First, thoughts and prayers to anyone who saw me running shirtless on Saturday morning. But really, I had a good excuse.
I got up before 6am to log an 11-mile run, part of my training for a half marathon in October. I would have preferred to get up a little later considering I’m up before sunrise most week days, but this was a special day: Our youngest child was heading off to college for his freshman year, and he wanted to get going by 8:30am. So rise early I did.
Once I got going I didn’t mind. The run would give me a chance to finalize in my head some words of wisdom to torture my son with on our drive to his college drop-off.
I also congratulated myself for remembering to use insect repellent, anticipating that bugs would be on the attack on this humid morning. Indeed, I pretty much held off the deer flies, mosquitoes and other biting pests.
But then a little past the 8-mile mark near Babson College’s new athletics and recreation facility, I felt a sharp pain near my left shoulder, on my upper arm. I suspected an insect had snuck under my sweaty shirt and was going to town on me. I whacked the spot a couple of times and then realized I was hitting something hard. What the heck?
I pulled off to the side (something I try never to do on my runs) and discovered the source of my pain: a fishing lure set with 2 treble hooks.
I really didn’t think I’d ever outdo this past winter’s flying shovel running incident (Groundbreaking Wellesley story: Flying shovel hit me while I was running). But I think this qualifies.
This is no fish story
I still don’t know how the lure clung to me. My first thought was that it must have been hanging from a tree that I brushed against. Or maybe less dramatically, we had one in our house that got mixed up in the laundry.
However it got there, it got me. As I struggled to dislodge it from my shirt and myself, the hooks dug in. The next thing I knew, a fellow runner (I regrettably failed to get her name) saw me struggling and asked if I needed help.
Self-described as “not mechanical at all,” and confirming that she was “far from being a doctor,” the woman went to work, apologizing if she ripped my shirt. Struggling to free the lure, she tentatively asked if I’d take my shirt off, to give her a better angle at the barbs. Unfortunately, one of her pulls extricated a hook from my shirt and into one of her fingers. After she freed herself from the hook, she tried a bit longer to help me and then suggested I might want to go to the doctor.
Instead, I wrapped the shirt around my left humerus like a tourniquet and ran as fast as I could for the last 3 miles. That consisted of a route mainly on the Sudbury Aqueduct, past the dump and back to my starting spot near Wellesley College.
I arrived home just at 8:30am, apologizing to Mrs. Swellesley and Swellesley Jr., for my late arrival (and being reminded of the time I got stuck on the Charles River without a paddle on an inflatable raft when I was supposed to be getting home for my niece or nephew’s christening…).
And oh yeah, can you help me get this fish hook out of my arm?
My son, a former camp counselor with some basic medical training, switched from final packing mode to surgery mode. We headed to the downstairs bathroom, where the lighting is ER-quality. Mrs. Swellesley sterilized instruments and Swellesley Jr. cut my shirt off. After 5-10 minutes, he plucked the lure from my arm with little blood or screaming from either of us.
The affair provided one last boost of confidence to my son upon heading to college. “At least I’ve got a conversation starter,” he said, knowing he’s sure to be in for a week full of ice-breakers.
Glad I could help.