I had run 4.64 miles on the downward sloping road when it happened.

I tripped.

There wasn’t a rock, pothole or good reason it happened. I was still trying to figure out why I was falling as my right, then left knee were torn open.

My palms instinctively tried to brace my body and were grated open on the bumpy asphalt. I immediately rolled to my backside and stood, on the side of the road.

My whole body ached from the jarring impact.

My brain registered the stinging pain and blood was pooling on my hands. I could see blood and skin through the holes in my running tights on my right knee. Two tears escaped, rolling down each cheek. I bent my knee to walk, and more tears came as a wave of fresh pain washed over me.

I paused my watch GPS tracking and music on my phone, and limped forward a few steps until I had 1 bar of reception on my cellphone. I said a silent prayer that my call would get through to my husband from my remote location at the top of the mountain.

I cried more when he answered.

“I fell, I’m bleeding, and I can barely walk, Craig. I need you to come get me.”

“Well,  I just got back to town. Do you need me to bring you the first aid kit? I’m assuming that it’s in the car somewhere, right?”

I angrily swiped the tears from my cheeks before responding, “Just come get me, okay? I can barely walk.  There’s no way I can run 18 miles today. I’ve only gone about 4.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I  can. ”

Genealogy Jen's hand after she fell running

My hand after falling

I knew we had left the first of three nutrition supply bags for my run at mile 5. I squirted one of my water bottles on my left hand as I started hobbling towards the bag. I paused, and I cleaned my right knee next.

I silently chastised myself.

I should have put napkins in the sack with the bottle of water and the peeled Mandarin orange. I had ignored the thought to do it in my rush to leave the house. I didn’t have a bandana I could have worn to wrap around my hand. I didn’t have a miniature first aid kit.

I don’t usually fall.

I was frustrated that I was unprepared for this.

I used the inside of one of the gloves I had taken off around mile three to dab at the wounds after slowing the bleeding on my hands and knees.

I didn’t want to run today. I don’t really want to run any day, but I do it anyway, because I am persistent. Once I have committed to something, even if it’s a marathon, and I am not athletic or a runner, I usually follow through with dogged determination.

If I quit today, I would still have to run 18 miles later this week.  It was part of my training plan. What if I felt worse from my fall on Saturday when I tried again? What if I fell during the marathon? Or my legs cramped up?

Would I quit then?

If I didn’t persevere through this, how would I last 26.2 miles when it was time for St. George?

I needed to run 18 miles today.

“You don’t need to pick me up, but I still need the first aid kit,” I calmly told my husband when I redialed his number.

“Are you sure, Honey? I’m on my way, and can drive you home if you want to. ”

“I’m sure.”

Sometimes on your way to a goal, you will trip and fall.

You might feel stinging rejection when something doesn’t work out the way you hoped it would… like I did last week when none of my proposals were accepted by Rootstech to be a speaker at this February’s genealogy conference.

Genealogy Jen's injured knee

My wounded knee

When you fall, it might feel like you will never be able to stand up and keep going through the physical and or emotional pain you’re feeling.

Sometimes, the pain is so overwhelming and all you can do is cry.

That’s okay.

What matters most is what you choose to do next.

Will you quit, or will you keep running?

I pushed play on my music, and I ran.


What makes you keep going when you feel like quitting?

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