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

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick-paced start

Is it time to get back to blogging? Really, I tried, but 2008 started with so much on the plate, I couldn't get around it. Not only the work accumulated while I was away, the sleep pattern was broken and made functioning difficult, there are so many life changes happening at the same time, I can hardly keep up. But I like challenges, and I like changes, so I am not complaining at all:)

Last Saturday Mike and I did 20 miles in the Forest Park, from the Zoo and back (the hillier end of it). I haven't been to this end (and hills) in a very long time. While I wasn't to "springy" in my steps, I felt pretty good (all this rest...) and we only caught about 30 min of rain total.
However, when I went for 10 miles next day, I found my legs so sore, I could hardly move! That was something unexpected, and I guess I better come to the hills more often, or I will be in trouble - my first race is in just 7 weeks?

That Sunday I managed to get myself and Adrien into Miwok 100k. I actually was contemplating not going, in fact, I entered Adrien exactly at 8 am, and then took 10 min to scout airfare to Kansas to attend Ben's Free State 100k. Ben, I really did, but the flight was out of my pocket, and at 8:10 am I succumbed - apparently, I was one of the last folks to get into Miwok this year before registration closed. The deal with San-Fran is that I have a free (from last year's no-show Firetrails 50) flight and 3 places to choose from to stay at - and many more friends to see. The not so exciting part about Miwok is that I had done it twice (and I think I did well both times, different, but considering the circumstances) and somehow I always think of this race as a prep for WS100, what I am not doing this year...

Speaking of 100M races I am trying to get in, my applications for Bighorn100 and Hardrock100 are in the mail. While I am pretty positive (keep my fingers crossed) I'll be in for Bighorn (first come first serve, please tell me there weren't 100 folks who sent SASE to the RD this month yet!), I hold no breath about Hardrock...at least for myself, but it'd be cool if Mike gets in, I can go crew and pace!

Where was I with my training development? I got hungry for some pain at the gym on Monday (missed about 3 weeks of it), I overloaded...by the end my quads were seriously shivering, and I had to stop right after box-steps as I couldn't place my foot steady. Bad idea - with 36 hrs DOMS and planned for Wed track I was doomed. But it felt good to do it.
So I had a pretty nice run on Tuesday and by night time couldn't touch my legs. However, despite still painful parts on Wed morning, I managed to do OK on my 2M trial. Thanks to my ever-trusted running partner, of course, who I asked this time to ditch his own workout (we usually just meet there, but do own things at own speed) and stick with me. What he did. For 6 laps this whole thing felt incredibly easy, then next one kind of working, and on the last one I decided to pick it up. I had no idea of splits, and apparently, if I didn't pick it up (and suffered with my panting), I wouldn't have even come to this "worst least expected time". I mean, I predicted that time based on my mile repeats, but still kind of hoped I'd beat it by few seconds...or a couple of dozen...oh, well, dwelling on it won't change a thing.

There are a couple of not so good news on my training front. First of all, the home stationary bike broke down before my Russia trip (it was good to jump for some calories burn while watching TV once a week or reading a magazine). Then yesterday my FREE sneak-in use of the gym at the community center (where Stephen takes boxing) ended with flying colors, as they tightened the security and stopped me (apologetically, as they were used to see me in a year). Since there is no way I pay $8 each time I walk in there (as an out-of-area drop-in), and I don't have any other time to go to other gyms, I am banned from exercise equipment, not only cross-training (I can survive absence of elliptical), but leg machines (I know, back in days people just ran, but I always did lower body weight routine, before I ever began running). That said, of course nothing is the end of the world. First thing I did when was told to "step away" - I came to boxing and joined their warm-up. I have to say, out of their 40 minutes high-quality mix I did every other exercise (I honestly skipped all the aerobic for the fear of falling on my face) and was trashed nevertheless. So I promised coach to come Friday and do the whole thing even if they have to carry me on stretchers:) The next hour I did abs and leg raises while in the corner of the floor, then stretched whole 10 minutes! after which I fell asleep and almsot missed my son's sparring. Back to leg machines - I do have a bench press and an Olympic bar/curved bar in our garage, may be I should utilize it...I really hate doing things at home, I am rarely home (only Thursday night) and busy on that day with cooking, laundry and cleaning, and my motivation never lasts more than 3 weeks, but then again, may be in 3 weeks I'll find another alternative, right? So tonight I plan to lock myself in a garage for 30 min:)

The registration for our Mt. Hood PCT 50M was open on January 2nd, and we are already over half-way full. So if you're planning to come over, get online. Crazy days of ultrarunning, you snooze - you loose...This registration and my coming 2 days later caught me in a frenzy for a million emails between sponsors and applicants. It'll calm down soon, but first few days were disastrous. January is also a month when I do most of my booking (flights, cars, motels) for the races. So when I read words of Dr. Sheehan about how most runners are a poor bunch (his exact words were "most do not have a pot to piss in") - I had to smile. This year will be my first year I am most likely going in debt. At least till I sell the house (what will not happen before summer). Speaking of house, I started little paint jobs and de-cluttering (my favorite activity, throwing away stuff!). I also need to plan another visit to Alex - this time it'd be during school spring break, so I'll take Stephen with me. Ah, the plans and dreams, which ones will come true?...

