My Most Embarrassing Fitness Moment: Jenn vs. the Sidewalk

For this edition of Question of the Week, each FBG is recounting her most embarrassing moment when it comes to working out. Buckle up…these should be fun!


I like to tell myself that my most embarrassing fitness moment isn’t exactly unique. That every runner trips—HARD—at one time or another during training. After all, when you’re preparing for a marathon, you run oh-so many miles. You’re likely to misstep eventually, right?

I probably trip almost every single time I run outside. Whether it’s on a trail or around my neighborhood, I sometimes get so into the groove of running and jamming to my favorite workout tunes that I apparently lose control of my muscles or, more likely, my surroundings become less clear to me. And trip I do. Boom. Usually, I do that really awkward falling thing where your arms jut out and your face goes all wonky and you make that weird scream/embarrassed-laugh sound. And then, just before face-planting, I catch my balance, take a quick look around to see if anyone saw my spaz-out and get on with my run, face red from the embarrassment (even if no one is around, my own clumsiness is embarrassing to me most days).

But, I don’t always catch myself. Like was the case with My Most Embarrassing Fitness Moment Ever. About half a mile into an 18-mile marathon-training run, I was already SO into the running groove and feeling great. The weather was beautiful, and I was super happy to be out running in it. And then, suddenly, my toe clipped an uneven sidewalk and without me even having time to do my usual spaz-out, I was down.


And I hit hard, folks. Although I somehow avoided total face-plant, my knees took the brunt of the fall and were all scraped up and bleeding. It apparently looked bad enough—and here’s where this fall becomes My Most Embarrassing Fitness Moment Ever—that a guy driving by in a giant red truck (the fact that he’s in a truck really has nothing to do with the story, but it’s one of those little details that I remember super well for some reason) screeched to a halt in the middle of the street and jumped out to make sure I was okay. Like, I didn’t-need-to-go-to-the-hospital okay. Of course, in the commotion, other cars stopped to gawk, too.

Now that’s embarrassing.

I told him that I was just a little scraped up, and was fine. I was just going to, you know, go ahead and run the rest of my 17.5 miles. And that I did, swollen knee, stinging sensation, little bit of blood and all. Because I’m apparently too proud to run home for a Band-Aid. Or let a big dude in a red truck know that “Ouch, mo-fo that HURT.”

While I doubt many of you have stopped traffic because of a misstep, please tell me I’m not the only one who has trouble running outdoors… —Jenn


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  1. Patricia says:

    I was squatting using a universal machine and a guy kept looking at me every time I squatted down. I thought two things; he liked my form or he was checking me out and waiting for the right time to approach me. I moved to another exercise and a lady walked up to me. She told me that the back of my exercise shorts were torn. Torn right where the lord split me. I figured out why the guy was looking at me. Embarrassing!!!

  2. Nicole says:

    Man! At least you earned whatever scraps and scars came from that fall. My most embarassing moment, if you’d call it that, was when I first joined a gym a few years back. For the first 3 days, I was using the mens locker room (I had no idea, and remember thinking how odd it was that they only had 1 locker room). On the 3rd day, right after I changed, 2 guys walked in and told me I was in the wrong place. Thank god I had all my clothes on!

  3. Jessica says:

    Jenn, not to worry. I had the exact same experience. Stupid uneven sidewalks. And the person who stopped to check on me was a mom in a big old SUV with little kids staring at me through the windows. Like you, I was maybe half a mile in, and I blame the trip on the fact that it wasn’t fully light out. But I wasn’t able to keep going. I fell on one hand and then my other side and had a sprained wrist and a bruised rib that prevented me from doing much moving at all for a few weeks. Now I’m ever so paranoid and cautious on sidewalks.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Yeah, I was in a locker room having a shower post-workout when the FIRE ALARM went off for a fire drill. I ran to my locker to put some clothes on while I had the lady in charge of clearing the locker room yelling “If this were a real fire you would be DEAD right now!” Oh MAN. That was probably 7 years ago and I still can’t believe that happened to me.

  5. Angela says:

    Oh you are not alone my friend. I once fell on some ice and two elderly women stopped to make sure I was ok. I was 30 at the time. And last year I was running hills, slipped on loose gravel, cut my knee and worse yet my beloved lululemon crops but ran those hills anyways because I’m stubborn like that.

  6. Colleen says:

    Not the only one! I was in mile 5 of a 10 mile run last fall through Lincoln Park in Chicago. There was a sandbag out to hold down a construction sign. I said to myself “DO NOT TRIP over that sandbag.” Well, my back leg caught it and I went DOWN.
    The embarrassing part–I limped into a coffee shop to clean up the blood and an older gentlemen stood up, threw his hands in the air and said “Did you fall down?” Just like was 5 years old. I half expected him to ask if I broke the sidewalk–my mom always asked that.
    And yes–I ran the 5 miles back home.

  7. I switched to running mostly trails over the last few years, but the various muddy patches, rocks, and tree roots haven’t caused any bad trip-and-fall incidents (lots of close calls, though!). When I can’t get to a decent trail during the winter, though, I’m stubborn enough to run on my neighborhood’s icy roads…but I doubt anyone has ever witnessed my oh-so-spectacular flailing falls.

    The most startling fall I’ve ever seen was a woman just crossing the finish line at a 5K. At full speed, and in full view of everyone, she tripped on the timing mat and landed spread-eagled on the asphalt. I’m not sure which hurt worse–the road rash or the embarrassment.

  8. Cindy says:

    I was enjoying my usual morning swim when the fire alarm went off. This has happened before and in the past the pool was not evacuated we just stand at the side of the pool. This time it really was a fire and we were hussled out into the street in the snow. We went accross the street to the grocery store for the heat and soon had towels then blankets to wrap up in. All I can see is the shoppers turning to look at me wet and in my bathing suit walking into the store. Embarrassing but an adventure as well.

  9. Ayla says:

    My most embarrassing moment: I was trail running in big bear with my ex and this two siblings. I was third in line and took a huge spill on our way back. I was so embarrassed and cried, not because I was badly hurt, but because I was embarrassed. We still had about 5 miles to go, and I had scraped up both my knees and my right wrist. I just wanted to get back, and my adrenaline had kicked in and I was first down the mountain. Hopefully my speed made up for my embarrassing fall.

  10. Abby says:

    I actually threw up while doing an intense bodyweight HIIT workout one time. I had arrived at the gym relatively hungry from a long day at work, but was parched so I kept drinking, drinking, and drinking more water. Well, after a few burpees, mountain climbers, and reverse crunches, I got up too fast and without any physical forewarning threw up! Thankfully I was in a partially closed off room so no one saw me. I then hurried to get a towel to wipe it up before anyone else entered the room. It was still quite embarrassing, though!