Monday, June 28, 2010

Up A Notch

Only if these people would sponsor me...

Sponsorship

I am injured. My foot hurts and I want to run. Instead I will swim.

I do not have a sponsor and to be quite frank, I never will. I will outline the reasons as follows.

  • I am not fast enough: I do not deserve to have a sponsor or to get any free stuff. I believe that one should run at least sub 30 minutes to have a sponsor. I am not ranked nationally and I will never run international. I am a hack and thus do not deserve to have a sponsor.
  • I am gay and vocal: If I was a hack but a reserved gay then I would may be in the running for some shoes and a new outfit. I am gay and not afraid to show it so I will never be sponsored. If I was straight then I might have a chance.
  • I volunteer with the gays: A teammate was telling me one day that I needed to get 'involved in the community' if I wanted to get sponsored. Another of my mates responded with 'it depends what community?' People do not want to support someone with questionable morals or an alternative lifestyle.
  • I am not a suck up: I am the worst schmoozer on earth. It was ingrained in me as a child to not tell people how great you are. I find it difficult to say anything positive about myself without somehow adding a disparaging comment to deflect what one may perceive as arrogance.
The difficulty with sponsorship in running is that it is not necessarily based on performance or talent. It seems to be as much based on who you know or how much one bullshits as how fast you run. When I was just starting to get fast out here in BC I ran a race. At the end of the race the results were posted with the individual's sponsor on the result sheet. Of the top 15 runners in the race there were 2 individuals who were not sponsored. I was one of them. I did not expect to have any support for my running as I did not feel I was of the quality to garner support. What is difficult to accept is continuing to beat individuals who are supported and getting a box of free equipment every few months.

In situations of personal growth I look for ways to change my behaviour or strategies to improve outcomes. The question I grapple with is how to balance the need to conform with my desire to be who I am. I do not foresee myself ever walking up to a shoe rep and telling him how wonderful I am. I cannot show any community involvement without reporting I'm gay and any promotional engagements have all been gay oriented. Gosh, I have been on the second page of the Globe and Mail twice in the last 6 months and my image is currently touring North America after a stint at Pride House as part of the Olympics. If I was not a runner I would not have been represented.

Things do not come easy for me. I have been very fortunate in my life to have been given amazing opportunities. Upon realizing an opportunity I have worked hard to maximize the opportunity to reap all the rewards possible. I have worked incredibly hard for everything I have and I foresee continuing to work hard into the future. I do not foresee sponsorship, that would be much too easy.

Life is work, it is a grind. Right?

Happy Training!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Breaking

I have run twice in the last week and both have been painful. I want to have a break but I also want to stop breaking.

My foot has not recovered. Plantar injuries are notoriously difficult to rehab and take a lot of rest and time non weight bearing to improve. I cannot non weight bear, it is not an option. Therefore I have decided to treat my foot with a great deal of care and begin running again. Today I ran 8 miles and everything felt good, except for my foot.

My body needs to move and exercise, it always has. As a child I can remember recess and lunch at school as times to run around the school. We had the occasional Cabbage Patch Kid wedding or Smurf gathering in the park but spent the majority of our time running. In winter we had snow ball fights, skated after school at the pond and cross country skied for hours. Adolescence was a time of slovenly activity and misdirection. Once I hit my 20s I became a real athlete. I cannot stop training, I go crazy.

I love running and moving and training. I cannot stop. Even as I plan my trip to Toronto I am trying to fit in workouts so I can still feel human. There is something about exercise and training that makes me feel clean and productive. It is like I need to sweat to actually cleanse the stress and toxins of my regular tension filled existence. Working out also gives me control over my body when I may not have much control over what is happening around me.

With this in mind I have decided to run through the pain of my foot. The emotional pain of not doing what I love is far stronger then any physical pain of training. In some ways it is the physical pain that even pushes me further and harder. As one of my first coaches would yell during track workouts "pain is weakness leaving the body".

I head to Toronto on Wednesday and I am super excited. I hope to leave a lot of my conservative/catholic tendencies behind and have an out of control, wild and crazy time. I am hoping to not be able to blog much due to the debauchery and fun. I am very excited to meet up with my gay life coach too. Our consulting and coaching has been long distance as I have been outsourcing him from Toronto. His actual hands on and in person hints and techniques are sure to be of great use. I am also excited to explore the dirt bag hipster area!

I hope they have the city cleaned up before I get there! One last comment. I really think that if the protesters were in sports and active as children then they would not be protesting. If they are out on a long run and playing in a soccer tournament then I do not think they would have time to protest or the energy to be so mean and destructive. People say that sport is pointless and leisure for the rich. If people are active and given opportunity to be involved in something other then violence then there is no violence. If people are given the opportunity to belong to something then they will not be violent. My two cents!

Happy Training!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Verdict

I am not racing tomorrow.

I went for my first run in a week yesterday and it was painful. I ran 5 miles in total and the actual feel of running was wonderful, however my foot was not. It is strange but I think my foot is worse now then it was a week ago. I have had a very busy week at work which may have had an impact. If I thought I could warm up and be pain free I would run. I do not think this will happen. I also have to respect the course. There are two long hard downhill sections that will kill my foot. I want to be able to walk Monday morning.

