John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Euphoria of 5K finish dispelled by sidewalk crack

Wonder if all those folks I heard last January and February who said, “Oh, if summer ever comes, I’ll never complain about the heat and humidity again,” remember now that they said it?

I had been feeling pretty good about the condition my condition was in following successful completion of the Races For Paws 5K last month. I half-fast walked and jogged, huffing and puffing so audibly during the last K that mothers with small children pulled them protectively back  from the street when I passed.

 The next weekend I went to New Orleans on the Amtrak. When time came to return, I hoisted my backpack, shouldered another bag and strode down to catch the Magazine Street bus down to the Union Station.

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You should call a cab, my wife told me when I loaded up to walk out the door. (I would hear about that advice again.)

No, I thought to myself. If I can complete the 5K, surely I can walk the few blocks from the bus stop to the train station.

And I did, leaving the bus at a Camp Street stop near the World War II Museum, I walked across St. Charles, around Lee Circle and down Howard Avenue to Union Station.

The day was hot, the pack heavy, but the destination was in sight when, unfortunately, I encountered a slight difference in elevation between the joints of the concrete sidewalk that had not been in sight. I tripped. The additional weight of that luggage forced out a loud, “UGHH” upon impact.

I jumped up quickly, dusting off my hands and looking around to see whose entertainment I had just provided. There were a few cab drivers waiting about. They either did not see me or chose to remain indifferent and either way, I was glad.

I strode boldly into the station as though nothing had happened. By then the bus was loading to take us to the train waiting at Hammond (the rail bridge was out over the Bonnet Carré spillway.) It was only when I took a seat on the bus that I was able to take stock of my injury.

The right knee bore the brunt of the fall, pants were ripped and knee bloody. All that trip, I was painfully reminded of the fall whenever I navigated the stairs between the upper and lower levels of the train car.

Since then, Epson salt baths have done wonders for the soreness and the sidewalk rash.

Not so for my feelings. The condition my condition is in has not be able to recover the euphoria that I found after the 5K.