I never thought that being run over by my car would make me a better runner. But in some roundabout way, it did. In this blog post, I'm going to share with you the story of how being run over by my own car made me a stronger and more determined runner. It's not a pretty story, but it's one that I hope will inspire you to never give up on your dreams, no matter what life throws your way.
Warning: images showing wounds are in this blog post.
It was a hot summer day in June 2020. We just moved into our new house and a repairmen needed me stop by to open the door for him. I was rushing like always, hopped out of my car with my daughter and son in their carseats, left the front-driver door open, ran to open the door, and ran back to the car. When I hopped in, the car was pushed into neutral and down we went. Our car started rolling down our new driveway while I was caught in between the driver-side door and the car. I was running with it.
The next thing I know, I was being pulled under the driver-side door and rolled with the car in the middle of the road. While I was rolling, the front-left tire ran over my left leg. I remember thinking "that was the tire that went over my leg" but didn't feel a thing. I looked up to find our car had gently landed in the small ditch across the street so I ran to it to check on the kids. Crying, scared but still buckled in their carseats completely untouched. I hopped back in the car to call my husband at work.
As he answered his phone, I looked down for the first time and saw my leg. Blood, skin, bruising already happening. I went into shock and couldn't get words out but he was able to understand he needed to come home immediately and told me to call 911. How embarrassing it was to tell the operator "I was run over by own my car" but an ambulance was on its way to help.
After they got there, they cleaned the wound with what they could while we had to wait for my husband to come to take the kids. They were nervous that I might have broken something so they wanted to take me to the ER. Because it was a hot summer day and I was in shock, they were also concerned I did something to my stomach because I was literally sweating through my shirt. Drenched. I had never been in shock before and I guess I didn't handle it well.
I went in the ambulance to the ER to get everything checked. I had deep road rash wounds on my left foot and inner-left knee, down my shin. They cleaned the wounds a little more and did a some X-rays. Thankfully, nothing was broken. The doctor thinks it was because I was rolling with the car instead of just a flat surface where the pressure would have broken something. To this day I say "roll with it" on almost every run or every obstacle I face in life. I couldn't put weight on my left leg so they gave me crutches and some bacitracin ointment to go home with.
For about two weeks I walked with those crutches because putting weight on my leg was pretty painful. It felt like when your leg falls asleep and you can't get that tingly feeling to go away so it just burns every time you put weight on it.
Taking care of the wounds was a full-time job. Because of how deep they were I had to keep them covered with the ointment, wraps, bandaids, everything you can imagine. It hurt like hell. I've ran 7 marathons, 1 ultra, birthed three kids and this wound healing process was by far the worst.
After 6 weeks of trying to heal the wound by myself (don't recommend) I went to a wound care specialist at our local hospital. For three months, I went almost every week to get my wounds scraped (the worst), cleaned with new bandages, and try different ointments. Throughout this process, I found out how strong I was through the uncomfortable and that I was allergic to a honey-based ointment they put in my wound, even though I'm not allergic to honey itself.
After the wounds healed enough for me to start working out, I relied heavily on bodyweight strength workouts and my Peloton bike. They kept me sane and made me realize that I actually loved cross training. Not as much as running but definitely more than I thought.
I started going to physical therapy to get some strength back in my left leg and worked on that for about another three months. Along with the wounds, my left leg also had a huge bump on the outer-left thigh area that we couldn't figure out what it was. My physical therapist thinks it was underlying bruising that never came to the surface or a bunch of dried blood that came rushing to the area after the tire went over my leg. The bump is still there two years later. I do have a doctors appointment to really figure out what it is and how to get it out soon.
All in all, it could have been so much worse. I've heard many stories since this incident where people have lost their lives because the car went over their stomach instead of leg. Or I could have seriously broken bones. Over those more serious outcomes, I'm so happy that all I had were a couple of wounds, bruising, a little bit of nerve damage, a pretty odd story when people ask about my huge scar, and my oldest daughter telling me to put the car is park immediately every time we go up the driveway.
The process was long and at times I thought my leg wounds would never heal.
But they did.
And now, two years later, I can say that being run over by my car made me a better runner and person. It sounds crazy but it's true.
I'm not as afraid of the uncomfortable/pain anymore. I know what my body is capable of enduring and healing from. I also know just how fortunate I am to have running and literally embrace every single mile I can run. And for that, I am grateful. I'm known to learn the hard way and this was definitely the hard way to learn that I need to slow down and enjoy life for what it is. I have definitely slowed down since this incident and my scar is my daily reminder for that.
If you're ever in a situation where you think all hope is lost, just remember that you are strong and capable of anything. Never give up on yourself. The process will be long & grueling at times but you'll get through whatever it is you're going through - even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Trust the process and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
When life (my car) *literally* knocked me down, I got back up again. And you can too. It hurt. A lot. And when I started to run again it felt damn good to be back out there doing what I love, even if it wasn't pretty or fast. Because that's what runners do, we just keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other until we reach our goal.
If you're feeling down or like you can't go on, just remember that I'm proof that you can. And if I can do it, you definitely can too. You got this! Now go out there and run like the badass runner you are.
Happy running, friends!