Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Away. Far, Far, Away

I am leaving for P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. I am going home for the first time since Christmas 2007 so I am very excited. I am planning on taking 2 weeks away from the city and my hectic and pressured existence. I will also be out of electronic contact so no blogging until mid September.

Today I ran my Tuesday tempo. After a great weekend I was fired up to run my first workout without my cold. I think the cold still had an effect as I was a little sluggish. I ran 45 minutes in total at tempo pace at Jericho Park. I ran the loop that was used for the Canadian Cross Country Championships of 2006. Running a loop for a tempo is a little weird, and running a cross country loop even weirder. By the end of the tempo, although tired, I was racing against the best runners in the world in my mind. I may have pushed a bit too hard, yet again, but I am still pleased with the effort!

Tomorrow easy run, Thursday Workout then hop on a plane!

Happy Birthday Heather!

Trip report in September.

Happy Training!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting Away

At times, the best training techniques are those that require no running at all.

This weekend has been nicely distracting. After a busy week last, I was tired heading into the weekend. My main goal for the weekend was to sleep and recover from my cold so I could have a strong long run and set myself up for a full week of work and training before vacation starts. The opposite has happened and I could not be more happy.

I rarely let myself escape the shell I have built around me, except when I run. When I run I am free from the concerns of every day life, I do not have to look a certain way, talk a certain way or behave according to societal norms (although one could argue that running is a valued activity in society and therefore I am submitting to the pressures of society by running, but that is a discussion for future blogs). In my everyday life, although I am friendly and outgoing, I am not one to take a lot of chances or step out of the well defined boundaries I have made for myself. I struggle with being self conscious and I have a tendency to judge (both myself and others). This weekend I was able to leave myself behind and have some well needed fun.

So, how does this relate to training and running faster? It does not in a direct way lead to me running faster. To the contrary, if I were to have this weekend every weekend, I would not be an elite runner. What this weekend does for me is it enables me to focus on running without using it as a way to 'leave myself behind'. I must admit, I would not have been able to maintain the schedule I have if I was not sick. I was not able to train Saturday morning so I rested and spent time with a friend. In the afternoon, instead of hammering out a hard swim, I had a light and easy 1200 metre workout. Thus I was rested and energized to go to a club, get lost in the music, and have a generally great time. I was able to blow off some steam, sleep in this morning, and feel great for getting outside of my bubble and living a little.

Why do I think this will lead to better running? When I was at the University of New Brunswick I trained very hard and made quite a few sacrifices to run fast. Running was everything to me. At the start of my third year at UNB I was very fit after having a great summer of training. I did not take a break from running in a long time and I was starting to burn out. Into the middle of the cross country season I was running well but not great. I was not living up to my expectations nor was I progressing quite as I had wanted. We had a race, I did not run well, and at the after party (of which there were many) I drank way too many lovely beverages and found myself on the bathroom floor for much of the night. My Sunday consisted of moving from bed to chesterfield and back to bed as I suffered through a monster hangover. A hangover so powerful no amount of Advil/Aspirin/Tylenol could stop the sledgehammer from smashing against my skull. A hangover so powerful I could not walk further then to get to the bathroom or the chesterfield nor partake in my basic activities of daily living. The next Saturday I won my first (and only) Atlantic University Sport cross country meet.

I am by no means advocating binge drinking or all night partying as a means to running fast. What I am advocating is to do something out of the ordinary every once and while to go beyond the comfort zone and leave yourself, even if just for a moment. The ability to drop all pretense and do what the mind wants, rather then what we are supposed to do, is freeing and liberating. It also creates calm in it's aftermath. Like the beautiful glistening calm after a winter blizzard, a night of mayhem can leave one feeling centered and calm, ready to tackle the world and all it's troubles.

Today I had a light 'recovery' run after watching my good friend Kara complete in the Canadian Modern Pentathlon Championships. Tomorrow I will try to make up my long run.

