Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Avoidance

It has been a while.

I have been avoiding writing as I feel like my pendulum keeps swinging and I am unsure which side I am on. I have written a great deal over the past couple of years about my struggle to balance running at a 'sub-elite' level with the demands of living a 'gay' lifestyle while also being employed in a cognitively and emotionally taxing career (yet very rewarding career!). With the past month being a struggle with illness and fatigue and a couple of lack luster races have left me feeling demoralized and thinking a great deal.

Before leaving for my vacation to Toronto and Nova Scotia I was exhausted. My life became running and work and the occasional early night out with friends. I became socially withdrawn again and shy in public. I became more anxious and anal and I lost weight to the point that I was getting a bit too skinny again. I was happy to be running and running fast but I was not aware of the cycle I was finding myself in again. Running took over.

My race in my home town in Nova Scotia did not go as I had planned. I placed third. More concerning for me is how it was not fun. I was not thrilled at the chance to compete but rather dreaded it. I did not have the drive or desire to push when I needed to and my actual thought was 'this is not fun'.

A big factor in my lack of enjoyment of the race experience was my lack of fitness which was partially because of being sick for 3 weeks. I also have not been training enough to run as fast as I am capable of. I was training enough to be totally exhausted and withdrawn from society but not so much as to enable me to run as fast as I wanted. My problem is I do not want to train more than I am. At this point I do not want to train at all.

Currently I am taking a couple weeks away from the sport of running. Gay pride is coming up and I want to enjoy myself and feel good. I have gained some of my weight back and I feel attractive and manly. I am slowly regaining my zip and energy and am enjoying the first part of summer. I have time to do laundry, clean my apartment and then spend 6 hours on the beach. I have the energy to make roast chicken on Sunday night and tidy up the kitchen daily. I am still running a bit and of course I am staying active but I am taking a break.

I will resume training again in August but I am uncertain how much longer I will compete. I love training more than I can express. I love the feeling of running fast. I love knowing that at any given time I am faster than 95% of the population. I love being fit. I am also aware that I am getting older and my priorities are changing. I want to enjoy the few years of my gay youth that I have left. I want to be attractive. I want to party and be irresponsible. I do not want to always worry about my next workout or race. I want to have a boyfriend.

There is always a struggle between sport and life. Being an athlete requires a type of self centeredness that can make forming relationships and engaging in society difficult, unless with fellow athletes. Being a gay athlete takes this to the extreme and thus I have found myself over the years chasing something that I do not think exists. I still believe that to a certain extent a gay athlete competing at a high level has to choose sport or the gay life. For a few lucky athletes they can have it all, for the rest of us we need to choose.

I am going to enjoy another week of fun and then get back into the training to ensure my love is still there. I may have another love to keep my attention if the love of competing has gone.

Happy Training!