They say that bad luck comes in three’s.  If that’s the case (and I sure hope it is), I’m now off the hook.

My string of adverse fortune began a few weeks ago in San Francisco. I flew down there to visit my Dad, who was in town for a conference.  His company put us up in adjourning rooms at a fancy hotel on Nob Hill.  I awoke the first night with what I thought was some type of allergic reaction.  It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized it was something much worse…BEDBUGS!  These creepy critters had molested me while I was sleeping.  I had bites all over my arms, legs, back and even on my forehead.  Just the thought of it now makes my skin crawl.  To their credit, the hotel (which I won’t name) handled the situation in an efficient and professional manner.  They upgraded us to a pair of rooms on the 16th floor with an incredible view of the city.  They had all of our clothes cleaned and our luggage replaced.  When I said I needed to go for a run that afternoon, they told me they’d reimburse me for whatever gear I needed to buy and didn’t blink an eye when I returned with a $300 receipt from a nearby Niketown.  It certainly wasn’t an experience I’d ever want to repeat, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t all that bad.   Plus, I got a free set running gear in the process, which I put to immediate use on a long run over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The second case of bad luck happened a few days after returning to Portland.  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the kind of autumn day that is perfect for a game of touch football or a trail run in Forest Park.  I was about six miles into the run and working my way down a steep downhill section when I turned my ankle on a root hidden beneath some fallen leaves.  I immediately felt sick to my stomach and had to sit down beside the trail.  Thoughts poured into my head:  How would I get back to the trailhead?  Could I still run the Boston Marathon in April?  Would I be able get the money back from the gear I bought in San Francisco?

After sitting there for 10 minutes, I stood up and was surprised to see that the ankle could support my weight.  I was able to jog back to the trailhead, but by the time I got home the ankle was swollen and had turned a lovely shade of blue.  It wasn’t pretty sight, but I could tell it wasn’t all that bad either.  I took the week off and by the following Sunday the ankle felt like it was good to go.

Unfortunately, the third incident of bad luck turned out to be more serious.  When I started training again, I ramped it up a bit too fast.  I realize now that I was probably trying to make up for the week off.  The result of this accelerated return to running was a stress fracture of my lower right tibia.  A quick Internet search made me realize that this is an all-too-common running injury.  I’m not sure if this was something that’s been building up for a while or whether it’s the result of my overcompensating for the twisted ankle.  Either way, I’m out of commission until this thing heals up.  I wasn’t able to take part in the Shellburg Falls Trail Run last weekend, which was a bummer, but the priority for me now is to get better for Boston in April.  And if that means no running for a few weeks, then so be it.

On the first page of Moby Dick, Ishmael says that he is experiencing, “a November in my soul.”  I had never heard that expression before, but I knew immediately what it meant.  He needed an adventure, a challenge.  He needed to mix things up a bit.  So, he signed up on the whaling ship, Pequod, and set off in search of the great white whale.  The November in his soul soon passed.

November has always been my least favorite month and this triple dose of bad luck has made this year especially difficult for my body, as well as my soul.  But now that the bed bug bites, the twisted ankle, and the stress fracture have all started to heal, I feel like things are on the right track.  December has arrived and the November in my soul has been lifted.

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