Fuckfuckfuck!  I can’t believe this!  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck!  Oh, Fuuuuuuuccccckkk! 

Now I’ve done it. 

I was running in the forest and fucking tripped over a fucking root and fucking yanked my left leg forward to stop my fucking fall and, fuck, I heard a loud pop deep in my left leg near my torso and fell, and fell, and fell, letting myself go, falling in the space of an micro-second off the path, onto my side, against my wrist, my arm, my face.  Letting go and letting the impact cover as much of my body as I could, but far, far, far away from my leg, my leg.  My leg!

Fuck, fuck, fuck!  I cannot believe this. 

Slowly getting up.  Sweat from four miles of running hard, heart racing, leaf-litter covering me, coating my left leg, my arm, my palm, dirt all over my fingers.  Hat thrown to the side.  Sunglasses crooked against the trunk of a tree. 

Jeeeesssus Christ. What have I done?

Can I walk?  Where the fuck am I?

Brushing myself off.  Gathering my things.  Stepping down the path. 

Okay.  Okay.

Tentatively trying to run, an easy trial run, stumbling forward.  Almost falling again.  

Pain in my butt, but no feeling at all in my leg. 

Wait.  My leg.  I killed my leg.

A feeling of dread sweeps through me.  My leg is dead.    

What have I done?  Oh god, what have I done.


A week later.  Early Monday morning. 

I am sitting alone in an examination room at the clinic where my doctor practices her magic, especially on sixty-year-old runners who should have known better than to be running down a difficult path at dusk wearing sunglasses, who never should have been out there to begin with, who should have been home making a Sunday dinner for their wives, who instead were trying to get a ten-mile run in before the weekend was over, who clearly don’t know how to fall, and who, now, fretting and oh-so remorseful, are sitting with half of their butts on the hard chair and the other half suspended in space, who would have preferred, by far, to have a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder, or stitches in their faces to something as stupid as this. 

I am a fucking idiot, I decide.  I know, my doctor will confirm this.

“You really are an idiot!” she will say.  “Take two pills and call me in the morning.” 

Oh, how I wish it was all that simple, but the pain in my rear this past week is not going away.  Something is wrong.

In fact, I knew instantly.  I knew I would need to see my doctor the moment I heard the pop and crashed down hard on the forest floor.  Family and friends this past week only confirmed it. 

Sunday night, in fact, when my wife Karen realized I had limped all the way home and was too hurt to make dinner, she said, “You should go immediately to the doctor’s.”  “Don’t wait,” she said, and my physical trainer on Tuesday evening agreed, especially when she saw the huge black bruise spreading out over my leg.  “You should see a doctor right away,” she advised, feeling like she just told me something I didn’t already know.  My daughter Helen on the phone on Wednesday took a more direct approach: “Go to the doctor, dad!  If it was me, you would be furious.”  Then, finally, on Thursday night, when Shaun, my mountain climbing friend whom I bumped into at the gym, saw me limping around the weight room, he put it into perspective:  “Are you a fucking idiot or what? “ he asked. “Didn’t you qualify for the New York Of-All-Things-Fucking City Marathon?  Whatever is wrong, you better get it taken care of fast.”

Jesus H. Christ.  Okay.  Okay.  I called the very next day, late Friday afternoon, and now here I am sitting on half of my butt for an early Monday emergency appointment.   

My doctor knocks and comes into the room.  A tall brunette with long shimmering hair and a short summer dress, she is as beautiful as I remember from my last visit fourteen months earlier.

‘My god!’ I am thinking.  No doctor should be this pretty.

She is smiling at me and I quickly forget I am here for my injury, staring into her eyes, at her nicely proportioned body, her light cotton dress that ends mid-thigh. 

Oh… my thigh… my thigh…  

“I see from the chart, you hurt yourself.  Tell me, what have you done?”

“Oh Doctor, Doctor-too-Cute-for-Comfort, Doctor Wow!  You’re not going to believe this….”

“When did it happen?  You say you heard a ‘pop’ sound?”

“Hmmm… “ She says as she pulls a curtain across the room, “take off your pants and put on the patient gown.  Let me know when you are ready.” 

She steps outside, and I immediately feel the loss of her presence as I put on the putrid-green robe, wincing as I remove the pants from my fucking leg.  Oh no, why am I wearing my white briefs and not one of my dark-colored, cool-looking boxers?  

Jesus, I am an idiot, I decide, as I tell her she can come back. 

She says, “Lean over the examination table and let me feel where it hurts.”

Oh, how embarrassing, I think, as she lifts up the gown and starts feeling my butt through my whities. 

“Ouch, there,” I say as she digs her fingers into my left butt cheek.  “What, what is that?  It’s feels like a hunk of coal there.”

She says, “It’s what I expected.  I was running with my husband and his friend when it happened to me. “

“What?” I say, as she finishes her exam, puts down my gown, and motions me sit on the table.  I am acutely aware of the gown opening my backside and spreading away from my sensitive butt on the cold, blue-cushioned table.

“You tore your upper hamstring tendon,” she says with a sympathetic smile, like she has seen this before.  “It’s a common injury for runners, as common as ‘tennis elbow’ for tennis players, though you never hear of it.”

“Basically, what you have done,” she says, “You tore the tendon that connects your hamstring to your pelvis.” 

“I’ll show you,” she says as she invites me to sit beside her at a small table across the room.  Together we look at the computer monitor on the table. 

Does she realize she is wearing a short, short, super-short, thin, summer dress and I am wearing only my whities and a patient gown that is already completely open at the back?  I sit close to her, even closer, keeping my left cheek off the chair. 

She really is very pretty, I decide.  Maybe in her mid- to late- thirties.  A cute nose.  Lively eyes.  Nice lips.  I can smell a slight perfume fragrance. 

Here,” she says, “I’ve googled it.  Look.” 

“Eeuuw,” I say, “what is that?” smiling at her.

“Muscles on your butt.” She replies, looking at me like I really am an idiot.

She points with her pen to the body on the computer screen displaying all the muscles of the body.  “Your injury is right about here, right on your butt.  Now,” she says, “it didn’t feel to me to be so serious…” She pauses and I wonder if she too feels the sexual charge between us.  “…as to require an MRI or surgery, but we can look into that later if things don’t improve.”

She then pronounces with a quick smile, but long enough for me to revel in it, putting her pen back onto her clipboard and turning me into goo.  “You should be good as new in two or three months.”

Wait a minute.  “I’m sorry.”  I was staring at your breasts.  “What, what did you say?” 

“There’s no treatment other than to let it heal.  In other words, you won’t be running anywhere, anytime soon.”

“But wait.  Wait a minute.  My marathon in the fall.  What about my ‘I-killed-myself-to-be-in-this-marathon’ come November?”

“I don’t know,” she says, frowning.  “Clearly, you won’t be setting records if you do it, but I just don’t know.  You’ve got give yourself time to heal.”

Oh no.  My god.  “Okay, okay” I say, beginning to comprehend the implication of what this means.

“In the meanwhile,” she sighs, getting up, heading over to the examination table.   “If it will make you feel any better, do you want to fuck me behind this curtain?”

I am stunned.  What?  Wait a minute.  I had been contemplating suicide.  My fall is turning into a disaster.  “What, what did you say?”

She stretches and opens the curtains, heading for the door, “I said, if it will make you feel any better, take some Aleve and let me schedule a physical therapist.”





Categories: History of Running

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