written by Mango (turtle)
When I entered the Boston Marathon I knew my changes of winning were close to zero. Despite the propaganda perpetuated in fairy tales, we tortoises do not win races. Nike has no reptile sponsorship program. There is no Ferrari F50 Tortoise. Like most marathon runners, I wasnʼt in it to win. I just wanted to finish.
Well, finish I did. To my surprise, I shattered the world tortoise record by a full 14 minutes with an official time of 5 years, 7 months, 27 days, 9 minutes and 8.326 seconds!
I had carbo-loaded the night before but would those calories last the years I needed them to? I didnʼt know. Did I overtrain and inadvertently set myself up for injury? Again, I didnʼt know. All I knew, as I crossed over the starting line that brisk April morning, was that I now had a race to finish.
As night began to fall I looked back and, still able to see the starting line, got depressed. I was already exhausted and had at least another 5 years of running still ahead of me. For the first time I began to think that maybe I had bit off more than I could chew. But I didnʼt quit. I lowered my head to cut the wind resistance and forged ahead, determined to make it to the end of the block by dawn.
The toughest part of a marathon, as most runners will tell you, is the mental. Unlike team sports, a runner is alone with nothing but his thoughts. What was I thinking about as I ran? My family, mostly. How wonderful and supportive they had been with my decision to enter the race. It was a tough call, knowing Iʼd miss seeing my kids grow up. Some tortoises may live to be 100 but thatʼs pretty rare. Most of us live about 25 years so this was a major sacrifice.
My wife and I made plans for her and the kids to be at the 15 mile marker to cheer me on. When I reached that point, however, they were nowhere to be seen. A thousand thoughts raced through my head - Were they okay? Did she meet another guy? It was pretty disheartening and, again, I thought about quitting. But I had been running for 3 years at that point and had a pretty good rhythm going. If I stopped I knew Iʼd never get started again. So I kept going. I found out later that they were late leaving the house and ended up reaching the 15 mile mark 2 weeks after I had already passed.
Will I run again? I donʼt think so. Iʼm a world record holder now. Might as well quit while Iʼm on top, right? Iʼm gonna take some time off and get to know my family again. And, of course, wait for Nike to call.
written by Lucky (cat)
In the interests of science, the author has chosen to eat nothing but Whiskas Temptations for 30 straight days and chronicle the effects on my body and well- being.
The rules are as follows:
1) He will only eat Whiskas Temptations cat treats.
2) He will eat as many treats as the woman who feeds me offers.
3) He will try each flavor of Whiskas Temptations at least once.
I'm eating between four to seven times a day. It depends how many times I feel like going to the cupboard and screaming. The woman who feeds me doesnʼt seem to grasp that this is a scientific experiment and not just me being finicky.
Sheʼs not very bright. When she finally did absorb the parameters of this diet (I only eat Whiskas Tempations, nothing else), she tried just pouring a pile of their Seafood Medley in my bowl. It took almost three hours of whining before she figured out that cat treats donʼt get eaten unless theyʼre fed individually, by hand. Itʼs not about the food as much as about the power trip of ordering somebody less intelligent than you to cater to your whims.
Anyway, I donʼt know what they put into these babies but Man, they are good. In fact, I might just go get some more right now.
The woman who feeds me has taken to calling me Tummy Tummy Wumpkins. Okay, I admit Iʼve gained a few ounces-- Fine. Pounds. But I feel fantastic. Iʼve got energy. LOTS of energy. I donʼt sleep much but Iʼm not missing it, yʼknow? Iʼm feeling good. Really...fantastic.
I have a new cardio thing Iʼm addicted to: I start in one room, then, without picking a destination, leave the room as quickly as possible. Once Iʼve accelerated to top speed, I turn quickly into the first opening I see. Then, as soon as Iʼm in whatever the new space is, I sprint clockwise around the perimeter two-and-a-half times, stop, bathe for eight seconds, and then sprint counter-clockwise. Thatʼs it. I do at least three circuits like that in the morning and five in the evening. Itʼs weird - youʼd think Iʼd be getting faster but each day my time seems to get longer.
Iʼve also found no matter how much I bathe myself, my coat seems to smell of motor oil. My trips to the box seem less frequent. Mostly number one. It burns a little and smells like sulfur but that passes before Iʼm done scraping litter over the edge of the box. My coat has seen shinier days, thatʼs for sure. Youʼd think something that smells so much of motor oil wouldnʼt be so dry.
Iʼve also noticed a couple of missing tufts near the base of my tail. Might be related to the itching Iʼve been experiencing... Wait. Iʼm sorry. I lost track of what I was saying. My favorite favor is Liver & Beef Medley. I get hungry just saying the name. I feel like eating again.
My trips to the box seem less frequent. Mostly number one. It burns a little and smells like sulfur but that passes before Iʼm done scraping litter over the edge of the box. My coat has seen shinier days, thatʼs for sure. Youʼd think something that smells so much of motor oil wouldnʼt be so dry. Iʼve also noticed a couple of missing tufts near the base of my tail. Might be related to the itching Iʼve been experiencing... Wait. Iʼm sorry. I lost track of what I was saying. My favorite favor is Liver & Beef Medley. I get hungry just saying the name. I feel like eating again.
It's over! Thirty days of eating nothing but Whiskas Temptations. I have to admit, it hasnʼt been so hard. In fact, I could see continuing to eat them. The only real tough patch were the five days in a row that my only choices were Savory Salmon or Hairball Control. That was a living hell. As you know, I hate Salmon. It sucks when you want to puke and half of what youʼve been eating is anti-nausea medication. Also when my vet looked at my blood work and said Itʼs hard to believe anything with sodium levels this high is still alive. Not something you say in front of a cat who now has chest pains and shortness of breath. Talk about bedside manner!
And the weight thing, of course. Iʼm not thrilled about that. When I began this experiment, I weighed ten pounds, three ounces. I now tip the scale at seventeen point two and no longer fit under the sofa. Hell, I barely make it under the coffee table. Plus my litterbox is no longer a source of comfort and relief. Itʼs now just a place I try to squeeze a tennis ball down a garden hose. Iʼve also lost interest in bathing, purring and clawing expensive furniture.
Aside from those minor annoyances though-- Hold on. I hear the rustling in the pouch. Oh boy! I hope itʼs Liver & Beef Medley...