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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Teton madness

OK, folks, this is it: I am on official sensory overdrive. I am not sure what I do and where I am, nor what is next for me, so pardon my messy report. The drive to Teton races was split in 2 days (with night spent in Boise at Steve B’s house, thanks, man!), while the drive back was 14 hrs in the car…and even with 2 drivers (Stephen and I carpooled with Bushwhacker) it was mundane and boring and tiring. The only entertainment we got was me getting a speeding ticket (ha!) and discussion what I can sell from the house (nothing as my clothes are from Goodwill, and my furniture is hand-me-down from friends) or where I can cut corners on spending (nowhere, as I was born frugal). Thus go my $250…

Thursday night we spent in Jackson Hole, a paradise of a place, in Lori B’s house. Mike, Lori and Chris went for a run over Teton Pass while I hiked (my hip pain prevents me from even walking), and Larry arrived later that evening.

Friday we took off to Targhee resort, the stationing of Teton races, and since it turned out my help wasn’t needed on this day, we swam a lot with Stephen and ate meals, and hung out with friends arriving for the races.

Later on Friday evening there was a lecture by local ranger Andy with bonfire and smores, and I think I learned the most about history of Wild West discovery and what to do with Black Bears and Grizzly than ever before. Hopefully I’ll actually remember all of it when the time comes to meet those creatures before I die of heart attack.
These pictures are curtesy of Larry.

First and foremost, let me introduce you to Batchens – Lisa and Jay – the RD’s of Teton races (100M, 50M and marathon), Dreamchaser’s coaches and great friends of mine. They truly want this event be close-family style – and it works perfect in their hands. Thanks, Lisa and Jay, for a great organization, all your kindness and awesome spirits, and for sleepless nights a good week around Labor Day weekend every year! Since we are talking “family tight”, I am going to run a few personal stories instead of regular race report.

This is Laurie Andrews, last year’s winner of a 100 miler, who was Lisa’s “right hand” (and an arm, and a leg…) for the weekend. The amount of work and worries this girl had to deal with was insane! Yet she never lost her wonderful smile. Right here I’d also like to add great kudos to Lori B.. and Augie working Fred’s AS for 36 hrs straight, Ruth and Ludell Evans (another non-stop shift for a day and half), Cathy Cramer (live update and time tent, with her crew), Brook Lenz and Bob Becker, and many more. These core volunteers made the weekend possible. I was almost stunned how few people came, but considering the area (I mean, how many people are there total in Driggs, ID?) everybody put in more than could be expected from a much bigger team. I worked Main AS from 5:30am to 10:30pm Saturday, then 5am to 6:30am Sunday, then was sent with Larry to relieve Evans’s to let them see their son Mike finish the 100. It was a blast!

Sister Marybeth Lloyd is a long-time friend of Lisa, a “running nun”, raising money for Aids Orphans. She was on Lisa’s crew for Badwater stunt, and now was signed up for a marathon. The day before races started she woke up and said” marathons are not interesting and hard enough, how about a 100 miler? Well, how about it? So, Sister toed the line and went on…and on…with blisters on her feet, walking stick and somewhat slow, yet determined. Of course, nobody wants people to not achieve their dreams, and Lisa bumped Sister down to a 50 miler, what Sister Marybeth finished in 24 hrs and short change, being paced by Becky Clements on the second loop, in great spirits. I have to also add (you know, all that non-religious of me) that Sister is an awesome person to be around and totally cool to be around! Way to go!

Josh Brimhall is well known and was a sure shot for a win in a 100. However, being a fast 50 miler with only one 100M finish (SD in 2006) didn’t guarantee anything. Josh ran with no crew, no pacer, nobody pushing from the back, and was so-o close to the CR, it’s a shame! He was also such a pleasure to help, very unassuming, quiet, thankful, smiling and plain awesome guy. Congrats to you, man!

Ronda Sundermeier (a.k.a. Rooster) had battled a knee injury for over a month now, though have to add, a very smart battle she led, with exercises, massages and whole 9 yards (I can’t even say I want to be like her because I am such a slob when it comes taking care of myself, but I do admire this girl big time!). I never doubted her outcome for a second. She showed up (with her crew and pacer Stacey) with left knee wrapped up in a brace and right thigh wrapped up with a bag of ice (overuse compensation). Ronda went nice and solid on a chart, ran her own race, and of course, overcome Pam Reed at mile 75 (exactly where I predicted it), finishing 1.5 hrs ahead, 3rd overall, and setting a CR in a process. It was really fun to watch! She’ll post a report soon.

