Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Staying Upright While Running on the Ice

Yesterday, I had one of those runs. Of course, this post isn't actually about the run. Because running gives us so much more than just a run.

You know that run. This was a good one. My pacing was on point, my effort was easy, and I felt like I could go forever. That's how this run felt. For the first time since my diagnosis with RA, I felt like myself again. I'm sure the relatively warmer temperatures (40F) helped too.

As I neared the final half mile of my planned 10k run, I was lost in thought. Almost done, I was contemplating the day ahead.

Suddenly, my legs started to fly out from under me. Ice!

With the warmer temperatures and the overnight rains, the roads were wet. There were a lot of puddles, but I hadn't seen any ice.

Until now. I was running downhill and in that brief moment, my feet were moving faster than the rest of me.

It happened so fast. There wasn't time to panic. Instead of fighting the slide, I let it happen. I prayed. I shuffled my feet. I pumped my arms. The icy patch felt like a marathon.

Miraculously, I stayed upright. When I got to the bottom of the hill and the end of that ice, when I realized I was safe and on pavement, I slowed my pace to let my heart calm down.



Later as I reflected back on that incident, I thought about how I felt when I realized I what was happening, as well as the possibility of what could happen. The completely unexpected event of hitting black ice. The fear of falling. The possibility of injury. The effort to stay upright. The relief I felt when that moment was over.

Runners talk a lot about pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. We remind ourselves that nothing good ever happens in the comfort zone. In a sense, that's true. It's easy to get complacent, to run the same route all the time, the same pace, the same races. You never get anywhere new in your comfort zone, but everyone needs those comfort zones from time to time.

Here I was, running my well-worn route through my neighborhood. My comfort zone. The route that I know so well, I don't even have to think. I just go.

Instead of making the decision to step outside of the comfort zone, what if the comfort zone pushes us out, like on my run yesterday? How about when life pushes us out of our comfort zone? How do you handle the icy patches that life throws in your way?

Just like I had to do when I hit the ice on my run, we have to figure a way to stay upright.

It's not easy, and it's not always pretty. There's always the chance that I might have fallen and injured myself. Life is like that too. Not everything goes as planned.

Life has thrown a few icy patches my way lately. I haven't done as well as I could have with staying upright. I may even have fallen a few times.

Yesterday's slippery incident gave me a lot of food for thought. How good am I at staying upright when life pushes me out of my comfort zone? Reflecting back, I did a remarkable job on my run. How did I not fall? How can I bring that same finesse to my life off the road?

Running gives us so many lessons. Yesterday's run was a gift, an opportunity for me to think and learn about staying the course. I felt really lucky that I didn't fall and hurt myself.

Once again, I felt really grateful for the gift of running.

What gifts has running given you lately? How good are you at staying upright when life pushes you out of your comfort zone? Do you have any good metaphors to share?

I'm linking up with Coaches Corner--Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel! And Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.



65 comments :

  1. Slipping on ice is such a huge fear for me! On my Saturday morning run I was dodging ice patches left and right. It made for an interesting run as it was more of a cross training run lol

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    1. That whole road was slick! I don't know what was going on there.

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  2. Great metaphor today. Life does throw us lots of curveballs and it's how we handle them and pull ourselves back up that define us and make us strong

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    1. That's exactly what I thought about. It's all about staying upright.

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  3. I think you do a remarkable job at staying upright with your life challenges. But sometimes it's ok to lose your shit too. ;) ha! Lol. I had one of those moments yesterday! And last year I wasn't so lucky with black ice. Fell on my belly and slid about 20 feet! Ripped my pants and a bruised ego. ;) have a great Wednesday!

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    1. You're lucky all you had was a bruised ego! Yikes!

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  4. I'm so glad that you are okay. Even without falling, trying to keep upright lends its own dangers of pulling something out of whack. Sending hugs.

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    1. So true. I couldn't believe I didn't wipe out.

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  5. Ok first of all, that's terrifying! One of my biggest fears is slipping on black ice which is one of the main reasons I run treadmill in the winter. I just don't trust the road!

    Second of all, this is a very interesting take on what life throws at us and I appreciate your experience lending all of us some food for thought. Thank you.

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    1. Terrifying pretty much sums it up! When I stopped sliding and kept running, my heart was pounding so hard, I had to slow way down.

