Today, I'd barely started my 12.5km run--I was 450m in--when I felt a sensation that I'd felt many times since I started running regularly; a sensation, that is, that I was losing my balance, that I'd tripped on something, that I was going to fall. But unlike all those other times when I managed to regain my balance and hold myself steady, today, my first attempt at regaining my lost balance was unsuccessful, and I felt myself flailing forwards, my feet out of sync with the rest of my body. I tried again to re-balance myself...but instead of feeling my feet finding their rhythm once more, I felt a sharp pain as my right knee hit the ground, hard, bearing most of the brunt of the fall. Then I felt pain in both palms which I held out to break my fall as I went down, and finally, some slight pain on the tip of my nose that grazed the pavement. I had bits of dried leaves on my clothes.
My first thought was, 'Can I still continue running?' My next thought was, 'This pain is so bad. I can't possibly run for an hour like this.'
The pain in my right knee was so intense that I couldn't get up. I sat in the middle of the pavement, possibly cross-legged, hugging my knee and swearing out loud. A passerby, who was walking in my direction when I fell, asked if I was okay. I clearly wasn't, but I wasn't sure what he could've done for me anyway, so I said yes, and asked him if my nose was bleeding. Thankfully it wasn't.
Thankfully I was wearing pants--my trusty Under Armour ColdGear pants--as otherwise the graze that is now on my right knee would have been an unsightly gash, and would potentially leave a scar like the burn mark that I received on my right wrist when I fell in Cambridge in 2016. There is a very slight graze on my left knee too but it's not significant. What is significant is the bruising and swelling on my right knee. I do not know what it is because I didn't see a doctor (I'm not even registered with a GP in London), but I suppose the fact that I could walk back to the house and go up and down the stairs to shower means that it's not that bad. It is still worrying nonetheless because the front of the knee suffered most of the impact and hit the ground directly. I really hope that it recovers within the next few days, not just because I'm running two half-marathons in March (one in the first week of March, the other in the last, or near the last), but because I really do not like sitting around and not exercising. I am so used to working out regularly that the thought of being unable to do so is really depressing. In fact, I like starting my days with a run or some exercise of sorts because it puts me in a good mood. I have noticed that, on days when I don't do something sporty in the morning, I'm tired and grumpy. So I really don't want to be tired and grumpy over the next week or so, especially because I'm already having a very hard time with trying to finish the PhD.
The main reason I haven't been writing and haven't even finished the 2018 year in review that I started a couple of days ago is because this PhD is wearing me out. I have begun to go to the British Library at around 2ish and finishing after 7pm, primarily because I don't want to pay 2.90 quid for the peak hour tube (non-peak is 1.50 for me because of my rail card discount); and so when I get back it's past 8. But it's not the time that matters; it's the intensity of the mental work of the afternoon that drains me of mental energy when I'm back in my room, on my bed, and although I know I ought to write, I just can't.
The reason I'm writing now is because I didn't go to the library today thanks to the injury. And since I didn't do that, I didn't have an intense thesis-revising day, which means I still have some fuel left in the mental tank to write this. But at the same time, I feel like I have wasted a day when I'm already two days behind my plan of revising Chapter 2 by last week.
The next few months are going to be tough. I am stressed out. I kind of wish that I hadn't moved to London because it's so much easier to use the law faculty in Cambridge; I can go anytime I want and leave anytime I want. Here, I am controlled by the library's opening and closing time, and it's just quite frustrating. It's also rather demoralising, not to have any friends to relax with after a long day, or in between writing sessions. So I kind of want to move back to Cambridge in March...but at the same time, I would rather be in London when the thesis is done so that I can do things, go around London, explore it even more, instead of being stuck in Cambridge with nothing to do. The point, then, is that I really didn't time my move very well.
Anyway. Although falling sucked, it was nice that I came across some genuinely concerned strangers. A man helped me up when I was still sitting on the pavement and asked me to see if I could bend/stretch my leg, and said I should rest a bit before trying to walk back. When I limped my way back, this delivery driver asked if I wanted him to call the ambulance. I walked past this house and the two people standing outside asked if I was okay, offered me ice. When I was almost at my house, this elderly man asked me what happened; he'd seen me run and was surprised, I suppose, that I was back so quickly and limping. 'Bless you,' he said.
Of course, there were people who were nonplussed; but then, if I see someone who's injured and that others have helped, I wouldn't offer to help either. So it is what it is.
The thing is, though, is that I do not like it when my plans change. I do not like it when life throws a spanner in the wheel that I have designed and stops it dead in its track when I need it to keep spinning. Coupled with the stress of the bloody PhD, while I sat on the short wall of the houses that line the road, it'd felt like everything--whatever this metaphysical, amorphous and ill-defined 'everything' might be; the universe, perhaps--was conspiring against me, like I couldn't do anything right, like I simply couldn't stop failing at everything, at life.
And so I called E and started crying. He was very sweet, of course; offered to come to me immediately, then offered to come see me at night. Even last night when I was moaning about the PhD stress, he asked if I wanted him to come and pick me up that very night and take me to Cambridge.
Do I wish he'd been here to help? Yes. But it's okay because I know that he'd come if I asked, and that's enough for me.
I'm tired. My left arm hurts. My neck hurts. I am stressed. I don't like life very much right now.