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

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Weather, shoes and general musings...

So much for staying away from computer…but I blame trail run! I was perfectly fine on Sunday after a slow slog on trails, then on Monday during x-training and on Tuesday while resting. Comes Wednesday (and Rob’s ranting) – and I am itching. Then a good solid run on Marquam trails in the afternoon – and before I know it, my fingers are glued to the keyboard. There is nothing that can span a creative writing (if you can call my chaotic bubbling this way) like a hard trail run. Especially if the sun is out and everything is drop-dead gorgeous! Can you believe we have 70F this week and whole next one? Just in time for Zane Grey heat training…what reminds me about Zane, and, despite the nastiness of this race course, I am happy to participate.

Anyway, my scare with the shin injury seems to be just that – a scare. I went Sunday night for a slow poke on local trails, and the pain was quite mild, so I will call it a shin splints and be OK with it. Considering the fact that I always seem to have some kind of injury (on top of compartment), I am kind of used to it and don’t pay attention. So, as I was tallying my YTD miles after that run, it came to 1111. I found this number very funny. Like, if I didn’t go that day (and I wasn’t planning to), I would have missed it.

That number also reminded me of my shoes. You know, getting rid of old shoes with 300 (some say 500) miles on them…it should mean that I am ready to throw at least 2, if not 3 pairs. I am dumb here, I don’t keep track on exact miles of my shoes. Since I usually have 5 pairs around (don’t laugh, at first it was due to trying different brands to find a perfect match, and I am a cheapo, so don’t say good bye even if I don’t like the shoe, but use it on short runs; this year it’s due to stocking up on Montrail promotion, and yes, I still have those old shoes to finish up, and because it’s raining 9 months out of a year, I need them all)…well, back to 5 pairs of trail shoes, plus the road shoes plus the track/treadmill shoes…how in the world do you think I should remember the miles I put on them? I do remember which ones I raced and because my races are long, I just add up those miles…what may explain all those little nagging injuries I experience. If you have a better system, let me know…I doubt it will work with me, though. One pair sits at work, 2 in the car (in case I want to take off any minute)…then there are new once that as soon as I break them in, I leave them for races…It’s a mess!

What brings me back to Zane (what shoes should I pack?), and that leads to all that acceptance speech Rob had recently (where I won’t repeat him, since we practically think like twins way too often), as well as back to my Anonymous…I know, you’re pretty tired of that one, but it closely related, really.

At the beginning of the year as a member of a regional Montrail ultrarunning team I had to set goals for the races, like times, places, PRs, breakthroughs and what have you (see back for AR50 report). Hold on, I am getting somewhere. I am not at peace with myself. I am not accepting myself. I am afraid to propose goals (even to myself) and try and reach them. Granted, it is much easier to set lower limits and be happy with getting there, than to set high, and not being able to get even remotely close. I choose something in the middle. Thus came all that fury about “near-elite” thing. I am content with a “solid runner”. Or “a front of the middle of the pack, a.k.a. if nobody comes, I may place”. I do find I love to work/train very hard. However, it seems I have something left at the end of the race. Yes, fun is important. Do elite runners have fun when they fight hard for every minute? To some extent, I am sure. Do those who have fun still have to fight pain? Absolutely. Am I ready to make a complete shift from a “solid runner” to one who goes for the goal? Not sure…hmm…it’s on a personal level, how do I know if I’ve pushed well beyond? WS-2005 was a perfect example where I have no regrets for one single step. Finely executed first half, holding on to a deer guts (literally) for the second…and it actually paid off. The rest of my races, even good performances, came sort of easy (or so it seems looking back – some pain, some stuff happening, but it’s long runs, everybody has to deal with those!) May be there is a reason I sign up for more races too – I am afraid to focus solely on one race and then with all the work have something happen – and bam! No goal! Is it normal for mortals? Does it make me “near elite” anyway? Speaking of Anonymous, I am desperate to know who that is (I do have a couple of wild guesses, but leave it at that). Whomever that is, it is flattering that someone actually cares enough to follow my “running career” so to speak. Someone who is possibly a coach himself, a former (?)elite runner, who knows Lisa’s coaching style and is interested in seeing me succeed…well, here is my email, just in case: olgav100@gmail.com. Iam ready to discuss it with anyone who is interested.

