Thursday, 20 January 2011

Going the distance

Stace over at  Musings of an (I)Tgirl wrote an interesting post about her experience of running with a colleague. I was going to comment but being a bit wordy at times, ok most of the time, I thought I'd do a post instead. :-)

I have a male colleague that's fairly new to running. Last year he decided that he wanted to get fitter and that running was going to be how he did it. He set himself a challenge of running a half marathon.

He put a notice on our internal company website to see if anyone would partner him while he was training. At the same time knowing that I run he came to have a chat with me. Eventually I agreed with him that from the start of this year I would join him on weekday lunchtimes to go for a run.

All started well with just the two of us running the first day. Then one of our female colleagues decided that she would join in. At the same time I got told about a local half marathon that is going to take place for the first time this March. Both of us signed up immediately.

We talked about it on our runs but our female colleague wasn't interested as there was another half marathon closer to where she lives that she wants to do.

Last week we decided to go for a run and suddenly we were joined by a chap who is just getting back into running and so wanted to come and join us. Another chap has since shown an interest in joining in. The numbers keep growing, as do the numbers that are now signed up to do the half marathon. We now have four of us that I know of for definite.

My male colleague that I'm helping to train for this race has been working hard. Last weekend he decided to go for a run, a couple of laps around the village where he lives, should have been about 6 miles. It ended up being 12 miles in total as he decided he felt ok and so carried on.

On Monday he decided that he was going to join me for a lunchtime run. I tried to pursuade him not too, honestly I did, but he wouldn't have it. He felt fine he told me.

A mile into the run and it started to hurt, he was struggling to run but kept going for another half mile or so. Eventually I took pity on him when he said that I should carry on while he stopped and walked. We both slowed to a fast walk and kept going. A bit more running and walking and we reached a point where we could head back. I told him to head back and that I'd see him back at work after I'd gotten another couple of miles under my belt. I'm taking part in a competition at the moment between a group of runners from the USA and Canada and another group of runners from Europe, Australia and various other countries this side of the Atlantic. My mileage this month might not be brilliant but it all helps.

Today my colleague went out for another run, after two days of rest, on his return we were chatting and I was saying that I might just stick with our female colleagues as I find the pace she runs at quite comfortable and she's trying to finish the race in under two hours. I fancy having aiming for that time so we can pace each other and egg each other on to the finish.

My colleage said he might stick with us, at least at the start. Now if I was mischievous I could have encouraged him to do that. Unfortuanately, although my halo has slipped and as a friend and I have agreed I sometimes, like her, wear it on my ankle, I decided that I should try and pursuade him of the folly of trying that on his first half. He seems to have taken the idea on board. At least I hope he has. If he hasn't, well I'm sure that I can spin my halo around my ankle while dragging him at a fast pace for a couple of miles around the course.

One of these days I might just get my halo back where its supposed to be!


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Plans for 2011

There are a number of things that I want to achieve during 2011:-

  • To complete the inaugural Yeovil half marathon at the end of March
  • To complete the Bala Middle Distance triathlon in June
  • To complete the Outlaw Triathlon at the end of July
  • Perform my burlesque routine in front of my friends and P's
  • Perform a burlesque routine in front of a full audience
  • Get an appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic and start the process of going full time
  • Begin voice therapy
  • Change my hair colour
  • Get out and about to various places – restaurants, shops etc
  • Improve my website and keep it up to date
  • Keep making new friends, keep in touch with old ones and meet up with some of my online friends in the flesh.

Each of these is very much achievable so it will be interesting to see at the end of the year how I've done.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Review of 2010 - part 4

Finally sat down with the other vicar from our church and his wife and told them why I'd dropped out of helping with our Junior Church. I'd not been able to tell either of them earlier in the year.

Also saw the psychiatrist for the second time and explained about my agreement with my wife. She agreed to see me in March 2011 and to look into what treatments I could start before being referred to the GIC.

