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

Monday, October 08, 2007


Hello, out there! My internet at home crashed, so I was completely out of touch with everyone. I did visit some blogs from work, but my job has been crazy and left me no time to get around comments (or at least thoughtful ones – Craig, it comes to you mostly). I have a pile of emails to respond to in details instead of short sentences – something I hate to do and be done to (short sentences I mean). So here is my recap, as I type in Word file and hope to move it to the blog tomorrow.

My recovery was great. The main thing that struck me was that I wasn’t sore anywhere at all. I laughed at my unconventional approach to my last race, and a 100 miler at it: since Cool 12 hrs race I practically didn’t run a step for 2 weeks, then went for 68M at Cascade Crest, then didn’t do a thing for another 2 weeks, ran 80 miles following week, didn’t do anything (but one Gorge run) for another 2 weeks and attacked Bear 100. Heck, it worked! OK, don’t do it at home. But it’s been a fun year nevertheless, and my season of 2007 is OVER! Phew, what a good one, no matter what results, slow downs and not as many races as I planned. Loved it!

Despite blisters on my heels that of course I cut open all 5 layers deep (dork!), I was eager to run. On Wednesday I was at the gym after what seemed like a year off and worked out and cross-trained on Elliptical, on Thursday I ran a slow 5, Friday spent at the gym again. On Thursday night my girlfriend and I went to the bar – ew, what a bunch of bull this method! Hey, where do people meet up?

Alex sent me two letters and we had a phone call once. He is doing well. This school is tougher than the previous one, but he says he expected it to come as he didn’t listen and is OK with this decision. Lots of stuff to learn, but my baby is alive, healthy and working on things. The music to my ears was – he loves me! And he said it many times. It’s a relief and I can look up in a future more cheerfully.

Saturday was a busy day, and I couldn’t fit my run anywhere. Had to be at work for a bunch of hours, and also had to cook Russian food for next Tuesday – Stephen and I have a standing dinner invitation at Monika’s on Tuesdays and it’s my turn to cook. I can’t believe how close we become to their family! I don’t think I had this kind of connection back at my own home. Their kids are awesome, Stephen and Max are best friends, Marina hugs me like a daughter I never had, and Marty shows me dance moves (Amanda is out to college this year). Stan and Monika are so welcoming, we never feel like guests. Monika loves to cook – and I don’t all that much – but I love to do dishes, what no normal person enjoys, so we have our work split and cut out! The music teacher also comes on Tuesdays, and it’s a big family party there. Anyhow, as I promised to make borsch and pirogies, I realized it’s my birthday! Totally appropriate to celebrate it with my newfound family and in Russian style!

Later in a day I took Stephen and my friend Anna to a Spruce Goose Air museum an hour away from Portland. What great time it was! Besides that Howard Hughes largest wing-span plane built 1947 (and it only flew 1 mile!) and a fastest plane (half a mile a second!), there was a bunch of other planes, but of course my attention was all to Russian plains that my father flew on – and I made sure to take pictures and tell Stephen stories (my dad was a military pilot since early 1950’s, went to the same prep as Yuri Gagarin for the first space launch, made it through every possible ladder and had been decorated heavily, retiring at the age of 55 and still flying up until last day). Here are the pictures of all those “flying sausages”.

Sunday I was back to My Church! My faithful partner in crime Bushwhacker and I celebrated end of the season in style – with a favorite loop there. We kind of started hiking pretty well, ran bits on downhill, and then my hip went “south” – wonder what held it together at the Bear 100? I was just waiting for the uphill to come up so I can stop limping and start hiking. Soon it turned into walking – and it felt just perfect. There is no pressure in October/November (boy, am I glad that life events made me cancel a couple of late Fall races!), and we just walked past things we ran a thousand of times and talked, re-living our races of the year, discussing friends and remembering all the Gorge runs we had done together in the last 3 years I lived here (what is tons). Mike went into plant description, pointing at every little thing growing and telling stories of how to use it, how to say them apart, what Indians did – a whole lecture on nature! We bumped into his friend Randy and his daughter Shannon and chatted for quite a bit there too, eventually coming down from Devil’s and getting back to running. Apparently, this walk worked the kinks of my hip pain and I was able to take it with no problem, laughing how every guy I run with gets quiet on downhill while I become chatty and happy – I love flying down, tired or not! I came home, and thought I’d just lay down for 30 min – and was flat out for an hour, hardly getting myself off the bed to take Stephen to the library. I guess my body IS tired after all, wonder why…

Oh, yeah, back to the title. I’ll be 38 on Tuesday! Woohoo! Love my age, every bit of it, have no problem shouting it out, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in my life but here, now, turning 38, living a life I want to live. Now back to making pirogies – why does Russian food takes so long to cook?!