Speaking of Lisa. We emailed to discuss all those little thingies, but it is actually a not big deal between. She is the best understanding person I have ever met (and I will highly recommend her to anyone who needs a coach), perfectly figuring where I am coming from, why I am like that and what can be done to improve our relationship (as a client/coach). I’ve learned a lot, absolutely love double-hard-runs days, got to try (and hate most of them) different x-training styles (so now we go as “2 hrs aerobic training whatever you want”), but can’t make days with 9/1 or 8/2 run/walk thing (I tend to run all my training runs even though I walk a big part of my races – mentally, it’s difficult to walk when you don’t feel like it). There is no-one better (and faster) at responding to any questions, including ones concerning personal life and such. And overall she makes me very happy…if only she also wouldn’t think I am capable of more…but then again, she is a coach, she is encouraging

And back to the weather. It’s nice, hot, sunny, and it’s Christmas here! Because today Montrail runners got their packages with goodies! And it’s so much fun to throw it all around and think of new tops I get to wear, new bottles to try (courtesy of new co-sponsor Nathan) and just simply think of all the trips I get to go to and represent…what brings me back to the fact that I am in a Regional team, and as Sean Meissner and Kristin Jossi keep me calm, it means I do try and run well, but mostly I am a friendly face that loves the product and can recommend it and answer a bunch of questions about sponsor’s product and ultrarunning in general. And I will always be there with that part!!!

And back to Zane and being afraid…here are my goals. I know them, so should you too.
I would be happy to break 13 hrs. I will be also just fine with breaking 14, but hopefully closer to the inside of it. My pace chart (a.k.a. a perfect race, nothing goes wrong) is set for 12:40 – that would be elating. This crazy course (*tc, click on the link) features an overall altitude gain from 5000 at the start to 7000 at the finish and 11000 elevation gain (some loss too, but hey, who is counting?). I consider myself a hiker, so this part doesn’t freak me out. Downhills are scary with rocks and masses of stuff, and though I am good on down, I am not sure if I will be able to execute it there (see my report on MT Bridger, for some reason I think it might be close). Placing is secondary, as at my level it all depends who is coming (unlike for top, where we know Nikki Kimball is winning, the question is if she breaks her course record). Since this is far from where I am used to race, I hardly know any of the girls, so no prediction/hopeful plans here. The AS are far apart, so hydration/fueling is crucial. Angie will be helping Johnny and me – big round of applause here! Thanks, Pinky! Catra is sharing a room with me, what reminds me to email her on details. David just dropped off his free car rental certificate – telling you, friends are my best value in life (after kids, of course). I packed my bags and ready for Black Saturday – last long run before the two-race special!

As for acceptance – not accepting oneself is what drives the progress, doesn’t it?

Now back to the kitchen woman, where you belong:)


  1. Olga I keep in a file in my computer that has the name of the shoe(s), the year and the miles to date. At the end of the week I update the file. If I have more than one model of a particular shoe I number them and reflect it on the file. A simple word file is fine, it doesn't have to be in Excel. I have 8 or so pairs so it helps me organize them all.

    Notepaper stuck on the fridge works just as well too.

  2. Olga, Eric writes the date on his shoes with a sharpie. He can guess the mileage from that - or get new ones just based on the date.

    Hope you were cooking up something good in the kitchen!

  3. I am right there with you on not wanting to put all my eggs in one basket. There are so many great races that at times I think I would like to do fairly well at all of them rather than really good at one or two of them, or worse, like you said, not do well after training for that specific race. I still am telling myself that next year I am going to focus on marathons, but I am not sure I can stick with that promise.

    As far as the shoes go. Since I log all my mileage with pen and paper I also write which shoe I used on each run and keep track of the mileage that way. I am like you and rotate about five pairs as well.

  4. Anonymous20/4/06 00:36

    I generally only wear two shoes ... one road and one trail (although I have 3 trail shoes that I am swapping out now). Anyway, I put close to 1000 miles in them. As far as trail shoes ... I love Montrail. Unfortunately, the tops wear out on them very quickly. So I don't even get to wear out the soles. When the holes get big enough, I start using the Leona Divides for road shoes. Maniacs make fun of them ;-) *tc

  5. Phew! What a post!

    It seems - to me anyway - that you sign up for many races simply because you like the long runs. I'm not sure you'll get the same personal satisfaction by focussing on a few.

    In any case, ultra runners are, to a degree, an "elite" group anyway.

  6. I log all my training runs online at www.marathonguide.com, together with the shoes. That way I can use one click to see the mileage of each shoe immediately.

    But I can always tell when it's time to get new shoes. As shoes reach 350 or 400 miles, I get lots of little pains and injuries which get worse every week, and disappear as soon as I buy a new pair of shoes.

  7. Good luck at Zane next week, Olga! I will do that race, someday. I enjoyed this post a lot. You have a lot of focus.

    Now that my knee injury is better, I can train to the level that I did last Winter. I just need to keep focused, and not do stupid things (diet-wise). Like eat a big, fatty Mexican dinner last night, chased with beers. I still feel bloated this morning.

