See Fleck limp

Lions might seem invincible, but did you know that the most dangerous animal on the savanna is the hippo? Indeed, if a lion picks a fight with a hippo, the lion will lose that fight every single time.

lion vs hippo

I have a confession to make – this lion just lost a fight with a hippo.

A few weekends ago, while feeling invincible, I set out for a 16 miler. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and, because I didn’t have any other plans, I decided to throw in an extra 2.5 miles.

When I got home, I felt awesome.

That evening, I felt awesome.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt awesome.

But when I got out of bed, I stood up and felt…



A shooting pain went through my left foot, and returned each time I put weight on it. Confused, I looked my foot over, checking for bruising or swelling. There was none.

Lion that I am, I diagnosed myself as “weak” and went about my day, ignoring the pain.


The next day, though, I couldn’t walk. Fearing a stress fracture, I saw the doctor.

“So, what’s the problem?” he asked.

“I’ve hurt my foot. It looks okay, but it aches so much I can’t walk.”

“How did you hurt it?”

“Well, I went for a long run Saturday. But, the pain didn’t start til I got out of bed yesterday.”

“I see. And how far did you run?”

“18.5 miles.”

The doctor blinked.

“18.5 miles… that’s… 30 kilometers! Why would you do that?”

I shrugged, apologetically. “It was only supposed to be 16.”


He sighed. “Let’s have a look at your feet. Take off your shoes.”

I took off my shoes but, embarrassed by my runner’s feet, kept my socks on.

“Socks too,” he ordered.

I slid my socks off, revealing my abused digits. The doctor examined my foot.

“You’ve got a soft tissue injury. You’ll need to stay off the foot until it’s 100% healed.” He ordered.

“So, like what, then. A few days?”

He blinked again. “It’ll be at least a few weeks.”

vo2 max

Smug lion that I am,  I woke up each morning after that thinking I’d try and run. And each morning, my foot said “no”. I could do nothing but sit on my bum and keep my foot elevated.

At the end of the first week, I was so frustrated that I tried willing my foot into submission by going for a light hobble-jog.

But I couldn’t jog. Anytime I added a spring to my step, shooting pains ran through the bottom of my foot, bringing me to a halt.

Limping home, I felt angry.

That afternoon, I felt sad.

That night, I felt miserable.

While driving to work a few days later, I passed a group of gazelles out at runrise. I blinked back tears as I went by, because I felt so hopeless.


When I got there, I unloaded on a friend who was recovering from shin splints. I knew she’d understand my pain.

“The recumbent bike and spin classes have really helped me. Why don’t you try those for a while, until the pain goes away?” she suggested.

I blinked. The only people I’d seen on the recumbent bikes had tape all over their joints.

“Isn’t the recumbent bike for people recovering from, you know, serious injuries?” I replied.

She looked at my foot. “Yes.”

run again

Sometimes, we lions are so busy chasing gazelles that we run head first into a hippo. And when we do, we try pushing it out of our way.

But a lion can’t move a hippo.

So, for now, this lion is wisely tip-toeing her way around her hippo.

And, for now, the gazelles on Fleck’s savanna are safe.


But they won’t be safe forever.

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A conversation with … myself

The other day, while watching the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I found myself pondering the myth science of time travel.

I wondered what might happen to the space-time continuum if, through a temporal anomaly, present-day Fleck (PDF) could visit pre-runner Fleck (PRF) and have a chat about PRF’s future. In my mind, it went a little something like this:

Temporal anomaly opened

PRF : Why are your legs so fat?

PDF: It’s not fat. It’s muscle. Here, poke my thigh.


PRF: Good grief, woman. What happened to your thigh gap?

PDF: Gone. I lost it around the time I lost my last toenail.

PRF: But, what about my new open-toed Loubou –

PDF: I don’t wear open-toed shoes anymore. And I wear nothing that starts with “L-O-U”, only “L-U”. Don’t worry about the toenails, though – they grow back. Well, my right baby toenail probably won’t. I’ll put it this way – in about 2 years, you’re going to start investing heavily in the black nail polish market.

every nail has a story

PRF: Why don’t you have any hair?


PDF: I can’t tell you that. It would create a temporal rift in the space-time continuum.

historical hair

PRF: So what’s this “running” thing all about, anyway?

PDF: Well, most days, I wake up around 5:30am and –

PRF: 5:30?!?!?! Woman, are you MAD?!

PDF: It’s my favorite time of the day! Runners call it “runrise”. See, you start your run while the stars are out, and end it when the sun’s up. The world is calm, and you see all kinds of animals and birds. Sometimes, I do what I call “Count the Buns Runs”. I see all kinds of bunnies on my runs, so I set a number in my head and keep running until I’ve seen that many bunnies.


PRF: But, I’ve already got a bunny. Why would I want to sweat to see bunnies?

