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, February 21, 2008

The cost of a passion.

I came across Chipping Fu's latest post on his crazy attempt of a bunch of 100M races, and it made me think for a bit. Last time I gave any consideration to these thoughts was when I tried to Slam in 2005, and ran 22 ultras in the calendar year. I estimated I spent around $5,000 that time, and I didn't even try to calculate precisely in fear of been scared:) So, after looking at Chipping's grid, I did the same for this year, thinking - how much can it be, I am using my frequent flyer miles for half of my airfare, staying with friends half of my races and share a rental car/room for the other half...and it still came to a whopping $4k! Did somebody said Ultrarunning is a cheap sport? I mean, it is probably cheaper than triathlon, but if your passion becomes somewhat an obsession, the cost rises to sky. Have you ever thought about it?

Have you ever thought what you get in return? I get a piece of mind. I get to see places I would never have visited otherwise, and beautiful sights of this country. I get to meet people who I may have never met otherwise and develop the strongest bond ever existent, and they become life-long friends. Kind of friends you can relay on in any of the circumstances, kind of friends who would be by your side in the time of need, in joy and in sadness, who accept you without judgment and who turn to you when they need it too. I get to feel exhilaration of a finish line (most of the time anyway), and sometimes a sense of achievement a goal. I get to be free - a feeling I cherish the most. What is money after all? Can you put a price on life?

We often forget in these days and age what is important to us as human beings. Craig just came from Tanzania, he saw amazing things - poverty and yet sharing last possession, lack of education yet life's wisdom, simplicity and joy in it. Many of my friends, interestingly, are turning their lives same way: ridding of materialistic objects and living, simply living the joy. Who is happier now?

I had been feeling very peaceful lately, happy peaceful. Smiling inside and out. Life is good...

I hope you all got to see the lunar eclipse last night. If you didn't - below are pictures courtesy of John H Wallace III.
February 2008
August 2007

And for the pleasure of reading - an article on ultra-crazies:)
ESPN story

Check out new running store in Tualatin: Road Runners Sport

Fatboy in town!!

There are people who seek life, and those that sit around waiting for it to happen. Ultra running is about more than just competing, completing a race, or showing off to friends. It is a chance to be dependent upon yourself, to learn about your basic needs of survival, and to grow as a person through experiences and achievements. In 10 years, or even 5, no one will remember today’s runners. But the memories of being out on the trails, the beauty of forests, mountains, and deserts, and the time spent alone or with friends will last a lifetime. -"Fatboy" Eugene Trahern


  1. Anonymous21/2/08 13:34

    Thanks for helping to put things in perspective, Olga. I had been fretting a bit about the cost of my upcoming trip, and your post reminded me of the important benefits of my travels. Spending part of each year in a distant place sweetens my life in so many necessary ways. I'm happy to forego new furniture, new clothes, expensive evenings out--so long as I'm on that June flight to Cuzco!


  2. After reading your and Chipping Fu's posts, I am now totally afraid to figure out how $$$ I spend on this sport each year.

  3. Of course I think about the cost, which is why I spend most of my efforts on races close to home and preferably free. Believe me, I dream about the day when I am able to travel to more destination ultras, but these dreams will have to wait awhile. I think it is well worth the cost though. As you point out, It is difficult to put a value on the experiences we live. We're all worth the expense.

  4. try adventure racing.. now that is expensive!

    i'm glad you are doing so well olga.. great post!

  5. I, too, am relegated to "close to home" races, mostly ones I can drive to complete with camping and couch crashing (might yours soon :). It's all worth it though and I agree that the new friends, amazing scenery and great adventures are always worth the cost. Someday we will all travel at will, hopefully.

  6. This is why I want to win the lottery. Then I can sponsor us all! : ) Maybe set up a foundation for poor ultra-runners. I guess I better go buy a ticket. : ) But back to reality....it's totally worth it.

    Being happy and peaceful is what it's all about. Enjoy! : )

  7. Anonymous21/2/08 19:24

    There really is no reason to go into debt for this sport when you live in the Northwest. If your not rich and live by the budget then maybe pick one or two travel events and fill in the gaps with what this area has to offer. You can't go wrong.