  1. Happy Birthday, Olga! You sound so happy, as you should be. : ) That's great news about Alex.

  2. Hey! Happy Birthday Olga! Tomorrow is my birthday too! However, I will be 39. So I guess there is one race I can beat you in...the race to 40 ;-)

  3. Happy early Birthday! Congrats on a good race season, and the food looks awesome!

  4. Mmmm, pirogies! My mouth started watering at the sight! Making these is one of few traditions to have survived all the generations since my great-great-grandparents (?) left russia. We still make them, by the 100's, at family gatherings. Pirogies for x-mas eve dinner. Pirogies for x-mas breakfast. Etc, etc, etc. I can't wait until x-mas!

    Happy Birthday. :-)


  5. I'm a sucker for museums like that. Sat on the grass after our run yesterday, enjoyed lunch and watched the Blue Angels.

    mmmm like Matt said, pirogies.

  6. Happy birthday, Olga. You look good for 38, and you're still kicking butts like a twenty-something.

    Happy trails,
    Bad Ben

  7. happy happy birthday olga, i'll be thinking of you this saturday! glad this season ended on such a high note for you, despite so much going on, you rock sista!

  8. Happy birthday! Cool pictures too, looks like you were having way too much fun!

  9. Congrats on Bear! I hope you enjoy the extra time with no more racing for a bit. I will eat some B-day cake in your honor!

  10. I had begun to wonder if the bear had gone into hibernation. Technology is great when it works and a bummer when it doesn't.

    Glad to hear that you've been in contact with Alex. That can't help but do you a world of good.

    Hope you have a great birthday.

  11. Hi Olga!

    First things first, happy, happy birthday!

    Secondly, your heel blisters sound disgusting in their 5 whole layers. I sure hope you're healing well.

    Next, your running sounds like it is running along well (pun intended). Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from your later sumer/fall racing/training scheme. Maybe not full-on-do-nothing-physically-experience-huge-mental-trauma rest, but regimented, good quality rest does a body so good.

    Finally, eeh gads, please don't tell me you're going to bars to look for men! Oh, the scene is vile, no matter where in America you are. I'm not a man-finding expert, but I suspect you're kind isn't going to be bar hopping on any given Saturday night. More like, they will be resting for some big outdoor event on Sunday morning.

    Happy birthday, again!

  12. Anonymous9/10/07 03:27

    HB bc!

    Hope you have a fantastic and fun 38th year!

  13. Happy Birthday, sweet Olga!! 38 is a perfect age. Glad to hear things are going relatively well and that you did well at the Bear.

    People meet people everywhere, sometimes in the oddest of circumstances. Just be yourself, that is key. Can't wait for November's girls' night out. :)

  14. Happy Birthday, Russian Bear. Have a great year.

    P.S. I love pierogies! I've only had frozen ones, though - I ned to visit you for the real thing sometime.

  15. Happy Birthday ya old hag! Hahaha. That's for making me catch the bus home after Headlands Hundred. Seriously happy birthday. Go do something fun, other than running.

  16. Sounds like a perfect recovery week to all that has been happening in your life Olga. Your posts always make me smile - you're so positive!

    I remember when I was young and asking my dad if he could be any age again, what age he would be and he said "well honey, whatever age you're at is the best age to be," and I couldn't agree more. Happy Birthday!

    Those are great pictures from church - beautiful! Does make you appreciate what God/or? has made for us to enjoy.

  17. Happy Birthday! I'm a little late on posting, life has been crazy. Really glad to hear you talked to Alex and that he told you he loves you - it's always good to hear those words from your son. That was probably the best birthday present going!

  18. Happy Birthday Olga. We're nearly the same age, I'll be 38 in 3 months. Hope you had a good one.

  19. Happy B-day Olga!!!! Great post looks like a lot of fun, love the pics!!

    I love pirogies !!!!

  20. Happy Birthday, Bear. =)

    Fantastic pics, as usual, you look so happy.

    I don't know what pirogies are, but they sure do sound yummy.

  21. Happy b-day Olga and you don't look a day over 29! As a fellow runner I love to eat too and it looks so good!!

  22. what a great feeling to read this, olga! happy belated birthday to you :)

    i like how everything worked out so well for you with your racing despite not going according to plan. but, the best part was reading about your alex. that was special and very touching. of course he loves you, mama :)

  23. Happy Belated Birthday, Olga! What a great running year and a hell of a way to finish! All the best!

  24. Happy birthday to you! I like your race plan. I don't know how you do it, but you do!

    The photos are great. The last one shows that you are foxy lady, Ms. 38 Runner Goddess!

  25. Olga!

    When will your computer/internet connection be fixed?! Belated happy birthday and huge congrats on The Bear!!!


  26. Happy belated birtday!!!

  27. Aha - День Варенья и ВК-У-У-СНЫХ Пирогов - Подравляю!!!

  28. Happy..Happy Birthday to you!!!

    May all your dreams come true!