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.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The 1000 miles journey that wasn't

The first 4 words of the post name was what I kept thinking about going into this race. I had started 10 100M races yet finished 9 (DNF'd at Leadville in 2005). I planned to suck it up here no matter what and get my 1000 miles finish...

Gail and Maura picked me up and drove to Cle Elum near the start where we slept in a local hotel. This 10 am start gave us a chance to get almost 8 hrs of sleep for the night - don't remember when this happened last time! The morning for me was as usual filled with nervous energy up until I said all my "Hi" to friends at the start and hugged everyone around. That seems to always relax me. The most unbelievable thing happened during a pre-race meeting when my Team of Gail, Maura, Adam and Rob called me in and I - very slowly - realized they made t-shirts to wear as my crew! It completely shocked me, first because I never had anything done like that for me, second because it was a complete surprise! Are they THE BEST or what? The front said "Go Olga Go" in Russian script (Wow!) and the back had my blog link! How can I ever not get through the race with a Team like that???


Finallyy we lined up and waitied for the start.



First mile went on flat dirt road, then we made a turn and shortly began to climb, dirt road (at the end of which was a small AS with Krissy Moehl and John Pearch) and then up and up on single track trail. Beautiful!!










I had the old pace chart I made for Rob in 2005, and while I thought it was for 27 hrs, it turned out for 26:30. I didn't care much, I ran very comfortable and made every single AS exactly on time. Coming to local race is a hoot! Everybody screams your name, and it gives an amazing boost. First time I saw my super-Team was Tacoma Pass at 23 miles. I ran in happy and chatty, got my bottle exchange and mentioned I am exactly 200 calories behind on fueling - I miscalculated gels and was 2 less than planned. Gail shoved a gel in me and Maura gave me a piece of potato. Then I mentioned I have "hot spots" on my feet from gravel road downhill and may be should fix it next time I see them - and here Maura took charge and put me on a chair. I changed my socks, patch the hot spots and lubed my feet. It was a great decision and my feet felt happy through many many miles. However when I set on a chair, the way it situated on a slope, I fell off it when tended to my feet. I caught myself quickly though and was fine.


I left Tacoma and continued running effortlessly. My energy was high, my calories were on track, my mood was perfect, my stomach was acting great, and my feet sang songs...when we entered a nice single-track downhill and I realized a sharp pain in my right hip joint and that I am unable to run well. I went on anyway, pushing it a bit and hoping it would work itself out. When I reached Stampede Pass at mile 33, I was in pain, and after hauling and smiling to all around, turned to my crew and exhaled - I am in so much pain, I scream out loud on trail. Gail rubbed my leg with Biofreeze, although I already knew it is not a muscle/tendon origin, and seemed to be reminding me of a labrum tear (cartilage in hip joint). I popped Advil and promised to go on no matter what, even if it ruins the rest of my season and my leg falls off.

As I was leaving, the rain started, I left my i-Pod and camera with the guys and pulled on a Patagonia jacket. The rain poured seriously, and soon we all were soaked wet, especially considering the overgrown trail and lots of almost bushwhacking through - my body, my feet, my legs. But I was moving pretty strong and never was chilled too much. I got to Medow Mt. AS (mile 41) with only 10 min back, took a picture with Chipping Fu from CA, swallowed a cup of tomato soup (yummy!) and moved on. On this section I worked pretty darn hard for the first couple of miles to gain 10 min back, and even passed 4 people on a nice downhill, but then the gnarliest rockiest section came, and the pain became insane. I kept walking over those rocks, lifting and swinging my leg over and yelling from pain periodically. The thought of it been an idiotic idea entered my mind, but I couldn't disappoint my Team! I came to Olallie Medows (mile 47) limping, over an hour behind the pace, but smiling, and said I intend to go on and will need a full change out of wet clothes and shoes at Hyak. Maura picked me up here for pacing duties, and it was a great boost!

Scoot McCourby (AS capt'n) warned us there is a turn to "rope section" that is mis-marked and many lead runners went wandering for awhile. We reached the section in question, stood there for 5 min, got caught by those 4 people I passed before and decided we're moving in the correct direction. After a bit we met Rob (who was a capt'n of Hyak and was radio'd on duty to re-mark the trail) and he pointed us to the ropes. Maura lead me down (glad I wore gloves for that!) and soon we entered the tunnel. It is a 2.2M underground tunnel, dark and creepy as they get, but flat and even. I tried to shuffle a few times, but soon figured I get more pain this way, and if I just keep power-walking, I get in a groove and have a nice pace going. Nobody caught us here, and we made it in exactly 30 min - not bad at all! I got hyped about it and very optimistic and powered through the last mile of road into Hyak.