Happy Training!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Healing

I am starting to recover from my cold.

Today I decided not to run my usual Saturday track workout to get a bit extra rest to get over my cold. This afternoon I ran to Brockton Oval, did some drills and strides, then a few 400s to get the heart racing and to remember how to run fast. In total I ran 3 X 400 in 68,68,65. Very nice for being alone on an old school cinder track in my bulky trainers while trying to recover from a cold. I am hoping to have a good long run tomorrow morning before heading to Port Coquitlam to watch the Canadian Modern Pentathalon Championships.

Short post!

Happy Training!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another First

The only true certainty with life is inevitable death.

I had another first tonight. The first time I have had a workout moved because it was part of a crime scene. A dead body was found in Stanley Park, near where we train, so our workout was moved and the workout changed. All of which did not impact me in the least as tonight I packed in the flats early and made my way home without running the workout.

I have a cold. A chest cold which is starting to produce a nice little cough and a touch of phlegm. My nose is starting to run a little as well. To be honest I am kind of happy to get this cold. It has been a long time coming as I have not been taking care of myself as I should. It also comes with perfect timing. I am in the midst of building fitness without a race in sight. By having a cold now I will not have to worry about the potential of getting sick in October/November when I am in the thick of my important races. This cold will also force me to take a couple of workouts off and rest a bit before heading to PEI and Nova Scotia (in one week!!!!).

My goal for the next few days will be to rest and try to get over this minor inconvenience. I am doubtful I will train on Saturday, I would rather take it easy and ensure I get over my illness. I am hopeful I will be able to get a good long run completed on Sunday.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tempo Tuesday

I am tired, I am really tired. Strangely I had no problem getting out the door tonight for my tempo run.

Tonight I ran 40 minutes at tempo pace split between the trails of Stanley Park and the Seawall. I felt good tonight on my run. I was able to keep myself below threshold for approximately 95% of the workout although I got a little excited towards the end and ran slightly too hard. I was quite tired towards the end of the session though I was motivated and still worked pretty hard.

I am exhausted. I am struggling to keep my eyes open while typing this, at 7:30 in the evening. I have been very fortunate in the past few days to have a few dinners out with friends and have had some busy evenings. The draw back is lack of sleep. I am going to try and get some extra sleep for the rest of the week and focus on taking care of my body. I can also feel a bit of a cold catching in my throat so I must be cautious in the next few days.

Happy Training!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What Was Needed

Fast track workout + Long run = Satisfaction!


I believe I am over the initial shock of resuming a hard training program. Yesterday on the track I felt light and crisp and motivated to run hard. There was a surprise appearance of a former training partner at the track, a very fast 800 type guy, who paced me through part of the workout. I cycled to the track then ran an abbreviated warm up and completed full drills. I did a few extra strides as I was feeling good and I wanted to ensure I was really warm for the workout. The workout was 10 times 400 with 200 'honest' recovery. John gave me a pace time of 64, with a wry smile on his face.

Warren, the 800 type guy, took the first 5 intervals and they went mostly on pace. Nothing over 65. By the 5th interval I was running on his shoulder as his pace was dropping slightly over the back half of the interval. I was feeling good and it was great to have a shoulder to run on. With Warren there we also kept the recovery very honest and did not stop tempo through out the workout. It was at this point in the workout when I starting running at the front. I ran the next two at the front and split 64 for both. Warren was suffering at this point so he decided that the 8th would be his last and he ripped off a 60, I ran an even 64. Yet again I was on my own to complete my workout. The penultimate interval was tough as I began to pay the price for quick recoveries, I managed to stay on pace and run yet another 64. Warren, fully recovered after skipping an interval, offered to pace the last. We went through 200 in 31-32 and I held on for dear life to get a 64. All in all a very good workout for me. I have not run an honest recovery in a long time so it was nice to push myself out of my comfort zone. It was great to have Warren to pace off of for the first 5 intervals though very distracting into the last half of the workout. I do not like training with those who wish to dominate workouts and would rather skip an interval and come out on top then suffer through a workout and finish with everyone else. With regards to running, the process is what makes a great runner. The first 6 intervals of any workout are merely to get to the actual heart of the workout. It is the last 1/3 of any workout that leads to increased physiological adaptation to stress and more importantly the grit and 'balls' to race hard.

