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.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lousy race, fun weekend.

I won't "build up the suspense" - there is nothing to build it on:) It was a very much fun weekends, yet it was a rather very disappointing race for me, even as training run. I'll have to get over it soon and stop dreading it.

We (Gail, Mike and I) took off in my little car at 4 pm from Portland and to our amazement didn't hit any traffic, making it out of city in about 20 min as opposed to an hour what we predicted by experience. The drive was with patches of heavy rain and times for beautiful rainbows, and with lots and lots of fun talks and laughter. You put the 3 of us together - and it's a dangerous combination. Of course, we got lost at the Seattle exits (note to self - don't let Gail do mapping and Mike do reading), but found a funny bone to it. As we drove to Big Steve's place, it was pouring hard - but the house and a host were so warm, it didn't matter.

It smelled good, so good, my stomach was churning...Steve cooked fresh home-made pasta and sauce! Beer cracked open, plates full, we chow’d and talked, and talked, and laughed, and even argued, and talked again about just anything, from politics, to history, religion, philosophers, ultrarunning, mountains, families, gossiping and well, what goes on trail, stays on trail...wait, we weren't on trail yet! but I won't tell you anyway what else was there:) The sleep came at midnight.

Morning was gloomy as it can only be, with sheets of rain coming down. We had our yummy latte's and took on a 1.5hr drive to Bellingham. Of course, yet again, we took an exit we shouldn't have and while the route was scenic, it was long, and we (I) were getting paniky we'd be late for the start. But we made it.

Just as Hagg lake 50k is an OR reunion after a winter hibernation, Chuckanut 50k is a WA reunion, and lately the only time a year I get to see my WA friends. I won't even bother listing them all, though I thought I would, because I am afraid I'll miss somebody. Love ya, guys! The air was buzzing.

I'll be short about the run itself, as there is nothing really interesting-dramatic-inspiring happened there. We took off, and as promised, I had no watch. I know this course as a back of my hand, having run it 3 years before, and eating on time, as well as estimating the time of next aid station, was never a problem. The first 6 flat miles were ugly and huffing/puffing as usual, with jacket removal at mile 2 and trying to not talk too much as I really can't do it while running flats. The rain miraculously stopped as soon as we went on a path, and never came back but a couple of sprinkles. I settled in and tried not to complain (Meghan's challenge) about this interurban stretch. Out of first AS we went on a single track up and up, I was keeping it right where I was, within the same group of people, and picking up conversations. Before second AS the ever famous Glenn T was taking his awesome shots (this and next running photos are courtesy of Glenn, check out the link for the full collection) . I wasn't struggling at all and finally fell in a groove. We checked out (Darin was there to crew for his wife Trisha on her first ultra, and he was everywhere else, and it was fun!) and took onto a some 3+M dirt road climb. I opened up and closed on a few people. This is where I ususally begin to feel the day. And it was good. At the top John Pearch, the RD for all Capitol Peak races and another awesome individual and friend, was manning the AS and filled the bottles, asking if I am up for a sweep in April. I sure am.

I love the Ridge trail the most. I was skipping and tripping and smiling on those traitorous rocks and roots, and even though I bonked for about an hour (from mid-point of it into the next rolling mushy jeep section), it didn't bother me much. My i-Pod died in the middle of the Ridge too (as in "died, broke down", not lost charge, and so I am out of music for now?). We got off, and the "mushy" section was muddy, but better than last year. Funny posts from RD Krissy were stuck in, and most were covered in mud to the point I couldn't read them. I worked out the kinks of the bonk, passed a few more guys, ran alone for quite a while, and eventually came to Little Chinscraper climb - another fav of mine in this race. Sharp hill made me smile as I overtook another 4 guys, and of course, as I knew he would be, there was Glenn!

