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, October 07, 2008

Dreaming and doing.

Oct 8. 9am. Update.

I just had the best birthday present ever wished for. I just saw my son...you know, not the one who is cute and cuddly and lives with me, the one who let me practice some strokes on his back last night as I came back from school. The other one, the big boy, who brought some much pain - yet with that so much joy of having him as a son. The one who helped me to really know what unconditional love means. The one who struggles on the life path as I struggle along his side. The first born, the always baby, the handsome young man whom I love so much, it hurts...and whom I showed the door 4 months ago...and whom I last saw as I bailed him out of police 3.5 months ago...I was on the bus that due to street closures took a detour, when I looked in a window and saw a face that comes to my dreams - he was walking on the street. After initial shock ("what do I do?") I went to a driver and begged to open a door, right in the middle of the road. I ran back, quietly, so scared he'll see me and take off. I called out his name.
He turned around - and smiled. And we hugged. And we talked. He looks good. He's got plans on life. He is staying out of trouble. He misses us. And he promised to come visit. And we hugged some more. And talked some more. And I cried, and he wiped my tears. And then I slowly walked away...
I don't believe in higher power, but...thank you.

Life is happening, the Earth is still spinning, and the skies didn’t open up for hell (well, OK, that’s a lie, since Oregon had begun an 8 months long drizzle-to-rain season, but I have nothing to do with it). First week took all my mental power to adjust to it (rain, not injury), and then I was back to loving it…almost.

So, what’s going on? Lots does, life is, indeed, not running. I got into this gym-yoga-walking routine, and actually planned to hike last 10 un-seen miles of Hundred in the Hood with Mike past Sunday, but he bailed out on me, so I spent it home. Saturday was busy with Stephen, their soccer game was a total hoot! I visited Monika and family last week twice, and it was so nice to be back, I think we missed each other. I had a Russian girl’s party at my place with foods and laughs. And, of course, the most prominent change past week – my Massage School classes had officially started!

First class was a blast. I am taking Massage Fundamentals as a base core class. I was definitely apprehensive and scared; I haven’t been in school for over 15 years, never in school in this country, positively overqualified to make a kind of “step down” in career and scared how I would fit in with others. I am not a “group” person, and it takes me a while to feel comfortable.

From the very beginning, as soon as I saw the lay-out with small floor chairs, it was kind of fun. People shuffled around, some trying to make themselves comfy, some obviously perfectly fine sitting on the ground. And thus the class began, as untraditionally for me as it ever can be.

It was good to hear repeats from the orientation since I missed on a half of it, and to compartmentalize how it is going to be. Then we went over the circle with self-introduction. That part was wonderful as it warmed up the atmosphere and brought the point of why we are here, in this room, attempting to become LMT. So many stories, some similar, some different, some know why and what’s next, some just wandering…Second part was about the learning plan, how to read material and what to pay attention to. And of course, the fun part was the practice! I had no idea how I would feel about massaging somebody with 2 other pairs of hands as we grouped in 4 (I had no problems being the one on the table), and on top of it under the watchful eye of a supervision. I felt way overgrown for it, I don’t even like when my boss watching me doing experiments even for a second and tell him off. But it was ok, I tried to focus on my inner world to feel the muscles I am touching, and not on the outside so much. It was awkward to bump into hands of my classmates, and the area to work on was tiny, and we were guided to how long and what kind of stroke to do, but with open mind of to learn the most I can and practice to be the best I can – I had an amazing time. And it wasn’t nearly as scary as I was nervous it would be. And from now on we will be paired up in two, so only one person massages while the other receives.

I came home and immediately emailed a bunch of my friends (luckily, ultrarunners, who all need massages and don’t mind being practiced on) how fantastic a time I had at my first time, and that they should form a line. Looks like I’ll be pretty busy! I ordered my massage table online and expecting it to come tomorrow.

The other class I am taking is Dao Yin Stretch, and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much, but oh, well, it’s elective, and I just need to float through it. May be even try to be open minded and like it a bit…

Getting into studying was a hard part, I procrastinated the whole week, until Sunday opened up in my schedule, and I spent all day with the book. While my brain hurt from so much reading and trying to answer questions, in the end I liked it so much, I opened a book for Personal Training Certificate (the one I ordered in the summer and never got around)! And last night, as I drew pictures of the muscle for my last of a homework, I got suckered into Anatomy book too – the one I need to memorize for the test (to by-pass the class). So all is good, and I’ll be fine. I just need to schedule myself very tight, since I need to practice doing massage, and traveling will take time (hint, hope you, guys, volunteers, come to my place).

What else? I am getting limber by the day with the yoga classes, far far away from where I was some 4-5 years ago, but so much better then when started again. I can feel the difference, and it also helps me with my mental focus. And I need focus. Especially with food. I did manage to loose a couple of pounds, at least that much is good. I am not very strict yet (and surely nowhere close to how Ronda suggests), but I did cut out many things and working on portion control again (amazing how soon I forget all the effort I put into it back 6 months ago!). Gym is OK, at least I push myself 2 visits out of 3, and no, sorry, folks, I can’t bike (I am scared of bikes to fall off) and I can’t swim (I don’t like water in general). But that’s OK…because I tried to run today.