This morning I changed my long run route and ran to the Cleveland Dam. It was a very wise decision and I had a glorious run. As I trotted over the Lions Gate Bridge I felt bad for all the suckers in their cars. Even if you are in a BMW or Mercedes you are still stuck in traffic. I also felt bad for myself sucking in all their exhaust. Once onto the trail I turned off my brain and ran. The climb up to the Dam was wonderful. I loved being in the trails. The water from the river could be heard rushing over the rocks, the light filtered through the trees and the temperature perfect for a shirts off run. The climb is undulating with mixed terrain of crushed gravel, wood chip, roots and rocks with a few stairs here and there. The Dam itself was amazing to see. The views of the mountains exquisite and the lake inspiring. After getting down on myself this past week and feeling quite out of sorts I feel that today I got a message. I am doing the right thing. It was also on this run when I realized I can do the mileage required to run a marathon, so long as I find the right trails. I honestly felt like I could run forever today, a feeling that can be somewhat fleeting. At one point I even considered hitting the grind for a little extra hill action. Maybe next time.

The descent was a little tricky at times as there were many people on the trails and many dogs off leash. I have been bitten a few times by dogs so I am a little nervous around them. The descent was also somewhat technical and I had to be alert to stay on my feet. The lower trail to the bridge offered an opportunity to stretch out my legs and run easy before the long ascent of the bridge. Before I knew it I was home, fatigued but satisfied with a great weekend of running and some much needed inner calm.

I have yet another busy week coming up with one of my dear friends visiting from the East Coast, plus work, my usual workouts and a few dinners with friends here in the city. I am having a great summer (a few minor blips) and it seems like it will continue.

Happy Training!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Timing is Everything


In life, as in running, timing is everything.

Running is about timing. Whether it is the length in minutes of a tempo, the time of an interval or pace per minute of a long run, we are obsessed with time. When I tell people I am a runner they always ask me how fast I can run 10 km. Time is of the essence.

Timing has a global impact on training and racing beyond the time on the watch at the end of a tough run. Timing is more ethereal when trying to peak for a certain time, on a certain day, for a certain very important race. The correct timing of the last hard week of mileage or the last long hard workout before a taper can mean the difference between a personal best workout versus personal best race. It is the precise timing of a peak performance that requires years of knowledge and an intimate understanding of one's own body. The last year I ran at the University of New Brunswick I had the race of my life at our Atlantic University Sport Championships after a more then challenging fall season. I placed 5th and was named an Atlantic University Sport All star. Two weeks later, on the same cross country course, I ran a couple minutes slower and placed around 50th in the CIS. My peak was timed to AUS, not CIS. Timing was everything and the missed timing resulted in one of the most devastating races I have run.

Timing in life is equally important. Some people are born with perfect timing. From the way they enter a room to the people they meet, the jokes they tell or the opportunities they obtain, they are syncopated with the timing of the universe. Just as I have missed my taper a few times and peaked a weekend later, alone, on the track, I have less then stellar timing in life. My timing with regards to men and love has also been dismal at best.

If I had a quarter for every guy I thought was hot, flirted with and got along well with, only to find out he was straight, I would be able to afford a Melriche's Coffee and Solly's Cinnamon Bun. If I had a quarter for each of those 'straight' guys who came out after moving away (or me moving away) I would still be able to afford the coffee and bun. Bad timing? As I mentioned in my previous blog, I also have a penchant for men who are in relationships/recently broke up/moving away. Very bad timing.

