The full extent of my injuries

When I took a hard fall down a rocky slope while descending through a rubber orchard, I didn’t realize all the places I’d been injured. The 31 km trail race I was running yesterday started an hour before sunrise. I’d run the first 10 km or so with a headlamp showing the way.

By the time the sun came up, and the headlamp came off, I’d climbed from the starting point at the scout camp all the way up to the steep ground of the rubber orchards that were right at the edge of the national park.

If you’ve run with me at Ko Samui, or at Ko Muk, or in Chiang Rai, you’ll know this type of terrain. For motorcycle access, there will often be a concrete path about a foot wide on the steepest sections, scored with deep grooves for improved traction. The race route had gone up one of those paths. I was following the pink ribbons marking the course as I traversed the slope, and then I came to a particularly steep section over rocky ground. At some point, I slipped, or a rock did, and I fell.

I’m not sure if it was the steepness of the slope, or the momentum with which I was descending, because once I was on the ground, and thought I would stop, I rolled a couple more times. I wasn’t seriously hurt—no sprains or broken bones. And I didn’t feel much pain. There was a bit of heat on my knees. That’s what I felt at the time. So I got up, continued down that hill, and carried on running for another few hours.

As I ran, I noticed more and more scrapes. I didn’t want to look at my knees. I felt something near my left shoulder. That appeared to be a small puncture wound. On my left hand, a small cut. Only at home, hours later, when I was getting Betadine treatment, did I realize there was another scrape on my left forearm. I was surprised to see a cut on my right wrist. And it turned out that my knee scrapes were insignificant.

This was my only fall. It was nothing like that slippery race in Krabi when I fell four times. I didn’t fall on any of the single track trails through the jungle. I didn’t fall on any of the stream crossings. I didn’t fall on any of the other oil palm or rubber orchard crossings. I was able to finish the race in pretty good time, and I’m not sure yet how I finished, because I went directly home to treat all my scrapes with a disinfectant. I’m happy to report that I have every expectation of a full recovery.

And that’s not the only good news. If you click the images in the photo gallery above, you’ll be able to see the entire image and scroll through the gallery. Do you see it? I ran for four hours and fourteen minutes. Through the dark. Through orchards and jungle. Over and through streams. Over logs, usually. Under one log to make a pass when there was a queue on top of it. And of course the terrible fall. Yet through all that, my moustache stayed intact.

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