the first Pasadena Marathon. Following the book, I started training.

After several months of training four days a week, I thought I was ready. The weekend of the race, there were brushfires all around Pasadena. On the day of the race the smoke from the fires was so bad they cancelled it. Essentially, by paying my registration fee for a race which was cancelled, I had bought an expensive t-shirt.

A few years later I got inspired again. Getting into better physical shape, I thought adding running to my schedule might help me make progress. My plan was to work up to running around 10 kilometers three times a week.

I started running and worked my way up to meeting my goal. I was not running particularly fast, but was getting exercise. The challenge became what it usually becomes for me, that I find running fairly boring.

I kept at it, even as the days grew shorter. One day, just before Halloween, I had hoped to run earlier in the day but did not get to it. It was later when I started, and I hoped to finish quickly. On my way back, as it was getting darker, I fell down.

I do not remember tripping on anything, just realizing my relationship to the ground had changed. The right corner of my glasses hit the sidewalk. Fortunately I was wearing a black sweatshirt, because there was quite a bit of blood. My glasses were bent into an unusual shape.

I walked back to our apartment looking like I might have lost an eye. As I unlocked our door I said, “Gayle, do not be upset.”

I washed myself off a little before we went to the emergency room.

I walked in covered in blood, looking like I had been in a fight. I said, “I fell down.” They cleaned me up fairly quickly, then we waited for a while so I could get some stitches.

We posted a photo on Facebook.

I have not been running since.

Bloody Mary

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