Python is hungry, but can’t get near enough to any of the animals to feed. What’s a python to do? How about throw a party and invite all the animals over? What? That will never work… or will it? A fun story filled with lots of animals and beautiful illustrations. Great for anyone who likes doing a parrot voice.
Gorilla! Gorilla! By Jeanne Willis
Mother Mouse has lost her baby! Nothing could be worse. Nothing? How about being chased around the world by a hungry gorilla? Yeah, I guess that’s worse. Wait a second. Aren’t gorillas primarily herbivores? With a delightful twist at the end, this story will have them on the edge of their carpet squares.
No Noise at Our House by Meredith Costain
Do you shout and scream at your house? Do you clatter with pots and pans at your house? Well, if you come to our house, you’d better be quiet. “There are animals living here… wild animals.” Fun alliteration, vibrant illustrations, and an opportunity to stomp make for a fun storytime.
Fuck my fucking feet! I am done with running. #HypothermicHalf #allgoodthingsmustcometoanend
This was my Tweet right after finishing my fifth Hypothermic Half. I think it’s pretty much self-explanatory.
I’m not sure what else there is to say. I can say that this is a difficult decision to make. I have been struggling with an injury since June, yet I chose to run a marathon this summer regardless (Confessions of a reluctant runner. Parts 5, 6, 7, and 8). As a result, there has not been one day when I have not been in some pain. Some days are better than others, but each step I take involves some degree of discomfort. I wasn’t feeling particularly excited about this upcoming run and had done little training, partly due to my injury and partly due to a lack of conviction. For whatever reason, my heart definitely was not in it this time around. As a matter of fact, I felt quite underwhelmed by the prospect of running 21 km. Not that I was being arrogant, and please don’t think that I was, it’s just that I did not have the same drive that I’ve had in the past. This was, if not caused by, then compounded by the state of my feet; so much so that I had taken the week off running just so I could rest my feet, concentrating on stretching them out as much as possible. It seemed to have been working, as by mid-week I found I could get around for most of the day actually putting pressure on my heels without much discomfort. Maybe this would turn out; maybe I could pull this off. I thought back to my last marathon and how I was doing fine by the 21 km mark (it was only after that point that I suffered greatly). If I was able to run a good half in the summer, maybe I would do alright today.
I showed up early so that I could have time to get in some stretching before hand. My feet were feeling not too bad this morning, however as I began stretching I started to have concerns. As I stretched out my plantar fascia I noticed that, although it felt alright at the top of the stretch, as soon as I released the stretch a sharp pain would fill my heels; so much so that it caused me to hop reflexively as soon as I put weight on it.
Even with this, I was still feeling somewhat confident because my feet usually limber up 10 minutes or so into my runs; I just had to keep moving. I made my way up to the start and continued to stretch and move my feet, all the while trying to remain positive, which for me, as you may know, is not the easiest of tasks. As I started out I could feel my feet loosening up a bit, but they still had a way to go before I could feel comfortable with the distance before me. Unfortunately, that moment never came. By the time I reached 11 km, I was certain that my feet were not going to loosen up and things were going to go from bad to worse; and worse they did become.
It was about the time I was 2/3 through the course that the sharp pain started to set up shop and peddle it’s malignant wares from within my heels. What was worse, any spring that I had in my stride had been reduced to about half, meaning that I could no longer propel myself very far, which also meant that my pace was significantly slowed, which, in turn, meant that this was going to be a long 7 km; long and painful.
In an homage to my summer performance, I was now limping along the course, only with some differences. Unlike my marathon, my legs were doing fine; this was solely (pun intended) my feet. With each stride I could feel the fibrous band pulling at my heel of my right foot, while a dull ache radiated from my left. To make matters worse, every time I hit a patch of ice, an increased dose of pain would fire as I worked to steady myself on the frozen mounds and ruts on the road. As I was absorbing the shocking pain, something else was happening in my brain; I was pissed. Royally pissed. So much so, that my emotions overtook whatever diminishing reason that I may have had after signing up for this event in the first place. Being reduced to a limp, with each step a torturous ordeal, I probably should have stopped running and walk the rest of the way. Fuck that! I’m running! If I’m going to wreck myself, I might as well do it properly. Perhaps I should follow some of the other runners and move off of the icy roads an onto the bare sidewalks. Fuck that! This is the Hypo Half! I signed up to run on icy roads, so that’s just what I’m going to do. Maybe it was stubbornness; maybe it was stupidity; maybe the two are merely synonyms of each other; but I only have two settings when I run, hard and harder. In all the time that I’ve been running, I have yet to go on a pleasant jog; it just seems to be something I’m incapable of, so why should today be any different?
It was only the last 500 m that my brain was able to override the pain somewhat and I was able to push myself toward the finish. Once there, any temporary dampener was suddenly pulled offline and the pain rushed back in; but I was determined to walk down the stairs to the post race brunch. I may have been crippled by this experience, but I was not going to be denied my French toast and bacon, goddamnit!
In the end, I happened to be 20 minutes slower than my time last year, which is something, I guess, as I was able to do a proper run last year. However, any sense of achievement that I might have had was battered down when I tried to get up from my brunch and I found that I could barely walk. I spent the rest of the day hobbling around the house and I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning when I have to get out of bed. Something has to change.
When I first took up running, I was amazed that I could even do it. I had, in the past, never considered myself as someone who could run, and even when I was running on a regular basis, it took me a long time to even call myself a runner. I finally got to the point where I enjoyed running; it was something that I was competent in; something I could take pride in. Now what? I can’t keep doing this to myself. I’m tired of limping around. I’m tired of stepping off the bus and hissing in pain. I’m tired of getting up from a seat and having to lurch for the first few steps before I can adjust to the pain and straighten myself out. Something has to change.
There’s the rest of my health to consider as well. Running was a great way for me to lose weight, build strength, and greatly improve my cardiovascular health. Running was also something that I could do at lunch, so I could exercise for free and not have to worry about finding time when I got home. I now need to find something to fill this void. I suppose could take up cycling, or maybe could go back to climbing; it’s just that there was something so simple about putting on my shoes and going out for a run where I could easily lose myself in my thoughts. I’m going to miss that.
I guess my dreams of participating in a Death Race are out of the question.