El Prieto 2008 or how I nearly shattered my kneecap, broke my ankle, killed my iPod and cut off my finger in one day

This year's winner, Lori, and ChuckGreetings! It was quite a weekend, this weekend just past. Actually, it was just a hell of a day. It started early with the 15th annual running of Chuck’s El Prieto Handicap. This was a downhill year, which means a good part of the course (a lot of which was single track trail) was, well, downhill. STEEP downhill. On trails that haven’t been maintained since the mid 1980’s. Given these facts, it may seem odd that I should have even attempted the course. But hey, if Chuck and all of his friends can do it so can I!! This is the second time I’ve run it downhill and this year I got cocky. I got to feeling like Daniel Day Lewis in the opening sequence of Last of the Mohicans when he’s running like his feet never touched the ground through a forest.

So there I was, running like my feet were never touching the ground when one of my feet, which were in fact touching the ground, tripped over a rock and I went SPLAT! on the trail. I slid along the trail and whacked another rock with my knee then slid on the same knee a ways down the trail and as always threw out my left hand to catch my fall. Not being a wimp (and being horribly embarrassed), I jumped up and said to nobody in particular (one or two runners stopped to see if I was okay), “I’m fine, it was nothing!” and kept going. The knee was throbbing some, and I knew I had scraped it, but figured I’d just ignore it – it didn’t hurt that badly. So there’s the kneecap.

Continuing along the trail, about a mile further along, I was again leaping like a gazelle through a particularly rocky patch, when my left foot stepped wrong and I felt my ankle go WAY over in a direction that didn’t seem good. It certainly didn’t feel good. I thought I was done at that point, and once again, a couple of people stopped to see how I was doing. Again I said, “It’s okay, I’ll walk it off. It’s not bad.” And sure enough, after walking about an eighth of a mile, I was able to slowly start working back to a run. The ankle felt okay, but the foot hurt like a son of a gun. Since nothing was swelling, I figured I was good to go. So there’s the ankle.

I made it to the end without falling again (yay, me!). When I got to the end, Chuck’s only comment was that I had dirt on my face. That’s how much he loves me (kidding, honey, kidding!). At the finish, we noted that my boss, her husband, and our good friend Carole, who were all hiking the course, hadn’t finished yet, so I went back up the trail with Mia to find them. They were at the start of the last portion of single track trail, all doing fine, just going slow and enjoying the day (smart plan!). They had their dog Mac with them. He’s a big love of a German Shepherd who is inordinately fond of water. So there we were, walking along the last bit of trail, when Mac sees a pool of water just off the trail on the other side of a bunch of boulders. Off he goes and throws himself in the water, happily paddling around. Then he tried to get out and couldn’t. Uh-oh. I should mention at this point that I had been running with my iPod nano in the back pocket of my running shorts. So when we saw that Mac was stuck, since my running shoes were already all wet from crossing the streams earlier in the course, I volunteered to get in and help Mac. Mia heroically jumped in with me, paddling around both of us and getting herself out (what a good dog she is!). We got Mac out safely after I was submerged almost to my shoulders and that was that. Until I went to get in the car later and remembered the iPod nano that had been in my back pocket. When I jumped in the water. Uh-oh. And in case you’re wondering, no they are NOT waterproof. So there’s the iPod.

When we got home, I showered and cleaned up my knee, and Chuck started cleaning up the yard in preparation for our traditional after-the-race party. After showering, I saw that he had the backyard in hand so I started cleaning up the house. When that was done, I moved on to prepping the food. It was a hamburger/chicken menu, so I started to cut up the tomatoes and onions. You can see where this is going, I bet. I made it through the tomatoes uneventfully and was more than halfway through the onions when WHACK! I missed and sliced into my ring finger. Deep enough that blood spurted. And kept spurting (thank goodness they were red onions!). I grabbed a paper towel and applied pressure. Then grabbed another paper towel. When I bled through that one, too, I decided to get Chuck’s opinion. He took one look and said that we had to go to the urgent care clinic. Argh! So with company coming, I spent an hour and a half at the urgent care clinic to see the doctor just long enough for him to say, “Dermabond, no stitches, and a tetanus shot.” So there’s the finger.

Other than all of that, it was a great day! Pics are here (no bloody ones).