Monday, February 28, 2011

Family

After a weekend of 'training' at altitude I am slightly sad to be back in Vancouver. I would have loved a few more days up in the mountains to carve the slopes and skate the trails. I had a wonderful weekend and even managed a great skate ski once the snow warmed up and we got some glide.

On the way back to the city, on the very snowy highway, I read a section from Kristy Clark's speech after winning the BC Liberal leadership. As the Liberals are in power in BC Ms. Clark will become the next Premier of the province. Clark said something along the lines of; She is here for BC Families. BC families are at the center of her reign as Premier and she will work hard to support and protect them and ensure their continued success.

What about those of us who do not have a family here in BC? Does this mean that I now have to support not only my singleton self but also all the double income families in the province? I feel like this new government is not for me.

I feel like a bit of a pariah in today's society. I do not have a family or spouse or even a boyfriend, which means I have no inherent value besides what I contribute to the tax system. Although I add to society through my work and volunteer activities that does not matter as I do not have a family. The priority today is to serve only those with families. The singletons must support those families.

I understand that it is very important to ensure the continuation of our species. I know that families are important to society and a well supported family will bring forth the leaders of tomorrow. I must also voice my outrage with the tag line that only families matter.

I think it is time for us singletons to raise a fuss. I am single not trash. I work hard for the betterment of society and should not be made to feel like a second class citizen because I do not have a family. I am the individual who will actually have to pay taxes this year as I have no possible way to write off half my income because of dependents. Not only do I pay taxes but I also manage to keep the economy running. My contribution to the marketplace (shopping!) is what keeps families employed. I am making the economic contributions to the social support system that will support education, health and infrastructure for someone else's future generation. I deserve a government that represents me as well. I am paying your salary.

To conclude;

Dear Premier Delegate Clark

Please represent all of us in British Columbia. Although the majority in this province have families there are a few of us who are not in families and working really hard to make this a better province for everyone. We are working hard for families and those with no one to help them. Please include everyone, including me. We may not hold all the votes but we sure are trying to effect positive change.

All the best in your future endeavors,

J. MacD.

Happy Training!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shrinking

Already I am starting to get smaller.

Although I have only been back to running for a few weeks I am already starting to slim down. My natural body type, little, is not in favor of gaining muscle. I have been diligently going to the gym lifting weights and eating as much protein as I can cram into my stuffed body. I have been trying to eat as much as possible and yet I am getting smaller. I am a natural born endurance athlete.

I was at the Levis store on Saturday to buy a pair of skinny black jeans. I was looking at a pair on the rack and thought there was no way anyone could fit into such a little pair of jeans let alone me with my 'big' runner legs. With the encouragement of the sales representative I took a pair of skinny jeans into the change room anticipating a squeeze into these trendy gems. Much to my chagrin the skinniest jeans in the store left my legs with ample room to breathe, they were almost loose.

I have always been bottom heavy. Bigger legs and bum with tiny bird arms and a big rib cage. As I have been doing weights my body proportions are changing. On the good side my body is becoming more becoming. The shape is becoming more aesthetically pleasing in the cultural sense, bigger shoulders with a small bum but overall I think I am getting smaller all of the sudden. I am getting ripped but at the cost of general size. I just cannot seem to gain weight.

With a few added running workouts a week I am burning more calories than I can consume. The muscle I have added is increasing my basal metabolic rate meaning to maintain the slight gains I have made I need to eat even more. Short of eating peanut butter by spoon from the jar I am pretty much hooped. And I am getting tired of eating.

Through this whole process I am learning a great deal about myself and my body. First, this body was meant to run. Second, I have severe body dysmorphia. I totally thought my legs were huge but when I actually measured them they are a mere 2 inches smaller than my arms (comparing circumference of biceps and calve). I know my arms are small so my legs must be comparatively smaller. Third, I am always going to be small unless I stop any sort of cardiovascular activity which I am not willing to do. The conclusion, I need to do what I love and give a fuck to whatever else.

