Dr.J. on Running


Solo Flight

Man Made for Running

Published April 29, 2002 in The Syracuse Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Since my youth, I developed a fascination with flying. My village overlooked an airport. I spent hours watching planes take off and land. I could identify the make and model of every plane from the sound of its engines.

So, when I finally took off on my first solo flight, I bungled the landing. It happened last winter. Running at full speed, I hit a patch of ice and found myself airborne. I flew parabolically for a few meters, and crashed hard against the pavement. My landing gear, formerly known as my left wrist, collapsed under my fuselage.

An X-ray revealed a fracture of the triquetrum, one of eight bones in the wrist. It earned me a hard yellow cast for two weeks. I did not ask my orthopedist if I could run, since I was not prepared for his answer. So, even before the cast dried, I returned to the road for a two-mile run.

I wrapped my arm in a plastic bag to keep out the shower water. However, I had no solution for the dirt and sweat from inside. Within days, my arm itched and smelled worse with every run. Even our dogs kept their distance from me.

A removable splint eventually replaced the cast. I wore the splint on my runs, but removed it during the shower. My wrist felt almost normal six weeks after my crash. I gradually retired the splint. My mileage rebounded. I ran on each of the first five days in April.

As I finished my run on the fifth day, I tripped on uneven trail. I took off for my second solo flight of the season, and crashed several meters away. This time, I damaged much more than my landing gear.

I lay motionless for several minutes. I felt intense pain in my triquetrum - now that I know where it is. My elbow was bleeding. My shoulder was scraped. My knee felt very painful. My hip was bruised. When I finally got up, with much help, I hobbled to the nearest bathroom. I washed my wounds, and iced my wrist and knee.

The morning after, my knee resembled a pineapple. My leg moved in unison like a monopod. My wrist retreated full-time into its splint. My running shoes hung idle in the mud room. My running streak ended. A bag of frozen peas on my knee and a cappuccino in my good hand, I turned to flight simulators for a fix.

Soon, I will return to flight training on the trails of Highland Forest.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.