When I miss the timing of my taper and run a sub optimal race I review the workouts leading up to the race, compare to previous tapers, then change the taper leading into the next big race. After the next race I again look at the taper and the outcome. If it is better I may tweak the training again but mostly stay with the same plan. At this point in my running life I have a taper that works quite well and enables me the opportunity to stand at the start line feeling confident and ready to race hard. At this point in my love life I continue to have fucked up timing with men. How to improve timing with this one when I cannot control the love lives of others? Are things just meant to not be?

To be honest, I have no answer. Obviously I have to change something, but what?

Tonight was the usual Thursday night workout in the Park. I can feel the training starting to catch up with me and I am getting tired, really tired. Tonight we ran 2 times a mile and 1/8ths loop with full recovery. I ran alright, even splits for the two laps. I was around 5 seconds slower then usual. The workout was like any other tired workout. I was working hard but not really going fast. I was breathing heavy but as soon as I stopped both intervals I caught my breath within seconds. I was limited tonight by the fatigue in my legs rather then the ability of my heart to pump oxygen rich blood to my muscles. These workouts are somewhat disappointing as it seems like I did not work that hard. I am tired yet there was not a full effort. Hopefully tomorrow's day off and massage will provide some recovery before my workout on Saturday.

Happy Training!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Question That Rhythm and Rant




I am back into the rhythm of training.

Yesterday I had my long run and I was able to click off 13 or 14 miles without much stress. I was thinking of hitting the ocean in the afternoon but I was a too tired, so instead I sat on my bed. I was pleased to have a great long run in the rain. I am not the biggest fan of training in the rain as I would much prefer hot sun but my run still went by fast and was effortless. I found a nice rhythm early, went into la la land, and before I knew it I was done. Today I had an easy 5 or 6 miles on the Seawall and in the Park. Again I had a good run with no pain and without much effort. Today was quite cool which was annoying but manageable.

I feel like I am starting to get over the initial hump of training. There is a period after a break when the excitement to be training again has worn off while fitness has not yet returned. It is during this period when running becomes a bit of a chore. Runs do not feel good, they feel slow, laboured and painful. Everything aches and the previous free time and energy are replaced with scheduled exhaustion. Once over the initial hump, easy runs are once again easy, 5 miles seems like a joke, long runs are boring but easy, workouts are fun and tempos are tolerable. I think I am over the hump.

I have had my first real blog question! (My first blog question was from N.H. Said individual was wondering how I manage to run faster than him even in high heels? It is all about balls and talent...)

"J.D., What do you think of in the last 1/3 of your race?"

Depending on the race and how fast I am running usually relates to what I am thinking. If I am running well and fast there is not usually much going on in my brain besides trying to figure out split times and a few key words. I think "go". This is a key word for me. I may almost get into a mantra with this and just have go, go, go over and over and over again. I try to remember to lift my feet off of the ground and keep moving. With regards to splits I usually try to figure out what my time will be and also how much time I have left to race. With 3 km remaining I will tell myself less then 9 minutes. I tend to be very generous with myself with my pace in the last few kilometres. When I am in pain, hardly able to breath and absolutely exhausted 'less then 9 minutes' seems way shorter than '10 something minutes'.

If I am running poorly then 'quit' pops into my mind (I have only dropped out of 1 race in my life). I will try to convince myself to run faster but that will rarely happen. Sometimes my mind will wander and I will think about dinner last Tuesday when I should have had the fish rather then the awful chicken and what was up with that lady with the green dress back there, I wonder if the grass is still green at home, I hope I watered my plants because they were wilted, it would be nice for someone to buy me flowers, I wonder if that guy is gay, oh! 2 km to go. My mind wandering is very nice in long runs but in the shorter races it has been a problem. I would be running indoor track and be with the lead group, after 5 laps I would have my outfit planned for the partying after the race but have lost touch with the leaders and run yet another dismal track meet. When running poorly I really struggle with negative self talk and try to turn it into something positive. If the race is going really bad then I will think of a workout or a game I can play to pass the time until I am done and I can go home. I have been in track meets when the thought of avoiding getting lapped has gotten me to the finish line in a reasonable time. When running poorly my mind goes where ever it can to avoid the pain.