My doctor is out for 3 weeks, and he left without seeing me and evaluating me. What’s the girl to do? Trial and error. I was a good patient long enough, and since it’s been almost 2 months from the date of injury, I figured I’ll see where I am. Actually, I planned to walk to work, what I do once or twice a week. I was not even dressed up properly, in my yoga pants falling down (I lost the string), cotton t-shirt and a fleece jacket tied around my waste (such a recreational jogger image!). But I just finished my yoga class and was kind of running high, so I made a shuffling step, and another…and kind of shuffled short-strided for 3 minutes, walked for 5, shuffled some more, walked again, and all together I kind of “ran” about half of my 3.5M stretch from parking to OHSU. And it hurt…but not “Oh My God, I want to scream and need to stop” hurt. Dull kind of hurt, not sharp as before. In waves, more, then less, then more. And I was monitoring. Now, don’t you start with me. If my doctor met with me and firmly said: “nothing in running for such period”, I wouldn’t have…may be, possible, potentially. But he didn’t. So I tried. You knew I would, didn't you? And now I am going to be a good girl again and not try for another few days:))

p.s. got my pictures downloaded from the weekend with my Sweetheart! and my birthday is coming up like a freight train, last year in sub-masters!

p.p.s. just back from second Massage class - loving it!!! Love the anatomy (always did, my fav subject), love that I know it (ok, not fair, but whatever), love to learn correct technique on massage strokes (as opposed to doing things out of sequence, even if it does seem to be so easy), love that it (technique) all makes sense (because it always follows the muscle fibers and the functionality of it), love giving practice massage to my classmates (the girl Elizabeth from TX is a total hoot!) and love receiving - brand new, fresh, caring massage every week for free! My God, why did I ever stop my medical career?? Oh, right, to support my family's life financially...No matter how long this path will take me, I am going back to healing and helping people, one person at a time.


  1. It's so exciting to read about you going after your dreams!

    I won't lecture you about your running because I know how it is. But...I will say that in hindsight, I wish I had done less in the days and weeks after my injury. That's all I'm saying. : ) Oh and no problem coming to you.

  2. I wish I'd live near you. I would certainly be highly tempted by a succession of free massages!

  3. Hey! When I was running in Forest Park with Gail last week she told me that it doesn't rain in Portland!!!! I just cancelled my local massage membership last week. Do you think I could talk you into one of those free massages? Am I going to have to carry you piggy-back down the Grand Canyon next week? You don't want to become a Masters. It sucks. It's where all the fast people hang out. ;)

    But, seriously. I just want you healed. That's all that matters. And, then, I'll stop my running so I can support your awesome comeback!

  4. If I lived anywhere near you I'd be over for massages all the time. That pesky quad muscle by my knee that bothered me during the summer is sore again, hopefully not too bad. Self-massage is not as much fun on the other hand I know exactly where the problem area is. I can't believe you tried running! Ok Ok what Sarah said. I'm also going to say Happy Birthday now because you know I'll forget when the real day comes. I do it all the time to people.

  5. I had a wonderful massage today from Steve's wife, Lorri. You'll be helping people so much! I'm glad to hear you are getting excited about it, and getting into it.

    No comment on the running, because I've done stuff that others don't think is wise. We all gotta do what we gotta do.

  6. Massage school sounds great! I love all that muscle and anatomy stuff. You will be very good, I'm sure. Nice to have a goal like that. I'm also glad the injury is healing. Just remember that restraint is crucial to have. (I, myself, and going NUTS from not running now...so I know!) Just be careful, sweet Olga. And happy birthday, girl! At least AGE is one of those races where you can never catch me! :)

  7. Yes. I knew you would.

    No. I wouldn't think of starting with you.

    I am going to hold you to that not trying for a few more days thing though. Hey, you mentioned it.

    Glad you are enjoying school.

  8. Sometimes it seems as if the earth is spinning too too fast ! I expect to get several massages next year at GTR !

  9. I just went to an intro to Thai Massage last night taught by my yoga instructor. It takes a more wholistic/energetic approach to massage...there is something to be said for helping people heal...and from reading your blog you are gifted in helping people in races...the Chicago marathon is this week and I am hopping in and seeing how far I can go...it is so flat here, I have no excuses....

  10. Wow...glad I decided to pop back over again today to read about your encounter with A. I don't believe in the higher power either, but some things are just meant to be. Maybe an early birthday present for you! : )

  11. Anonymous8/10/08 13:32

    That was some meeting with Alex. There is hope for him, Great!! I couldn't be happier for your Family. Maybe this is your turning point in life. Fingers crossed for you and yours.

    Mike B

  12. Hey Olga, there you go, making me cry again. I always hurt for you when you talk about your son. I shed both happy and sad tears for you. Alex will come home one day. I'm sure he knows how much you love him. I understand your hurt and I only hope the best for your family. Take care and enjoy learning massage. I only wish I lived closer, my back is KILLING me!!

  13. Glad to hear you're loving' the new classes, but sad I can't "help" you by volunteering for a free massage.
    I paid my massage therapist $120 for 90 minutes. She is extremely good. But really, for that much money I can't afford her. So I'm trying to break up with her! I haven't seen her since before Leadville.
    I need to find a $30/hr massage therapist.

    Be careful with that hip, Olga! I think being surrounded by yoga, massage, and other healers, you're probably emmersed in a culture of health. That's got to help.

  14. I started welling up when I read the opening bit of your entry. Great news that all seems good with Alex and you both had a great moment together.

    Keep up the good work with the masage.

  15. Happy Birthday, sweet Olga!!

  16. I had tears as I read about you seeing Alex. I'm so glad he is doing well. I'm so glad you were able to see him. Enjoy your classes, Olga, learning is so rewarding!