I really want to race tomorrow but I need to start thinking with my whole brain when it comes to training through injury. I must ensure I recover before I start pounding the crap out of my body again. If anything, this series of events inspires me to get back into triathlon more. I want to continue to train hard but my body can no longer take only run training. If I want to continue to workout the amount of hours I currently am I will need to bike and swim to get those hours in.

I took today as a total day off. Tomorrow I am going to easy run and swim and try to keep in shape as best I can. I head for Toronto on Wednesday and I am getting excited! I hope they get that mess cleaning up!

Happy Training!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Novo-Ketorolac

A gift from heaven!
Last night I was sitting at my computer working away with an aching throb radiating from my right heel. The only comfortable position was with my foot flat on the ground with pressure on the outside edge of my foot. Any time I lifted my foot off of the ground it felt like the plantar tendon was pulling off of the Calcaneous (heel bone). Suddenly I remembered the suffering pain from my last year of dental surgeries and the pain meds I stopped taking in case I happened to get injured. Thankfully I have a full bottle of anti-inflamatories and the effect has been impressive.

After going to bed in pain I woke up this morning and walked to the bathroom without a limp, for the first time in months and months. I had no limp and almost no pain all day today. After getting out of the pool tonight I was able to walk across the long pool deck without pain. I even ran down the hallway at work today (a reflection of how insanely busy I was!). One of my colleagues even noticed and commented on the difference between today and last Sunday.

Now comes the difficult part. After thinking I was not going to be able to run this weekend I am beginning to wonder if I can maybe get out there for a good effort. I had anticipated not running at all but with one pain free day I am seriously beginning to wonder. I have missed 5 days of running though I have been in the pool 4 of those 5 days. If I am pain free tomorrow I may go for a run on Friday after work and see how I feel on Saturday. If the foot is good then I may run, if not then no harm done. Well except for the injury...

I have often heard of runners who have spent many days injured leading into a race and then have run a personal best time for the race. Could this happen for me? I am feeling rested, although I must admit my upper body is a bit sore from weights, core and swimming. I also want to see how my legs feel. I will for sure be a bit rusty. A bit of rust at the beginning of a 1/2 marathon though may actually be an asset. I will not be able to run hard from the start but rather will have to work my way into the race as my body remembers what it is like to run fast. Oh the decision I have waiting in front of me.

I have trained very hard all year with this race as my peak. I have been running very well lately with some very quick workouts and a good run last weekend despite a lack luster effort. I want to run and I am dreaming of the possibility but I also want to be able to run in a year and in 10 years. I do not want to fuck up my foot to the point that I cannot walk or run.

Tomorrow will be the tell tale and Friday will be an easy run to gauge my foot. If I am mostly pain free on Saturday morning I may end out racing.

Thank you Novo-Ketorolac!

Happy Training!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Possibility

There is something about the possibility of something happening that is absolutely invigorating.

In the weeks leading up to a race I will often lay in bed at night dreaming about the big break through I am going to have or the money I am going to win. I dream of gutting it out to the line with a powerful finishing kick to take the win, shocking the BC running world. It is the unknown of the future and the possibility it holds that makes it so exciting. The same concept can be placed on a lottery ticket. The best part of buying a lottery ticket is not the draw or even winning. The best part of a lottery ticket is dreaming of the possibilities that will come with millions of dollars. It is the fantasy that makes lottery so lucrative.

It is the possibility and excitement in the future that makes life so wonderful. I have been told that one must live in the present in order to be truly fulfilled but I disagree to a certain extent. As a species, I would argue, it is the future that keeps us living. It is the hope of a tomorrow that is just as good as today that keeps us wanting to get up in morning. For those who may not have all the advantages of a person born in the developed world or who may be marginalized in some way, it is the hope of a better tomorrow that enables them to move through the motions of their potentially impoverished existence.

There are many times when I wish I was in a relationship (if you follow the blog you will know this by now!) and wish I was rich and of the leisure class. Both of these things would be great. I wonder though, with the possibility gone and actually in the present would I be happy? Would I be happy without a goal to shoot for but rather the goal accomplished? What would I do?

Being injured is always very interesting. With my foot still sore I do not as of yet know when I can lace on my shoes and hit the pavement for a workout. Plantar foot injuries are notoriously slow to heal and I may be off my feet for an extended period of time. I have accomplished many of my running goals and in most respects far exceeded anything I ever thought would be possible. Can I be happy in the present without the possibility of another track workout or another race? Can I be satisfied with what has passed without looking ahead to future goals and the possibility of more fast times?

Last night as I lay in bed I had a bit of a dream. I was racing. It was one of those days when everything goes right and feels easy as pie. I ran fast. I ran really fast. It was one of those races that feels amazing yet hurts. It is the hurt and the pain that pushes one to try harder, to hurt more. It was the possibility that was exciting.

