Recently, I overheard someone say that they enjoyed trail running, but they didn’t want to risk falling. They were, therefore, going to stick to the roads. My first thought was of the traffic, neighborhood dogs and the falls that I had taken on the road. I also thought of the one time I fell and ended up in a cast, while road running. Yes, trail running can be dangerous, but I am not going to let fear rule me or my enjoyment of the world around me. I fact, just a couple of weeks later I did take a nasty tumble. A little blood on my shoulder and knee, but all was good.
My pride wasn’t bruised, I fact I came up laughing about it. I should have seen that rock that was jutting up, silly mistake. Those who were behind me were more shook up than I was.
Later in the race, I noticed my left ring finger was bleeding pretty good. I stopped at a bathroom in a nearby campground and rinsed it off. The only way to describe the feeling was that it felt like a little knife in my finger when the water hit it. (Good thing I had bought a Qalo ring the week before.) The important thing was that I was still having fun. There were still 10 miles to go and a little blood wasn’t stopping me from finishing.
I think of scrapes and bruises much the same way that many mountain bikers do, they are trophies. They show that the prize was earned, the effort was there. People see injuries and naturally ask what happened. “Oh, I was running down this mountain and lost my footing”. I have notice that the look they give you is the exact same look they will give you when you say that you ran 50k or 50 miles. It’s one of complete amazement, shaking their head.
Truth be told, there is risk in everything we do, its just a question of what risks you feel are acceptable for the end results. There is risk in driving your car to work everyday, there is risk in bicycle riding. Risk all around you, most of the time we choose to ignore it or are completely oblivious to it.
To achieve your greatest potential, you will have to accept some risk. There will be times when you question that risk and those decisions. Fear cannot rule your mind without affecting your body and desire.
I chose to take the risks associated with trail running because the reward of the time on the trail in nature far outweighs the scab on my knee or a swollen ring finger. Just in case though, I always carry a small first-aid kit in my truck.