Ty Draney is fast. He paced here last year (Matt Hart), so he knew the course. Off he went like a speed-rocket, and ran away with the CR in 50 miler. He made a wrong turn into the finishing chute at the end, and as we yelled “jump over” (without really expecting him to do it) – he jumped over the fence for a fantastic finish. Yeehaa!

This is a couple that makes my heart sink. Joe and Joyce Prusaitis are as sweet as I don’t think I had seen before, and they are made of steel. Joyce entered a 50 miler on almost no training, and Joe committed to a 100. Both went through quite some rough patches (who doesn’t?), and eventually Joyce faced a decision to drop out. This is where Lisa and her “tight family” come in. She offered Joyce not to turn in the number and pace Joe on the loops that Joyce was missing for a completion. They did just that. There will be more to the story, but when in the morning the hell broke loose with hail, rain and wind, Joe came to life, perked up and finished a 100 under 34 hrs. The joy on Joyce’ face was priceless…
Henry Hobbs, another Texan, tried for a 50 3 weeks after a first 100 (at Headlands). His hips gave up, and off he went to drop…just to return later in the middle of the night to pace Joe (where Joyce stopped) and completed a total of 62 miles. If it’s not real friendship, I don’t know a thing about it. That wasn’t it for Texans. Marcia Inger, running her second 50, couldn’t deal with altitude and pollen (as much as we tried), and stopped at 40. In the morning she returned, and even though wasn’t counted as an official finisher, walked the last 10 miles with a smile on her face. She said she couldn’t wear a shirt if she didn’t finish. This is some determination!

One more Texas runner, my sweetie Larry King. Not like he had any more training than before Headlands, so mostly this race was a gut check. Well, he’s got gut, alright! Larry went out too fast, held on for dear life, got pissed (wonder if at me or mountains or himself?) and kicked ass in 10:30 for 4th dude (and 6th overall). Very proud of you!

Tony Portera visited Teton 100 for his second time. I was supposed to pace him at night, but being pretty useless even at walking I had to bail with a day to go. I kind of found a replacement for him, but on the morning of the race she bailed also. Tony is scared of dark (don’t laugh!). His wife is saint, really, as she did go with him for some 15 miles, and he finished, demons and all, faster than last year. Yay, man!

Well, here the story that becomes expected, right? Bushwhacker never fails…and runs like a wind…and suffers at miles 35-50, yet not giving up, to finish 3rd man in 9:33. Wow, man, let the kids play in the field some day too!

Here is a guy who has a story to tell…Clem Izurieta, later next morning, at mile 79, ran into a moose…a real one, who, on top of it, decided that Clem is quite an interesting object and worth charging after. Clem has been out on the course for over 24 hrs at this point and not moving very well, but at this point there was no time to think – he jumped up, looked around and climbed an aspen tree! Moose had nothing to do but to leave. I bet Clem ran faster after that!

Bobby, Bobby…so many dreams, so long of a time to prep, such a lesson to learn…at his second attempt at a distance Bob Gentile got lost in the dark at mile 55, climbing Fred’s an extra time extra too soon, and 2 hrs later dropped out of race. Sorry, baby, you’ve got to try again…

If somebody has any questions about this picture, check why you call yourself an ultrarunner. Hans Dieter is on his quest of 7 100 milers in 7 weeks (this is his #3), and Karl Jensen just came from CC100 himself. Legends know how to do it, we, kids, better learn…

Damian Stoy is a young kid at his second time here, and his brother Alex is a hoot. Damian ran a much smarter race this year and placed 2nd in a faster time, he also smiled more this time! Alex, on another hand, was his usual funky self with yoga practices while waiting. Boys have quite a future!

Mike Evans (who’s parents man Ski Hill AS) cracked at half-point in a 100 and was ready to die, quit or else. But how can he if I am in charge? After some magic touch he was off with his pacer, and this picture was taken at around mile 90. As you can see, he is alive and kicking…and finish never being so sweet!

Theresa Schut was the girl who was supposed to replace me as a pacer for Tony. But the night before the race, just around midnight, she came to Lisa and ask if she can run a 50. See, the thing is, Theresa had DNF’d last year in a 50…she was injured before and even worse after that Teton weekend, and was just coming around with running again. So off she went…and finished she did! Congratulations to my dear friend, you are back!