I am going to be lean and small but I will own this. The current fashion trend calls for lean and skinny people to slip into clinging and slim styles. This is a trend that I both love and can wear without trouble. The great thing about being small is that I can manage to look good in most clothes. With my slight weight gain I am almost fitting most of my shirts and I think I can fit into a small instead of extra small. I am no longer always extra small. That is a minor accomplishment.

Running continues to go well. I ran a 10 mile long run on Sunday morning without much distress. I had a great cross country ski on Monday night and tonight I ran a slow tempo with chin-ups and weights. I can feel the extra training in my body as I am a bit more tired than usual but it feels good.

I am extremely happy to report that my injury is doing very well. Both my feet are pain free and I am not even limping in the morning. I can walk and run without any foot pain which is a huge relief.

Looking forward, as I have a habit of doing, I am going to continue to lift weights to maintain my gains so I do not look skeletal this summer. I want to be lean and ripped and fast. I want to get into intervals soon as I am in need of some intensity to moderate my easy runs. I am also going to keep hitting the snow as much as possible to engage my cardiovascular system and improve my strength. This weekend I am hitting the snow of the interior on a semiannual gay ski weekend.

Happy Training!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Goal Setting!

I have reached my goal for this week. I have run 5 times!

One of the aspects of running I love the most is the ability to set and accomplish goals. I set the goal of running 5 times this week and I did. Today was a glorious and absolutely stunning day in Vancouver. The sun is shining brightly and the air is crisp and clean. A perfect day for a workout in the trails of Stanley Park.

I am moving very slowly forward in the hopes of returning to training. In the effort to move forward without injury I am slowly increasing both mileage and intensity. I am trying to teach my body how to deal with the pounding and stress of running again. Today I ran 7 miles with full drills and strides at the half way point. I was back at Beaver Lake for my drills and it was stunning.

I also ran into my club while out on the trails. It was really nice to see all the smiling faces and happy training people. My heart really wanted to run an interval with the group but my mind knows better than to push before being ready. To be honest, I have not really missed the running world that much in my time away, although now I feel a real desire to be back with these crazy people. I was surprised to see many new faces at the workout today. It will be fun to get to know them. I was also really happy to see some old friends and training mates. I guess sometimes you do not know what you have lost until you see it again. I am looking forward to the camaraderie of VFAC again. And of course I am excited for coach John's stories and anecdotes!

So now that I am back on a consistent schedule I am thinking it is time for a bit of a long run tomorrow. I am thinking 10 miles will be nice! Hopefully the gorgeous weather will hold out!

Happy Training!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Tempo!

What? Wednesday tempo?

Tempo Tuesday is now Tempo Wednesday and yes, I am training. In total I ran 15 minutes at sub-threshold pace on a treadmill. This was not an exciting workout but with the weather blustery and cold I was not in the mood for hitting the soggy wet trails to wither during a early, early season workout. I felt really inspired despite the monotony of the treadmill. Post workout I was able to do my 3 sets of chin-ups and a full core workout with lots of push-ups. I will be buff by summer!

With my adjusted training schedule I am planning on running a tempo on Wednesday and a workout on Saturday until I get my feet under me. I have a race in mind to get back into the swing of things but I want to get some real training in before I commit to a race. The only two races I am really interested in are the Pride Run in Toronto and The Antigonish Highland Games 5 mile race in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Two very random races and two races that I really, really want to win.

My foot is getting better. I should report that my original injury is pretty close to being better. The rest of my foot is fucked. As with any injury and recovery there is typically a compensation of other structures to accommodate for the original weakness. There is also a tendency to guard the injured area. I have most likely done all of these things. I am working hard on strengthening my foot in the hopes it heals well. I hope it gets better soon because over a year of pain really is starting to become tedious.

