When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why run, why train?

After yesterday's cross-training day and another hour of weight routine (and yes, this time it didn't cause me soreness) I had to go today for 1M repeats on a track again. Oleg came home last night from the mountains very late, and it was a bitter sleep (sorry to all with small children, but I like my sleep, all 7 hours of it). I was looking at alarm as the numbers were turning closer to the time to get up and contemplating the idea of taking an extra or instead-of-Friday day off. I do have tendinitis, so I had an excuse. Finally at 5 am I made it out, dressed for a run and still wasn’t sure if I am going and if yes, for what exactly. Then I thought of Craig’s comment on work ethic and figured, I’d try. I warmed up on roads for 3 miles and turned to a high school track. First lap met me with sharp raindrops and wind in my face. I was planning to bag it after first interval. 7:32. A lap for recovery - may be I will do it tomorrow? Well, I am already running, might as well. Rain turned into fat snowflakes, but wind gotten calmer. 7:37. Enough? Heck, last one, who cares what time, right? Nobody’s watching...7:27, steady rain, bitter cold, lets go home and hope for a better day tomorrow...

Why do I run? OK, I found out I love it, there are endorphins released, it’s “me”time, I like simplicity of it and the trails, I love to eat and always battle the weight problem...Why do I train? I was thinking about it this morning - obviously, I wasn’t much into training during this particular run though. I think a lot of it comes with type A personality, or being obsessive-compulsive, or a control freak. First of all, I do love to join races and see friends, whether old or make new, seeing new places. And it feels I need a valid excuse to sign up and not blow it. Like if I take a trip, I use family money, right? Guilt is quite overwhelming power...Second, having low self-confidence makes every goal in life like the last chance to prove I am worth something. Running lets me do this in respect what you put in to it, you get out. Granted, I will never become an elite runner, nor am I blessed with genetics of fast-twitch muscles and super-great body composition, not to mention I don’t have time to do it nearly enough. But you do get better as you train harder. It may slow down and even stop at some point, but will progress in some other ways. In other words, it’s a way to control some part of my life, and it depends only on me. You may study hard, but the professor doesn’t like you, or a question wasn’t supposed to be in a test - and you fail. You work hard, but things fall through (especially in my current job as a scientist), another person messes stuff up, your boss is a jerk, or simply there are no jobs around - you’re done. You love somebody with all your heart and do everything possible to show it - and don’t get loved back...happens. I could go on, you got the idea. Here, noone is to blame but myself. I like blaming myself, or taking responsibilities. It works for me. And third, certainly not last - heritage. Yes, there is much said about Soviet Union. I am not going into political discussion here, nor economical. There is one thing I know for sure. Growing up Soviet, I was taught (brain-washed if you will, but aren’t we all?) That whatever you do in life, you absolutely have to do your best, start to finish. Even if you hate it - you started it, finish it up, and finish it in a way to be proud of it, not ashamed. Work ethic...that’s exactly what it was called. May be I am applying it the wrong way, but I just can’t do anything half-heartedly. I set out to train for a certain time I think I could do - I should at least give it my best shot. Oleg says I have an extreme sense of mixed guilt and responsibility:)

Coach Lisa said I have to go for a Hagg Lake 50k as a trial, so, as much as I didn’t want to repeat this race for various reasons, I sent my application in today. She said - head down and run:) It’s a pretty run, Rob and I ran it together last year. It will be fun.

Now, I have a favor to ask. I had a comment from Anonymous last time who suggested I should give this link to MM (Marathon Maniacs, Rob and I are members of). What do you say, should I? It’s kinda personal here, not simply training plan. Do I want to share it with 250 people most of I don’t know? Well, I didn’t know you either, and now it feels like a family...but then again, you share your thoughts back with me, so it’s all good.

One last thing. We got a letter from Alex, and he is doing well. He misses us, working towards school credits and hopes to come back soon. What a relief!! Of course, I cried over, but these 5 sentences made my day so much brighter!


  1. Hmmmm. To share with MM or not? Hard one. I just shared with the Y group on Sunday. I admit, I thought only those of you I know personally would stop by my blog, and was a little intimidated to have so many others come by. But now, I'm kinda used to it. So I shared with my group. Of course, I know them all personally too. I almost think that's harder - to let the people you know find out so much about you. Anyways...MM? I guess I would think about how you'll feel when you meet one of the Maniacs that you haven't met before, and they say "I've been reading your blog." Good? Bad?

    Good news from Alex!

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  3. ditto on teh backofpack comments about sharing your blog.....

    and that is super about Alex...

  4. Glad to hear you got good news from Alex. I enjoyed reading your post as your words always remind me how similar we are in terms of thought process. The same things that drive me crazy drive you crazy as well.

    As for sharing with the Maniacs, if you do does that mean I have to follow suit? I guess if you send Tony the information you might as well send him the link to mine as well. We can be team bloggers.

  5. If you can help one more person smile in this world or learn from what you are sharing, then it's worth it. I say share away! I do believe the quiet ones that don't respond are getting the most out of it usually.....just know that in your soul.
    And yayyyyy for Alex writing and telling you he's doing well. Good Mommys always win out!!

  6. It is nice to see how everyone is self-asking this kind of questions, but the way you answer them is so clear that give usthe even more understanding of it.
    It is strange to share you're deep thoughts here, maybe. But believe me, it is inspiring and very helpful for many, specially me.

  7. Hmm...tough call. I myself tend to only share with people that I know, if they in turn share it with their friends then so be it but at least it's built on mutual friendships. On the other hand I can see how the members of your club can be inspired by your stories.

    I like Rob's idea...Team Bloggers, you guys can inspire your group together!

  8. A. Maniac Cat on Head15/2/06 20:30

    Well, Olga, you have become an inspiration whether you realize it or not. If you can share your experiences and insights with others, especially those with similar aspirations (Maniacs for example), that is a gift you can give to others.

  9. I understand completely the statement ... "it’s a way to control some part of my life, and it depends only on me."

    If I can make myself go for a run when I don't feel motivated the experience is nearly always a good one. There is a sense of satisfaction at turning in a few miles in spite of how I'm feeling that is especially rewarding.

  10. So who is this "a. maniac cat on head"? It's not the Prez is it?

  11. yay on the word from alex!!!

    running provides containment, security...and transformation, all at my own power.