November also found me having my very first burlesque dance lesson. It was absolutely fabulous and the most fun that I've had in ages. I chatted with P, the teacher, about coming up with a routine that I could perform. We also agreed on my characters name and a few other details.

The end of November also saw me attend my first munch. Although I didn't stay the entire evening it was a start and I really enjoyed myself. I'm looking forward to going to more in 2011.

December was a very busy month.
It saw me explain to my son a little bit about my being transgender. Not the full blown “I'm going to have gender reassignment” speech but a “Daddy sometimes wears women's clothes and make-up”.

It also found me having my second burlesque dance lesson and starting to put together the routine that I'm going to perform. I'm so looking forward to that as it will be to 9 people hopefully, 4 friends of mine, P and 4 of her friends.

December also saw my second trip to Portsmouth to visit Jo ant Sugar and Spiced. It was a brilliant trip and the resulting photo shoot made me appreciate that its just possible that I might make a reasonable looking woman. At the end of the visit Jo and I went for another walk around some of the nearby streets. I travelled back from Portsmouth as Jenny, including having to walk a couple of hundred yards, pulling my bag, to my car. I drove back and paid a visit to Lou before finally making my way home with a short stop to change back to boy clothes and remove my make-up. This trip was the first time that I'd actually spent time fully dressed and made-up as Jenny but with just my natural hair and not a wig.

This month I had an appointment with the speech therapist. We ran through a series of tests. When I'm ready to go full time I can refer myself back to her for proper voice therapy lessons. In the meantime I have a humming exercise to do to get used to using my voice at the right frequency.

The year finally ended with me launching my own website which links back to this blog. I hope to develop the blog more during 2011. 

All in all the year was a very busy and momentous one. Throughout the course of it I did a lot of things that I would never have dreamed of. My confidence levels went up and up as Lou told me at one point. The change in me throughout the year was very obvious. Hopefully 2011 will be as good a year.

Review of 2010 - part 3

This was the best month of the year and also the most frightening.
August was the month that I went to Portsmouth to Sugar and Spiced and met Jo for the first time. It was also the first time I went out in public as Jenny for ages and the first time really that I have been out anywhere that I knew I would come into contact with other people outside of a safe environment. I achieved this by having an outdoor photo shoot with Jo in a cemetery and also driving back home via Lou's salon where I got my hair done. August was also the first time that anyone who knows me in my everyday life and who I'm likely to meet up with again has ever met Jenny in the flesh.

Towards the latter end of the month I finally sat down with my wife and explained my plans to change my gender. She was quite calm about things and we were able to come to an agreement on what we were going to do, I was going to discuss delaying things with the psychiatrist and work out what my possible treatment options were while everything was on hold. She was going to wait until I'd seen the psychiatrist and then talk to her mother.

August was also the month where I got so low that I came very close to committing suicide. I had enough painkillers to do the job but it was only because of being able to talk to a friend and hand over the tablets for her to get rid of that I didn't actually take my own life.

Oh, August was also the month that my sister told me how she really feels about my transitioning.

Really quite month. Spent a large part of it ill and so had to miss my second appointment with the psychiatrist.

I did manage to make it to an appointment with the person who I think is probably the biggest part of my support network and that's Lou. She's listened to my rantings and been so helpful all year that I don't know how I'd have managed.

Review of 2010 - part 2

A busy month which saw my first appointment with the psychiatrist. After an hours chat I left with the instructions that I had to tell my family of my plans. My sister was the first to find out at the end of the month.

I also had a meeting with the HR department at work as the one person who had any proper experience of someone transitioning was a temp and was leaving in April. Fortunately I managed to talk to her and she was able to put things in place to support me before she left as our HR department didn't really know what they needed to do. Their last attempt to help someone through transition has been a bit of a disaster.

April also saw me take part in the Grizzly which was the best fun I'd had running in ages. Mud, water, pebbles, very steep hills. Bliss

Nearly half way through the year and I found myself with some time to myself. An entire week.

