Friday, February 18, 2011

February 18, 2011 - a blast from the past

well, this should be fun!

i haven't been online much in the past few days because i have been glued to a very good book. i have never been much of a reader, but now and then, i get my hands on a good biography and can't put it down. and that was the case with andre agassi's book.

long before i became a runner, i was a huge tennis fan, both as a fan of the pros, and as a high school athlete. the book brought back many memories of both watching agassi as well as some of my own classic matches with high school friends back in the early 1990s.

can you see just a little influence here in terms of style, attitude and swagger? that's andre on the left from 1991 (age 22) and me on the right from 1993 (age 19).
Ironically enough, i tried to pattern my game after John McEnroe, both in terms of having a strong serve-and-volley style offence, and in terms of my notorious outburts on the court! throw in the cockiness and flamboyance of pro-wrestler, Ric Flair, and i had created my own super hero!
on the court, i was in my zone. i was the greatest tennis player, not only in my school, but in my neighbourhood. i would go out to the courts early saturday morning and stay there all day, playing match after match, against anyone who thought they had what it took top beat me. i often went home in the dark undefeated, having thrashed as many as 5 different opponents - usually 4 which were a joke, and one which was a serious rival.
now, i did lose my share of matches, and i did break my share of rackets in disgust, but unlike life itself, on the courts, i had confidence, i had a sense of self-importance, i had a sense that i fit in.. little did i know that this was my daily escape from the gender role that i hated and couldn't stand.
fast forward 18 years and here i am rededicating myself to marathon training as i finish up my recovery from sex reassignment surgery. after squandering much of hid talent for many years, agassi went thru a traniton of sorts off went the long hair, and brooke shields was replaced by steffi graf. andre went on to win 6 of his 8 grand slam titles on or after the age of 29, which is ancient for tennis!
now here i am, at 37, looking to start what is essentially a brand new running journey. although i played tennis and golf somewhat seriously as a teen, i never truly reached my athletic peak. fast forward to 2007, and within months, i go from couch potato to marathon finisher. one year later i qualify for the first of 2 Boston Marathons. one year later i 'win' the world outgames by virtue of being the only one in my sex category, the first time in world history that a 3rd sex category has been created and treated on par with the other two.
i have a legacy as a fast male runner who ran a 3.16.59 just 14 months after running my very first marathon. i ran 2 marathons in 2 days in 2 countries, and re-qualified for boston on the second half of that double duty weekend, the next year. i have the world outgames title that is sure to always be a part of my legacy. but i feel, as agassi did when he was 29, that he had lots more in the tank due to many years of not taking sports seriously and not putting that constant wear and tear on the body.. i feel very much the same way. i'm 37 going on 25. i feel that the best is yet to come, and although i know it will be tough to schedule training around vagina dilation, returning to work, and all the advocacy work i do, but i am going to make it a priority to get back to boston for 2012. and then set even higher goals for 2013.
....meanwhile, i've had a good couple of days... less pain than earlier in the week. still dealing with very tender skin on the lower outer vaginal area, and still having some pain and difficulty with dilations, but generally doing better.. a visit to the family doc for the first time since i returned went well. she put me back on some anti biotics as a precautionary measure due to the rawness of the tender skin. hopefully those won't sap what little energy i have.

the light jogging continues to be a part of my afternoon routine. i hobble along like terry fox, but it is generally pain free. it's nice to finally be getting some cardio in after three weeks of none. it's a long road back from surgery, but so far, the plan is on schedule.

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