Okay, I love my apartment, but sometimes the airshaft outside my window acts like an echo chamber. It doesn't happen often, but suddenly there will be a child crying or a dog barking or a phone ringing or an awesome jazz trumpet riff that sounds like it's IN MY ROOM. And right now, there is this soft, electronic beep.
Beep-beep-beep. Pause. Beep-beep-beep. Pause. Beep-beep-beep. Pause. Beep-beep-beep. I've searched the whole apartment just in case it's coming from somewhere in here, but I can't find it. I'm guessing it's an airshaft echo. I'm praying it stops soon, cause it's making me nuts.
So on to the running stuff: Recently, a coworker asked me if I wanted to sign up for a 5K run. I was hit by instant opposite thoughts: the words "Hell, no" and a truimphant vision of me crossing a finish line. It was such a satisfying image: me, toned (my cellulite magically erased) and... slightly taller? (See photo above downloaded from Handbag.com.) Tall, firm me running effortlessly. I'd be a runner! One of those people who happily get up at 5 a.m. to run before work. People who happily break through "the wall" and brag about finding their "second wind."
"If my big self can do it, a skinny person like you can do it," the coworker encouraged. "Besides, you don't have to run. You can walk it." Ah, but I KNOW I can walk 5K. That's not brag-worthy. Half the fun of the vision is that in it, people say, "What did you do this weekend?" and I respond, "I ran a 5k." I'd be like my Alex P. Keaton boss at the Business Record. He and his wife were beautiful, athletic, workaholic reporters who spent their spare time romping with their Weimereiner or training to climb Denali (AKA Mount McKinley to us non-climbers). Anyway, my fantasy of being like them was interrupted by an insistant voice: the "Hell, no" voice.
The voice brought with it a vision: Me in ninth grade with my lungs burning as I tried to pass the President's Physical Fitness Test. Me in eighth grade hocking up great wads of phlegm as I rounded the punishing final lap of the 1500, which was my event in track. During a meet, I would run the 1500 -- aka a mile -- then the 800, then the 400 leg of the distance medley. Oh, I hated it. I wheezed my way through it and wondered if I had asthma. My parents said I didn't because they were used to my brother's serious asthma. Mine, by comparison, was mild enough to appear nonexistent to them. "You're just out of condition," Dad would say. "You need to train more." In high school my cheerleading coach heard me wheeze, sent me to the doctor and I got an inhaler. That made running less wheezy and phlegmy, but not much more fun.
Once in a while, I like to race down an open path with the wind in my hair, but most of my sustained attempts have been disasterous. I shall now exorcise the trackstar delusion:
Once, when I was running a 1500, it began to sleet. Running a mile? Miserable. Running a mile in sleet? There are no words. But adding insult to injury, when we reached the finish line, there was no one there! We all stood there, shivering, looking around in confusion. Visibility had gotten so bad, they'd cancelled the track meet DURING THE RACE. We trudged back to the bus where the rest of the track team was cuddling cosily. As we dripped our way onto the bus, they tried not to laugh at our sodden misery, but in the end could not help themselves. It was an hour drive home.
Another time, as I was running, someone stepped onto the track. When you're running long distance, it's like you're too tired to dash around someone, too tired to yell at them to move. I dredged up just enough energy to call out, "Track!" The girl had no idea what that meant, and someone dragged her off the track just as I would have plowed into her. It was distressing because I was like a machine. I couldn't think or change. All I could do was stay between those white lines.
Oh, and once I got all phlegmmy while running (asthma does that), and I spit, and a strong gust of wind blew the spit onto my friend Dawn's leg. Oops. She got really mad, and I wiped off her leg and let her spit on me to make it even. Hee. Okay, I actually kind of like that memory. I think for me, that's what running should stay: a memory.
P.S. PLEASE STOP THE BEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!