Dear John

Dear John,

You don’t remember me, but I’m the runner you bear-hugged in the finisher’s shute of my last marathon.

finisher's shute

I saw you before the race when we herded into the starting corrals, and I blew past you at mile one.

Passing John

I held onto 3rd place overall until mile 16. You were not in my thoughts.

Flashdance RunnerI was still miles ahead of you when the hills started earlier than I expected.

I started to slow down, and dropped to 4th place.

Stupid Ponytail

I didn’t know it, but by mile 18, you were closing in on me.

Lobby McLobside

At mile 20, I tripped on some gravel and knocked a pebble in my shoe.

I tried to stop so I could shake it out.

But my legs, unprepared for the increasing incline, told me that if I did, they wouldn’t be finishing the race.

Can't Stop

So I lodged the pebble under my toes and I dropped to 5th.

DNF

At mile 23, you came up beside me and asked if I was okay.

I wasn’t.

gathbbt

You told me it was okay to walk up the rest of the hill. You told me to draft you, and slowed to a walk ahead of me so I could.

You reminded me there was free chocolate milk at the finish line.

The Promise

When we got to the top of the hill, I told you to go on without me.

At mile 24, I dropped to 6th and watched you run off to finish.

I didn’t expect to see you again.

chocolate-milkenthiggt

At mile 25, my foot was in shreds and I’d reached my limit. I forewent my signature sprint to the finish.

I limped along, and shed some tears as I dropped to 7th.

home stretch

I don’t remember crossing the line at 26.2, and I don’t remember putting my medal around my neck.

But I remember a bear hug, accompanied by chocolate milk, and someone shouting “I knew you could do it!”

three-cheers-for-chocolate-milk

Dear John,

We were strangers; just names on bibs, separated by age, gender, and speed.

We were the unlikeliest of running partners.

an-unlikely-pair

You may have forgotten me, but each time I look at the scar from that pebble I think of you.

pay-it-forward

Thank you for slowing down.

And thank you for walking me up that hill.

But, most of all, thank you for the chocolate milk.

endorphin-nap

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SQUIRT and The Noise

SQUIRT, also known as runrise, is my Super Quiet UnInterruped Running Time.

not about the trots

I love SQUIRT. It means starting a run under the stars, and finishing it while the world wakes up.

It means silence, with only the animals to break my thoughts.

It also means cool, dry air.

little elephant

And then there’s The Noise.

The Noise comes when the world wakes up.

It means traffic and crowded sidewalks.

It means zero opportunity for animal sightings.

It also means hotter temperatures, and hotter tempers.

tomatoes

So, when for the first time all year, SQUIRT encountered a rain delay, you could say I was unhappy.

I had two choices:

  1. Run 19 miles in a rainstorm
  2. Run 19 miles on a dreadmill

Neither option was appealing, so I did what any thinking person would do.

back to sleep

When I woke up a few hours later, nature gave me a third choice.

The rain had stopped.

It was muggy and humid, but I could run outside.

Not knowing how long the dry spell would last, I got on my running gear, and tore out the door.

bunnies can't speak

Half a mile from my house, I looked down and saw my fail.

merde

The thing about SQUIRT is that, sadly, I must take safety precautions.

I carry my smartphone and a bear whistle.

I wear really bright, reflective colors so cars can see me.

That morning’s SQUIRT ensemble consisted of neon orange shoes, neon pink compression tights, a pink running skirt, and my lime-green technical tee.

skittles

I carried on.

Cars roared past, and at mile 2, I upped the volume on my music to tune them out.

By mile 3, sweat was (literally) running off my face.

slip n' slide

Soon, I encountered the first weekend warrior. I avoided eye contact, certain that he wouldn’t greet a demented rainbow.

“Long run day?”

I turned down my music.

“Huh?” I asked.

“Long run day?” he repeated.

“Oh, yeah, it is.” I replied.

“You have a great one!” he called out as he passed me.

“You too!”

parrot

I carried on.

At mile 8, I was greeted by a bald head wearing a feather coat.

Turkey vultures are enormous.  They have freaky pink bald faces and sharp pointy teeth.

Oh, and they’ve got large talons.

