Custom Search

Sunday, July 22, 2018

In which I take a spill(way)

Sunday was the Spillway Classic, a 3 mile trail run in Norco, not to be confused with the Armadillo Dash, a 3 mile trail run in Norco two weeks prior.
I knew this race would be...interesting. It was race five out of five in three weeks, and it was the morning after the big move.
Oh yeah, we moved, by the way. In case you haven't seen all my Instagram stories about my adorable new place!
Moving all day is not conducive to racing well the next morning, but I actually registered before we ever even saw the house - it was a whirlwind sale - so I wasn't about to skip it just because of some sore shoulders. I showed up at the Spillway with ample time to find parking and get in the bathroom line, bathrooms. The Port-a-potties never showed up! I started to warm up, but then saw the delivery truck lumber over, full of potties, and turned back around. It was an ordeal - they still had to set up and that took a while. But I managed to get in a bathroom stop and a really quick warm up just in time for the start.

This race is actually only half trail; the first half is (bizarrely) up and onto the levee, which is covered in big, chunky gravel. Then it dips back down off the levee into the woods. You have to GET UP THERE on the levee, or you'll be stuck in crowds in the woods. I was ready to charge up the levee, but...shoot. I actually warmed up too fast and aggressively. I was with some faster people, and then we ran out a little too far, and then we had to book it back (we made it with one minute to spare). I was out of breath at the starting line! Plus just worn out in general, I think. Either way, I was still gasping for breath at the start, and then - BAM! The guy in front of my tripped on the starting mat, knocking people every which way! Luckily everyone was fine, and I actually was able to skirt the pileup and avoid calamity, but the mishap delayed my start a little. Finally I was crunching over gravel under the hot sun, trying to make up some distance between myself and a few others who are usually my pace. Mile one ended still up on the levee: 6:20. Mile two dips down off the levee and into the soggy basin, where the trail portion of the race begins. As soon as you enter the woods, you are faced with "the gauntlet", which is just a huge mud pit. Last year, it was thigh-high water. This year, it was just squelchy mud, and I avoided sinking in by carefully picking my way around the edge. I was proud of myself for safely navigating that dangerous area and then all of a sudden, I was crashing to the ground. I tripped so suddenly that I couldn't prepare myself, and while I landed on soft mud and avoided any cuts or scrapes, my head slammed backward. I had bad whiplash, and while I bounced back up, I reeled in disorientation. Somehow I kept running, stayed on the trail, and followed the group ahead of me. I wish I could remember how I finished the race, but I can't - everything a few minutes after the fall is blank! I finished in 20:37, fourth female, but feeling very dizzy and ill. I quickly hosed off under the firetruck provided at the finish, and drove back home.
I couldn't remember how to get home. Yes, I moved the day before, but we actually moved just four blocks away on the same street! Yet I couldn't remember where I lived. At that point, I realized that I probably had a mild concussion. I had the presence of mind to ask my phone to take me home, and when I found myself at my old place (I'd never driven to the new home yet, so of course it took me to the old one!), I quickly remembered that we'd moved just down the street.
Later in the day I felt much better, but the first few hours were so weird! And my memory of that day is still patchy. Plus, my neck was really sore and stiff all week. Pretty scary.

Have you ever fallen during a race? Tell me your trip and fall tales!


  1. Concussions are terrifying. I still can't remember most of the period from my bike crash until I got out of the hospital. The 2 hours immediately post accident is just GONE and the rest of it is patchy. Take care of yourself and don't push too hard too soon! I think I pushed myself a bit too much and still get blinding headaches even a year and a half later.

  2. Yikes, sounds like a concussion for sure - glad you are feeling OK overall but agree to take it easy for a few days! (It's the neuro PT in me haha)

    I got tripped and fell in my first track 3K, which was unfortunate because I'd wiped out on ice pretty hard the day before and I went down on the same was black and blue for weeks. I also rolled my ankle in a hole and wiped out ~400 meters into a 6K road race which I for some reason proceeded to jog the rest of on a rapidly swelling ankle...23 year old me wasn't very smart.

  3. I wiped out in Argentina (wearing flipflops on slick outdoor steps). No recollection at all, and colossal bruise on my butt. Very scary indeed, glad you're okay.

  4. Oh yikes, that sounds like a nasty fall and how awful to feel so disorientated. Yikes. Glad you made it home safely! I fell during a trail race. It was towards the end and it kind of stunned me but I didn't get hurt in the process luckily. I am such a klutz which is the main reason I'm not a huge ran of trail runs!

    Congrats on the new home! I am now following you on IG - it looks beautiful!

  5. Very scary (though your new house is super cute!). I feel like I fall all the time, and usually not in places where you'd worry about falling. That's probably why, I'm not paying close attention. I fell on my first mountain bike ride with a casual friend, then right in front of her during the first trail race we were both in. Nothing like cementing a klutzy rep.

  6. I Hope you went to the doctor to get checked out. That sounds really serious! I can't believe you still finished with that time after falling like that. Holy cow! Congratulations again on your new home.