Monday, February 21, 2005

No Peace Until You Rest in It

Somewhere in this morning is a metaphor to be found, but I haven't yet unveiled it. Perhaps you can help me. I awoke to the sound of light rain, which though often soothing, can also be a motivational deterrent, especially if one is planning to run, and further especially, if it's been raining endlessly for days on end. Regardless, I was determined to get my endorphine groove on, so I dressed appropriately and headed down to the corner where my fellow boot campers and running mates assemble. As I was the only one there, I proceeded to stretch while waiting. After a few minutes, I began getting a little nervous about the fact that none of the usual die hards were showing up. Finally, I realized time was a wastin', and I'd just have to go it alone.

Initially, I ran up 18th to Market, which is not particularly far, but it's one of those never ending gradual ascents. My plan was to hang a right and run down the hill back to the park, but I thought I was wussing out, so I crossed Market and zigzagged a bit, aiming for Corona Heights, but something kept whispering in my ear, "Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks." I tried to ignore it but it came on stronger, so I switched direction again, never avoiding any hills or staircases that came my way, including the notorious Vulcan Steps and the new-to-me Pemberton Steps. After that I made a beeline for the peaks. The entire time, the views were stunning and glorious, and I was reminded of how amazing the sky is as dawn emerges from its deep midnight blue to lighter and lighter shades streaked with fiery reds and oranges. The drizzle had stopped, and the sun burst on the scene just as I crested a smallish hill on 20th, only to find my group!

Standing arms akimbo, SF Outdoor Fitness leader Mike G. shouted up toward me, "You on your own now or what?" I received the prodigal daughter greeting all around and then exclaimed proudly that I'd done the peaks on my own. Everyone was amazed that I'd made such excellent time. In fact so was I; running into them was proof that I'd been on foot for less than an hour, which was a surprise to me, especially feeling like I'd just run a marathon. My bubble felt a bit bursted, but I wasn't sure why, and I didn't find out until I got home at 8:26am. Which didn't make sense unless it took me 20 minutes to walk the few blocks from the park. That's when it dawned on me. I checked my cell phone for the real time and discovered my clock was twenty-six minutes ahead, meaning that I was both behind and ahead in my mind, which can be a bit disorienting.

Hunter S. Thompson has passed from this existence, by the way. It made me very sad. It sounds corny, but his work had a profound influence on me when I got hold of a copy of Hell's Angels someone had left at a dumpster. I think I was ten. Next I knew I was diving into Fear and Loathing, both in Las Vegas and On the Campaign Trail. These were eye-opening books for an African black kid growing up in the middle of "if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much" Grand Rapids. I thought to myself, some of these white people do have soul! But seriously, the much ballyhooed "gonzo" style was the first thing I encountered on my own that made me want to be my own person and not just follow a bunch of rules prescribed by a society with which one doesn't always agree. While I remained a well behaved student and not too troublesome daughter, the seeds had been planted. Rest in peace, Doc.

Meanwhile, when I disclosed the folly of my ways, Mike wrote back: "For a moment there, I was considering signing you up for the next Olympics.... Even though you started a little early, your run up Twin Peaks was still amazing. That's a tough route, because you crisscrossed quite a ways ... hitting lots of stairs before you hit Twin Peaks. Congrats!!! See you tomorrow."

That's what he thinks! While I hope not to rest in peace just yet, I do plan to peacefully rest for the rest of the three-day weekend, all remaining 12 hours of it. Let me bask in my meaningless feat of physical glory; as I always say, everybody needs a hobby. ; )


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