John Pearch at the top again (how did he get there?) - I hurry him up, I am feeling wonderful, and take on the steep downhill like crazy. Wheeee! I work it and hope the clock at the last AS is not set up - yet it was, and was starring right in my face as I turned a corner, and there was no way, as long as my eyes are open, not to see the time...and it was 5:22 with 6.5M to go. The fastest I ever did the last section was 54 min, in 2005, and usually it's a touch over an hour. That was "my day is over" feeling that flooded. I wasn't even coming in my last year's time, and I thought there is no way I can be any slower than I was. My split at Old Pueblo 50M for this mile was faster! I lost it and slowly walked out. It is amazing how much mind plays of a role in these things - just as 2 weeks ago I "believed" I can break 11 hrs, and pushed hard, here I completely gave up and walked for 3 miles, allowing the pain of tight hamstrings come in, the bad thoughts, the "I am giving up 50 k's" and "I suck", it didn't matter how much over 6 hrs I'd finish, as long as it was over 6 hrs. Not that I had a perfect goal for this run, and it was a training week, and by schedule of coach Lisa I was only supposed to work on uphill and downhill (what I did) - I was still disappointed big time, I just didn't expect it to be so bad, and it hit me hard with a slap on a face. I walked until Gail passed me at 3M to go and offered to run in. I refused, but as I watched her pulling away, I started shuffling, and managed to continue this jog to the end, making it in 6:35, 3 min behind her solid great even-paced run.



And I smiled. Because in the end, I participate for this - for the heart smiles. And I felt it. And I loved it. No, I didn't love myself, or my run, or my state of mind, or my state of fitness, but I loved the fact that I still loved it - does it make sense? We changed, we ate, I asked Peggy (Ma - Krissy's Ma) to adopt me (she is awesome!!!), we chatted with all who was still around, we saw more finishers (way to go Laura H> and happy birthday! Trisha finished her first 50k, yay!), Gail got massage, Mike posed for newspapers (OK, just kidding, but he did finish in 5:10), Ronda had a great run, again, check out results, because I'll forget somebody. We had to go.

We had to go because we planned to stop at Pacific Rim 24hr run down south on the way home and visit with more friends. Of course, we got lost once again on the way out, it seems to be our staple of traveling together. The spirits were good, and Gail and Mike tried hard to entertain me while I drove (it was in their best interest as I was falling asleep). Eventually we made it to Longview and saw our crazy buddies, circling around 1M loop gazillion of times.




Everybody did great, and if you follow their blogs - you read it, and I apologize I don't have time to link them all. Congrats to Michelle and Jenny on first 50M, to Steve S. on 105M (wow!), and Lisa, sweetie, I love you very much, I am so glad I stopped by and chatted!

I ran slow 8M on Sunday with lots of walking breaks and had fun with Stephen at the movies and library. My quads are talking, what is weird, they were quiet after OP50, and I think it's a proove I did work the hills (both up and down). I am a bit gloomy (just like the weather here is) due to my time (or, rather, the unproportional feeling of how well I thought I was doing vs how poorely I did do), but I'll get over it. I won't need pity, but will listen for wisdom on the reasoning of my run. I know about "no taper, two very hard leg weight training, OP50 2 weeks before, speed and hill workouts" and so on. But I didn't feel on the run the way my time shows I did - that's the question. I consumed 2 gels per "stretch" (12 total), 3 bottles of NUUN and 2 bottles of carbo-pro drink. I loved my ripped-off shoes that I dumped at the finish (they waitied for this chance to serve one last time) for their awesome stability on slippery rocks and roots, and I loved my Drymax socks for the feel of dry feet I had throughout despite knowing for show I got water and mud inside (not only due to the trail condition, but also due to those huge holes in my shoes). Highly recommend. I had no aches/pains (until the last section), no stomach problem, nu bladder problem, a usual bonk that lasted no longer than always, no falls, no ankles turned, nothing.

The week coming to be busy...what else is new?

35 comments:

  1. Okay...you crack me up! I thought I had high expectations for myself but you definately out do me. :)

    Here's my analysis for what's it's worth.