Generally the last 1/3 of any race, rather good or bad, is painful and not that pleasant. The races I have run both the best and the worst I have thought about dropping out of the race at many different times. If I am running well there is motivation to go hard and the mantra 'go' will keep me motivated to the finish line. If I actually figure out my splits and I have an idea of what my time will be then I have even more motivation to run hard. Conversely, if I am running poorly, I may not push as hard to the line to enable good training into the next week. If I have a bad day there is not much point in ruining a good week of training by killing myself for a shitty time with a bad placing. I will take it back a notch and try to coast a bit with a little push at the end. I hope that answers the question!

Caution! Rant

I had it in my mind to blog today about the terrible drivers in the city of Vancouver and defend the cyclists of the city. I cycle to work most days and have had to learn to ride very aggressively to avoid getting killed. I generally ride to the rules of the road though this has led to the highest amount of risk for me. Today I was nearly side swiped 4 times by cars trying to sidle up beside me heading into stop signs or red lights. I am fed up with having to defend not only my use of the roads but also the use of a designated bike lane. The one message I want drivers to understand is that when you hit me I die. That is right DIE! Dead, not breathing, not loving, plain old dead. I believe a human life is worth more then the five minutes one has to wait in traffic. If you are late you should have left earlier! Save me my life and chill out!

Rant done! I like questions so send me more! runninggay@gmail.com

Happy Training!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Track Session

One of those days.

This morning's track session was a lesson in hurt. The workout was 5 times 800 with a quick 200 recovery. I was to run 2:18 for the workout, descending if possible. The warm up 400 did not feel good and the time was slow, 68. I knew from this 400 that this was not going to be a light and easy workout. The first 800 went by in 2:16 but felt more like 5:00. I ran under pace time with a great effort, too much effort for a first interval. It was at this point that the wind seemed to pick up and I became acutely aware that I was running in front alone with no one to either take an interval or to chase close. I was tired and dreading 4 more hard efforts. Surprisingly my last four 800's were 2:17 or better, despite making my own pace in the wind.

I felt very flat today. I was tired and sore when I woke up this morning, possibly from a very aggressive game of Frisbee on the beach yesterday. I am happy with this workout (I seem to be happy with every workout though so no big surprise there) as the hard workouts that are a grind are the ones that really count. I have been waiting for a tough workout with a big blow-up; today I got the tough workout, still waiting for the blow-up.

Happy Training!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Hills Are Alive...

...with the sound of wheezing.

The Thursday VFAC workout was hills. I cannot tell a lie, I do not like training hills. Somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of miles I have run I have lost a great amount of strength and thus I suffer with hill workouts. At one point in the early stages of my running I enjoyed training hills, but that tolerance quickly evaporated by the time I left the University of New Brunswick and the hill outside the Beaverbrook Gym. It was with a sunken heart that I made my way into Stanley Park last night to complete a hill workout with my team.

The warm up felt good and my drills and strides were unremarkable. I was very happy to see Ynuk and Graeme out for the workout as they are both very quick. The hill workout consists of an approximately 2.45 minute climb at interval pace. Then a short recovery followed by an approximately 300 metre stride. I like the stride at the end, makes one feel good after feeling really slow at the end of a climb. We do this five times. The first climb went slow, although felt fast. I was convinced the group in front of us went too fast when in reality my group went too slow. The next 4 intervals were very fast. Ynuk and I worked very well together going almost stride for stride for the majority of the workout. We ran the last 4 intervals faster then Ynuk can remember anyone running the workout and we descended our times. This is a tough feat on a tough hill.

I had a great cool down followed by the ability to walk! I could actually walk without a limp after the workout which is very exciting. I still feel a lot of pain in my lower leg but it does not cause too much hurt when running. So long as I can complete my workouts I am happy.