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  6. Ugh...the ice. Sometimes I have to scope out areas to run the afternoon before my next morning run so I can see where the streets are truly dry (I run in the dark so it's hard to see the ice even with my headlamp). Taking what life throws at me is my constant work in progress. As you can imagine (and probably relate) I am a type A, in control, don't like surprises type gal :) I am trying to learn to accept, inspect and adapt. I remind myself "stay committed to your goal but flexible in your approach". This helps when things are not going exactly as I planned (which, when you think about it...is a big majority of the time).

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    1. Haha, I'm not a surprise lover either! I could use a little more flexibility...

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  7. True story: This Texan has never fallen down due to ice. I think maybe it's because my core is a freaking powerhouse, or maybe it's because my gait is very tight. Who knows.

    That being said, statistically, I fall down twice a year. On dry pavement.

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    1. You know how I feel about putting things like that out in the universe! Stay safe, my friend.

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  8. It always amazes me just how much we can learn from running. Yes, its a physical activity that keeps us active and fit, but there's so much that everybody can learn from it about patience, perspective, balancing multiple demands, just to name a few things.

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    1. We never stop learning lessons from running!

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  9. I had an "ice" experience before the holidays but with my car! The weather was cold but not horrible and we had no snow...no real signs of winter. To be honest, I was driving like it wasn't Winter and we had black ice. I hit it, panicked and maintained control of my care but my heart was just pumping. It happened again later on that day too in a different location and again, I felt my heart jump out of me. Whether you are driving or running, black ice is scary and uncomfortable. I started driving better after this!

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    1. I've had those ice experiences where you just keep sliding and hoping it's not going to be too bad...

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  10. I had the same experience a few weeks ago, also going downhill and I managed to stay upright, but so scary!! My heart was pounding! I love the analogy to life... it's so true!

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    1. I just couldn't help but make the comparison!

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  11. Running gives us endless metaphors for life! I kinda hate hitting icy patches. I know that staying upright is great and everything, and those muscles are stronger once we make it through it, but it still sucks. I'm glad you didn't fall, and I hope the icy patch is behind you and you can regain some energy and strength for the next icy patch! We're all in this together. <3

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    1. I hate icy patches, both metaphorically and in reality!

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  12. I've had a few ice/frost moments while running and it's wild how completely out of control you become. Good job staying upright, and I love your deep thoughts that came along with the experience.

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    1. I almost titled this post "Deep Thoughts" just like the SNL skit from back in the day...

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  13. I jumped over a patch of ice and was fine and then on the way back, I went around that same patch and fell and broke my ankle.

    Go figure...

    Being careful sometimes doesn't pay.

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    1. I'm pretty glad I didn't break anything. Wouldn't that have been the icing on the cake?

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  14. What a great metaphor for life, those icy patches. I think with many things, we'll occasionally fall, hopefully it's just a bump, and we can pick ourselves back up again.

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  15. Beautiful metaphor! the icy patches in life and how to stay up! it's all about finding that balance that will keep us up!


    I was doing an interview for work a few weeks ago, and they asked me what was one thing I had learned that was difficult... I had nothing in my brain, so I blurted out "Through marathon training, I learned that to achieve goals, sometimes things have to hurt and make you uncomfortable. and that we have to do things that we don't always want to, like run in the cold, to achieve that goal". It looked like they liked my answer, my supervisor said that was what secured me a follow up interview.

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    1. That's pretty amazing! I read once somewhere that employers like hiring marathoners for that very reason!

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  16. It's not ice that I have to worry about, just my own two clumsy feet! I've taken my share of tumbles and I always have two choices - sit there or get up and keep moving.

    Of all the times I've fallen there has only been one time when someone asked if I was okay. It happened in Hawaii and it was a homeless women who came to my aid. It was very humbling when she offered me band-aids knowing that everything she owned was in the bag she was carrying. It was a great reminder to reach out to others when they're down.

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    1. I've fallen on dry pavement many times. It's so embarrassing!

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  17. From my perspective, you're doing pretty darn well with all of life's challenges. Keep on keepin' on and be careful of that ice!

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  18. great way to look at it. when I think about it I am often with one foot in my comfort zone and the other out. no wonder I'm injured all the time. I am very scared of falling, slipping, getting physically hurt. At the same time I feel like life is too short and chances should be taken (then I "regret" decisions, if even just for a day or two). How to stay upright? I'm going to have to really ponder that. Thanks for that food for thought.

