From: Olga Varlamova Date: Oct 24, 2005
Oregonians rock at San Diego 100
I planned to name my report "A come back". Or "redemption". I am not sure what to call it now. Interesting, there is always more to say about a bad day than a good one. I had the latter. After Leadville's DNF, which put my Grand Slam "down the toilet" (thank you very much, Mike Burke, I needed to hear it in exactly these words) and insanely disappointing emotionally Wasatch (yet again, my thanks to aforementioned Mike for dragging my ass to the finish instead of quitting at the last aid station due to loss of any excitement) I needed to recoup and pick a race where I could run from the heart and retire for off-season with good thoughts. I found San Diego. My friend from Maniacs club (one of many I am a member of) Andy Kumeda arranged the stay and relayed details. I started to train. Really train, as I did before WS, not just get by on accumulated fitness. I felt an urge to find my boundaries. I went back to my schedule, got into speed work and long runs and had twitch in my butt. Couldn't wait. My last but not least preparation was to find a pacer. The season was over, and I only got "wish I were here" responses. But here comes Gail! Who can be a better pacer than a running partner you spent hundreds miles with on the gorgeous Gorge trails and uncounted hours with discussion life and running matters! Who knows the deal of running 100 miles inside out and has the same attitude toward racing. Who simply IS the best crew you can ever imaging. She talked out friend David into coming to support me as well (also as a plan to suck this wonderful trail runner into "official" trail ultra racing). I was set. Friday went hectic. We drove more than needed and useless. But we visited pasta dinner (what I couldn't eat anyway with all my intolerance to food) and met organizers and runners. Many friends, who I was happy to see. Great people. Fun talks. Time to bed. Morning was nice and calm. Comparing to horror stories of last year with chills and winds, we had it perfect. I was lazy to carry my flash in the wee hours and followed the front pack with lights. It was too fast for my taste. I am a slow starter, and I got out of breath in a couple of miles. They actually ran on uphill! I made myself to back off the pace and settled in. New addition to me was my I-pod. I figured after reading Matt Carpenter's report it might help me get in tune with myself instead of racing stupidly . I also figured the field is small, and I'd be lonely for the most part (I wasn't in the first half). I couldn't figure out how to play all the CDs I downloaded from my son and had to reserve to the same last one over and over again. I memorized the lyrics by the end of 10 hrs:) Glad it had good selection. Anyway, with my meticulous preparation, I studied the course and the chart provided on the website and wanted to go for 22:30. It seemed right. I settled in, ran downs, hiked ups, nothing new. There is a long section covered with loose and not loose rocks what I knew would be treacherous on the way back, going down, in the dark and on tired legs. That was underestimate... I picked about 45 min on my time by mile 38. Thanks to Gail and David, my aid station time was non-existent. Come in, switch bottles, leave. Somewhere around 20 miles I started to have stomach problems, but Gail quickly put me on iced water, and I recovered. After 38 miles I won't see them till Banner store, the turn-around. Here is where I hit a bad spot. I am not sure what was I drinking when I made my pace chart and how did I plan to run 6.2 miles on trail at the end of 50 in 45 min when my best 10k time is slower, but that what I had written down, and when it wasn't happening, my mood hit bottom. I wondered if I got lost. Luckily, I saw Karl on his way back and continued on. It was hot. I didn't want Gail to wait and worry and worked hard to get there on time, slowly eating up all my accumulated extra time. I hit 50 mile turn-around in 9:56. Too much energy spent. Pick up Gail as my first pacer and head back, no rush, trying to regroup. I see Tracy Bahr and we exchange high-fives and encouraging words. I respect her very much and before the race went to introduce myself - we never met before. It was great to run in the same race finally. She was having stomach issues as I've heard. 