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!

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