Now, one was directly in my path, staring me down.

bird food

Remembering previous fails adventures with his cousins, I slowed down.

He didn’t budge.

I reached for my whistle, but I’d left it in my SQUIRT pack at home.

Not wanting to become this turkey’s sandwich, I did what any thinking person would do.

I made kissy noises at him.

terrified turkey

I carried on.

By mile 15, the humidity got to me. It had yet to rain, but the atmosphere was thick, and I was unhappy.

I was having trouble dodging all things human and machine.

For the first time ever, I considered breaking up my run and finishing my miles the next day.

i'm done

But then, from behind, I heard “You’re doing great!”

Confused, I circled around.

Someone was on the sidewalk, giving me the thumbs up.

demented rainbow encouragement

I carried on.

At mile 18, I was running down my last hill when a car pulled over on the shoulder ahead of me.

I crossed the road to get out of the way.

When I got to the other side, someone stepped out of the car and took my picture.

what the fleck

“I’m a photographer, and I love your colors!” He yelled.

“What? My colors?” I yelled back.

“You just look so cheerful against this dull grey day!”

Stunned, I did what any thinking person would do.

mixed slushie

SQUIRT and The Noise both have a place in the runiverse.

SQUIRT means cool air, silence, and stars.

But it also means solitude.

It means pushing through on your own.

on your own

The Noise means traffic, humidity, and crowds.

But it also means sharing.

It means letting others push you through.

i can do this

And, sooner or later, everyone needs a push.

especially nice people

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Running the hills

Some generations ago, my family scoured the Scottish highlands. By day, dressed in their finest plaids and hose, they leapt along the mountainsides like stags.

chasing the red coats

By night, sitting around the hearth drinking scotch, they told stories about the mountains they loved.

fireside chat

Then one day, someone told them a story about Canada. Jovial adventurers, they adjusted their plaids, rolled up their hose, and sailed across the sea.

But when they arrived, something was missing.

missing the mountains

So, they traveled inland.

After trudging through an endless flat forest, they came across some hills, but they weren’t exactly the highlands of home.

Just wee hills

So they picked up their suitcases and hopped back on the train.

But, beyond the wee hills, all they saw was flat.

prairies and rockies

They turned around, and when they arrived back at the wee hills, they unpacked their suitcases, peeled off their hose, and decided to stay.

They built houses.

They settled towns.

Eventually, the wee hills became home.

jumping the valley

To my ancestors, they were just wee hills.

But to me, the day before an ultra trail race, they were mountains.

It had been years since I’d visited what were now known as “the hills” and, as my husband and I scoped out the race location the night before my race, I was humbled by what 2800ft of vertical ascent really looked like.

gonna have to go monk

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I was scared the hills would break me.

I knew that they could.

death to fleck

As I bounced between fatigue and panic, I thought about my history in the hills.

I thought of my great grandmother who, a century before, refused to say “obey” in her wedding vows, and I thought of my great grandfather who loved her for it.

a mind of her own

They climbed these hills.

I thought of my grandmother who, having little, raised 8 children nearly all on her own while she kept the family farm going.

I can do this

She worked these hills.

I thought about my great uncle who, despite crashing his plane 3 times in two world wars, survived with a just broken nose.

broken nose

He walked home to these hills.

Suddenly, I sat up.

I pulled the covers back, and looked at my feet. I wiggled my toes.

Generations of my feet had scoured these hills.

“You’ll know what to do,” I said to them and, finally, I fell asleep.

my hills

The morning of the race, I put on my running skirt, rolled up my compression socks, and got ready for battle.

i got this

 

“How do you feel?” my husband asked as we pulled up to the race.

“Hmph,” I replied, staring down the hills ahead.

“You’ve gone monk, haven’t you?” he asked.

“Nay, I’ve gone Fleck.” I whispered.

she's gone fleck

The gun went off.

When the hills got so steep that I needed a rope for support, I climbed them. When my quads burned and my eyes stung with sweat, I worked through the pain.

I dodged wasps’ nests.

yellow jackets

I ran through meadows and jumped over rivers.

leap like the stag

 

Finally, I jumped the finish line.

beer me

Race complete, I grabbed a pint of beer and walked out into the meadow to look back at the hills.

thank you feet

Soon after, my husband walked over to me.