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    1. I think over the past 10 years, I've gotten better at taking chances--even doing things like working on yoga handstands, my jumping pictures. I fall down a lot and yes, it hurts--but quite often I achieve what I set out to do and that feels pretty great.

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  19. I know you meant this more metaphorically but I recently fell on a patch of ice when I was out for a run and there were a few days were I was unsure if I had suffered a compression fracture. Thankfully, I didn't but having to rest and being told that I might not be able to run for 6-8 weeks made me SO much more grateful for the able and healthy body and legs that I have.

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    1. You can take this post either way--I was so so so glad I didn't fall. A fracture would have been the icing on the cake!

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  20. Ice terrifies me. TERRIFIES me. Yaktrax is a must for days when it is bad out. Or the treadmill, especially with the wind around here.

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    1. Yaktrax wouldn't have helped on this black ice...

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  21. Well, ironically, my near-full-splits incident happened when I was walking Max across our front (covered) patio...an attempt to avoid the icy walk way. Lo and behold, there was ice in a place where there's never been ice before...and I found it. I took a slight hit on my elbow and scraped my palm a bit...and my hammy (already slightly in distress from those inclined walks with 'Milly) got majorly extended while the other foot/leg/hamstring remained motionless. I kid you not! You just never know when that comfort zone will get pulled out from under you.

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    1. Yikes! That's so scary!!! I'm glad you're ok..

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  22. I've been super tired the last couple of days, so no metaphors are coming to mind.

    Fear of falling. Fear of failing. Ah yes, that's one I can relate to. I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone many times in my life, but it is never as easy for me as it seems to be for many people.

    I am glad that you were able to stay upright & take a lesson from the incident.

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    1. I don't think it's ever easy for anyone to push outside of their comfort zone. Hence the term: comfort zone. But some people make it look easy, don't they?

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  23. Scary incidents like that, where time is suspended during complete "oh shit" terror, remind me how tenuous life really is. One minute things are great, the next not so much. We can be "safe" and not put ourselves out there, our we can take our chances.

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    1. That is exactly what it felt like--time suspended. You always get it!

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  24. Life sure can be a wild ride sometimes! Glad you caught yourself! I bet your yoga and stregnth training helped with that too.

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    1. I've been on a wild ride for a while now...glad this one ended well!

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  25. Running really does teach us so many lessons. Im glad you were able to stay upright! The warmer days when there is still some lingering ice are so deceiving.

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    1. I don't know where that came from since there was no ice for the previous 6 miles! Yikes!

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  26. I love this post and I am glad you are ok! I have been doing a lot of treadmill running lately because of the icy roads, but finally got myself outside for 8 miles on Tuesday and felt great. Running really does teach us so much!

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  27. Oh man! You are tougher than I am! Any sign of ice and I'm on the treadmill!LOL! I am WAY to clumsy!

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    1. There was no sign of ice--otherwise I would have done the treadmill too! Yikes!

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  28. That's one joy of treadmill running, NO ICE!! I've slipped many a time, and have ended up in more than one snow bank in years past, LOL!
    Running hasn't given me any gifts lately, but life sure has. It's taught me that no matter how many times I fall, I've got the will and passion to pick myself back up!

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    1. No snow banks around here--I would have landed on the pavement! Yikes!

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  29. You are amazing! Running is a gift for sure! My heart still feels heavy but my feet feel light so I am going with them! XXOO

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  30. Wow , as someone who has fallen on the ice many times, I can totally put myself in your shoes. I'm so glad you're okay and know those moments of gratitude - when you should for so many reasons land on your butt, but miraculously stay upright! Great balance!

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    1. I still don't know how I didn't fall, but hey, I'm going with it!

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  31. Oh the metaphor for what is currently happening in our world right now! I totally feel shoved out of my comfort zone and desperately trying to stay upright!! I truly love how grateful you are for the gift of running and the endless lessons it has for us. I feel exactly the same way...which is why I will be going LONG today :-)

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    1. Truth. I'm so glad I'm working today--I'll be busy and won't give the inauguration a second thought...

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  32. I'm glad you didn't fall! You're right -we've got to stay sharp for those unplanned curveballs and being pushed outside of our comfort zone. While we can train for race pace, there is nothing but quick thinking and sharp senses to keep us prepared for something like ice!

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    1. I need to do a better job of staying mindful on the long run!

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