I am still dreaming of running fast, which is a good thing. I am still seeking the possibility of a lover, which is a good thing. I am still living in the future though loving the present. Although I am not enlightened yet to the 'power of now', I think without the drive to the future we lose our possibility. Without possibility I am scared I would become even more cynical than I am now.

I am very excited for the possibilities that await me this summer and Toronto is getting really close. I am planning my wardrobe already! It will be as much a culture shock as it will be a climatic shock!

Happy Training!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stupid!

I am on injury day 2 and to be honest I am happy to have a break. I think this injury has been a long time coming and I am ready to put my feet up and relax a bit. Today I was able to put weight through my entire foot and walk with pain. At the rate I am going I will be almost pain free in a few days! Instead of running I swam a good workout and spent some time in the weight room. I have way too much energy to not workout. I actually spent more time working out today than I would normally spend on a Sunday. Go figure!

Tonight I learned a very valuable lesson about relationships and communication. When one is in a relationship they must balance what they say very carefully. This is a totally foreign concept to me as I have never lived with a significant other or even been in a relationship. I learned tonight that you cannot call your partner 'stupid' even if they do something really stupid. I also learned that 'stupid' is an aggressive word and not good to use in a relationship.

Relationships seem to be really complex and hard to manage. There are many rules and regulations that one must follow to ensure everything continues to flow according to plan. Something as simple as washing the dishes can evolve into a big issue. I would hope that if I was pissed off about dirty dishes I would tell my partner to wash his dishes. I guess people get really angry about these things.

I cannot tell a lie. I am pretty clueless when it comes to stuff. I can be totally self unaware in certain situations and thus make people a bit on the angry side. The problem is that I usually do not know what I did wrong and when someone tells me I feel so much better. Is that normal?

I would hope that in any of my relationships those around me would tell me if I pissed them off. It often is not nice to hear but I think it is much better than never seeing a friend or lover again. Maybe it is part of growing up to learn to listen to feedback that may not be the most positive. As an example, I am a terrible hugger. My family does not hug or touch or show outward affection. I only hugged my Grandmother when I was growing up because that was the only person who offered hugs, thus I am a terrible hugger. Tonight I was hugging my friend goodbye and I totally messed it up. My hips were back and my shoulders weird, not a good scene. My friend told me I was doing a bad job and gave me some pointers. It was wonderful feedback that I hope to incorporate into further hugging opportunities. I am happy to have the feedback rather then have him never hug me again. Does this type of feedback work in romantic relationships?

As I continue to mull away in the abyss known as single Vancouver, I have plenty of time (the way things are going a lifetime) to fully explore these concepts within romantic relationships before I find myself actually in a relationship. I still do not get many of the concepts spoken of tonight but without the concrete experience I guess I do not even have a reference point to draw from. Even if I had a totally fucked up relationship in the past it would provide at least some fodder for discussion.

Tomorrow I will be in the pool and maybe doing a bit of core work too. I need to be fit and lean for Toronto Pride in just slightly over a week!

Happy Training!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Down Time

I cannot walk.

Last night I ran the Longest Day 5 km. I did not run as well as I had wanted and I also managed to damage my heel beyond what I was anticipating. I am now on an injury timeout.

The race itself went out very fast as happened last year. I did not run hard from the gun but rather decided to work myself into the race. I ran hard through 3 km and then tried to push the pace with 2 km to go. Unfortunately I did not commit to the effort and thus wound up in 6th, one spot out of money. I was a bit disappointed after the race with my effort but I did run faster then I thought I was going to run.

Of major concern is the condition of my foot today. I cannot put any weight through my heel on the right side. I have an awkward gait where I have a weird toe/half foot hobble. Towards the end of the race a competitor fell in front of me and I had to jump to avoid going down. In the process of avoiding the fellow runner I managed to crunch my heel to further compound my injury. I cannot run today as I can barely even walk.

My heel is injured beyond anything I can run through any more. I cannot rationalize training on a foot when I cannot walk or sit without pain. This morning when I woke up and was lying in bed I postponed getting up due to the pain. I am going to take a week off running and maybe more if the pain does not resolve.

I am a bit gutted now that I am injured and cannot run. I have not been injured seriously in quite a few years. I have been very lucky to have been able to run hard for a few years with many personal bests and no serious injury. I will take the next month to rest my running body and try and get stronger for the fall.

Happy Training!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Compensation

Things are falling apart. In an effort to protect my failing heel the remaining muscles of my body have decided to compensate for the pain, unbeknown to me. Unfortunately I now have hip pain on the left side to match my heel pain on the right side.

The thing with a minor injury is that it can explode into something far more sinister in a few short workouts. My training this week has gone quite well. Yesterday I did not run as I was feeling under the weather and needed some long over due rest. My tempo in pain on Tuesday and hobbling around work have resulted in left hip pain. This is actual hip pain, not to be confused with piriformis pain.

