And that is how my thinking about greater problems has disappeared. I'm in the thickets and struggle at times to get out of the details long enough to get a greater view of my job, my life and the universe around it. There were times in my life when I've enjoyed being beyond the thicket, up the trunk and perched somewhat along a branch to look out upon the jungle within eyesight. (But not the jungle beyond, or the concealed clearings.) It's been a while since I had that luxury and it is something that I yearn.
But my job isn't everything. Running, though potentially a hobby to not think about things, is something I now invest quite some time in decision making relating to planning training and time. I now consider myself at least basically capable of doing the planning for myself, and thinking about which events to enter, what paces, workout styles and terrain to run and how to deal with the physical and dietary side of these things. There is an element of creativity, risk/reward and endeavour. It's a realisation to find that the mere act of managing something of your own is a joy, not to mention without the managerial function to my running, I wouldn't nearly enjoy it as much. (There are a lot of other things to enjoy from running such as health, camaraderie, relaxation, pride in achievement, cultivation of self, but it's the managerial function that makes all the other most positive.)
In managing anything there are decisions, risks and rewards. In my job life this week has begun a reckoning about one of my decisions and my handling around it. I've learned a lot. Coincidentally it also featured a moment in my running where two strategic decisions came to a reckoning. Every busy runner has to make decisions of how to get the time to train in the face of all life's other distractions. My choice, which suited my constitution, was to get up early in the morning to run. This in a way has been my key decision to get the mileage in that allows me to run at a decent level. But there are risks. Even the lightest coloured running gear isn't obviously visible to drivers in dark conditions. (Let's face it - even the brightest coloured clothing could be mown down by a driver in the bright of the day.) It's also harder to see the ground and any hazards. This was obvious from the time of the blackouts. At the time of the black-outs I had the choice of borrowing a waist-lamp that would illuminate the path for our group running events but always chose not to. Even when one was free, I chose not to use one. Perhaps it was by conservatism around running gadgets. Perhaps it was my belief that I was a canny runner who could do without. To choose against running with carried illumination is the second strategic decision, which brings us to the result.
On Thursday morning I went on my first hard workout since the half-marathon, interval running at the Domain. I got up at 4:30am and jogged easily to the Domain. Fog had descended on the city and the Domain in particular had captured a layer of it. I began my first mile of pace and in the last quarter heard a van coming from behind me. The headlights hit the fog making for a bright glare. The Domain doesn't have a footpath around the mile loop so I tried to get to the left of the road so not to concern the driver. Just as he passed me, my foot went into a wastewater drain and I was thrown into the asphalt. The van stopped to investigate and I got up, my palms hot and my knee bleeding. He checked me out and but in the van's lights there only seemed to be some grazing and cuts. I thanked him and bid him on his way. I felt fine to continue so jogged for another mile before I felt good to start another mile of pace, then a rest, another mile of pace, and a rest, and a last mile of pace and then jogged home, 14.5km in total, at least 10km of running after my fall. I got home and got cleaned up. I hadn't noticed it but a cut at the base of my little finger had bled down to my elbow. I went to work without trouble but around 11am my left knee swelled up and I struggled to get around the office. I got a bit worried. My left knee had been the knee that I broke four years ago. It was also the one with the fickle tendon that had caused me annoyance for the last 9 months. The physio tested it the next day and found that no ligaments, tendons or bones seemed damaged, likely to be just a "contusion", and fortunately a couple of days on, the initial swelling has gone down. It's plausible that I'll go on a test run tomorrow.
I have to learn from this and act now to get a running light of some sort. I'd broken my knee while walking at slow pace. I'm very lucky if these are only "flesh wounds" considering I was running at interval running pace (between 4:00-4:30 mins/km) and thrown into the hard ground. The broken knee of course was falling onto some steps. I was lucky this time that my hands took the impact. (although interestingly two days later, my shoulder has started aching too.) I was lucky that I've been a habitual runner now with stronger bones. I was indeed lucky.