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, March 28, 2007

I got time for rambling

"The most difficult thing - but an essential one - is to love life, to love it even while one suffers..." Lev Tolstoy, War and Peace
Russian writers had great knowledge. Stephen and I watched American version of the movie (1950s?) It felt like the same producer from “Gone with the wind”. Not that people in general are different, but the idea of Tolstoy book was not “the strong will survive”. In fact, there was no single idea in this book. It’s about character, about romantic inside of us, about truth, about love, about something much deeper than a will to survive – you can say I really didn’t like the movie (it was more just stating facts of the book) and especially the way the movie ended, just as Scarlet looked beyond and said something about the Earth living so she will too. But it was great to share with Stephen a history.

Anyhow, we also went to see “300” on a big screen – spring break; I am trying to entertain my boy as much as I can between work and running. Spartans are shown pretty awesome, although there is way too much blood flying around (seriously, flying). I had to read a whole lecture about Sparta after that, and what it means to defend “your” motherland. Nobody can fight the way people do when they stand for their “home”, their “family”. Don't let me get into politics, please...

Off my soap box, and on to answering a couple of questions.
#1. How do I run so many miles? I run 6-7 in the morning and about same at night. Waking up at the crack of dawn is pretty horrible, but manageable. I guess I am not that great of a wife, as I tend to go to bed at 10 pm, while Oleg is a "night owl". I hardly squeeze cooking dinner and taking kids to their activities, doing laundry and checking up on hoemwork. Alex is the one doing the dishes, and all three of them are responsible for the house cleaning - I don't come close to it. Or, shopping is mine too. 3 times a week night runs are an easy fit as I take Stephen to his boxing and stick with the gym for 2 hrs (treadmill and weights provided). Once a week it’s a track night. Once a week I run to and from work while Oleg shuttles kids for school. Then comes the weekend and it’s whatever planned/can be accomplished.
#2. Is Charlie getting a hang on running? You bet! In fact, when it became more regular, if I don’t take him with me in the morning, he gets so upset, he finds a book I currently read, and tears it apart. After three of these incidents I got the idea. Now I have no “off” days, or I risk his showing me how unfair it is. I have to say, I finally got a hang on running with him as well. I never considered myself a pet owner; I never had a pet while growing up. I mean, I feed it, I clean after it, and I let it outside for a pit-break. But when I run trails with Charlie, we are bonding, for sure. Is it because he is doing with me something I am really passionate about? Runs with Charlie are always faster than I would go by myself. We take sharp turns at the neck breaking speed, I am exhilarated as we jump over roots on the steep downhill, trying to see where to put my feet (he is right in front of me, we are still learning), I get a rash as we jump into the bushes for a bird pursue – he is a duck hunter after all, though we don’t plan on catching any, I patiently wait when he needs to stop – and he patiently sits down when I do the same…it’s all now like a child’s play, it is that much fun. Now I understand all the previously read “my dog is my best running partner”. One who’ll never diss you and go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go.

I've got way too much work, my boss is petrified we "get scooped" for a couple of papers again. Oleg sensed my stress even from abroad, he emailed me with "don't let anybody to run yourself down". Yeah, I know, I am just a person "with a list". I have this thing, when I or somebody for me make up a list, I've got to get down and check everything off, I won't rest until then. So now I have a list with experiments for 4 different projects...Same goes with signing for races and making a training plan. I am just checking off the list:)

Speaking of training, I am continuously puzzled with lack of speed despite working on it, and I emailed coach Lisa. What a greatest person she is! While I am not her client anymore, she had never ever refused to answer any of my questions and always would give a recommendation and an encouragement. She, for one, always believes in her friends. Anyhow, her experience as a coach and an endurance athlete states that speed is the one that “goes away” fastest and recovers slowest. It’s no surprise I picked back my endurance quickly enough, but suck at the leg turn-over and push-power. So I got some ideas to work on. After all, The future doesn't just happen, it is created. Our destiny is not in the stars, but in ourselves. We may need to follow in the wake of those who have gone before, but what we do and where we go is ultimately up to us. The attitude of initiative is an on-going state of exploration that is never finished. A journey that never ends. (a quote sent by Michelle Barton, I don’t know who the author is).

p.s. My email to Lisa S-B yesterday:
Dearest Lisa, I am a one happy girl today! I went to the track after work for 1M repeats. According to my recent times on other intervals, I thought I would be happy to break 8 min. I ran first in 7:36 and was surprised to say the least, thinking I blew the workout. I ran next two in 7:23 and 7:22. Holly cow! It was hard, I was panting, my legs were lead and I felt a headwind on every corner of the track, but I did it.

