What does it mean to recharge? I am taking a novel approach to the concept of recharging the body and mind by going out and sleeping less.
I have been running very little the last week and a half. I run when I feel like it for how long or fast I feel like. Yesterday I got back to the gym and tried running on a treadmill. It was actually not that bad. The only issue is that the treadmills do not go fast enough. I am thinking when I am running high mileage I may run either the morning or evening run on the treadmill and the other on the roads/trails, just to mix it up a bit. I also did my first core workout since I got my 6 pack in the spring. I still have the 6 pack, which was an 8 pack at one point this summer, so there has not been a tonne of incentive to work the core until I saw a photo of me at BC Cross Country where I am severely hunched. I need to strengthen my core to enable stronger running. If there is nothing for the legs to attach too then one cannot run.
Of greater importance the last week and a half is the number of times I have gone out. I have gone to 2 gay establishments and spent some time with some colleagues after work on Tuesday into the late hours of the night. Last night I visited a predominately gay lounge in the 'gay village' of Vancouver with a good female friend of mine. As I have been quite critical of 'the gays' in past posts I must now admit that I enjoyed myself last night. It was actually quite fun to be in a place with many hot men. My friend seemed to be on a mission to boost my ego as well as she continually told me that I was getting checked out by just about everyone who entered the lounge. I still did not get approached by one man and there were no phone number exchanges but I still feel like the night was a success. It is brilliant to go out, see many hot men, and feel like one of them.
This time of recharge has been very important for me. When I am training and not racing that great I tend to become negative and easily upset about almost everything. Instead of focusing on what makes me great I look to the flaws, the missing pieces, and perseverate on them. I am naturally optimistic, and I would argue one has to be optimistic to be an athlete. An athlete has to be able to learn from failure and focus on the positive aspects of a performance to maintain inspiration to keep training. A good athlete also has to be a perfectionist in what they do in order to continue striving towards their goals. Some may look at the perfectionism and optimism as opposite traits though I believe one cannot exist without the other. It is the dream of perfection, knowing that the perfect race can happen, that keeps me training. It is the optimism of believing that I can reach my goals and running to the best of my talent that keeps me training.
The energy of training and the amount of optimism it takes to get out the door every day may be what detracts from the rest of my life. After a few weeks of rest, while knowing I will not be training for at least a few more weeks, I have started to regain some of my optimism towards all aspects of my life. I will be having a few changes in a couple of weeks, and a few opportunities in the world of the gays to reignite some of my passion towards what makes me unique. What is really exciting is the opportunity to participate in the Fearless Project, combining both sport and being gay. I feel my optimism coming back. Hopefully I can keep Bitter Bert on the sidelines for a while.
While I am very excited to start training for the marathon I am nervous for what may further happen with my romantic opportunities. I know I must go to a place that is hard to survive. I must push my body and mind beyond anything I have pushed before. I am acutely aware of what the outcomes of this may be. There will be many dangers along my path to the marathon including social isolation, burnout and injury. The opportunities to meet a man will also be limited unless he happens to join my running group or is able/willing to track me down on a long run. Even if I were to bump into the man of my dreams tomorrow and suddenly fall madly in love I wonder what impact marathon training would have on a budding relationship (I can hear you all saying, "better get the relationship before worrying what will happen during it"). The life of a distance runner is very lonely, I hope over the next 6 months I can survive both the loneliness of training and the lack of a romantic partner. I hope I can somehow maintain the optimism I can feel coming back throughout the dark cold training days this winter.
The break continues with an easy run tomorrow.