Today I have a day off work with some loose plans. I am going to take it easy and enjoy some downtime. Workout on the track tomorrow!

Happy Training!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Settling Down

There comes a time in every one's life when it becomes time to settle down. For many this means just plain old settling, for whatever has come their way. Should I be looking to the world with this in mind?

For athletes in high performance sport there comes a time when one must be realistic and settle. I knew when I was 16 years old, was 5 foot nothing and was close to last on my school's alpine ski team that I was never going to be an Olympic skier, no matter how much I trained or dreamed. I knew that I had to settle with being a recreational skier and I moved on with my life. In university as a runner I had set some lofty goals for myself and I surprisingly accomplished many of them. In the end I was never a CIS all star, I had to settle with AUS all star and move on (although to be honest, moving on was really hard). At some point athletes must honestly appraise their goals and settle for something that may not necessarily have been what they were seeking. How many athletes are in a contest who do not win? There are thousands of people out there who have had to settle for a personal best just shy of the medals and retire with that. Settling is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to higher self esteem rather than being constantly disappointed. Also it is beneficial when one is happy with what they have rather then having 'grass is always greener' syndrome. Currently, I know I will never win a national championships, I understand I am a small fish in a small pool and I am fine with that. I love running and will try to improve but I will never earn money from running nor will it ever provide me with a means to earn a living (if I get a free pair of socks I am excited!) Besides, we are taught from a young age to 'settle'down. It is our goal.

Which leads me to my next dilemma. I have taken the summer off of romance or attempting any notion of romance. This has been very difficult as attractive men have been harassing me all summer to call and hang out and attempt to sleep with me all the time (ha ha ha, just kidding, although I did make eye contact with someone a few weekends ago). Once I return from my end of summer vacation in Nova Scotia I will attempt to enter the dating world again. Is it time to settle?

I had a wonderful gay pride last weekend although one night was slightly disturbing yet educational. I was at a club and by the end of the night the only men who attempted to dance with me were absolutely repulsive. My friends described me as looking 'very uncomfortable' throughout the duration of the night, which was how I was feeling. I knew it was time for me to go home when there was no where on the dance floor I could dance without running into someone who propositioned me and I turned down. I walked home alone (which was the plan anyways, single for the summer) lamenting the lack of attractive men in the city. The next day my friend was commenting on the great number of attractive men at the club. Huh? Maybe it is time for me to settle?

When I think about settling I cringe. I have always held close to my heart that I would rather be alone then settle for someone who would not make me happy or give me stomach pain rather then butterflies. I have had to settle in sport but my goals might have been unrealistic. Day to day I do not settle. I hit my pace times in workouts. I have run a series of personal bests in the last two years which I never thought were attainable. These times would have me within the ranks of CIS all star, I may not have actually settled. I did not settle with a useless Arts degree. I went back to university and got a BScKin and a MSc(OT). I will not settle or be happy with a bad workout or a poor effort in a race and nor will I settle for a man who cannot keep up or does not light my fire. As the commercial says, never settle!

In reality, over the past two years, I have met men who meet my exacting standards. We did not date for several reasons including (in no particular order);
  1. He has a boyfriend
  2. He is not attracted to me
  3. He moved away (or at least that is what he told me)
  4. He is not over a previous relationship
  5. He is at a different point in his life
He exists and is out there, I have met him before, and I will not settle for anything less.

Addendum: Inspiration comes in many forms. I had a nice chat with a friend who did not settle. When the right man came along she let nature take it's course and is all the better for it. She has been on a whirlwind of a romance, I am inspired and will not settle.

Yesterday's tempo run did not happen as I did not feel like running. I have been struggling with a bit of tendonitis and I just wanted to have some rest and a good nights sleep. Today I did not run again and spent some time swimming with a great group of friends. It was great to be in open water although I have lost my muscle bulk from last summer and my wetsuit is a bit big in the shoulders. Tomorrow night I will be training with VFAC. Hopefully my tendonitis will have resolved, even a bit would be nice.