Just a history: when I trained with you last year, the first set you had me do on Feb 14th - times 7:32, 7:37, 7:27. The second set you sent me to in exactly two months was done in 7:18, 7:12, 7:11.

Lisa, I was always petrified of mile repeats. But because you push me to do them, I now have a little more confidence - and a little more hope - that everything will be alright:)

Thank you!


  1. Totally cracking up about the dog eating the book. We had a puppy when Dee Dee and I got married that was furious at us for locking it in the bedroom. It proceeded to eat the footboard of our expensive bed!! What a great friend your coach is! That's what friends are for. To be there when you need them. Sounds like you two far exceeded the coach-client relationship.

  2. Wow, you rock! I love your blog and perspective. Keep it up and I look forward to meeting you on the trails some day. What kind of dog do you have? He sound slike a winner!

  3. Olga, speed will come with persistence but you have to be patient. I went from fast marathoner at the end of 1998 to slow ultra runner in the beginning of 2000. I didn't start to get fast again until late 2003 and 2005 was my banner year ... I was fast in both the marathon and ultras. Also, you must rest in order to get better. Don't ask me for advice on how to do that - I LOVE to train!

    Speed comes with strength. I get mine from both hill running and fast road runs (tempo runs). I don't do track because I tend to get injured - but that's just me.

    Juerk has a good article in trail running (the insert from Chuckanut). He talks about doing one legged exercises - I never thought or heard of that but it sounds interesting. Lunges (which (I've never done) are probably key. I've thought of doing some of these but will wait until after States as I don't want to injure myself from going over board.

    Yeah, 300 was an awesome movie ... and don't get me started on politics - people will really hate me if they only knew ;-)


  4. That bonding with Charlie is awfully cool. I find myself chatting away to the dog when we are the only ones home. Sometimes I really wonder at myself! Charlie sounds like a smart one for sure.

    I bet you and Stephen are having fun - it's cool that each of the boys is getting time alone with one parent. I guess I could get in an evening run each night - I just don't have a lot of motivation for it right now. Maybe when it's a little warmer/dryer/lighter I'll want to.

    I like that quote at the end. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. "All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So what did old Lev mean by that?? Or is it lost in translation? Speaking of no speed, dear, I ran about 1 1/2 hours on trails yesterday that I used to fly down. I felt like a ton of bricks but timewise it wasn't too bad. This happens to you, too, no? Where some of your training routes recently have been as fast as ever? So is it just the races you're referring to? It's early in the year yet, is my guess... give things a chance to adapt and bloom! And just remember when you're running to shout out what Fred Flintstone, America's answer to Pierre Bezuhov (not!) said best: Yabba dabba doo! :)

  6. I loved that movie. Saw it on a Sunday night after a full weekend of training, tired going in, wired coming out:) I'd like to hear about those ideas for gaining speed.

  7. "The future doesn't just happen, it is created" - that's a great quote, I'll try to remember that one.

  8. yes great quote at the end and added to my quotes file...

    another good post Olga, Charlie looks like a very cool dog and perfect color when running through the mud trails just will blend right in--lol

    ONE Mile repeats just sound painful, great times!!!!!!!!!

  9. Love the picture of Stephen and Charlie! And great job on the speed work. : )

  10. Those are some pretty fast mile splits! I'm not believing you anymore when you say you're slow.

  11. So that's how a Superwoman gets in all those miles!

  12. Ah, the power of doubles!

  13. Olga great post you are such an inspiration!! that quote is an excellent motivator "the futre just doesn't happen.....

    You my dare is certainly pushing me towards my first ultra!!!thank you :)

  14. Olga,

    I'm going to start the two-a-days this week to build up the miles. Three months to WS so I'm putting on my game face! The harder I work now the more fun I'll have at States!

    You are lucky to have a dog that seems to be adapting to running with you very quickly. It can make running a lot of fun!