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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26 thoughts on “See Fleck limp

    • Indeed! I managed to (fortunately) run for years injury-free. I think I’ll be cycling and strength training more often now! One thing about injuries – they teach you humility. 🙂
      Thanks for the read, Jan!


  1. Aw, I’m sorry to hear about your injury! I’m sure he did, but the doctor did x-ray, yes? I have had a stress fracture three times in my left foot (because I, being dumber than most, had to run into multiple hippos to get the point). The recovery time sucks, but it comes with the territory. Hoping you roar back to life soonest to chase down those gazelles again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, the X-Ray confirmed I’m fracture-free. He also doesn’t suspect tendonitis (thank goodness), so it’s just one of those pesky injuries we get from overtraining. Maybe my foot is just sympathy pains for yours? 3 fractures?! Ouch! Thank you for the well wishes, and reminding me I’m not the only one running wounded! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yay for that good news!! Yes, it seems every ten years or so it decides to hairline crack in the same spot. It started many years ago when I ran cross country in high school. I’ll look forward to hearing you are back out and about soon! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh man, that’s so frustrating. I’ve heard that fractures do that – what a bummer! Thank you so much for the well wishes. Here’s hoping it’s a short recovery – I’m running out of things to keep me occupied! 🙂


  2. Excellent comparison o the lion and hippo. I met a hippo once and did the exact same thing you did… tried to push it aside. Needless to say, I ended up taking a year off. Never again will I rest for that long, but I haven’t had an issue since. Good luck with your recovery!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much! And thank you for sharing your experience! Hearing everyone else’s hippo stories has been really helping me feel better. I’m glad to hear you’re all healed up – it gives me hope! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Sweet Pea! Sending you get better wishes. I know exactly how you feel injured watching others run, jump around and cycle. I was out for 6 weeks when my achilles played up. For one month I wasn’t allowed to workout. 2 weeks later my first time running was 2km and I felt like a beginner. My knees itched and I was so out of breath! It took nearly a year to feel ready to box jump. A year and 1/2 later, I’m still cautious with my ankle. Always listen to hippos. They’re big and bad for a reason!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Natalie! Thanks for sharing your hippo story too. It makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only one who’s been sidelined by injury. I don’t know how you made it through a whole month without working out… I’m at two weeks with just cycling and I’m going crazy – I don’t know how you did a full month! Glad to hear you’re all healed up, though. You’ll need to be in tip-top shape for the Spartan Race! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was hard, I won’t lie. I slept a lot and was still active. I wasn’t allowed to carry heavy loads, so had to food shop everyday and climb up 5 flights of stairs with no lift!

        Hope you’re feeling better soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It is sooooo frustrating to get a sports injury doing the very sport you love. It does heal with time and pampering. Even at my age of 50+ I get random injuries from sports, I know many windsurfers who injure themselves during the winter skiing, then can’t sail when the short season starts. Take it easy and you can roar again!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Terri! It really is frustrating to be sidelined, especially during racing season! I’m trying to focus on getting better and to not be jealous of the folks who’ve been able to get out there and run Boston, London, and some of the other big races that have been in the news lately.
      Thanks for the well wishes! I’m hoping I’ll be able to move more by the end of the week! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Boy, this post brings back memories! Especially the part about the doctor looking at you like you’re an idiot for running distance, in the first place.

    The first time I had knee issues and went to our doctor and told him that it hurt when I ran, he flippantly remarked, “Then stop running.”
    I laughed out loud and said, “Well THAT’S not gonna happen, so what else have you got, Doc?”
    That really p****d him off. (Seriously–he looked like I’d slapped him in the face with a dead fish.)

    Anyway, so sorry you’re sidelined for a while. Remember, it will pass. And when you get to start training again–the first few runs will really suck! (For me, that’s the worst part of an injury, the horrible “I’m so pathetic,” feeling when I get back out there.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing your “you’re dumb” story, Bor Bor! I’m hoping that by the end of the week I’ll be able to do my first hobble-jog since busting the foot. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for a short and slow run. At this point, all I want is for the spring in my step to return! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fleck, you were so kind to confide in me regarding your injury even before you posted this post. I am so sincerely sorry I missed this.
    Sounds a lot like my foot injury last fall, no pain the 1st day, the next day I could not stand on it, but mine had a lot of swelling, it looked injured.
    I went to the one after hours clinic in Barrie, that also has a sports therapist there on a hit and miss basis. Fortunately she was there when I went. She was much more sympathetic and understanding than what your doctor might have been.
    Injuries definitely humbles a person. I hope my friend everything is healing nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carl! Yes, it’s healing… but much more slowly than I’d hoped. I’m starting physio next week and hope that it helps speed up the recovery. I’m at a point where I can run about 5k without pain, but I can’t go any farther than that, so something’s definitely amiss. Thanks for the read and the well wishes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The case of the missing marathon | See Fleck Run

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