    1.You stayed up late...midnight!!
    2.You JUST ran a great 50M race two weeks earlier...annnnnnddd didn't you run long last weekend?

    The fact that you showed up, smiled and did a tough 50K is something to be very proud of. I am still using OC100K as an excuse. :)

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  2. I have been there too and I know how it feels. Those “bad thoughts” can be powerful enough to suck all you blood in no time and leave you powerless and sorry-about-yourself with still a lot of mileage to go. Wining this little war inside of my head feels at times more challenging than the physical aspect of the races. Music helps sometimes: I have a couple of emergency playlists on my iPod just like Melvin Udall did in “As Good as It Gets” movie :)))

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  3. Oh Olga, I wish you wouldn't beat yourself up so! If I recall from your last blog entry, you did a lot of training last week between running, lifting, and other cross training. I don't recall much about a taper.

    Sorry if it didn't go the way you wanted to! The scenery looks beautiful from the photos, and it looks like you had a lot of fun with friends!

    Recover happy,
    Meghan

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  4. It sounds like we bonked at the same place. I think it's just too much fun running that ridge trail and we paid for it by running out of gas. I even tried to hold back. Maybe next I can hold back a little more.

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  5. Ronda noted the "up till midnight" aspect, and I would add that beer drinking the night before a race is, for me at least, a guaranteed impediment. I have learned this through trial and error. :-)

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  6. Well done sista' in suffering. I think that you mastered the ability to HTFU. :-)

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  7. good report olga. sounds like you had fun.

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  8. Good race or bad, if you can't have fun or be happy about how you're spending your time, it's not worth it. Glad you had a fun-filled weekend. Sorry to miss you.

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  9. P.S. Did you try re-setting your iPod?

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  10. yaaa sounds like ur body got tired ...u have had a busy past three weeks!!! and compound that with up late ect...

    Recovery Well & see ya soon! I will plan a 30 min run on Sunday and a HUGE breakfast afterwards :-)

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  11. With that lovely smile you have in all those photos I find it hard yo believe you didn't have a fantastic race!

    Ah well, at least you had a great time - that's better than a great race, isn't it?

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  12. You continue to be an inspiration to me. Good race or not. I love your positive attitude and that you are always honest. You are a great runner and I look forward to seeing you out on the trails. Have a great week!

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  13. I was so happy to get one of your famous hugs at the end!! And thanks for the B'day wishes! I had heard from Alison how that last six miles could be really deceiving, and she was proven right many times over, according to others' blogs (and mine). Some days (weeks) are winners, others suck. The point is you remembered how much you're loved and all the good times before, after, and yes, even durig the race. Okay - I'll shut up now! Good recovery!

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  14. Wait, you ran a 50M two weeks before? I wouldn't forget about that! Hey, my hat's off to ya, I think you did great all things considered.

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  15. I have nothing to add, but I certainly can understand the beating yourself up part. I imagine that all the Washingtonians were glad to see you and you brightened their day. It's good to have fun and enjoy the trails even when our performance is sub-par.

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  16. i have nothing new to add, other than i understand

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  17. Olga,

    It was really cool to get a chance to talk to you, then to pass you, then to be passed by you and play leapfrog down the ridge;).

    Here's my report:
    http://www.clubfatass.com/blog/baldwin-lee/chuckanut-50k

    Rest up and see you at Miwok, I'll be the guy going backwards up the hill!

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  18. Olga, it was great to see you at the Pac Rim run - glad you stopped by!

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  19. When you start finishing races without smiling that's when I'll get worried about you. And not until.

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  20. wasatchspeedgoat18/3/08 11:52

    Killer race report! we will be chatting next week!

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  21. It was GREAT to see you sweet Olga! Thank you so much for stopping by and making a few loops with me. You are a dear! See you soon.