The great news is that although my hip and heel are quite sore at rest they are both entirely functional for running. Today I ran a pre-race sharpening workout consisting of a couple of miles warm up with drills and strides followed by a two mile cool down. My legs are still fatigued but getting better. By the time I had run 10 minutes I was starting to cruise a bit and relax into a nice and easy stride. My drills were status quo although I had to remind myself to keep moving during this time. I have developed the habit of walking a lot during my drill/stride time. I think I am walking so much that I am cooling down during this time rather then warming up.

I am excited to run tomorrow night. I hope my work day is not too busy. I want to have a solid 5 km race and not damage my foot too much more. I am also looking forward to the beer tent afterward which ought to be a hoot!

I have some further reflection on my experience at the "Big Gay Wedding". There was a lot of down time while waiting for our cue, upwards of 2 hours. This gave us 'synchro' swimmers some time to chat and learn about each other. One of my co-stars, from the arts side of the spectrum, related how he disliked athletes because they are always at the gym pumping iron and generally being self absorbed and arrogant. What? "Those are not athletes!" was my response.

This comment started me thinking; do the gays not know what a real athlete is? I cannot put thoughts into other peoples heads and I can for sure not hypothesize on what general gay society thinks so I will relate what being an athlete actually entails.

For every hot David Beckham there are thousands of athletes who look just plain bad. Being an athlete and training hard has nothing to do with prancing around a weight room or the local Fitness World. To be an athlete individuals require very specific functional strength. People often say how much they love a swimmers build. A swimmers build is not what you may see in a Speedo advertisement. Swimmers are mostly shoulders and little hips and are generally long and gangly. Hockey players look like they are boxers with their faces bashed in almost every night and their bodies are not very often ripped. Often times they need to have extra fat on their bodies for both energy and protection. A distance runner's body (I love, love, love the distance runner's body type so the following sentence is in reflection to the societal view of beauty) is typically the antithesis of what one would describe as an attractive male body. A distance runner needs a little body with a big heart and thus can be mostly characterized by small arms and shoulders with a bum and legs.

My friend Sony was quite insightful last night when he said something along the lines of, "most gays were probably bullied by 'jocks' not athletes so they don't like them and think they are something that they are not." I have never really thought of a difference between being an athlete and being a jock. When I was growing up the bullies were not athletes or jocks but rather the poor and cognitively delayed kids in the class who could not manage to figure things out. As I have never been bullied by a jock I had not really thought about this concept. Are jocks along the same lines of a skibum? A person who looks the part but cannot play the part?

I would argue that most of the people parading around the gym are not athletes but are rather jocks. They are posers with the gear but none of the determination to achieve athlete status. As athletes, regardless of our background or sexuality, we have all had to work very hard to make it to the start line. Athletes may tend to look down on those who do not have the will or determination to focus on a goal and achieve that goal. From personal experience I can report no athletes who have ever looked down upon a minority population merely for being what they are. Athletes may have a tendency to pity those who have no direction in their lives or lack passion or vision for something other then drinking and partying, regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity.

Jocks on the other hand have a tendency to judge others on the size of their biceps or the hip to shoulder ratio. A jock is more concerned with keeping their Nike Shocks (or is it X) clean than personal improvement through hard work and determination. A jock is a facade.

Of course I have some major generalizations in this blog. Not all athletes are nice, some are total asshole dickheads. Not all jocks are dicks. Some are really nice and genuine guys. I guess the real message is to not affix a label to a person you do not know. Individuals may present as athlete and are jock, skinny queer and are athlete and an asshole may just be an asshole.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tempo Tuesday

I was able to run today!

I am very pleased to report I was able to run a tempo this evening. I arrived home from work feeling totally exhausted and drained. My legs felt like rubber and my heel was throbbing after a day on my feet. I changed quickly and was out the door of my glorious apartment in less than 10 minutes.

Upon hitting the Seawall to warm up I had a feeling of urgency to get this run completed. I was a bit revved up and had to convince myself to slow down and focus on easing into my run. When I am not feeling the best I will occasionally run fast in an effort to get my run over with. This is not a good habit. My heel was a bit tender and my quads tired, though my breathing much improved over last weekend.

I decided to run a 20 minute tempo in the trails of Stanley Park with a 5 minute hard piece on the Seawall after a short period of recovery. Upon starting the tempo pace I actually felt crisp and light with minimal effort needed to get through my stride. The 20 minutes went by fast and I was almost a bit disappointed I was finished. The second 5 minutes at a hard effort felt wonderful and I extended the effort a bit to finish at Third Beach. My heel was sore for the last few minutes of the hard section and for the whole cool down but not unmanageable. Actually both legs were quite sore which I will attribute to more miles on the track than I am accustomed to and my muscles trying to compensate for the pain in my heel. Tonight my heel is throbbing.

I am tickled to have been able to run my tempo tonight. I have been feeling on the ill side of healthy for a few days now and I continue to feel slightly under the weather. I have not been fully sick but rather verging on the border of not being able to get out of bed. Illness in combination with injury makes running tenuous at best. Being able to get my workout completed this evening means I can race on Friday night with confidence and aggression. I hope to run fast!