As I walked in, Adam and Gail were ready for me with my stuff. They stuffed me with soup and something else while I, as usual, announced I am about to strip and those modest better turn around. People always laugh here:) I am not going to hide when I am at the race, I do what I have to do right here and now. I did a complete change, picked up Gail and we turned for next 6M. Gail even made me run for about 10 min while the road was flat! But as soon as the incline started, I could not swing my leg forward and up at the same time. This was the beginning of the end...

I was popping Advile every 3 hrs, but at this point it only worked for about 30 min or so. We slowed down tremendously yet made it a mere 10 min over the predicted chart time. I was hoping for soup (I can't drink carb mixes once the night falls), but their power was gone. Tony C. was there dropping, and I told him - man, you have nothing to prove to anybody, I am only going for my crew. We left and soon a 7 mile downhill dirt road begun. I shuffled for about 20 min straight, while tuning in to what my stomach says. It felt heavy. I drank a double-espresso at the AS and I should have known nothing milk-related sits well during a race. Soon I had to stop and my insides turned out - the stomach was empty and it felt like the lining of my stomach coming out of my throat. However, after a rather loud and painful experience I felt much better. But - I couldn't shuffle anymore, everything hurt, all the groups working to over-compensate for the injury, got blown out of proportion with pain, and now not only hip joint, but right knee, ITB, quad were screaming, along with left shin and developing deep blisters due to stomping hard. The slightest curve on a road caused me to side-walk like a crab to the middle of the road to even out my lef position. Maura came up on us from an AS, and we walked slowly down...

It was getting worse, and no pills worked even for a bit. I had to come around a decision, one that I thought I never have to make. With about half a mile to go I told the girl: we will need to sit down and think, "trail of hell" and "needles" are next, and even though I have plenty of time (still on 29 hr pace with 32 hr cut off), if the smooth road makes me miserable, what happens there? They looked at me and almost simultaneously answered: we've decided a long time ago, we've been waiting for you to come to it. that was it. I cried as I limped in and gave Rob a hug - Rob was waiting for me to pace through the rest of the course. I set down at AS, and Kendall (a good friend) asked me if I need time to re-think. It was nothing to re-think, really. I wasn't able to walk at all. I cried some more, but was content with my decision, the only one available. We made it to the car and drove to the motel room for a couple of hours to snooze...

Adam waited for me at the next AS, and we couldn't get a hold of him, but soon he realized it is late (or rather early morning) and asked the AS at Mineral Creek about me, where he learned I dropped. He came by our room and said many many good words, offering to crew and pace next year, or whatever year I decide to come back. I felt blessed to have met him, when he simply emailed me some time ago and said that he'd like to be a part of my team at CC100.

We stopped at the start/finish around 10 am and learned of top 10 finishers, thanked profusely Charlie Chrissman for a job awesomely done, gave more hugs and congrats or condolences depending on outcome and made it home.

I can't walk without pain. My Grand Teton 100 is out of question, and a great chance is so is the Bear 100. I need to heal and re-coup, as well as tend to things happening in my family life. God has its way to turn attention, even though I am not religious.

Thanks to all for well wishes. My biggest love to my crew for bearing with me and helping me to make the right choice. If it wasn't this sudden development, I felt great and ready to tackle what I set out to do. There will be other times to try and challenge myself. I will be OK.

p.s. Eric finished in under 29 hrs. Rob went ahead and paced his friend Shawn who he is planning to run at Plain 100 with, also under 29. Those two pairs left AS as I came in. Local Jamie Gifford won the race in 20:51. Darcy Africa, after been lost for a big amount of time, came second and 1st female in 21:09. I'll link the results once they are available.Full results

45 comments:

  1. Oh no! Oh Olga, that's so sad!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great job Olga! You are amazing making it as far as you did. What a true support crew you had. Life goes on too and I pray that your other challenges will be overcome. You rock girl!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an honorable day out there Olga, congratulations on starting this challenge, way to stick it out as long as you managed! Smart choice, it's not a good sign when Advil becomes an essential part of the diet. Enjoyed some well deserved rest, have no worries in a few days you'll be getting ready for the next one!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wish I would have been able to meet you in person. Everyone who was at the finish told me how rough and vicious the cold and wet was up there.

    Watching Eric, Steve, Shawn, and Rob run in was pretty cool (I showed up just in time to see them come in). Rob made people jealous of his consumption of an Organic pop-tart while we were waiting for Eric to come in. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so sorry, Olga! You'll get your 1000 miles, next time for sure. And I hope the next isn't too far off. You will be okay, but it still sucks to have a freak accident do that to you. Sending best wishes for quick healing! : )

    ReplyDelete
  6. you are one tough chick olga. i'm sending you healing vibes.. and will miss you at the grand teton 100.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Even the best warrior knows when to retreat to fight another day. Olga, as everyone who knows you or reads your blog, you are an Ultra warrior. You gave it more than most would have and made the right choice. Maybe you will be surprised and heal sooner than you think.
    Hey maybe its the RD of these race's fault? You have been so great volunteering at the finish line they don't want you to stop!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Olga, U are an Ultra Warrior and like u said in ur post, this got ur attention to focus on some other areas for a while... Please take ur time to rest & recover, u have plenty of ultra races in ur future!!

