Yesterday I mentioned a new story I have coming out this month in a Cleis Press anthology, Hot Jocks. My story’s titled Track Meat (no joke). It takes place in Tallahassee, FL, on the FSU campus track and at one character’s home. It’s not a long story — about 3,500 words. I wrote it while staying with a friend in Berlin last summer.
This morning, I woke to find two comments from guys who are distance runners. Both had interesting things to say:
Gabe, from Portland, Oregon, is a high school senior. He runs the 800 meter and 1500 meter events for his school’s track team. Gabe said this:
“I was closeted my first two years of high school, and I was going crazy trying to fight my gay urges. The only time I was happy was when I was training and running in races. Sometimes I’d run 35-40 miles a week, just to get rid of the tension.
“Finally, I came out to a few of my better friends and it all went well. One friend introduced me to a gay friend of hers. His name’s Gio, he’s Italian, and we’ve been dating now for almost two years. He’s so cool. He comes to all my track meets.
“I’ve never read a story about a gay runner. I promise I’ll take a look at your story when I have a little money to spend.”
The other runner, who didn’t state his name, is a college student from the Midwest. He didn’t say which state either, for good reasons, I’m sure. He said:
“I’ve followed your blog for a long time, since 2009. I always enjoy the comments you post from gay athletes. Feel free to post this one. I’ve been distance running since I was eleven. My dad does triathlons and he got me into the whole distance running thing.
“I ran cross country for my middle school and high school, and now I run the 5K and 10K for my university’s track team. I took a medal in the 10K at the Drake Relays this year. Yeah, you can look it up on the Web and you’ll know one of the top three was me.
“I’m not out to anyone on my team. I’m not out to my family, either. The Midwest is a conservative place, and that’s especially true for the sports scene. If I came out to my coach or my dad, I don’t know what would happen. So I’m not planning to.
“I probably wouldn’t buy the book you mentioned yesterday. I’d be too afraid someone might see it and put two-and-two together. But can you recommend any non-erotic books about gay runners?”
Thanks for writing, guys. Congratulations on your achievements. And, Gabe, it’s so cool you found a boyfriend. See, everybody? It is possible to be a gay athlete and be comfortable with your sexuality.
First, let me say that running has always been a big part of my life. I used to compete in races in Tallahassee; I ran mostly 5Ks. I was never that great, but I enjoyed the training and races very much. Running takes you into your own little world. I’m sure you know what I mean. It also helps you sleep better, and it keeps you fit. I still run about three miles, four days a week, when I’m not working out at the YMCA.
Second, a woman named Patricia Nell Warren wrote a terrific novel called The Front Runner, back in the mid-1970s. I read it when I was in law school, and it really inspired me. It made me feel better about my sexuality, and it made me want to be the best distance runner I could be. The book’s available through Amazon. Here’s the link:
I’m up early again this morning, still adjusting to the time change. I took a mile-long walk on the beach around seven AM, followed by a swim in the Intracoastal Waterway, a great way to start the day. I’ll hit the YMCA today for weight lifting, basketball and lap-swimming. Tonight, I’m going to a party, here on the island, so I’m going to be busy.
Enjoy your Friday, everyone.