I have been doing a bit of art over the past few days. I was looking for something to go on a blank wall in my ocean kissed apartment. I did not find anything in the stores or thrift shops that caught my eye so I decided to make something instead. It is not avant garde or real art but I like it. Not too obvious but sweet!

I am also continuing to recover from my foray into the gay entertainment world. I had a bit of a debrief with someone who saw the show. He was amazed that I was able to remember all the steps and that I did not fuck up. I fucked up a lot and forgot half the moves. Just goes to show that if you sell the performance nobody is any the wiser!

Happy Training!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pessimist

I am not a pessimist.

To be a good runner one has to be an optimist. There is no possible way a pessimist can achieve success as a runner as there is a great amount of failure involved in one little success. To be able to overcome the failures and learn from them is the hallmark of any good athlete. These are also the traits of an optimist.

When I step on the track or into the trails of the park I am usually nervous about the effort that awaits me. There is always a touch of doubt about my abilities though a resolute belief not only in my ability but also the trajectory of my progress. When I am starting a workout it is with the inherent belief that even if I do not run fast on that day, I will run fast in the future. Every workout, easy run, core workout, restricted meal, early bedtime or skipped event is born from the optimism that I will be the best I can be on race day. When I get injured I think of it as rest and my body telling me to take it easy. When I am tired I think of the great quality training I must be getting to be in this state. When I am sore I think of the muscles rebuilding and getting stronger. When I am hungry I think of the hunger to win. I think of me winning. I know I will win. I am optimistic.

It is through years of training, with good results, that I have been able to hone my natural optimism. I can look at evidence or trends to come to a conclusion of what I can predict in the future. I know that a hard workout that is not quite as fast as I want it, can still lead to a fast race. I have seen hard work lead to improvement and I have confidence that this will happen again. When I analyze my personality I would define myself as a realist. I look at trends and outcomes. By following these trends and outcomes I am better able to think about the future and my personal expectations.

My friend called me a pessimist the other day in regards to my perception about my singleton status. My reply was that I am not a pessimist, quite the opposite. By nature of getting my hair cut, doing weights, caring about my 6 pack and ensuring I am in nice clothes I am optimistic I will run into someone to love at some point during every day. My mantra of 'always look good because you never know who you will run into!' rings of optimism. The fact that I have spent the last 10 years going on endless meaningless dates, trying online dating, joining gay organizations I have interest but no time for, volunteering despite the voice inside my head that screams NO!, and generally trying to date almost any moving thing would lead me to think I am either an optimist or totally insane.

As a realist I look at my past and try to find trends. When I comment that I do not believe I will ever have a partner or any meaningful romantic relationship it is not with flippancy or without long hard thought. It is with a heavy heart and disappointment that I come to this conclusion. The conclusion is based on years of disappointment. The conclusion is based on going to an event filled with gay men and not having one remotely attractive man show any interest in me. The conclusion is based on being introduced to a new man and not being able to even engage him in conversation. I can recall many a situation when I have tried to talk to someone in this city and the response has been an 'once up and down' and a walk away. I have crushed hard on people, only to have been crushed myself. If I look at the trend and where it has gone I can come to one conclusion. It will never happen.

I am still an optimist and I still dream I will fall in love, just as I dream I will run sub 30 minutes one day or even run internationally. When I lay in bed at night I think of my handsome boyfriend cheering as I shock the country and run a 2:13 marathon to qualify for the Olympics. I also dream about the disaster race I have trained all my life for only to fail, but to still have the arms of my handsome boyfriend to fall into. This is the optimist in me where I believe at my core that anything is possible if you work hard and focus. It is the realist in me that knows I will never run sub 30, I will never run a 2:13 marathon, and I may never fall in love.

Yesterday's long run was not good. It may have been the worst long run I have ever had. I had a terribly upset stomach and I had to stop after 24 minutes for fear of vomiting on the trail. I stopped a couple more times before my run was over. I only had one small barf thank goodness. My heel pain started to shoot and cause a lot of discomfort at the 30 minute mark thus prompting me to turn around and go home. It feels like my leg bone is crunching into my heel bone with every stride I take. My foot has been throbbing all day. The combination of illness and injury was more than my motivation could handle and I cut my run short. In total I was able to run 8 miles of misery. I guess this will be the beginning of my taper for the Scotia Half. I was going to try and make up my long run today but I am in too much pain. I am going to head to the pool this evening to pool run and stretch out a bit. I might also ice my legs in English Bay.

I am planning on hitting my tempo hard tomorrow regardless of my foot. I need to sharpen up for this weekend and I need one more confidence boosting workout. Tomorrow night will also be my last night doing sign in for the swim club. I am looking forward to a summer of long tempos on Tuesdays!

Happy Training!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Anything Once

In the name of raising money for the gay community I tried something new last night. I think gong show would accurately describe the experience.

But first a training update. Yesterday I was on the track for my usual Saturday morning workout. The workout was 4 times 1200 with a fast 400 recovery. I was feeling good after the warm-up and my drills and strides went really well. I felt crisp and light throughout which is a difference from the past few weeks. The workout itself is a tough one. My recovery was 400 on 95 seconds. For the vast majority of the Canadian population running a 95 second 400 would be an all out sprint and nearly impossible. For me is was my rest.

