Bloodied knees and hands and another smashed pair of sunglasses. At times I can laugh off falls. Today, getting back up was difficult.

Being outdoors as dawn settles can be daunting; transition from daylight to darkness, overwhelming. For many years of my life I had perfect eyesight so am fortunate to remember what running in the dark can look and be like. Now that I see 70% less, my sight which remains is impaired to focus and account for depth hence like playing a cruel trick on an innocent child.

Objects closer or further than they appear at times leaves me guessing. Developing trust in my feet is going frustratingly slow. As I become more acquainted with my differently abled body, I am slightly more willing to take risks and hope for the best when obstacles appear to be hampering the trail; experience is the name I give my falls. Bloodied knees, hands ingrained with rocks, strawberried forearms, broken sunglasses and a whole bunch of tears; I am far from ease and perpetually looking to build confidence generally though specifically running technical downhill terrain. Discovering trails around the world means never running the same trail twice hence not allowing myself to become familiar and build on specific experience yet I am unable to be so gracious as to account for unfamiliar territory.

My hope for today seemed simple; run from the farm where I am staying to a seemingly well marked peak, out and back with no worries of getting lost nor infringing weather. Like a jigsaw sometimes the pieces don’t quite fit where they should. The previous few days of increased mileage with an enjoyable mixture of varied terrain, single track grasslands, long climbs, speedy lakeside rollers all in the intense kiwi sun combined to result in a weary body. Though having experience to know enough to listen to that fatigue, I chose differently. My feet felt heavy, the voices were full on screaming and the tank was empty; a disastrous concoction. Rocky was shouting about strength and fitness while somewhere deep within, an angelic voice advocated that tomorrow could be better if I am more kind to myself today. Rocky won today; it was a dark day of doubt.

Disappointment, anger and frustration thrown into one magnificent and horrible mistake; bloodied knees hands, forearms and yet another smashed pair of sunglasses all which could have easily been avoided if I had listened to that angel. A closed door is an opportunity to open it again; a fall is an opportunity to get back up. At times I am able to bounce back quickly, even laugh it off; today, getting back up was difficult. It was not the impact of the fall that broke my glasses it was the force with which I slammed them down in frustration.

Like that of a slamming door, the force of my latest broken sunglasses reverberates across time. Thankfully, I am at a place in my recovery where I know the sun will rise with new opportunities tomorrow.

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