I’m off to the races this weekend. A foot race, that is. A ½ marathon. I’ve been training for it all summer long and it’s finally here. This isn’t my first ½ marathon, and it’s not even my second. I’ve done a few of them by now. My race this Sunday will be my second one this year and the one I’m running in October will be my third, again, for this year. But I’m not bragging, I swear. Bragging would be if I wore my finisher’s medal around my neck when I go to work on Monday. I won’t do that. Although… I might pass it around for people to look at.
While I’ve put in a lot a lot of time running this past year, I haven’t lost a single pound. In fact, somehow I’ve piled on all the pounds the rest of the world has lost. I’m some kind of pound magnet. Or maybe it’s all the chocolate I’ve been eating. Yeah, I suppose that could be it…
Or maybe it’s the chocolate combined with the fact that I’ve somehow managed to excuse myself from other forms of exercise on my days off from running. Yes, I am one those people who take days off from running. And not just when I’m sick. Some runners, I know, would say that I’m not a real runner if I take days off. I could argue the point but I won’t. I want to save my energy for this weekend.
I used to run an average of about 6 miles a day. Then I started getting some aches and pains and tired and bored, so I backed off a bit. Okay… a lot. Now I run 3 days a week. Two short runs of oh, three to five miles say, and one long run on the weekends. On the intervening days I should be doing some other form of exercise, cross training by walking or cycling, or even lifting weights, but I’ve gotten LAZY. That probably explains some of these extra pounds, too.
Despite my slothfulness, I want you all to know that I am still strong. Oh yes, I am. These arms may have flab hanging from them but they are powerful. Bionic powerful, I tell you. In fact, I may be the reason they have a remake of The Bionic Woman coming out on TV this fall. I know that when you think about The Bionic Woman you are most likely remembering the days of Lindsay Wagner and her portrayal of Jaime Sommers, but I’m pretty sure it’s because of me and the feat of strength I pulled off the several days ago that they are bringing the series back.
Last week there was a fire right outside of the parking garage that charges me $150.00 dollars too much per month to park my car there while I work. I didn’t actually witness the fire when it was in full blaze, but I came upon the aftermath, the burnt remains, when I made my way to the garage to retrieve my car and go home.
To enter the garage and get to your car you have to wave your parking ticket or monthly pass card in front of a magnetic card reader machine affixed to the brick façade of the parking garage. The machine then sends a signal to a lock on the door. You listen for a click and then pull the handle, open the door, and walk inside to the elevator.
On the day of the fire I walked up to find the card reader machine, which is made of metal and plastic, all sagging like the clocks in an M.C. Escher drawing. It looked, well, melted. I looked up and noticed that the awning above the door was half missing and the other half was hanging in tattered melted strips of nylon, like a shredded shower curtain. The glass around the door was cracked, the street was covered in ash 2 inches deep, and black streaks ran along the sidewalk.
I thought it was odd, that it looked as if a fire had blown by, but that seemed impossible. My office is right across the street. If there had been a fire surely I would have heard the fire trucks, seen the flames.
Since there was a man at the door with his hand already on the door handle, I passed the card reader machine without waving my parking pass at it. Another woman walked up, and the man gave one good strong yank, and the door, despite its magnetic lock, popped open. I remarked that it looked like there had been a fire and the man said there had been one. A generator mounted on a truck that was parked right alongside the garage entry had caught fire around noon he said. The flames, he told us, could be seen for several blocks. Somehow I had missed all of this.
But I learned my lesson. The card reader machine, all melted as it was, wasn’t working properly so it wasn’t going to open the door for me anymore. The following day, as I approached the door, the cracked glass had been repaired but the card reader was still sagging, the awning still missing. I had two choices. I could turn around walk down the street and around the corner then up the ramp that the cars use to enter and exit the garage, or I could yank on that door handle with all my might and pop the lock. I chose the latter.
As I grabbed the handle, a woman standing nearby said to me, “You can’t get in that way, it’s locked. You’ll have to go…” and I looked her in the eye, put my hand on the door handle, and yanked. With an audible snap, the door popped open. The woman’s eyes grew large, she took a few steps back, staring at me in shock and surprise, and I think, a little bit of fear.
I hope my legs are bionic at the race this weekend!