I guess the story really starts last night, at the San Francisco International Film Festival’s showing of Når Dyrene Drømmer. I wanted a little something to eat during the film and picked the bourbon-infused chocolate chip cookies, but when I got to the counter the staff member told me that they were all gone! With the film soon to start I panicked, cracked under pressure, and got a medium popcorn. Når Dyrene Drømmer was a good film and during it I ate all the popcorn.
So you can imagine how I felt when I woke this morning with a midsection feeling still encumbered by stale kernels and a halo of salt and seasoning guiltily radiating. I didn’t want to run. I really didn’t want to run. But it had been three days, and the Bay To Breakers is just a week and a half away, and somehow I felt like if I kept making excuses I’d turn into a person who isn’t bothered to wake with a belly full of shame and movie popcorn. I had to run.
At least I had to run after twenty minutes spent recording last weekend’s runs in my run diary and adding the last week and a half’s worth of films in my film diary. But then, no more excuses. I had to run.
The climb up to Portola and Burnett was bad, but not as bad as it is when I’m out of training. Weekday morning rush hour makes crossing Portola a more serious affair than it is on the weekend, but serendipitously a platoon (about fifty) of officer candidates from the police academy in the neighborhood was out for a run and making the same crossing and had a cruiser escort with which to close the intersection, so I took advantage of that. When they turned left I could see that we’d be running together at least as far as where I turn off onto Twin Peaks, so I brought myself within earshot to hear what was going on with them. Call-and-response pacekeeping chants with bawdy lyrics, just as I’d hoped!
When they turned right at Twin Peaks I realized that we were going to be together for a while. About halfway to the summit I started feeling very proud of myself for being able to keep pace with them. At the fork in the road near the summit I felt very proud of myself for leading them. My route takes me on a figure-eight around the two summits before climbing the south peak for a few minutes’ rest and stretching, and while I did that they climbed the north peak for what looked like a similar break as a group. I started back down the road away from the summits before they did, but they closed the gap (I’m probably doing something mechanically inefficient on my descent and could be both faster and more restful if I made a change) and at the bottom of Twin Peaks Boulevard morning rush hour again didn’t offer me a chance to cross Portola until their cruiser escort came and closed that intersection.
So we were together again on the way back to Diamond Heights. One of their leaders joined me for some pleasant conversation, and I learned that today was their graduation day. Around Portola and Diamond Heights Boulevard I was invited to appear in their class picture. Starting at Duncan we sprinted the rest of the way to the academy.
“Everybody line up against that wall for a picture with Nathaniel!” one of the leaders called out, and then, sotto voce, “since he beat most of you”. After the picture came threats of a haircut, a great many high-fives, and very stylish black police t-shirt.
The officer who had been in the escort cruiser offered me a ride home. I thanked her, explained that I wasn’t yet done running, and then ran off to finish my route and start my work day.
I’m seeing another picture at the film festival tonight; I really hope the cookies don’t run out again.