    We will miss u at GTR :-( but will be thinking of you and I am sure sharing some good Olga trail stories as
    well!!

    Now get ur butt back in the ice bath :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sorry it was such a tough day out there. Life is unpredictable. Hope you're on the mend soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous26/8/07 22:44

    Olga,
    You are the one of the toughest I know. Stopping can sometimes be more difficult than continuing. Know that you did the right thing and all your trail buddies are proud of you. We love you !! kyly

    ReplyDelete
  11. I already wrote this on my blog when I responded to your comment, will just paste part of it here.

    "Sorry to hear about your race. Not much more I can say. You gave it your all and made the right decision to drop before you caused more damage to your body. Like you said after Bighorn, we have to learn from runners like David Horton. As tough as he is he knows when to call it and moves past it quickly. Just a bad race, nothing more. Many more to come. Besides, I'm sure you're all caught up with the updates from the UTMB race now. You joined a select group this weekend. Now will you call Bob and tell him everything's gonna be okay with his race cause it will be:)"

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your injuries! I got the reports earlier today about the miserable weather - so I can't imagine combining weather+injury and having any fun at all.
    I bet with your awesome crew, though, it would have been hard not to have a little fun.

    Only you would run until your leg falls off. I had to laugh out loud when I read that. I'm glad you are taking time to heal your body, and maybe have some Olga time as well. You can't fill everyone else's cup if you're cup is empty! Hopefully you'll find some time to be by yourself and enjoy a bit of peaceful rest - you've had a crazy schedule as of late.

    I will be sending happy, healing thoughts your way!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Olga, I'm so sorry the race didn't unfold as planned/hoped! You know that I know *exactly* how it feels to have everything going right, feeling good, being psyched to be out there and then in just a few miles have the wheels come off and be facing that decision point -- drop or not drop. I'm glad your crew was there to reinforce your decision and be supportive. Awesome crew! My heart goes out to you. You know that you did the right thing -- the only thing you could have done. Take good care of yourself these next few days/weeks. The more you can do to help your body heal, the better the rest of you will feel too. At least that's what I'm finding. :-) I hope we can both heal up in time to enjoy some lovely fall runs in the Gorge!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Finally finished the report. Rob and I ran it on Randy Gherke's last year as RD. Back at the hotel after the race he said two things that I still remember. The first was "you look like how I feel" and second, after looking at the pouring rain, "we've lucked out year after year with the weather but one day it will catch up with us". Sorry it had to be your year on top of everything else. Again, it was good that you called the race. The future remains bright when you don't do something stupid in the present right? Heal lady heal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. A great report Olga, you made me cry. What an experience! I'm sorry for your injury, but it sounds like you had a really great crew who knew you well enough to know that you had to make your own decision about dropping. Good job Olga on making a really tough decision. I hope the healing comes quickly for you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are amazing for hanging in so long. Sorry for your injury, rest up and come back strong.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What advice can I give you that you already haven't given to me this year kiddo. Get the rest you need and don't give up. I had a wise young man tell me that this will pas my friend. This will pass. You haven't given up on me so I'm not going to give up on you. Its all about the journey.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Olga -- you gave it your 100%, which is all anyone can ask for. You're still #1 in my book. See you out on the trails soon.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry the race didn't go to plan. You did so well to hang in there for as long as you did. What an awesome team too. Hope you heal up soon.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Olga you are still amazing!! and you made the right decision for you!!you're right there will be others!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey, great effort, Olga. Sorry to hear it wasn't a desirable outcome. You made the right choice though and no doubt you'll get'em next time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love those t-shirts, what a great crew. I'm sure they can reuse it at a future event. You're the toughest gal out there - if you drop out, then there is no chance in hell that anyone could have continued. DNFs are part of ultra running, like it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It was great to read up on how the day went before I saw you. Maura, Gail and Adam kept me filled in on the details as well. Rest, recover fast, heal those wounds and move on. You have lived to fight another day. And I know you will.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Olga, there will be many more 100's to come. TAke care, recover and get set for another one. You had a strong performance despite the pain.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congratulations for making it as you did, Olga. What a great crew, a great race and great volunteer support. There is next year, another race, for sure. Tend to your family and yourself, that is what is really important. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You made the right decision, Olga. Find out the source of the problem and put your incredible focus and energy into healing yourself and improving your situation at home. As for me, I need to get back to running. Aid stations are too much work. It's much easier to focus on just you than to try and figure out what each person needs as they come in. Finally, tears are simply an expression of passion. Tears are not a bad thing. Thanks for sharing your tears with me. Now go heal! KRK

    PS - Major kudos to Charlie Crissman and all the other volunteers. CCC is back as a classic.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Olga, glad to hear you are OK. Thanks for the hug at mile 60. I wasn't sure what you were thinking heading out in such pain but who am I to say - you're tough!