“Something tells me you’ve got a story to tell,” he said.

I adjusted my skirt and looked down at my feet. I wiggled my toes.

“No,” I replied, still looking at my feet, “this story belongs to them.”

 

time to walk home

 

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My shadow and me

They’re a funny lot, shadows are.

Always there with us, even when we forget about them.

the gazelle's shadow

As a kid, I liked my shadow.

When I was little, on a sunny day I’d often find myself trying to outrun it. I’d jump side to side, take off at a sprint, or try and spin around really fast.

playing with my shadow

I’d watch it mimic my movements, and I liked how it reflected me.

My shadow was always there, and I liked it that way.

friends forever

But, as I grew up, I stopped paying attention to my shadow.

In fact, I forgot all about it.

sad shadow

Until one, not so specific day, my shadow started to grow.

Angry shadow

It grew and it grew until, eventually, it outgrew me.

shadow taking over

It was always there, and I hated it.

I could jump side to side, take off at a sprint, or spin around really fast, but there was no escape.

time for some changes

I tried to run from it.

But no matter how hard I ran, I couldn’t outrun my shadow.

All I could do was mimic its movements.

All I did was reflect it.

never a runner

And then, one very specific morning, I woke up before runrise for a long slow jog.

Running in the dark, I knew my shadow was there, but I couldn’t see it.

I liked it that way.

But soon the sun rose, and my shadow started to grow ahead of me.

go away shadow

At first, it was just a blob of dark grey at my feet.

But then, it got bigger and bigger until, eventually, it was huge.

It just hovered in front of me.

Suddenly, I realized it would always be there.

Because, like it or hate it, my shadow was part of me.

shadow's always there

I thought about stopping, and I thought about giving up the jog.

I thought, maybe, I should just quit altogether.

go home failure

It was then that I came to a bend in the road, so I slowly turned around to head home.

And, as I did, a peculiar thing happened.

When I turned, so did my shadow. I watched it move around me until, finally, I couldn’t see it anymore.

fighting back

Sun on my face and a clear path ahead of me, I thought about stopping, and I thought about giving up the jog.

But then I thought, maybe, I wasn’t ready to quit.

keep trying

I glanced back.

My shadow was still there.

But it was behind me.

It was behind me because I’d put it there.

Suddenly, I realized I was the one in control.

who's the boss

Now, nearly every morning, I wake up before runrise and watch my little corner of the world change from dark to light.

As I run, my shadow grows ahead of me.

Positive thinking

But I don’t mind that it’s there.

And I don’t ever want to forget that it is.

Now, when it grows too big, I know that it’s time for me to make that turn and run towards the sun.

I'm going to be okay

Because, now, I know that I’m the one in control of our direction.

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It’s time to lose the judgey tights

The first time I saw a running skirt, my husband and I were driving around town while running errands on a hot Saturday afternoon.

“Wow, look at her go!” my husband exclaimed, pointing at a gazelle on the sidewalk.

I turned to get a better look.

Posture – excellent.

Relaxed upper body – check.

Speed – at least Gazelle Mach 1.

I was about to (jealously) give her a two thumbs up when I noticed something strange about her shorts.

They were a skirt.

no running in skirts

My husband, bewildered by my silence, turned to me expectantly.

“So?” he asked.

I slowly pivoted my head toward him and snapped the waistband on my judgey tights.

“Not a runner.”

“Wait. What? She’s running!”

“Runners don’t wear skirts. WE don’t wear skirts.” I replied.

runners wear pants

After that, my husband did what a husband should never do. He pointed out every person he saw working out in a skirt.

“Tennis players wear them.”

“Not runners.”

“Golfers wear them.”

“Not runners.”

“Field hockey players wear them.”

“NOT RUNNERS!”

Eventually, he gave up on his game, and assumed my hatred of running skirts was just another quirk he’d have to live with.

scroll of quirks

Over time, my distances grew longer and I got pickier about what I wore while running. I got too hot in tights, but I hated the lack of coverage running shorts provided.

