My Run-In with a Snapping Turtle

My running career was abruptly interrupted about 23 years ago by a repetitive strain injury. I was diagnosed with bursitis of my left Achilles tendon. I was not amused by the irony of discovering that my Achilles tendon was an area of vulnerability. I assumed that the interruption would be brief (hopefully a few days or a few weeks, at most). My training regime for my triathlon races was forged with determination and fed by a very high pain threshold. Apparently it was my determination and high pain threshold, which directly contributed to the repetitive strain that caused the Achilles injury.
I discovered that the bones, muscles and tendons of my back and legs and feet were all connected. Of course, I knew that they were connected but not the depth and significance of how so. I made three unsuccessful attempts to begin running again and it was not just my Achilles tendon but also my knee and feet that gave me pain.
I finally found a shoe that held my toes gently apart and spared my knees and tendon. In October of 2014, I began once again to run. I began my new running regime with patience and care: walking more than I ran and slowly increasing the distance. I run twice a week and the distance now is just five kilometers but I am running injury-free. I run the Rail Trail along the Grand River where I feel connected to nature and part of the river valley.
A few weeks ago, I met a snapping turtle. I got close enough to take her picture and was very careful not to get too close as I had no desire to “test” whether she would snap at me. The turtle was in the same place on my way back as where I had left her. It was the season for the laying of eggs.
A snapping turtle looks almost prehistoric. This one was very large and perhaps quite ancient herself. Turtles live a long time and maybe their longevity is related to the slow and methodical pace of life. A hard shell and readiness to snap are good defences.
I made no attempt to challenge the snapping turtle to a race. Maybe she has been leaving the river to lay eggs for the last twenty or more years while I am only just now able to run again. I would like to take the spirit of the turtle with me as I travel along the river. I will keep my pace methodical and look for longevity rather than speed.
snapping turtle

Leave a Comment

Required fields are marked *.