A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn....

It's gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What am I doing?

Seriously, this question is haunting me these days. I keep thinking back to the last 3 months and then back to the last 4 years – I never was so under-trained before. I have a "thing" for working hard and been able to control what I can. Just as I mentioned in a previous post, I just had to look up what had been happening since after WS100.

Week1 – 22 miles, 6 M longest
Week2 – 86 miles in WY (wow, but about third of it was pure hiking, although when I do long runs in the Gorge, I hike long steep uphills just as well as in an ultra, so count it in)
Week 3 – 63 miles, longest 15M (plus 2x13M)
Week 4 – 67 miles, longest 30M, added speed work
Week 5 – 44 miles, yes to speedwork, but injury on Sunday
Week 6 – 0
Week 7 – 40 miles, over half of it cross-training (yes, I count it as total time divided by an input effort corresponding to pace and get adjusted miles, I learned it from Bob Glover, my first coach in NYC).
Week 8 – 57 miles, 12 M longest, ran 2/3 of total weekly distance
Week 9 – 60 miles, back to speedwork, no long run (Seattle/CCC trip)
Week 10 – 92 miles, 2 long runs (due to first been on Monday that substituted previous’ week’s) of 20 and 27 miles, 2x speedwork
Week 11 – 70 miles, 2x speedwork, 2 medium runs (16 and 15M)
Week 12 – 37 miles, speedwork. Actually, my Sunday’s run went very well, but it was only 10 miles – apparently, I am tapering. Time flies.

It’s race week now. It is freakishly scary to think about it. It’s not only “not enough training runs”. It is also a fear of toeing the starting line. Every since I started running, I raced often. The distance of the race grew with time, but the quantity stayed. This is the first time I had a full 3 months without anything that I could roughly call a race. I have jitters that are not pretty.

And even that is not all. After WS 100 I lost quite some confidence. And now I am pretty much setting myself up for another “not so wonderful” performance.

But I got my Ultrarunning magazine yesterday. And had been reading articles. And re-living all those finishes I did have in the last few years. Somebody said a great thing in one of the movies about WS100: you get this high feeling, that lasts, and lasts, and lasts…Couldn’t put it any better. I can still feel that high, and I have an urge to experience it again.
Any time I need a boost – I just look back. No matter how horrible and miserable I felt during a 100, crossing that finish line is one of the sweetest moments, second sweetest after having babies. There was a reason I compared my first 100 miler with pregnancy and labor. How you carry that baby carefully, eat right, try not to get sick, plan so much around it…then it’s anticipation time, I am not sure I can handle the labor, not to mention the baby itself when it’s ready…then you start, slowly and quite painless at first, you think – what the heck were they talking about?, and more pain comes, you push through, concentrate on breathing, simple things: in-out, left foot-right foot…you need help, you grab your partner’s (or whomever is around) hand and you scream and swear and sweat and it hurts, life is unfair to you so much!...time goes, you know you are almost done, so you gather your last strength and push…and there it is, sweet little tiny body, your own, doesn’t mean a squat to anybody else in the whole world, but so much to you…and you cry, tears streaming down your face, and promise to love and cherish it, and never go through the process again… yet willing to see another one rather soon.

I went for a short trail run today. No music, no watch, no water bottles, no pre-set direction. Joy filled my heart. I love running. Sometimes I wonder if I do – always training for something, always pushing it, tired, wanting to sleep, busy, forgetting to do dishes and crashing in bed before Oleg has a chance to even say “good night”. But today was one of those runs when you sharply realize – it’s that simple. I LOVE RUNNING. Often I surprise myself with how much it means to me and how intense the feeling is. Big race, small race, tough fight for a time or a place, pleasure careless jog, road, trail, planned or not – this me, this is who I am, this is what I do, it hurts to think about it and not to think about it – it’s so raw, so pure, so small and so grand.

I love running.

19 comments:

  1. If you are not ready, then don't go. Go running instead. The lessons you learn all well worth the sacrifices you make. A beautiful post, by the way.

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  2. I think the analogy with pregnancy and childbirth is right on...including the soon forgotten never again.

    Just keep remembering your last paragraph and I think you'll be fine at RDL. : ) You describe the indescribable so well.

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  3. Great description of the process even though I cannot relate to childbirth, thank God.

    Ready or not here you come!

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  4. Beautiful, Olga! You caught it in words. Thank you.

    Have fun, run well and enjoy!

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  5. Thankfully I'll never know what childbirth is like, so I can't comment on that. But the 3 months without a race might have been useful for your body to recover, don't you think?

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  6. Great post. Run well and enjoy yourself!

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  7. Anonymous20/9/06 11:07

    Olga, great post! You've put in an impressive number of miles, even though you feel like they haven't been enough. Run for the joy of it this weekend.

    Caroline

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  8. Hold on to that feeling. I'll see you Saturday! Whatever happens out there we are going to have fun!

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  9. Hold on to that feeling! I'll remind you Saturday:)

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  10. Wonderfully said Olga! Good luck this weekend, I'll be cheering for ya!!

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  11. Go Olga Go!!! Rooting for you from here. Nice thoughtful post. I wish you well. Thanks for inspiring so many of us.

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  12. Perfect, well said! Have a great race/run this weekend and just hold onto that feeling.

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  13. Olga- great post!! Sending positive vibes your way this weekend- have a great race!

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  14. Remember how much you love to run in the dawn hours of RDL; I'm glad you are enjoying yourself so much on today's run! Have a great weekend, Olga. I'll be thinking of you and sending you strong vibes.

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  15. Thanx for sharing. Have a fun run and be safe. Will be thinking of ya...

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  16. God, Olga, you should be published for posts like this. Beautiful.

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  17. Hey Olga,

    Thoughtful post, as always. VCTC group just attended a film about the '64 Olympics with commentary by Katherine Switzer and Amby Burfoot. Amazing footage and re-cap of the last "simple" Olympics.
    Lots of dwelling on the agony, not unlike the chilbirth you so vivdly describe. I hope the rest has served you well.

    All my best,

    Ken

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  18. Well said Olga.
    "I LOVE RUNNING" too!

    People can't understand why a woman runs. They don't see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any woman versus woman competition. For in running it is woman against herself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. Her adversary lies within her, in her ability, with brain and heart to master herself and her emotions.

    Edited for feminine perspective :)

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