The difficulty in this workout lies in maintaining control. The 1200 feels slow to begin. There is a temptation to want to push a bit harder and crank out a fast one, especially because it is on the track. One must control the effort and survive to the end of the workout. Yesterday I controlled the early effort and descended the workout to run one of my fastest ever. It was not easy. I put a lot of resolution into this workout and was determined to have a fast effort to build my confidence after some substandard workouts. I felt the effort, especially during the last hard piece, in my lungs and breathing. I could barely get a full inhalation into me over the last 200 meters and had a great wheeze. Upon finishing the workout I was very relieved to know that I ran a fast one. I was a bit nervous about the result.

Last night I was in 'A Big Gay Wedding' as a scantily clad dancer. I am pretty comfortable in my Speedo so it was not too traumatic, though slightly. When I get the courage to watch the video I may post it but I do need a bit of time to place the event in context in my mind. I have never done anything like this before so I am trying to process the event mentally. I am of mixed emotions.

Positive: This was a fund raising event for Vancouver Pride. Although much of the time I do not feel part of the gay community that may be because of the river of my life. I have always been paddling down athlete rapids, too busy training and focused to participate in gay events. I have been critical of something that I do not know or really understand. By getting involved in gay events I am getting to know and understand a world I am not a part of. I am also getting out there and trying new things as well as meeting new people which is also important. As N's mom says; "You don't meet the love of your life by sitting in your apartment!" This event also got me out of my comfort zone and shot some adrenalin through my blood. A good feeling sometimes when there is not a race attached.

Negative: I somehow feel like I have bought into what I have issues with. I was not asked to participate because I am a good runner or swimmer but rather because I am a piece of meat. Someone who can pass in a Speedo and act as fodder for moneyed, older gay men. It goes with the theme of most gay events, there needs to be skin. I guess the negative piece for me is how this type of participation in an event makes me question my own values. I almost feel like I sacrificed my own values to participate.

If asked again to do something like this I do not know what my response would be. It was overall a fun day and evening. I do not think I would perform in a Speedo again unless it was at a swim meet or triathlon, or maybe for a special someone. Maybe next time I will do something with my clothes on.

This morning my heel is very sore. I was going to try to run but I cannot put weight through my right foot at all. I can only barely walk on the ball of my foot. I am hoping this resolves over the day so I can get my last long run before the half marathon. If I cannot run by later this afternoon I will go out for a spin on my bike and maybe pool run. I just need to get though one more long run and I am ready. I hope my foot gets better fast!

Happy Training

Friday, June 11, 2010

Twitter

I am now on twitter @runninggay.

I figure I might as well crash into technology as best I can. I do not want to find myself one day commenting on those young whipper snappers with all their newfangled toys and communication methods. I do not know how long it will last so if you want to follow my mundane musings during the day then log on to find out! I was excited to find Paula Radcliffe on Twitter too! I am following her, not in a stalker sort of way but rather in a twitter sort of way.

I decided to take the day off of running today to rest my very sore heel and get some recovery. Instead I did a bit of searching for a dresser and also began a bit of an art project. While waltzing around the city I was looking for a cutie to catch my eye and I was a bit disappointed. Where have all the hot people gone?

It scares me a bit when I can spend a few hours walking around the city and fail to find someone who I find attractive. This is not to say there were not attractive people, quite the contrary. Vancouver is filled with lots of wonderfully stunning creatures who saunter down the middle of the sidewalk in their lovely clothes. I do not find them attractive.

There is a certain quirkiness and individualism that I find attractive in others. I admire an individual who can push the limit on fashion while still staying within the parameters of attractive. It can be a fine line. When I go to a gay bar or lounge I see many attractive men who are all 'well' dressed in what is typical of today's Vancouver gay. Expensive name brand jeans and a t-shirt are the uniform of the evening on most nights. On special occasions there may even be the occasional button up shirt. It would be possible to take a snap shot of the group and compare it to the previous 5 years or the future 5 years and there would be very little variation.

I will acknowledge that trends are dangerous and in 10 years time I will look at my skinny corduroys and wonder what on earth I was thinking when I wore them. In the here and now they are the trend of the day and thus, being fashion conscious, I wear them proudly. Of course I am also a fan as the years of training have left me with skinny as my attractive quality (besides my wonderful personality and huge brain). Fitting comfortably into a pair of 27 waist skinny pants is truly exciting. I will note as well that skinny jeans are not for everyone and they are called skinny jeans for a reason. They are to be worn by skinny people.

What I would love to engage in is a street scene in which I could both find fashionable people and free and easy/open culture. I would love to find a queer and cool scene. My friend from Toronto was telling me of a district in the city filled with a confusing array of both queer and straight men who are grungy yet on the edge of fashion. My friend (who has been referred to previously as my gay life coach) also has his own eclectic style which I think will be neat to see. I hope to see this mystical section of Toronto when I visit and see some men that I find attractive.