At the beginning of the month I took part in my first triathlon of the year. A short one that is held near my sister-in-laws. It was a nice weekend away for us all and a chance for me to see how my training was going.

At the end of the month I journeyed to Wales to see my parents and tell them my plans. This was the chat I was most worried about because I desperately wanted their support. After a few problems with actually catching them at home I was able to sit down with them an explain what I was doing. They took it incredibly well although its taken a bit of time for it to sink in properly. The entire day was a fantastic one as I was able to stop off on the way back and do some shopping at Cribbs Causeway and then go for a hair appointment with Lou.

The final thing that happened in May was that I had a visit from Sam. He came to lunch and stayed for the afternoon and we had a lovely time. Sam is really special, he's been a friend when I needed one. I'm glad that we eventually managed to meet.

During July I met up with my point of contact in the HR department at work and while I was there showed her some pictures of me. L was really complimentary. I can't wait until she sees the latest ones that I had taken. She's going to be blown away.

July also saw what was probably the biggest blow I had throughout the entire year. For the majority of last year I was training to take part in the first running of the Outlaw Triathlon, an Ironman distance race. At the beginning of July during one run I pulled up with a very painful knee. I saw a physiotherapist as soon as I possibly could and after discussing things with her pulled out of the race. At least the experience of training for the race gave me the experience I needed for the next time I race so that I don't make the same mistake of underestimating the amount of effort I need to put it.

Review of 2010 - part 1

Quite a few of the blogs that I follow have done a review of the last year so to keep up with everyone else here is my review of 2010.

A couple of things happened.
The first was that I responded to a poll on Miss D's blog about what people were going to do in order to make this year special. There were several things that I listed:-
  • Wearing studs and earrings more often – I always wear one stud but on a number of occasions whether its been going to the salon (beauty and hair), going out running and cycling, simply being at home or going out shopping or places, I've managed to wear pairs of studs. Frustratingly I've also lost one of a pair on a number of occasions.
  • Keeping my body hair free – Throughout the year I've been going to the beauty salon on a regular basis for a full body waxing. Eventually that proceeded to eye brow wax and finally eye lash tints (the last being the one that made Zee really happy as it was the tint she'd wanted to do for a while).
  • Getting my nails done – I've not been to the salon to get my nails done but I've done my best to keep them long and also with some matte polish on them. Towards the end of the year I got out of the habit of doing this.
  • Going out in public – In the summer and also in December I managed to achieve this when I visited Sugar and Spiced and Jo took me for a walk to the local cemetery for a photo shoot in the summer and Jo and I simply went for a short walk before I came home after my last visit. On both occasions I drove back home from Portsmouth as Jenny as popped in to see my hairdresser. In the summer I also met up with a friend and told her my plans and we chatted for an hour at her place before I eventually drove home arriving at midnight.

The other thing that happened this month was that I went back to see my GP and asked her to refer me to the Gender Identity Clinic, or at least to refer me to the local health trust so that I could be assessed to see if I was suitable to be referred to the GIC. My GP was extremely sympathetic to my situation and wrote off to get me an appointment.

Having been to see my GP in January I started to prepare a few people for what I had planned. I spoke with some friends and as a result also ended up talking with some of the leadership of the church I attend. As a result of this I had someone to talk to when I needed it who actually knew me but also began the process of withdrawing from some of the things I was involved with.

I also had a letter confirming my appointment for an initial assessment at a local hospital.

Finally February saw me get a makeover at the beauty salon. The experience was fantastic as Zee really does know her business.

This month saw me have my initial assessment to see if I should be referred for gender reassignment. The assessment took two sessions. The first was half an hour where I was asked lots of questions. The second took 5 minutes and was simply to confirm that I was going to be referred to a psychiatrist before I could be referred to the GIC. Soon afterwards I got the date for my appointment with the psychiatrist.