Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Bad Run

The weather was so gloomy and so was my mood. I should have seen it coming. I put peanut down for his early nap and hopped in my car for a run by myself on the trails. There's something a little off feeling about being 7 months pregnant and running alone in the woods. I love the trails and I love running alone sometimes, so that's why I do it. But all those things they tell you about why this might be a bad idea seemed to come to pass in one run.

I peed before I hit the trails, but of course before I even made it two miles I couldn't hold the new pee that had accumulated in my smooshed bladder. So, I deviated from my bridle path route to a part of the trail that was a little more secluded to pee. I was just finishing when I got "caught" by a young woman, thank goodness. But still I felt dumb. I was stewing about that when I was ambling along and all of a sudden my toes jammed into a root and like out of a bad movie I slow-mo'ed my way down down down into the dirt. I was low to the ground so I more slid across the roots and dirt and less fell. I scraped just below my knee, my hip and my shoulder and I did a number on my right pinky finger.

Of course I didn't give a sh*t about that. I could only think of #2 and what a selfish horrible person I was for being out there and risking something like that. I felt like the biggest idiot. I had no idea what to do. I got up, brushed myself off and just stood there bewildered for a few minutes. My intuition told me #2 was fine. My belly bore no brunt of the fall and like I said it was less of a jarring thing and more of a sliding thing so there wasn't a lot of baby shaking going on. I know my body is meant to protect her and I trust that. I also trust that my body would tell me if something wasn't right. Just in case I gave my belly a little poke and it poked back so I felt a tiny bit relieved. I decided to stay on the smooth bridle path and to be more alert the rest of the way and continued on. I also stopped at the restroom the next time I had to pee.

About three miles later I had almost forgiven myself when I spotted a golden retriever type thing ambling along the path. Then I saw his presumed owner about 50 feet ahead. I like dogs, but I am not a big fan of dogs off their leash at the park. I've seen dogs jump up on and even bite people as they have run by. Nice dogs too. I always approach unleashed or poorly leashed dogs with extreme caution. As I got even closer I noticed another dog a ways ahead of the man. At first I thought it was attached to another person coming in the opposite direction but as I got closer I realized that it was a pit bull, it was unleashed and it belonged to this guy too.

I am deathly afraid of pit bulls. Encountering an unleashed pit bull on a run is one of my nightmare scenarios. Seriously.

As soon as I made this realization I calmly asked the man to leash his dogs. "They won't bother you he said." No sooner did he start to speak when the pit bull turned and looked at me and charged directly at me. DIRECTLY AT ME. I was petrified. Shocked. Terrified. I stood still and repeated "I do not like this. Please put it on a leash." I am so afraid that a dog will sense I'm afraid and attack me. My adrenaline kicked in and kept me calm enough, I guess. I just stood still and tried to keep my voice calm but my directions precise. The man grabbed both of his dogs. Douche never did put the leash on them. He did take them onto a different trail in a different direction. When he got a little bit away he turned back and asked if I was ok. I don't know if my terror showed or if maybe I looked like I had been a shipwreck with my leg wound and the dirt covering my right side. Who knows.

As soon as they were out of sight I broke down sobbing. Between the fall and the dog terror I felt so awful. I felt like these were signs that I was a selfish horrible mother and to be like other moms and go home and act like one--whatever the hell that means. I ran sobbing for about half a mile. I stopped crying, more because I felt like I looked like enough of a class A A-hole as it was that I didn't need to add blubbering fool to the mix. I trudged up castle hill. I ran under the trees over the last mile of my run praying none would snap in the wind and fall on me--would seem somewhat fitting after the rest of the morning's events.

I came home and told mrp about it all. I expected him to be upset with me, but he wasn't at all. He was very sympathetic. I think he understands.

Being a mother does not erase the woman under the title. Mothering requires a balancing of what's best for her children, but also what's best for the person who is the mother. On days like today when my beliefs are so soundly challenged I am faced with the choice of turning away from these beliefs towards whatever it is that I think society-at-large wants me to believe. My impulse was to run home and put my feet up and never run pregnant again!

As I type now, after a day of reflection, I am watching and feeling #2 play around in my belly. Instead of knee-jerking and going to the extreme of quitting running all together this pregnancy, I can use today's challenges to tailor my activities to be safer for my more clutsy very pregnant self--stay away from rooty trails or trails all together from now on. I can stick to the populated bike path where I am far less likely to trip and jerks are far less likely to let their pit bulls run wild. I can save my trail runs for runs with the group or my friends. It won't be long until I can leave #2 safely behind while I get my trail run on. But I don't have to give up what I love just yet just because of one bad run.


jsmarslender said...

I think most of us have had those runs, pregnant or not. Pregnancy seems to up the responses though. I'm sorry you had such a trying run, but glad you're going to stick with it. Skipping complicated trails for awhile might be a good idea, for your own peace.

And dog stories! You should write a column on that. I am always, always skittish when I see an unleashed dog. There must be good advice for runners out there.

Michelle Simmons said...

I don't understand how any dog owner could possibly think for a second that it is ok to let their pit bull run around without a leash in a public park??? OMG. I would have had a fit at that owner. You were good to be so calm.

This is a well written post. I think we all, as mothers, struggle with balancing our own needs with those of our kids. Just the fact that you are so aware of it already tells volumes about what kind of mother you are. No need to question yourself. :)

DC Running Mama said...

I'm sorry the dog's owner was so insensitive. Our bodies are meant to protect the little ones, so I'm sure you would be OK with a couple more falls on twisty, rooted trails. But, this post was a microscopic example of what motherhood is: delicately balancing your own desires with those of your children...sometimes feeling like you've taken too much for yourself, and other times feeling that you have too little of yourself left.