Implicit Bias Trail, PA.

Interesting moment on the trail last week.

I’m working, and running, out of town in New Hope, PA. And New Hope is situated on the Delaware river, with amazing trails on both sides of the water that parallel the old canal towpaths that made these river towns into economic powerhouses back in the day. Now the towpaths are long winding wetlands full of green and blossoms.


We had rehearsal and a show that day prior to opening, so I wasn’t out for big mileage. But as I wended my way out of town heading north up the river on a beautiful morning, I shared the trail with quite a few others, including a black woman out for a morning workout. I waved to her as I passed her, about a half mile north of a sign that said the trail was closed for construction ahead. She was heading south so had already been to the site, and I kept going north, eking out every step until found it completely blocked with heavy machinery.

As I ran back, I came upon her again, this time in conversation, near the sign, with two older white folks riding bicycles. She was pointing back up the trail, obviously trying to explain to them what I had just learned, that the trail was indeed closed, and the sign was correct. As I ran up, he motioned for me to stop. I pulled out my earbuds.

“Is it true?” He said.

“What?” I asked.

“Is the trail closed?”

It took a half second for me to realize that these very nice white people were not going to take her word for it, but were more than happy to take mine. I looked at her, then at them.

“What did she say?” I asked.

“She said it’s closed.” He answered.

I took a step closer to him. “Well, then I think you should believe HER.”

I took a step past him, then turned and looked back at her, as she stood there with what I can only describe as a weary look on her face. She met my gaze.

I pointed at the nice old couple, who were turning their bikes around, and shook my head. “White people.”

She laughed. And I ran on.

On injury: What does it teach us?

I have developed a cranky back.

Where I wish I was right now.

Where I wish I was right now.

Specifically, my L3-4 joint is a klooge-filled sh*tshow. An inflamed junkyard of sneaky stabbing pains. 

Because of this back, I pulled out of the NYC Marathon this year, and I've been off (and back in, then off) the road since mid September. For those of you who know me, you know how much running is a part of my life. This SUCKS. 

However, in an effort to cut thru the frustration of all this, I've been trying to use my noggin for something other than negativity.  Thus:

Every time we have injuries, we re-learn some things. Here's my list:

I'm a terrible patient. It's in my genes; my Dad is a surgeon, my Grandad was a physician; they both got into trouble by not taking advice that they themselves would give to others. Many of us ignore things repeatedly when it comes to health. And this bad back is driving me up the freaking wall and all I want to do is take a long run...but if I want this to be anything other than a chronic condition, if I want to beat this massive knot, I have to do follow orders and rest, do my PT, etc, and not try to 'force things', as difficult as that can be.

It's okay to be angry.  I'm pissed, pissy, cranky, you name it. The point (and I have varying degrees of success with this) is not to let the anger lead you to stupidity: Like saying f*ck it and going out for a 10 miler because you've missed your endorphin drug of choice for days and weeks. 

As with everything else in this life, it's a journey. PT, MRI, a needle full of steroids into that joint between my vertebrae: Better living thru Chemistry. How many times? How long is this particular trip? We'll see.

Update: So far, so good not back on the road just yet, but things are looking good. Even though this feels like a long way to go, I'm glad I started down the treatment path and am battling my various demons. 


BIGGEST LESSON: Ignore medical conditions at your peril. I'm not saying be a hypochondriac by any means; but if something persists, even if you think the treatment may suck nearly as much as the condition, Get. It. Checked.