View Full Version : Aftereffects of Running For Your Life

03-23-2013, 09:37 PM
My MC has an alien chasing her, so she runs at least a mile through a park, jumping over creeks, crashing through bushes, etc. She climbs over a fence, falls a few times, gets some scrapes and bruises. She also gets cut, requiring stitches.

Now, I have fibromyalgia, so if I did all this running and falling, when I woke up the next day, I would feel AWFUL and probably wouldn't be able to get out of bed. But I know normal people react differently to exertion and stress. So my question is, how much pain should my MC be in the next day?

She's not athletic, but she's used to hard work. Six months previously, she worked on a sheep farm; now she works at a pub, so she's on her feet a lot, does a lot of fetching and carrying. She's young (early 20s) and healthy. I'm guessing her cuts and bruises would be pretty sore, but what about her muscles from all the running/climbing/falling? Would she perhaps be a little stiff, but nothing a hot shower couldn't cure? Or would she limp around in obvious discomfort? I want the scene to be realistic, without bias from my own medical problems, so any help you can provide will be appreciated.

03-23-2013, 09:53 PM
When I was that age, the cardio aspect of the run would have been much harder for me than the muscular effort. People who aren't regularly active enough to make their hearts race and their breath come fast really struggle to run any distance at speed, although adrenaline helps.

So if she's healthy and active but not doing any kind of fitness activity that really exerts her, she'll be puffing for breath with burning lungs and feeling like she can't get enough air, with her heart just hammering, not in alien fear (to which she has every right!) but with unaccustomed exercise.

The next day, I would think that she's going to be far sorer at the sites of her cuts and bruises than suffer the soreness of muscular exertion. She might well have strained this joint or that muscle in her falls or jumps, but aching of the muscles used to run and jump would be much less bothersome, if at all. Like "take a Tylenol" level of pain, although that probably wouldn't be enough for her actual injuries.

When I've had stitches, I've been ordered to keep them dry, so while a hot shower or long soaking bath might really ease her soreness, you'd want to know for sure if that's counterindicated.

Maryn, who hasn't had stitches in the last decade

King Neptune
03-23-2013, 10:02 PM
The next day she probably would fell terrible, and she might have trouble moving much, unless an alien started chasing her. In which case, she probably would run two miles up and down mountains to get away, and who notices mere cuts and bruises.

03-23-2013, 10:05 PM
Regarding the stitches, could they give her waterproof bandages? Or will she just have to take a sponge bath for now? I was hoping a hot shower would revive her enough for her next adventure, but I may need to think of something else.

03-23-2013, 10:06 PM
Considering her age, and that she has recent experience with farm work, which is very physically demanding, I wouldn't expect running a mile, even over rough terrain, to have many physical after-effects for her.

Nothing a hot shower and a few Tylenol wouldn't be able to deal with.

Depending on the depth of the cuts, and the number and type of sutures, she may be given instructions to keep them dry for 48 hours or more. If she has a dressing, it will likely need to be kept dry.

However, remembering when my brother would have stitches (frequently) the effect of ignoring these instructions is generally next-to-nothing. He would get home from the ER, jump in the shower, pat the sutures dry and apply some Neosporin, sometimes throw a fresh bandage on top and be ready to go.

Siri Kirpal
03-24-2013, 02:03 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I once outran a rapist for quarter to half a mile. Not as hard a stretch as your MC and I wasn't cut. But my side and chest hurt like crazy right then. Even though, I walked regularly.

I don't recall having any special pain the next day, except for the fear. Again, your MC will be going longer than I did.


Siri Kirpal

03-24-2013, 06:22 AM
You have some leeway with this, I think.

I don't think she'd be sore from the running the next day. (Right after she'd be crazy winded / having adrenaline highs & lows / etc., but probably nothing would carry over to the next day.)

With the cuts and bruises, you have latitude. When I get bruised/cut like that, I barely feel it -- I might twinge if one gets bumped but I have a ridiculously high pain tolerance and don't mind being bruised. Part of that is that I've done a lot of physically bruising things in my life (like martial arts) that have built up that pain tolerance, but part of the reason I liked those things so much in the first place is that my body's always taken it well. ;) And I have other friends who are the same, some of whom have not had such "toughening" training.

On the other hand, I do know people who are much more delicate. If she's used to hard labor, I would expect her to be on the tougher side, but if you *want* her to be a little more injured you can make it more severe -- worse bruises, pulled muscles, twisted ankles, etc.. I think you could play it either way.

03-24-2013, 06:29 AM
Thanks for all the info! I've gone and toned down her soreness, so she's fine after taking some Tylenol. Her cuts are still sore and she can't use her arm, but other than that, she's basically okay.

03-26-2013, 12:14 AM
I am much older than her (several decades) and I'd only be lame. I know this because every winter I shovel snow like a mad person, but the next day am only lame. (This winter we had 6+ big storms; in some of them I went out every two hours to shovel for an hour, so average storm = about six hours of shoveling.)

I get minimal exercise. I walk every other day and work out with weights on the 'other' day but am only in 'average' condition for my age.

Lameness would be the main thing, but you get over it within a day.