Pride is over for yet another year. Our gay version of Christmas has come and gone and although I am a little worse for wear I believe I had a successful weekend.
The transition from [sub]elite runner to regular runner has been moderated by a weekend of parties, celebration and little sleep. I have struggled through Vancouver Pride weekend in the past and have felt more of an outside observer rather than an active participant, despite volunteering in some capacity in previous prides. This year I felt more active and also came to some realizations.
1. I like partying: If it was not for some unplanned developments I would have celebrated each night of the weekend. Although I could not go out hard every weekend I do believe I could do something every weekend. In the past when I have been training I would be exhausted by 8 pm and would try to hold out till midnight. This year the party started at 9 and I made it home at...well I will just report I did not get much sleep. I had fun. I had a lot of fun.
2. I am surrounded by wonderful people: I had a party on Saturday night. My friends who came stimulated some wonderful conversation including a discussion of 'the self', and none of us were smoking pot. Topics of the night covered everything from brain chemicals to international development studies. There was cheer and a bit of gossip about future dates and risks that were taken. There were in depth discussions of politics and training and future goals. We talked about books and I did not hear anything about Lindsay Lohan or [insert famous airhead here] throughout the night. My friends are brilliant, kind and genuine. They are Ying and Yang and keep me on my toes.
3. Pride is like Christmas for the gays: I was raised Catholic with the highlight of every year being Christmas. Planning for Christmas in my family starts months ahead with the real work beginning at the start of December. There is cooking and baking and decorating in shiny happy colors. The community would come together as we would all light up our homes to ward off the cold dark December nights. There are late nights and little sleep. Midnight mass would always be followed by a big party and gifts with celebration. We would wake up early in the morning to prepare a huge meal and then host guests in the evening. There was giddy excitement, slight disappointment, exhaustion and a slightly empty feeling when it was over. Pride had all the feelings of Christmas. There was excitement for the possibility of the weekend and what potential gifts would be out there. There were late nights and early mornings with little sleep. There was time with loved ones and celebration as well as time for quiet conversation with close friends. As a child I wished every day could be Christmas. I wish every weekend was Pride.
4. Life is Good: I have a great life. Things are good. I am satisfied and I am happy. It is hard to be satisfied as a runner. When I would cross the finish line after a race I would always think that if I worked a bit harder I could have run faster. There was always something to chase, faster. I am enjoying sitting still and enjoying what I have now. It is good.
I have had two good Prides this summer. Toronto was much more fun than Vancouver's and the people were much more friendly and fun. I am relieved to have had fun in Vancouver though. Pride has inspired me to work to bring more diversity into my life and move beyond defining myself as a runner. I have met a few new people who I think will lead me to a new adventure and a new scene.
I am also deciding what to do with my blog. I do not really think I have that much to contribute to the world. I started the blog because I found little on the internet in the voice of a gay athlete. I am in transition from athlete to person. I do not have profound thoughts and nor do I have any new or stimulating ideas. The blog mostly acts as a venting post or a therapeutic medium to express my thoughts. Once I have tapped out my sentences the weight is off my chest and forgotten.
Now I am going to try to gain some weight, not fat. It is a weird concept for me and I think it will be a struggle. I am going to have to shift all the thought patterns I have built up over the past 15 years. I guess I should start with a trip to the grocery store!