Don’t Pick At It

I picked at it, “it” being a scab that had grown over a fairly significant gash I had earned on a hot, hilly trail run a couple weeks ago. On a good day, along a clear path, my risk of falling is probably higher than most healthy individuals in my demographic –but then add gnarly roots, sharp rocks, heat and fatigue, and it’s surprising that I fell only once. I lay on my back for a while in the mud, blood trickling down the front of my leg, knee throbbing, before pushing the pace back home; it wasn’t just an act of masked bravery and saving-face –I actually felt okay. For a “recovery run”, one of those two words it was not, but as far as physical discomfort during a run goes, it ranked as mild to bland compared to something like, oh I don’t know, GI distress.

So over the next few days, a hearty scab formed over the wound, and having been gently instructed, reminded, and re-reminded not to pick at it, I refrained from tearing it off for a short time. Before my tempo last night, though, it was starting to dangle, like a racer toeing the line and ready to tear off. So I did what any grown-ass woman with the sensibilities of an eight-year-old boy would do: I tore that sucker off.

The result was not great. That scab was almost ready to be torn off, but the science of scabs reveals that a scab almost ready to be torn off is not meant to be torn off, perhaps not unlike the science of a souffle, which I have heard is very difficult to make, requiring patience, poise, precision.

Not to be deflated, I still went on my tempo as planned, completed it, and by the end of the run, I looked down and saw that a new scab was starting to form.

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