I guess what I find lacking lately is ballsy attire and attitude with desire. There are some people who exude sexuality and confidence without seeming arrogant or rude. They are playful enough to look you in the eye with a twinkle in theirs. They have an ability to make one feel desired without feeling used or degraded. These individuals, whether male or female, can light up a room simply by walking through it. I guess what I am looking for is a bit of charisma.

Amid all the crap of American TV something that can be learned is the importance of personality showing through to make something beautiful and worth buying. Of course this wise lesson was learned from Tyra Banks who showed us the difference between something that is beautiful on the outside and something that can shine beauty from within. There is a lot to be said for charisma and I find it entirely enthralling how two individuals, in the exact same pose, with the same natural beauty, can appear so different in a photo. It is the difference in the eyes. Understand my tongue has been firmly planted in my cheek.

I must honestly advocate for the flirt and the power of difference. When I go out I am not looking for what every one else has. That is quite easy to obtain. What I am looking for is something different, something unafraid of who it is, something that will catch my attention, someone who sparkles. I never want to be normal or the same as someone else. I do not want someone who wants to be the same either. I guess dropping my romantic notions of love might be more difficult than I realized. Failing finding sparkle I will satisfy myself with the difference of income. Shallow?

It is a challenge to maintain difference in our increasingly homogenized culture. Cheers to being different. Cheers to the freak runner in skinny trousers!

Happy Training!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coming Back

Tonight was my Thursday workout in Stanley Park. The workout was 3km, 2km, 2km. As I have been feeling a bit on the weak side lately I was desperately in need of a good workout. Thankfully I had a good one.

I was very tired on my warm up and was hoping a kind stranger would stop and give me a drive. Alas there were no strangers and I arrived in the park tired. After finishing the warm up and doing more strides than I usually do I was ready to put in a good effort. I was happy to have some of the quicker guys back training as they are great to have breathing down my neck. The first interval felt good and I worked very hard. The last hill climb was a good effort. I am quite stund when it comes to remembering numbers. I have no idea workout to workout what is fast or slow, except for standard distances like 400, 800, 1 km etc. Today I ran a 9:31 for the first interval. I thought I was slow. John contends this was one of my fastest ever. The last 2 sections felt somewhere between alright and satisfactory.

I am still having a bit of trouble getting my feet off of the ground and pushing hard through my stride. It is still taking me at least 3 or 4 miles of running until I start to feel somewhat human. In the past this has been a sign of fitness, now I do not really know what it is a sign of. I am waiting to feel good on a workout. It just seems like every stride requires a huge effort. One positive today was my extended strides. The first couple of accelerations felt sluggish and gross. While trying to get the cadence going I was thinking 'is this over yet?' I ran a longer acceleration of around 300 metres and after I felt much better. Once over the longer excel my stride felt improved and my breathing became more controlled.

A funny thing happened. I was on Facebook and changed my relationship status from 'single' to 'it's complicated'. I thought it would come up on my profile as 'it's complicated'. Instead I guess it reported I was in a relationship that is complicated. There was a cacophony of people liking this status and many a good comment. Of course I was a bit dismayed that my friends were happy that my love life was complicated (which it actually is not, not in the least, one would fall asleep if it were a movie, a really short movie, not even a movie, a commercial on community television that goes a bit too long without much happening, the dead space at the end of a community commercial when they leave the camera on after the actors have finished) but once I understood that they were looking at me being in a relationship it made more sense. It is nice to have the best wishes of friends but sometimes I start to think, how pathetic.

To combat the feeling of being pathetic I have my eyes on a goal (I am also very goal oriented so goals help). Someone with a job and who is somewhat nice. I do not think love will happen so I need to enter into a fiscally beneficial relationship. I am sick of watching DINKS merrily buying condos and taking off on Caribbean vacations while driving in their fancy cars. By no stretch of the imagination am I poor but I am certainly not rich. There is a reason we have evolved to get married rather than just fucking and making babies. Pool the resources and voila, the species prospers. So the new criteria I have for a man is based on income and lack of body odour. I will have to hold back the barf the first few times of intimacy if he is fat but think of the condo I will be able to buy!

I think I will visit the NFB website for another film to put my life into perspective. It may just be needed.

This weekend will be quite busy as I am in 'my big gay wedding' as a dancer. I hope to post a video when it is all said and done. I hope it is fun. I hope there is a hot tub! Gosh, I hope there are single men with jobs! Training will be the same as usual with a tough track workout Saturday morning. I am excited to race a week from Friday and then half marathon the next weekend. Hopefully I will lean up and get into shape just in time!

Happy Training!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perspective

Tempo Tuesday has returned.

Today I ran around 10 miles with 30 minutes at tempo. It was a pretty unremarkable run. I had some fatigue in my legs from a tough week of training but I am starting to feel good and fit again. I did have to pull myself back a bit at times from running full throttle, though in the last 5 minutes of the tempo I ran hard. I am thinking that my lack of intensity on my interval days may be due to a bit of rust from the absence of tempos in the past few weeks. I will see how Thursday goes.