I just couldn’t find the ideal thing to cover my lower half.

pigs in a blanket

One day, my friend and I went shopping on our lunch break.

“Oh, wow! Look at this!” she exclaimed, holding up what looked to me like a mini-skirt.

“Aren’t we a little old for mini-skirts?” I joked.

“No, silly, it’s a workout skirt. I wore one when I taught spin classes. They keep you cool, and they’re really modest. See?” She lifted up the front to reveal a set of shorts tucked underneath.

I blinked, flabbergasted.

it's a skort!

“Know how annoying it is when you have to adjust your shorts mid-spin class?”

I nodded.

“Well, the skirt keeps you covered if they bunch up. I’m surprised you’ve never tried one!”

speechless on the inside

So I bought one.

hot pink one.

don't judge me

“What’d you buy at the store?” my husband asked when I got home that night, hot pink running skort hidden deep in my purse.

“NOTHING!” I barked, and scooted upstairs to hide the skort.

skorty

The next morning at runrise, I snuck out while my husband was still sleeping.

It wasn’t long before I felt “slide-age”. Still skeptical of the skort’s magical coverage powers, I pirouetted a few times to see if I was still covered up.

ballerina dog

To my surprise, I was.

I went on to have a great and, most importantly, comfortable run.

the joys of skorts

When I got home, my husband was awake. He met me at the door with a smirk.

“Is that what I think it is?”

“Nope.”

The smirk became a smile. “Did you run… in a SKIRT?”

“Nope.”

“That’s a SKIRT! Did you lose a bet or something?” The smirk was now a toothy grin.

Flecksplosion countdown

I sighed and whispered, “I was wrong.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

He leaned in a little closer.

This time, I replied a little louder.

“I like running in a skirt.”

“I still can’t hear you… you’ll have to raise your voice,” he said grinning ear to ear.

“IT’S A SKORT AND I LOVE IT!” I exclaimed.

I pulled up my humble skort and ran inside, my figurative tail between my legs.

pwned

Sometimes, we need to try new things.

Sometimes, we need to look beyond the surface before making assumptions.

Sometimes, we just need to lose the judgey tights and put on our humble skorts.

humble skort

So judge me all you want, runiverse. You don’t know what you’re missing.

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The case of the missing marathon

Remember a while ago when I mentioned it was marathon season?

Well, it seems my marathon went missing.

Where'd you go marathon

I looked all over London for it… from Tower Bridge to the Battersea Power Station, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.

tower bridge to battersea

I looked around the British Museum and the Tate Modern but, nope, no marathon there.

I walked through Canary Wharf, through Soho, up to The Mall, around Buckingham Palace and, still, no marathon.

buckingham palace

Somewhere around Richmond, I saw some runners. “Hey, maybe they know where the marathon’s gone”, I thought.

I followed them into Richmond Park, but they soon disappeared over the horizon. I stopped to look at a herd of deer.

“Do you know where the marathon went?” I asked.

They just blinked back at me and turned away.

richmond park deer are jerks

I left Richmond Park and entered Wimbledon Common, thinking maybe I’d find my marathon there, but it was still nowhere to be found.

Fully exhausted, I did what any thinking person would do. I went to the pub to have a pint.

pints and pubs

In case you haven’t already noticed, I missed a run in London thanks to my recent foot injury.

At my last physio appointment before flying out, I asked my physiotherapist to level with me.

“So,” I asked, “what do you think? Can I run London?”

“Well, you could, but you won’t walk for at least a week after.”

physio enabler

Fully enabled, I tried smuggling my running shoes in my suitcase.

Unfortunately, I got caught by the no-fun-police (aka my husband).

“What are those?” he asked.

“Umm, just shoes,” I replied, quickly zipping up my suitcase.

“Which shoes?”

“Sensible walking shoes for people with busted feet.”

“They’re running shoes, aren’t they?”

shoe fight

He unzipped my suitcase, and removed my running shoes. “No running, Fleck. You don’t want to injure yourself any more. Don’t you want to run your other races this year?”

“Bu… but… but, London…”

He handed me my shoes, and put a hand on my shoulder. “If you run, and you get hurt, you’re going to ruin your vacation. What will you do if you can’t walk? Do you want to spend your holiday sitting in our friend’s flat nursing a busted foot?”