I also have some good news in regards to training though indirectly. I have a new job working near some of the best trails and training facilities in Vancouver. It will only be for a year but I think it will be beneficial for me and motivation to train. I will have easy access to an artificial track which also makes me very excited. I may add a workout to my schedule as easy access to the track should be taken advantage of!
I am continuing to enjoy skiing and I have been able to hit the trails and slopes thanks to a very eager friend of mine. I think my time on the trails has saved my fitness. I love being in the mountains and on the snow. It provides a great break from the rain of Vancouver even when only a few miles up and away. Next week I hit Silver Star for a semi annual gayish ski weekend with a few friends of mine. I am very excited to ski but even more excited for a beer in the hot tub!

Helpful Tip!

I was digging through my workout clothes trying to find a top to wear to the gym that I could run and do weights in without looking like a tool. I grabbed an old Saucony singlet and threw it in my bag. This old school tri top had two pockets for energy gels which it turns out make great iPod holders! How very exciting! In related news...Girltalk's album 'All Day' is a super great workout album!

Happy Training!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Whoa, that was a bad one....

Ever have one of those days?

Today was one of them. From the moment I woke up and realized my scrubs were dirty, through the forgotten lunch, missed bus, work, missed bus again, pouring rain, shitty workout, inside out umbrella, heart burn and heart ache it has been a doozie of a day.

I hate today. Every year I think the same thing, 'next year I will have a Valentine!' and every year I think the same thing 'next year I will have a Valentine!' I have yet to have a Valentine. This year I feel particularly disappointed as I have made some major and difficult changes in my life. I stopped training in the hopes that a free schedule and party attitude would bring me into the fold of the homosexual man and lead me to find the man of my satisfaction (I am not holding out for dreams anymore). I am still in my apartment alone, typing at my computer.

When I was running competitively I always knew that a big reason I did not have a boyfriend was because I was training too hard to have the time. The men I would meet would not understand the drive and passion involved in running at an elite level. My body appeared frail and much too skinny for today's homo and I did not have time to party or date extensively. Now that I have had time to date and have a more well rounded life I am still repeatedly running into the same brick wall. I am pretty certain it is me that is the problem.

I am stuck. I want to run but I also do not want to be lonely for the rest of my life. I want to be fast but I am sick of being a skinny runt. I want to win races but I do not want to be invisible when I go out after. Herein lies the difficulty of being a gay runner. I will never meet a gay runner. I feel like I will never meet a man who would understand running and putting all your energy into one simple yet pointless endeavor. I think of my heterosexual former teammates who met their significant others on the cross country team and wish things could have been different for me.

I am slowly getting back into running consistently. My goal is to run 5 times this week. I have 2 runs completed already so the last 3 should be nice and easy. I also want to try a tempo this week as well.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

VD

Valentines Day=Venereal Disease

After a couple of weeks of increasingly consistent training and some hard running I am starting to lose a bit of my cheery self. This cheerfulness is replaced with a degree of bitterness and generalized frustration. Although my mood shift is not good for my interpersonal relationships it does create fodder for a blog.

I noticed today while on the street enjoying some of Vancouver's glorious sunshine, a great deal of valentines day garbage. Why is it that every February we get deluged with an enormous amount of pink toxic trash which does not actually show your love but rather your purchasing power? In our increasingly disposable society we are mastering the art of creating garbage to be bought as a symbol of love. Did I mention running/training can make me bitter?

If I could get away from the oppressive nature of this trend I would but it is proving to be impossible. This "I am sooooo in love" bullshit is everywhere. I open my email and there are advertisements for every Valentine's day thing you can imagine. Did you know that there is Groupon for your Valentine? There is a special love song mix on iTunes and I imagine you can buy matching heart running shoes somewhere. Even my hallowed weekend Globe and Mail was full of VD advertisements. I hate Valentine's day.

I was able to run again today and my foot is quite sore. It has been sore all day though it is more my ankle than my foot. I ran 5 miles in total today and towards the end my foot was getting quite wonky. I will decide whether to run or not tomorrow after seeing how my foot feels. I am getting motivated to run again and get super ripped! Six pack for summer!

Happy Training!