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  22. a training run is a training run..how can you suck in a training run:)
    still have a big smile at the end!
    Lisa

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  23. What great photos! I'm sorry the run was less than expected, but I'm with Rhonda - OP50 two weeks ago and no taper is a hard act to follow. This is one of those "deposit" runs - you just put it in the bank for future withdrawl. You just got stronger because of it!

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  24. Your smiles in the pictures show you are doing something you love. Thanks for the big hug. Just seeing you for a few seconds was a wonderful mental boost.

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  25. Oh Olga, I know about beating up oneself after a race that didn't go as planned. But you'll look back at this one and see it was an accomplishment in endurance ... look at everything you did in the weeks before! Plus it'll just make you fitter for the races to come.

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  26. Anonymous19/3/08 11:47

    You described what I would term a "character building" run. We all have them. Some (like me!) have them more often than others. You finished the distance and it counts for miles and training and besides it sounds like you had a chance to catch up with lots of friends! Don't be so hard on yourself! You had a 50K training run on what sounds like a beautiful course with fully staffed aid stations and lots of friends to visit with afterwards. Smile. It could be worse! I love our sport!

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  27. What fun!
    I love those action shots! I think the first one is the best ultra-race photo there is. It belongs on the cover of Ultra-runner magazine.

    Like Sarah said, don't give up on your iPod. My went totally dead. I almost threw it away. Then found out how to reset it.
    Reset iPod
    Or just Google "reset ipod" and you'll get tons of links. IPods freeze so regularly that there's even a website just for that: www.reset-ipod.com

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  28. Cool pics of you running! Don't sweat your time. You rock. Period!

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  29. Add me to the list of Washingtonians who were very glad to see your ever-smiling face. I did see you...when you were walking back to your car afterwards, we rolled down the window and yelled a "Whooooo...Olga!!!" :)

    I am impressed by your time and the fact that you say you walked 3 miles at the end...so you must have been really working the downhills and uphills. If you felt like you did well, then I don't think you can say you ran poorly. Don't let the clock dictate your happiness ... hey, like I need to preach that to you, me, or anyone out there!!

    Don'tcha just love Peggy - she's always been such a good runner-mom.

    Can you teach me how to balance my life between running and family? You still did all that on Sunday - wow! I sure hope your new home is already a mess - otherwise you are setting standards too high for the rest of us to reach :)

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  30. Great post Olga! It's been a while since I've been out and commenting. That baby of mine takes up a lot of time :) It's so true how mental this all is. Thanks for that reminder, I will use it at the McNaughton 100 in a few weeks.

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  31. That's right, WA has Glen T, he always has great photos. John Pearch comes down just to fill our bottles at Quad, that kind of dedication to the community is heart warming. Sorry to hear about the iPod, I still think Apple needs to create a sport version line of their stuff; waterproof and trailproof. Anyway I think I get what your saying. Cursing for the personal performance but thankful for the privilege of participating in the sport, crappy races and all. Happy to know that you understand it at that level, a bigger, wider perspective and that your heart is still in the sport.

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  32. I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. Way to hang in there and get the finish in. Stop being so hard on yourself. Your best race is going to come when you least expect it. Great races are gifts if you have one in a season we should be fortunate. To have two is luck. Sometimes I feel as humans we become so consumed with winning and losing that we forget what its all about. Just relax and enjoy the ride sister. It'll come.

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  33. I am glad that you find joy in the races, even when the result is not what you want. More and more I am convinced that the joy is what we will look back on and remember, not the times or the distances (well, maybe a little bit, but the smiles stay in our hearts.)

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  34. Olga, go easy on yourself. Time is irrelevant in these runs (I ra tionalize....my lifetime best 50 mile time is WAY better than anything I can do in a 50 km these days, and I'm getting used to it). Also, everyone has good days and not-so-good days). It was good seeing your where I was out on the backstretch by Lost Lake, and I'm glad you enjoyed the goofy signs...I'll come up with some new ones for next year!).

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