    *tc

    ReplyDelete
  28. It was wonderful as always to talk with you. I'm sorry about your injuries but think it's wise to stop before things get worse. Best wishes for healing and all the changes going on.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sorry to hear about your DNF. All night (and into the next morning) I kept wondering when you were going to pass me. I think it helped to keep me motivated. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Olga, I'm sorry about your DNF. Take some time and heal all of your injuries - the races will always be there another day.

    You'll be back for sure. Just be patient.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Olga,
    After seeing you come up the road at Kachess, I wasn't surprised to hear you were done. I could see the pain in your walk and in your face. I'm sorry it didn't work out this time, but like every one else, have no doubt you'll recover and be back at it.

    It was great finally getting time to talk before the race! I enjoyed your crew at all the aid stations (especially the Carmen Miranda hat). They were energetic and fun. See you again soon!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Olga - I’m so sorry that your run ended like it did. Not because you did nothing short of amazing in getting as far as you did – you put forth a ton of effort getting that far – but just because it is so hard to let go of great expectations of what could have been – so I’m sorry that your expectations were not met. I wanted to say hi as we ran near each other at the beginning, but it looked like you were getting in your zone and I didn’t want to break in. Thank you for sharing Rob with me! Best wishes to you in your recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Olga,

    I kept waiting for you to pass me and then I heard that you had dropped due to an injury at Silver Creek.

    Your crew shirts were the envy of all the other crews!

    As always it was great to see you even though we did not get to spend much time together. I don't think a simple chair could take out the great "Run More Talk Less" Olga! I can however think of a few sections of trail that could have. I hope your injury re-hab goes well and that you don't try to hit the trail before things have healed sufficiently.

    Take care!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great effort Olga, hanging in there until you are in so much pain...your crazy girl! Take care of yourself, get healed up and take on The Bear!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Olga, sorry you didn't get to finish, but feel proud for a heroic effort, and lucky for such a great group of friends crewing and looking after you. I thought I was in pain this weekend in my shorter race, but it was only one muscle group that hurt! Hopefully you can enjoy a rest and recover well.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Olga- A gutsy effort, which I know you will come back to redeem the following year. Despite injury you have put in some great races this year. Recover well and you'll be refreshed and ready to roll. Recovery is just as important as speed work, long runs, etc...

    hope all is well

    ReplyDelete
  37. You know you did the right thing by stopping, sometimes there is no choice to be made. I hope you benefit fully from the recovery time in all aspects of your life.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hey sweet Olga. So sorry about your hip. Now, on to the next stage of your training - active ultra rest and recovery! Take care of yourself in all respects.

    It was great to see you. Thanks for the shoes. Your check (and Death Valley book) is in the mail!

    -Lisa

    PS - Think about getting a road bike if you don't already have one. It'd be a great recovery sport for your hip (and mind). There are so many rides in the PNW that we can do. It's tons of fun, non-impact so saves the joints, and it's MUCH easier than running.... I could use a cycling partner...

    ReplyDelete
  39. gutsy run Olga, Ryan is right, when Advil is not working, your body is really telling you to call it a day. But that is the great thing about races.. there are always more to run in. Enjoy some good rest.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm sorry about your injury and your DNF at CCC. I have been there and done that. I know how it feels. Take time to heal and tend to the things in your family life for now. You will come back victorious next time. You are a fighter and a survivor. You were smart to stop when you did. Great effort out there. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Olga.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It's not an easy decision to quit your team, but from the suffering you described, it's probably the wisest choice.

    That's just too much pain. There's always a next time.

    ReplyDelete
  42. ((Olga)) So sorry to hear about you pulling out but you definitely made the right decision. The race will always be there for you!

    Hats off on your SOLID effort though- you are one tough chica! Now focus on getting better!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Olga,

    I thought you were WAY ahead of me but I didn't see you in the results. I'm sorry you had to drop, but there will be others if you take care of the problem and heal up. See you there next year!

    Glen

    ReplyDelete
  44. I enjoyed your race report for the Cascade Crest.

    I am tossing around this race and considering against Mountain RATS, Grand Tetons, and Wasatch

    If it were you - which race would be the must do for you?

    Cheers!

    --
    Christian
    http://run50miles.org

    ReplyDelete