I snuffled and put the shoes back in the closet. “No.”

lies

I spent most of our flight telling myself it was okay to miss the run. I reminded myself that I had other races lined up this summer, that I could run London another year, that I’d still have fun on our vacation even if I didn’t run.

None of it was helping my mood.

everything sucks

On what would have been run day, we woke up to a rare sunny London morning. Our friend’s flat was flooded in light.

boys suck

“So, what do you guys want to do today, then?” Our friend asked.

“Run,” I growled.

My husband shook his head and snickered. “It’s a nice day. Let’s walk about the city and see where we end up.”

And so we did.

walking can be fun

We walked the length and breadth of Central London, through 2 parks, past castles, in and out of museums and shops and, of course, a few pubs along the way. We walked for so long that before we knew it, the day was done and we were sitting in a pub in Wimbledon.

“What a marathon that was,” our friend said.

wimbledon pub

When we got home, my friend’s words still rang in my mind, so I went to the computer, and retraced our steps around the city. To my shock, we’d actually walked a marathon.

walkathon proof

Case of the missing marathon closed, I laced up my shoes and went for a quick 5K around the neighborhood.

Afterwards, I poured myself a pint of ale, put my feet up, and celebrated my many marathons to come.

I love your face

Happy National Running Day, everyone.

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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…

PAIN.

hematoma

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.

swagger

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.”

dumb

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.

runrise

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.

soon

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.

granite

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?

open-hand

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.

Runrise

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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Fleck don’t flex

There comes a point in every runner’s life when they look in the mirror and realize “oh dear, what have I done to my body?”

For some, it’s the upcoming spring and ensuing panic of showing the world their feet. For others, it’s the pain of runner’s knee. For still others, it’s the sadness that comes with knowing they’ll be forevermore taping the leg they injured in that race.

gimps

But, believe it or not, none of those things gave me my “oh dear, what I have I done to my body?” moment.

Not too long ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that, while my lower half was a brick house, my upper half was a bouncy castle.

flabby fleck

I decided some weight training was in order.

I was too embarrassed to start my weight training at the gym, so I ran to the computer and found an “at home upper-body training program”.

Fabulous.

I ran downstairs and dusted off my Pilates mat.

Excellent.

I pulled out my (partially deflated) balance ball and foam roller from the closet, and knelt down to find my hand weights.

No hand weights.

I needed 5 pound hand weights in order to complete the set in the workout. At a loss, I turned and looked around. Dean and Maggie were sleeping in the afternoon sun by the patio door.

The bunnies looked over at me and, sensing what I was thinking, promptly scooted under the couch.

what can i lift

Bunnies clearly out of scope, I was getting desperate.

It was then that I looked over at our dining room hutch.

Jackpot.

Two identical bottles of wine, both unopened, stared back at me.

wine weights

The workout was only 30 minutes, but after 20 minutes and three sets, I was in serious trouble.

By this time, I was panting, my arms were shaking, and I’d lost all sense of shame. I just wanted to finish the stupid workout, and never do it again.

death by weight training

I started into my fourth set of wino-reps, with my back to the patio door. But just was I was finishing up with some tricep curls, I remembered the blinds were still up.

Panicked, I turned to face the door.

Thankfully, our backyard neighbors weren’t home (phew!).

Instead, there was a squirrel on our patio, standing on its hind legs, staring at me.

talking to a squirrel

I looked back at him, his judgmental gaze piercing my flabby soul.

Utterly defeated (and deflated), I put the wine bottles back on the hutch, rolled up the mat, and ran away to hide in the basement.

intravenous ice cream

Later that night, I looked at myself in the mirror again. My upper half was still as soft as it had been that afternoon.

Hmph.

But, then I started to think about the squirrel.

And then I started to think about my bunnies.

And then I started to think of hares, and kangaroos, and bears, and cheetahs, and….

LIONS.

They’re all rear-wheel drive.

I blinked, absorbing my epiphany.

rear-wheel drive

Being rear-wheel drive is just fine with me.

Besides, who doesn’t love bouncy castles?

 

 

 

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