I used to be a runner. In another life. Or rather, a couple of years ago. 

I am not a natural athlete. I played no sports in high school or college. I have repeatedly said, “I’m not running anywhere unless I’m being chased.” 

Then my late 30s hit and my metabolism slowed down. I started biking and running to maintain my size. At the time, I lived in an area where people were always out on the streets being active. There were trails close by, and it felt safe (and trendy).

I had my Fitbit, my arm band & wireless headphones. I started jogging alone, but felt guilty about leaving Clever at home. Clever is not good on a leash, and admittedly, all of her bad traits are my fault. Clever is a pit mix, with a slim muscular body and a strong will, so I half expected her to pull me down the street and set the pace. 

The first time I tried running with her, we neared the end of the run passing by an apartment complex with a small gated dog park out front. I kept my eyes open for dogs inside the gate because the only thing Clever likes more than cheese is another dog. As we’re going by the gate, Clever stops to greet a dog through the gate. I pull and pull, almost dragging her behind me. Then she simultaneously darts in front of me at full speed. I trip over the leash and land very inelegantly on my knee in a pile of gravel on top of some concrete. 

Now, I can’t tell you the last time I fell and actually had visible injuries, but at that moment I was transported back to being a clumsy 6 year old. It hurt so bad, and I just knew by the dust that gathered on my yoga pants that I had broken something. And how was I going to make it the 500 feet to my apartment stairs.


Clever looked me in my face, and her eyes said, “Man up.” Then I looked around and saw this older man judging me. I dusted myself off, and limped the rest of the way home. I had a couple of scrapes on one knee, and I lived to never take Clever on a run with me again. 

A month or two later, I discovered an ice cream shop within walking running distance to my apartment. The only thing I love more than ice cream is Bae. I plan to run my route with a little detour as a reward. I got my cone of mint chocolate chip from Jake’s, and walked up the hill in the direction of my apartment. It was hot, the ice cream was melting down my hands and I was super focused on not dripping on myself. I stepped off the curb with my right foot, and into a hole. My leg went one way, my ankle went another, and I heard a pop. I braced myself with one hand, and maintained control of my ice cream cone in the other. 

I was so focused on my ice cream cone that I didn’t realize how badly I was hurt until I stood up and tried to put my full weight on my foot. I hobbled down the street, and around the corner alternating between wincing in pain, and licking my ice cream. I clumsily managed to make it up the stairs and into my apartment before collapsing on the couch. I grabbed a pillow to elevate my ankle, and spent the rest of the evening on the couch. I fully expected to be back to normal the next day, but I wasn’t. 

To the podiatrist I went. Doc said it was a bad sprain. After wearing a big heavy boot for 6 weeks, it still wasn’t healed. Actually, it felt worse. It was another 3 weeks before I was close to being back to normal. That was almost 2 years ago, and I still have pain in my foot from time to time. I think I may have actually fractured my foot along with the sprain. 

Since then, I take extra care when walking and licking ice cream at the same time.