    About keeping track of your shoes. When you get them, take out the insole and mark a number on the bottom inside of the pair of shoes. I use David Hays' Excel spreadsheet to track my shoe mileage (and running mileage). You can find it at: http://www.davidhays.net/running/runlog/runlog.html

    Happy trails,
    Bad Ben

  8. Anonymous20/4/06 09:31

    Oh, just wanted to clarify ... I put 800-1000 miles on EACH pair of shoes. I know that sounds like a lot but I attribute it to my small body frame and my "pretty good" form. I think the 300-500 miles is a shoe company thing. One has to "know" when to change out a pair of shoes. If your knees all of the sudden start hurting ... that may be a clue right! This one guy I run with ... wears them to the spongy part of the shoe - now that's crazy-cheap ;-) *tc

  9. OK, I'm not anonymous anymore!

  10. Olgs..I guess that since I only use 2 pairs of shoes at one time, I normally write the date that I start using them on the side with a marker and then go from there....

    Good luck and Zane next week!

  11. Woo hoo!!!!!!! Crew Pinky is SO excited to be crewing for you and Johnny next week, it'll be a BLAST. Hmm, maybe I'll make some posterboard signs that say, "Go Olga Go!"

    Love to read all about your goals, why you chose them, etc. And what fun, I can just imagine you rolling around on the floor with all your Montrail goodies. (it's a far-out-there goal of mine to be on the Montrail team).

    I keep track of my miles in my running log. I was using coolrunning.com, but am now using breakingthetape.com (you can put your miles and workouts on the sidebar in your blog! too cool). They keep track of the miles on my shoes for me.

    Hmm, I think accepting oneself doesn't take away a drive for progress...I think it can fuel it....

  12. You look so happy with your shoes and product. And pretty too. I sounds like a 12 year old.

  13. Great to hear about your goals. There's nothing better than new running shoes. Except that I like them better after they get a little dirt on them. When you first get a pair people can't tell that you are a runner by looking at them. I like them better after they've been around the block a time or two.

  14. You look so nice holding you shoes! Impossible not loving them, right?

    Olga, thanks a lot for your comment. I choose that training b/c I want to make it to the marathon, at this moment I'm scared of being injured, still it raises and it will make me run more than 30 miles a week, it is just the beggining that is boring. So as you say I will combine this easy short runs with the bike.

    Have a nice race!!

  15. I think you can accept yourself but also know that you can always push further (in a healthy manner). It does sound like you have the right idea with your running goals, so good luck!
    I actually keep a running log which includes the shoes but it does take time (and I only have two to rotate!) I like the idea of writing the dates on them...

  16. Olga, I had to comment again because you added the cute picture! You look so sweet with your new shoes and in a dress...

  17. Anonymous21/4/06 17:10

    why do you think I am a "he"? i will think about it. emailing that is. you have enough coaches. i just like to ask questions. it helps me to understand people better.

    you are clearly suited for ultrarunning. i can think of less than 1% of the people i know who run ultras who can do what you have done with so little running background. temper your emotions with technique and you will go beyond your dreams. it would be fun to see.

    once upon a time, i was more of a marathon and below type (more fast-twitch) who moved to ultrarunning because the days of low 14min 5k's and sub-32min 10k's were gone. too old now. the glory days gone. hard&fast training means 100% chance of injuries.

    plus, I truly enjoy the idea of being able to be sitting in the johnie-on-the-job and start the race 5mins late and still end up in the top 10%. there is no stress at the start. we did not have ultras then. i ran 30miles nonstop once just to see if i could do it. it was not uncommon to put in 400-450 miles per month. now i run (and walk) when I choose to for the pure joy of it. no more medals, but it is nice to still have drawers full of shirts.

    i was a sponsored runner in the olden days (70's). we were beyond naive (stupid) then, we ran marathons without stopping to drink or eat anything. just racing flats and a skimpy pair of shorts. squeaked down to 2:26. sigh, if only we had the knowledge, know how and technology of today back then. a little maturity woulda helped, too. coulda, woulda, shoulda.

    a reason, a season or a lifetime?

    i think, for now, you run for a reason.

    i wonder, will you still be here 10yrs from now? 20yrs? running for a lifetime (of reasons)?

  18. Wow, you have a mystery guest. How intriguing.

    To answer your question, I won't be at Miwok this year, but it's definitely on my list of races I'd love to do someday. It's always just one week after Big Sur, which makes things difficult.

    Maybe I'll see you there sometime, though. Or maybe even at Western States one of these years...

  19. In the kitchen? I thought you belonged on the trails!

    Such a multi-talented woman...