  8. arrgghhh, and i spent over $3000 just getting ready for my first big dance. and that was money spent in only six months! couldn't bear to add up the last six months.

    going lower budget these days thank goodness...

  9. Need to find a spouse who works for the airlines. Get cheap tickets!!ha!

    Hope your talk went well tonight at Road Runner Sports. The Marathon movie was pretty good.

  10. Olga, you rock! Great post.

  11. I try not to think about how much money I spend on this sport that I love. I think if I start worrying about that then it might influence my decisions when coming to training and racing. Somehow, I just make it work. Great post, lots to chew on there!

    Like the new layout!

  12. I think of going to races as mini vacations -- so $4k for a ton of trips is a pretty good deal if you ask me.

    The lunar eclipse was cool. I spent it running in circles in the cemetary. Good way to see it. :-)

  13. a fun post - i like to hear you so peaceful and content

    i tried to watch the lunar eclipse with ash, but the cloud cover came just as the moon was fully covered!

    what do i get in return for being ultra-crazy? friends, support, courage, confidence.

  14. My rule: If I can't drive there in a day, I can't afford it.
    I'd rather run three close races than one far-off race that adds up the same.
    It's nice to rarely go farther. Currently heading back from Death Valley. We ate out of cans and bags, slept on the ground under the stars - no tent, no campgrounds.
    We ran one 50k race in Moab on the way out.
    The gas was extremely expensive, but we saved by not wasting money on restaurants and campgrounds/motels.
    The sky was beautiful - why spend money to have a ceiling block such beauty?
    If I didn't operate with such strict rules, I wouldn't be able to do half as much. And by forcing myself to be always and totally outdoors, I get closer to the land and nature. When all is done, it's not the "roughing it" that I remember, but the sunrises and sunsets from bed, the sky, the flowers, the people, the changing landscape...

    Great post, Olga.
    The new banner photo rocks.

  15. We've never added it up - and for us, it's times two. Doesn't matter though - we want to enjoy it while we can. We don't go out often, instead we run and hang out with our friends. Well worth it.

  16. The travelling aspect is super expensive, but it is my favorite part. I love getting to go places I might never have thought of AND getting to run at the same time. How cool is that!

    You seem to do a good job pushing out of your comfort zone and going to races for the experience. That is a great way to run - and live!

  17. Olga,

    I agree with most of the commenters that, while the cost is high, the rewards are priceless. Run on (Oh, and keep racing on, too! ;)

    Thanks for the lovely, uplifting posts lately! It's a joy to visit your blog!


  18. Yes it is expenssive... Even more so when you start hoping around the country.



  19. Even leaving aside the spiritual benefits of running and weighing the measurable costs alone, how much does a couch potato end up spending on Lipitor and insulin and stents and bypass surgery that he would never have needed if he'd been a runner instead?

    That aside, very nice perspective in this post. We were meant to run.

  20. That's why I'm not having an extravagant wedding >:) JUST kidding. Nice happy photos, Olga. You sound good.

  21. That's a great quote from Fatboy. Yes, this is becoming more and more about the friends, the journey, the introspection into what is important! It's not a waste of money by any means - probably, maybe many of us would be spending our money on more self-destructive vices. It does make you want to live more simply, unfortunately, got to "keep the day job," but everything, work, money, is put into perspective.

  22. Nice coming under 6. Looked like a fun day. Dunno about men in skirts, we have too many of those here.

  23. It was also interesting to read everyone's comments. If travelling to races is expensive, at least just running on a trail nearby is relatively inexpensive. But then I guess some places with lots of nice trails nearby, such as the Bay Area, are expensive to live in...

  24. Depends on where you live...i live quite nearby to hills and mountains, and it's just a short half an hour drive.

    This way...trails is definitely cheap.

    But you are spot on, on what is the price for life. Time goes, and we all get old. It's best to seek the nicest memories we could.