This afternoon, taking advantage of a perplexing 60-degree January day, I set out for a run. I tied my shoes carefully, stretched my limbs, readied my playlist, and took off.
My legs were grateful for the exercise, my lungs putting up no protest. My body fell into rhythm, and I allowed my mind to wander, my eyes to survey the day around me. Beer cans in the yards of college students, a dog lunging for me against the will of its leash. Will I be ready for the half-marathon in June? Am I ready for a week of RA interviews? Is there enough time today to have fun and get prepared for the work week?
As I approached Wheeling Avenue, I surveyed the typically busy street carefully for cars. Spotting an opportunity, I bounded forward. My left foot sank into a pothole, my ankle giving way before my brain had time to process. My hands caught me from the fall, palms against damp concrete. My phone clattered ahead of me, three times. Quickly, I stood and hustled to the sidewalk, where I sank to a sitting position and assessed my situation.
My palms were bruised but not bleeding. My ankle, sore for a moment, did not swell. I texted a few friends about my plight; they laughed and offered to rescue me. Tentatively, I stood, took a few steps. No, I told them, I think I can still run.
And, after a little walking, I did. I broke into a run and finished the five miles. Gratitude for warm weather and tenacious ankles.
If 2016 taught me anything, it’s how to believe in myself again after a fall. How to stand again, and to run.
I broke into a run. I fell. I got up. I ran.
Let this be the pattern of my life.