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

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Black Saturday

OK, may be I am not so obedient after all, but we already knew that…Today I joined my Dark Side…

There is a local ultra group lead by elite runner Ronda Sundermeier, and they do Gorge runs called Black Saturday (black attire and killer hill workouts during a long run) followed by Red Hot Sunday (“just” the long run). I wasn’t planning to go quite yet this weekend, but Bushwhacker came to my house at 6 am and whisked me away…like a prince on a horse:) We met the group that included today Ronda and her best friend Stacey, Mike McCarthy, Steve Peterson and Tom Chapman and began the adventure.

The first 2.5 miles of trail (gaining 1000 feet) was made walking, warming up (under pouring rain) and catching up (since it’s not the usual group I run with), and I had a great kick out of Tom’s jokes and pressure-putting ("How many 100s are you doing this year? Only two? Are you joking? Why aren't you racing more? Don't tell me you are not competitive!). We dropped our gear and thus started on what we came here for: 2.6M Gordon trail with about 1500 feet gain. Basically, you have to run 40 min up wherever it will take you, but that’s what it took me, dead last today. There were two huge downed trees we had to climb over, but other than that this trail is nice and smooth. Main group went up another may be 0.2M and Mike M. kicked our butts with extra 0.5 miles or more. What was amazing about today was that there was NO pain in my lower legs! None! Despite going uphill in running motion! I don’t know whether it’s Rolfing, long warm up or trails and company combined, but it was striking!

We cheered each other with “great job” and turned around to go down. I cleared downhill in 19 min. I totally believe in life forces – gravity and free fall. That felt good! We waited for the rest to come back and I went first up since I was the slowest. Mike B. went by and disappeared in a mist. Steve, who never broke into running step, walked right ahead with such an ease, like he was out for a dog walk around the lake. Ronda was right next to me. I tried running, but after about 10 min gave up and started walk breaks on steeper portions. That went for another 10 min, after which I decided to go for hiking with running breaks instead of running with hiking breaks. That worked, and surprisingly I came to the 2.6M junction at 41 min – only 1 min slower. Nothing new – I am a hiker and a downhiller, not a runner, I’ve said it before and proud of it. Another daunt down on cruise control, and we are ready to put a few more miles. I asked Bushwhacker to begin ahead of the group so I could make it home on time for the game, and off we went to Herman creek trail, another 40 min to the Casey creek. We ran for 12 min steady, then as the trail steepened up, I sent Mike on his way and walked next 10, doing walk/run the following 20 on rolling terrain. I had no pain anywhere until we turned around and my hip joints (big trochantor, that sticking out bone high on femur) let me know it’s not happy, but nothing serious to stop me. We were chatting (me, the usual) and I mentioned how no matter how tired I am, cold and wet, hungry and dehydrated (I was out of water by then), I never hate getting out for some trail running. It’s just feels so good.
We got to the car, total of 20 miles in 4.5 hrs, and Mike had a picnic in his trunk!! OK, he was planning to share all this food with everybody and have a little outing after the run, but the weather been as it was, we were happy to change out of wet clothes and get in the car.

I am so glad I went! I know, I know, it wasn’t what “the doctor ordered”, and I do push myself on good days, but I feel it’s better than to push my body on bad days…Besides, I am a follower, and having never had partners during a week, I can’t let the opportunity to run with friends pass by. I am sorry, I just love people around! This is such a bonus to trails themselves! I always overdo things, I can follow directions that push me, but if I feel good, it’s like cheating by not doing more, like what if the next day or next weekend I won’t be able to do this, won’t have time, energy, friends, even may be life? May be I am cutting my running “career” shorter, may be I am not achieving what I am capable of, not realizing my potentials, mainly may be I am not tough in my mind and can’t focus solely on goals if it doesn’t bring me emotional satisfaction…I can do great workouts during a week even if I feel crappy and would rather stay home and sleep, I can collect myself together and say: that’s what has to be done for making a progress…may be I have OCD and addictive personality…what can I do…I don’t know, really, I don’t know how to fix it! I love Lisa, from the bottom of my heart, I had never been so encouraged and so understood by someone at her level, she is just like someone so dear to me, and I feel bad straying away from what I am told, and I try hard not to do that…but I am not perfect, far from it. That’s just how I am – passion means all or nothing, in any corner of my life. And I am so afraid I might not have enough time in my life to explore every single trail, meet every single friend, feel every single adrenaline rush and get every single euphoria…May be this way I do shorten my future possibility of running in life due to high injury risk, but may be this risk-taking is what I appreciate in living? To the fullest? Now and here? And there is no right or wrong for other people around, whatever you feel compelled to do…but I would die if I am left only with structure limiting my spirit and no space to wiggle. Not running when it feels like running to me is like not breathing when I am oxigen deprived - why not inhale if the air is so available?

And the game was cancelled due to rained-out fields. But the opening ceremony was nice. Next game is Wednesday, and for the last 4 hrs I am back (passionately) to being Mom and taking care of a household, what I love no less. Oleg actually just said today that I'd make a great housewife, and that he is working hard to bring me to this point and quit even my part-timing:) Here is a complement!! There is a balance in my life, and this balance includes it all. Hearing Oleg typing a proposal (he gives a talk on Monday), practicing music with Stephen, cooking dinner, cleaning around, getting a package for Alex ready to be sent…oh, c’mon, I am not THAT bad, am I?


  1. I'm supposed to take Sundays off since my long runs are on Saturday but that would mean missing out on running and having lunch with friends. So I do it anyway. I don't regret it, spending time with people is more important to me. This is why I don't have a coach, I would let them down.

  2. oh, olga, you are not bad at all!

    what great passion lives in your spirit, your essence. great joy, great life, great exuberance. you choose to celebrate it! (even knowing what the potential consequences could be)

  3. Olga, when it comes right down to it, only you know what is best for you. The coaching only speaks to your running, but your running speaks to your soul. Sounds to me like you know yourself very well and you know what you need. By the way, I think that what we need varies from day to day, even from minute to minute. Next time you might decide not to go out and that'll be okay too, because it's what you need right then. I think it's wonderful that you had such a great day - both on the trail and at home!

  4. Olga, never...you're not bad! Great running there...yes, it rained all day here too(today).

  5. Keep wiggling Olga!!!

  6. Sounds like a great run that I will need to take part in some day. The gorge sounds so wonderful. Nice job Olga the homemaker.

  7. A chance to run with Bushwhacker and the Party Girls? Of course you can't pass that up. I only wish I had the opportunity to join you. Next time you see Ronda and Stacey, give them my best.

    As for your running - no pain, extra gain.

  8. Man, I miss a couple of days and find that you've been writing volumes. Glad to hear that the running and life are going so well for you right now.

  9. I just turned a recovery run into a "real" run because I was bored, so I'm hardly in a position to criticise you. We're doing this because we enjoy it, right? Therfore, at least occasionally, we should do things just for fun, not because it would be better for the training.