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 I became socially withdrawn again and shy in public.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 I was training enough to be totally exhausted and withdrawn from society but not so much as to enable me to run as fast as I wanted.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!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jay, u got too enjoy the running 1st and foremost, too compete at your level. If your not its time to reavaluate and look at the other important things in your life. You were geting fitter week by week. Take your time, I fell out of love with racing but not running and here I am again back in love with it. If we dont see u down at VFAC and u want a run sometime and a chat and a laugh, u know where to find me. Happy pride week and I can only imagine you shaking your arse around this week.

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