Generally I must be honest in admitting I am not a TV fan. Any time I stay in a hotel I am usually quite excited by the prospect of cable TV and all the entertainment I have been missing for the past few years. Shortly after turning on the brainless box I am usually bored of switching channels, unless I have found a good episode of the Family Guy. Last time I stayed in a hotel room I only lasted less than an hour with the TV before I opened my book to read instead. Needless to report I do not have TV in my apartment.

Instead I have started watching different documentaries from different Canadian websites. My favorite at the moment in the National Film Board Website. Tonight I watched an amazing film from a Field Hospital in Kenya which services the results of the civil war in Sudan. This film is not for the faint of heart.



It is absolutely heart breaking to see the misfortune and strife the individuals, captured through startling film making, endure. I feel so fortunate to live where I do. To be able to live a life where the biggest stress is not if there is enough food to eat but whether I will run a good workout or have a good race is a luxury. While I moan about trivial notions there is a world with pain and suffering unknown to me. A bit of perspective when my training is not necessarily how I want it to be.

This film also makes me proud to be Canadian. These are stories that are not often told. While our neighbor to the south ensures the world is bombarded with their inane pop culture and brain garbage our National Film Board is funding and capturing the invaluable stories of real individuals who are living a life unimaginable. I hope to continue to explore this wonderful electronic resource.

Happy Training!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dance Lessons

I am not one to back down from a challenge, but first a training update.

I had an up and down weekend of training. My track workout on Saturday had both good aspects and more challenging aspects. I was to run another 'all out' workout concentrating on speed. I was alone for this workout as I was the only runner on the track running the all out workout. There were only a few of us at the track for the workout so it almost seemed like I had a private coach, quite luxurious. I guess the best aspect of the workout was running a 2:07 800 by myself in gusting wind. I think the disappointing aspect of the workout was running a 60 second 400. I should be nailing 58 without too much concern.

My long run Sunday morning was absolutely marvelous! I had one of those long runs that never wanted to end. I could have run all day. I seemed to notice everything wonderful on my run from the wild flowers starting to bloom to the rabbits on the fields at Jericho to the wonderful terrain of Pacific Spirit Park. Initially I started the run in a great deal of pain and I was concerned I would not make it across the Burrard Street Bridge. Once my body had a chance to warm up and wake up I was good to go for slightly over 14 miles.

After flying through my apartment and having some protein and a quick snack I was off to the Vancouver Film School to rehearse a dance for 'My Big Gay Wedding'. This is a fundraiser for Vancouver Pride. As someone who has never taken a dance class besides Scottish dancing I was a bit overwhelmed. The dance takes place both on pool deck and in the pool with a bit of a synchro aspect. I am a touch concerned as I have to wear my Speedo in front a few hundred people and dance. I guess triathlon has prepared me for this as I have surely raced in just a Speedo quite a few times. The choreography itself was very 'simple'. By the time we had made it to the end of the routine I totally forgot the beginning. I am also the person in front for much of the dance so forgetting half of it is also a bit worrisome.

I am of mixed emotions about this event. Part of me feels like a total piece of objectified meat. Is this something I have written about before? What are the values of the gay community and how do you get noticed? I dare say, this will get me noticed. I can rationalize doing this event as it is a fundraiser. I can rationalize objectifying myself as I have worked fucking hard for my abs and lean, fit frame. I might as well multitask. Fast for running, hot for dancing? We will see! It ought to be good preparation for Toronto Pride too!

Happy Training!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Unprofessional

Do as I say, not as I do.

Today I had a very exciting day at work. I was at rounds this morning trying to get to know a brand new case load when I recognized a physio student sitting in on the rounds. I immediately got excited realizing that this person was Jessica Deglau. Olympic finalist for swimming, World Medalist, Commonwealth Games medalist, Pan Am Games medalist and Canadian Record holder. Once she went along her way I took her supervising therapist aside and asked her about her student. To say the least, the supervising therapist was more than surprised as Jessica turns out to be quite modest.

Of course I maintained my professionalism by going over to her and freaking out a little bit. I asked her questions like, Did you swim with Janet Evans? To cap off my overly professional behaviour I asked for a photo with her. I was going to ask for an autograph but I left my Speedo home.
Tonight I ran a pretty lack luster workout. Our workout was two times an approximately 2.8 km loop. Normally I run this workout in around 8:55. Tonight I ran 9:18. I did not feel slow or sluggish and on the second interval I actually thought I was running fast. I was a bit sluggish in the warm up but nothing out of the ordinary. I think running a best time last weekend(and as John informed me a club record on the weekend) and a long run on Tuesday have taken some of the pep out of my legs. I am a bit dissatisfied with this workout but it may just be a reflection of the amount of training I am doing right now. I am bound to have a bad workout here and there. If I think back, I have had very few bad workouts over the past couple of years so I think I am due for a bad patch. Irregardless, I got a good workout tonight.

This weekend will be a training and resting weekend. Also a long weekend as I have a day off on Monday. Please sun come out and play!

Happy Training!