2 hrs later I got my perk back and as we entered the trail section (there was a long stretch on fire road to-from turn around) I started running again. Picking up lost time and having a blast. Chatting with volunteers and enjoying the views. What was quite difficult to enjoy due to dangerous footing - get your eyes off the trail and make a face plant. Not good... It went on until mile 74, right on pace, almost easy. And then it hit hard. As I later explained David, who switched pacing duties with Gail at mile 76, I encounter "bonks" at a regular intervals, but they are becoming deeper and the recovery shallower. When he joined me, I was at the bottom. Walk was slow. My old injuries of anterior tibialis tendonitis and hip flexor pull come full strength. And, we entered that rocky stretch that I was anticipating with fear in the morning. I have this bad habit of giving up the plan when my sugar level sinks. I can't drink stupid bottle anymore, I can't eat nasty gels. I don't care what time I finish in, where I place and why am I here. It lasted 15 miles. At mile 90 we met Gail again, and she said Tracy is couple hours behind. I still stand a chance? Well, then I better break 24. I picked it up. 6 miles to go - 21:46. Hell, I suddenly want to run! I don't' think I ever ran that fast at the end of a trail ultra. Even with long rocky 2 mile uphill, 2 creek crossing costing me stops to get wet sand out of my shoes, run I did. Gail says she hears voices behind. I am not giving up my position that close to the finish. I look at the watch and try to remember what the course record is. It's either 23:13 or 23:31. Why didn't I pay attention? I have 23:06 when I approach the turn, so I blast like in a 5k. I scream, I jump in the air, I finish in 23:08. Mission accomplished. I feel good. About the race. The RD Paul is one of the best out there. His volunteers are absolutely top notch, knowledgeable and friendly. They did an amazing job with aid stations and support. Soup at every night stop. The course marking deserves a special attention - I had never seen anything better than that. I am a master of getting lost no matter what, but here it was just impossible. Every turn, every crossing was marked with flour, every stretch had confidence spotting on trail, glow sticks aplenty. The views are gorgeous (that is if you dare to look while running or stop to enjoy), even though I love trees, it was beautiful. The course is open to the sun 90% of the time, so plan accordingly. The rocks are relentless, what makes for slow running at night. Some ledges are pretty dangerous, don't fall asleep on your feet. I loved every minute of it and glad I went. Thanks to all who was involved in making this race possible, and my personal thanks to Gail and David for coming out and supporting me. It was a great pleasure seeing you and I am glad I didn't disappoint. Thanks to all who makes ultrarunning world the most beautiful place on earth... Olga
You’re a mad woman! I’m sorry that you had a good day because you have less to say about it :-) Seriously though, you did an awesome job! And congrats on winning the women’s race! Is this the last one for this year? I remember you telling me that you had one more 100 miler in your last email, and then you’ll take the rest of the year off.
Olga - you rock!!!!
Congratulations!!!!!! I am not at all surprised at your success, am so excited for you, and am so so so proud of you! I don’t think you've even scratched the surface of your abilities and look what you can do! It's mind-boggling and couldn't happen to a more precious person.
I have to say it again...you are truly an inspiration to all of us running (and biking) crazies, and everyone in VCTC is so proud of you....your stories really hit home....and 1st woman..you rock!!!
Also, I was told that you are being sponsored by Montrail now.....congrats!!!!
Congratulations! You continue to be an inspiration to me! I am SO glad
your season ended on this wonerful high note! I loved your race report.
My favorite line: "I can't drink stupid bottle anymore, I can't eat nasty
gels." Oh how that sums up how we've all felt at some point. The next
time I feel that way, I'm going to think of how well you described it and
that will make me smile. I also like the phrase "twitch in my butt"! I'm
finally fully recovered from my injuries but find that I am running slowly
and don't seem to have any "twitch in my butt". Luckily two friends here
at work have promised to drag me out for speedwork, so I should be getting
some back soon. :-)
Take good care of yourself during your recovery. See you out on the
A BIG CONGRATULATIONS!!! You definitely went way beyond again ending your season on the highest of high. You should be sooooo proud of yourself and your accomplishments. You truly are an incredible runner.
Rest up, rest up, and then rest up some more. You deserve it after such an incredible year of running. You are an inspiration!!!
Look forward to seeing you ......
Just got a call from Gail, who along with David Penilton went down to
San Diego to crew and pace for Olga. Results: Olga won the women's
race in 23:08:27 and was seventh overall. I'm sure that she'll post a
race report once she's returned (and slept).
In the men's race, Portlander Mike Wedemeyer took second place overall,
behind Karl Meltzer. I don't have Mike's time. Maybe he'll post
something for us, too.
Anyway, congrats to Olga and Mike. The state's ultrarunners continue to
do us proud.