In brief:
Karl Meltzer landed a new blog of his own, he is planning to attempt an Appalachin trail record this August. My friend Lori #2 from teton races opened up a space as well - go say hi when you have a minute. Another friend Matt Hart is putting on a freshly new ultrarunning team NUUN where a few folks got invitational to - I'll get details later as things settle in. This weekend I am trying to get together a good sized group for a long run in Forest Park and bring back what Gail calls "past times Portland's family feeling for ultrarunning community" (or something like that, she claims before my days, the ending of which I glimpsed, group runs were much more normal than single-out partners). So if you're local and intend to run any miles on Sunday - come over to the Zoo end (far parking lot) at 7:30 am. I have made one resolution for this year and trying very hard to keep it - although I am not naive little girl anymore and take a day at a time. I got set up with some Drymax socks and will let you know how they work - if my blisters can be salvaged, so can anybody else's! Zombie runner jumped into co-sponsoring our PCT race and we are psyched! Now back to regular turmoil of work...

And I'll live you with one quote I come across while reading interview with Eric Clifton: there is a Japanese term, misogi harai, which roughly translates to "spiritual enlightenment through physical action", and it is very appropriate for what he (and many of us) strive for in ultras.

p.s. on a personal front - I have the sweetest kid I can wish for. While I keep thinking he is not aware what is happening in our lives, he suddenly tells me on the plain after watching some romantic movie - "you, too, should find somebody nice". And then today, as he describes his Valentine's gift for me, he says - "I am not your real valentine, but you'll find somebody by then". I should give him more credit than I do, I guess...
Also, sometime a week ago I passed my 2nd bloggaversary!


  1. I'm so glad you are back and blogging ! I missed reading your posts while you were away.

  2. Olga, I'll see you at Miwok! I'm just going to say hi to you at the start line, before you run way off ahead of me.

  3. Donald always sandbagging haha.You are miles ahead of me on the running and fitness department. I'm just waiting for the worst of the jet lag to subside to start my workouts. Glad you got in to Miwok, unfortunately I'll be in Wildflower. Pretty set on doing KM100. Hopefully they don't sell out, I still have to register. I've got a cousin there who lives 30 mins from the race site. I've got a place to stay if I want it.

    Sorry to hear about the gym thing. I hope you figure something out by the time the 3 weeks is up.

  4. Welcome back. I just got back from 2 weeks in Arizona, running / hiking / wandering through the desert, nearly every day. I'm kicking myself for not signing up for Old Pueblo or Zane Grey! Next year for sure. Running in the desert mountains is sooooo much fun.

  5. Crossing my fingers for you for Hardrock. I would love to do that one some day.

  6. You are a busy lady but I love how you always manage to get those workouts in. With your schedule and obligations you are a determined. keep it up!

  7. Great post! I felt like you just caught me up on a lot of the details going on. I felt like you were talking directly to me. I wish I could drive down Sunday and join the run, but I'll be finishing up late at Bridle Trails on Saturday night.

  8. I can't believe your first race of 2008 is a 50 miler. You rock! And congrats on getting into Miwok.

    So your gym experience has me confused! Did they really kick you out? And I thought I could see sarcasm a mile away.

    So your secret to being a strong hill climber is lower-body weight lifting. Good for you...I hate weight lifting.

  9. Olga,

    Happy 2 year bloggaversary. I always enjoy reading about your busy life and you motivate me to get out there and train. Wish I was closer to join some of the great runs. Good luck with Hardrock, I better get on that BH100 application. Usually I just get up at midnite and enter but maybe it's different this year?

  10. Hey Olga, I got into Miwok too!! I can't wait to see you there. I am glad you are home safely from Russia. I missed you!

  11. Welcome Back & Happy 2 year bloggaversary. Looks like another busy lineup for you...You Rock!!

  12. Awww...Stephen is so sweet! : )

    Sorry about losing the gym, but it looks like you already have some good alternatives. I also have a difficult time getting motivated without some sort of structure. I like to use dvd's (for yoga and some strength training) that I use at home. See you Sunday!

  13. Olga,

    Welcome back to the US and it sounds like you are settling back into life as per normal. Thanks for posting that lovely blog entry all about your Russia trip, was really neat to see.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your entry into Hardrock. I think that's your kind of course, if you can get yourself altitude trained.

    Happy New Year!

  14. Kids are resilient aren't they? He's a throughful young man. Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate these days.

  15. bushwhacker13/1/08 18:54

    Form the mouth of Babes. We should all spend more time listening to the chidren in our lives. Stephan is going to turn out to be a Good Man because of you.