PDF: Well, actually, sweat is really good for your skin. I save a ton on cosmetics.

PRF: Speaking of, what’s wrong with your face?

PDF: Oh, that, yeah. I don’t wear makeup now. There’s really no point. Even the waterproof stuff doesn’t survive my sweat waterfalls. But, it’s not all that bad, actually. I’m told I look much younger without it. Some call me “Basic” but, hey, I’m the one who’s asked for ID when I go to the pub.

PRF: Seriously though, what about your hair?!?! You must wash it, like, twice a day.

polluting the timeline

PDF: As I was saying. My favorite runs are the really long ones on days when I don’t have any plans. Last week, I ran a 15 miler on my day off, and it was glorious.

PRF: Umm, what about, oh… you know, maybe… RELAXING ON YOUR DAY OFF?!

PDF: Running IS relaxing. It clears my mind, it reminds me that I’m alive, and it makes me feel… free.

PRF: So, you’re telling me that in the future I become a Basic bald chick with no toenails, who has thick legs, who wakes up at 5:30am on her days off to run 15 miles, who doesn’t wear makeup, but feels ‘free’? You know what, Future Fleck? I’ll never be a runner. In fact, I’m going for a pedicure, and then I’m going sandal shopping.

temporal rift

PDF: Hey, have you started that sugar-free diet yet?

PRF: Ugh. It’s awful. I’m miserable and have no energy. But, look! No muffin top!

PDF: Yeah, umm. You know what else I love about running?

PRF: What?

PDF: Yesterday, I had ice cream and wine for dinner. I feel fantastic, and, look! No(t much) muffin top!

apple cores

PRF: I’ll go get my Tommy Hilfiger runners.


All good things





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Tribbles and tribulations

We call Maggie (our brown rabbit) “Tribble”, because when she sleeps she makes little whimpery noises that sound just like the fictionalized fuzzy aliens from Star Trek. We love our little tribble, but the truth is, Maggie’s story isn’t a happy one.

Not so long ago, I received a video message from a very good friend of ours who is a veterinarian. The caption was: “Maggie. In case you know anyone who’s interested”, and in the video was a tiny, scared, brown bunny checking out her cubbie at the vet clinic.


We’d had Dean (our white rabbit) for years, and were afraid to introduce someone new to his life (they say older rabbits can’t be bonded). I filed the message away, assuming someone would come along and adopt her soon.

But, no one did.

nobody wants Maggie

About two weeks later, we saw our friend. I asked him if anyone had adopted Maggie yet.

“No,” he replied, “we’re still looking for someone to take her home. Poor thing, she hasn’t had a good life.”

I felt a twinge in my heart. “What happened to her?”

He explained that her previous owner (who wasn’t a client) brought her in to the clinic to be put down.


They just didn’t want her anymore.

When the Vet Techs opened up the box to get a look at her, what they saw shocked them. Maggie was emaciated, shaking, and dirty. She was covered in her own waste. But, after finishing the necessary examination, they concluded there wasn’t anything wrong with her, aside from obvious neglect.

Good people they were, they convinced the owner sign her over to the clinic so that the Vets could see if she could be nursed back to health. If she improved, the clinic would find her another home. If not, the Vets would euthanize her (at their expense).

Her owner agreed, happy to have Maggie off their hands for good.

They cleaned Maggie up, and for two weeks, the clinic was her home. She hardly ate, and her stomach rarely moved, but the little bunny would not give up fighting, and her condition was steadily improving. Our friend then explained why they were having such a hard time finding Maggie a home.

She was older, and no one wanted to adopt an older bunny.

who hurts a bunny

“We’ll come and have a look at her tomorrow.” I said.

The next day, the Vet Tech took us to the back of the clinic. “Be careful, she lunges and bites,” she warned us, opening Maggie’s cubbie.

I leaned down and peeked inside. Maggie was huddled in the back corner. I carefully scooped her up and, holding her close to my chest like you would a baby, stood up.

“That’s amazing,” the Vet Tech said.

Instead of lunging, Maggie cuddled herself into my hair, and fell asleep. Soon she started to coo.

“Has she always made that noise?” I asked the Vet Tech.

“Yeah, she talks in her sleep,” she replied.

I turned and looked down at Maggie. “Poor little tribble.”

Coming home

I’m happy to report that this little bunny is now happy and content, and Dean is happy to have a friend. Their favorite thing to do together is to chase each other around the house. We call this the Bunny Indy 500. Dean is much faster than Maggie, but she never gives up the chase. Sometimes, Dean will even slow down just enough so that Maggie can run next to him.

Running buns

You might be wondering what this has to do with running.

Well, some of us are ignored.

Some are alone, some have been hurt, and some are “too old”.

Some of us tell ourselves “I can’t”.

overwhelmed fleck

But don’t give up.

Because you never know who might come along and run beside you.


bunny love






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