Saturday was great, on a hot side, clocking at 88F. Sunday morning, when I came back, wind picked up, temps dropped, and rain poured, the mountain style. It stopped for quite a bit, few hours (while marathoners ran), but came back with vengeance on left out on the course 100 milers. Buckets of water, hail and wind…how those people survived, I am not sure, but my hat is off to them. I was so emotionally hyped, I didn't even care as Jeffery, official photographer, was shooting pictures, including me running around half-naked with my Buddha-belley hanging over. I am so tired now, I don't even care. I had fun, but I am ready for the season to be over...

So, the stories are in no particular order, nor, of course, that’s all I’d love to share. I hope you check out other blogs. I hope you join in the fun one day.

All Pictures (the album will be active only a short period of time, I am out of space in my Picasa account, so grab the pictures while you can).

Official Website

As for AC100…I am still untrained, and still in pain with my hip joint. What doesn’t change a thing. I am still going. I’ll take it one step at a time…


  1. Olga,
    Love this report on others - the stories are great! Thanks for sharing so much cool info. Rest up, girl!

  2. Anonymous2/9/08 18:59

    olga, once again you saved the day!
    if i can ever return the favor, don't hesitate to call on me.it would be a pleasure.
    michael evans

  3. Awesome report Olga ! It was great to see you out there. You are simply awesome. I kept looking forward to seeing you at the aid stations - and what a cool surprise to see you and Larry at Ski Hill Road the last time around, and then again at the finish. You really helped pull me through !

  4. I really hope I will never be chased by a moose (or anything else, for that matter) after being on my feed for over 24 hours!

  5. Ha! I wasn't pissed at anyone or anything. I was way too tired and delerious for that, but I was motivated after 30 miles to push myself as hard as I could to make up for miles 20 through 30, thanks to you for telling me to take it easy. Maybe, I relaxed for the first time in the race because you told me that and it made it easier for me to let go of the tension and push. It was a great weekend! And, you helped SO many people stay in the race when they were really hurting. It was great to watch.

  6. Thanks for all the support Olga. You were right even though I never believed you...only Stacey had the same confidence. The race venue was very family like and that made it super special.

    AC is your course, the downhills call your name and you will for sure do very well I have no doubt.

  7. great stories, great fun!!!

    you thought about next year's races yet? as in, zane grey so i can see you again?! (i know, i know, too soon!!!)

  8. Thanks Olga for your help... first half was such a blast and was good to actually have energy for once in my short ultra career.

    no worries here, easy fix... one word PACER :-)

  9. Thanks for sharing the stories we don't always get to hear. Hopefully there is rest on the agenda at some point for you.

  10. *YOU* live the life, too, Sweet Girl!!


    I would offer to offer to help you at AC, but I will be away for the weekend. Good luck! It's a great course. Don't let Mt. Wilson get ya down.

  11. I loved this post Olga. All the cameos of individuals. I'm glad that for you running is clearly as much about the people as anything else.

  12. I Get It. Me so tired after driving 2000+ km post-race! Sounds like you also had a whirlwind weekend. I loved the short stories. You are the blogger extra-ordinaire! I don't know how you pump out this stuff so quickly when you are flying by the seat of your panties and on sensory overdrive. You are the "blogging-shit".

  13. I have the utmost confidence that you'll surprise yourself at AC100. :-)

  14. Your recap of all of the events take the cake for the BEST report i have ever read.

    You rock and I love your drive to travel to your race and just put one foot in front of the other.

    Go Girl!!!

  15. Fantastic write-up Olga. You made my heart ache for this race! However, since I wasn't able to be there, reading this was the next best thing. Thanks for sharing stories from the weekend!


  16. Thinking of Jackson Hole makes me tired, hahaha. That was after the 17 hour hike, dragging our butts for some food and a two hour nap on the side of the road. Wow, the hours of driving and volunteering that you went through, whew, nice job lady. Great work by Larry too, 10:30 and 6th place. That's sweet considering it was in altitude and with all the hills. He did say he's not affected by altitude, lucky guy.

    What a collection of interesting fun stories. After surviving TRT100 that's run at similar altitude, I think I could come out for this Grand Teton thing you guys are all raving about. Looks like a lot of fun.

  17. Olga, you rock! Great writeup.. thanks for coming out and kicking my ass at mile 30.. (:

  18. Bloggerific! That Rhonda is somethin' else, bum knee and all. Loved all the stories. What a fab lookin' race.

  19. A wonderful race report, Olga. I love the photos. The way you tell the story makes me feel like I was there.

  20. Thanks for everything Olga!
    Great report as always!!
    Hope your hip is better!