Happy Training!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pride


It is gay pride weekend here in Vancouver and it offers yet another opportunity to reflect on what I am proud of and what pride means to me.

I am proud to be a runner. I love running and it is my passion. I have also worked very hard to be a good runner. I was not born a runner and it has not come easy. It seems almost every race or workout has caused me to contemplate quitting the workout or stepping to the curb. I have shed more tears about running then anything else in my life. The work, sacrifice and love have made me very proud to be a runner.

I am proud to be a good person. I am not perfect nor ever will be. What I strive for is to treat others with respect despite differences we may have and 'catch' myself when I start to judge. I do not respect those who hate, are ignorant by choice or those who judge others based solely on physical appearance. I do respect people who strive to achieve, those who have passion and care about human kind.

I am proud of my family. I was very fortunate to be raised by an extraordinary mother, who after the death of my father, maintained our family business enabling my siblings and I the opportunity to learn the value of a good work ethic. I did not want as a child and I was protected from the world in a rural environment. Although my family is not perfect, they try their hardest and we all care for each other.

I am proud of the people who I choose to surround myself with. I made a pledge to myself when I was younger to always be around people who I could learn from and who would make me a better person. I do not have a lot of friends, but the friends I have each teach me how to be a better more honest person in the different realms of my life. It was my friends, six years ago on Albert St. in Fredericton NB, who supported me and encouraged to say out loud 'I am gay'. My friends inspire me and teach me, and for that I am thankful and proud.

I am proud of the risk and the chances I have taken in my life. I have not taken the easy road and have had to make difficult decisions to get to where I am now. The biggest risk I ever took was packing my Jeep and driving 5 hours to the University of New Brunswick. When I look back now it seems like such a small move compared to driving across the country to Vancouver. I left the sheltered safe life I had always known. I said goodbye to what would have been a life with a house, vehicle in the yard and no concerns for money or security. Since the first risk of leaving my shelter in the country I have seen half the world, lived half a world away and moved to one of the most amazing cities on earth. Running is also fraught with risk. Every time I enter a new training period it is with a peak race in mind. All the hours and years of training are devoted to that race. Standing at the start line I face the biggest risk we all fear, the risk of failure. I am proud of the risks I take and will take in the future.

I am not proud to be gay. I do not feel that being gay is a license to be proud. One has to earn pride, one has to have a quality to be proud of, not a pre-existing condition. Just as I do not believe a child should get the same prize whether they are first or last, I do not believe we should be proud just because we are gay. I am proud of those in the community who have fought for equality and respect. I am proud of those who marched in the first gay pride parade, those who were not afraid to stand up to the heterosexist mainstream society and say, I am gay! When they came forward they had something to be proud of. They were taking a risk, they were striving for a better life with respect for each individual regardless of sexuality.

I am a runner. I try to be a good person. I try to be a good brother and son. I try to be a good friend. I am gay. I am proud of who I am.

This morning I did not run my usual Saturday track workout secondary to some right foot tendonitis. After Thursday's workout I was in pain so severe I was unable to sleep. I am not too alarmed by this pain as it is not unusual for me to have a slight flare up of tendonitis after a break from running. Rather then make the pain worse by running a hard track workout I decided to have a light run and do some speed play. I ran along the Sea Wall and on my favorite trails of Stanley Park. It was a great run because it was fun. I made up the workout as I went along and pretended to be different upcoming races. When on asphalt I was at Nationals road and when on the trails I was gunning for a spot on the world cross country team. I love my imagination sometimes. Any regular boring run instantly turns into the Olympics within the blink of an eye.

I am going to try be a little more gay tonight and hit the club for some dancing. Tomorrow's long run may be postponed as I will need to sleep and then watch the pride parade with some friends. I hope to meet some more people to be proud of.

Happy Training!