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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Drinking not my cup of tea

This could have been an unpleasant experience, that cup of tea. It sure could have been. If I chose it to be that. But - I chose otherwise...and with that not only the taste was good, so was the color and the amount and...well, you get the idea:)

I was spot on when I said I might get sick. On Monday I came down with the flu, and Tuesday and Wednesday the fever and the splitting clogging were unbearable. I still had to work, and cough out that presentation on Thursday, and on Friday I did my first "exercises" - I walked home from work. Boy, that was a weak plan of tapering...

My birthday was sweet and homey. Larry and I went to Hill of Life area and he ran, while I walked and shuffled, trying to clear my lungs - and my nose. It didn't really help. Nor did Sunday group run, when I, instead of keeping up with the boys, crawled at the rear of the girls, and the legs were shaking. By the end of the day Larry came down with the flu...why am I not surprised.

The following week was just a repeat, only now I didn't get to sleep because Larry was coughing and sneezing, not me. I tried to commute-run on Tuesday, and making my 6M route full 15 min longer didn't give me much confidence. On Friday I threw together some gels and S! caps and drove 8 hrs straight (with one stop for gas and 3 stops for peeing on the side of the highway) to Canyon, TX...

Apparently, Texas has a canyon, and it's beautiful. It is also located at 3,000 feet (at the bottom). Running at even such altitude had always given me breathing problems (think Peterson Ridge Ramble in Sisters, OR).
I stayed with Joe P. and John K. in Joe's camper - a real treat with real bed instead of planned car-sleeping! And the company couldn't have been better...

Joe told me the race is flat as a pancake. Did I tell you it's not my cup of tea, running a flat race at 3,000 feet, in the forecasted heat of 90F with no shade on hard packed trails covered with fine dust? Yeah, he also said I have to place myself in front of the pack as the first 3 miles are in a horse trench and I wouldn't want to get stuck in a train. I really am not a fan of a fast start...
Joe also introduced me to a handful of guys and told them not to get ahead of me on the first loop, as I will pass them on the third. I am a choo-choo train. I am not fast, I don't look like a runner, and I don't have an attitude of one. But I sure move steady once all my freight will get in motion...and I proved Joe correct.

It was to be treated as a training run, as a "take it as it comes", as "just finish since it's the first 50 in a series" thing. I don't think I had ever had such a simple and profound attitude. All I had to do is just take care of my body, plain and simple, and believe that I will finish - and finishing in good spirits and with minimal damage was my agenda.

So much for good intentions of writing a good ol' report...I am pretty tired, have a full week ahead of me, and how many reports can I write? I really did think of so many things to share while on the run, because these trail runs bring so many internal processes for me...but, alas, you are spared to read them.
It was a beautiful run. 4 loops of 12.5miles with views that don't do Texas justice, with nice people, with heat that startled me with thermometer reading 100F in the sun...I took great care of me, and never lost a smile. I drunk lots, ate gels, popped salt tablets as never before, had not a stomach cramp until mile 45, turned the power walk in second half to persevere, picked "carnage" - although one boy did pass me after playing leap-frog on last loop, and it was my pleasure. He was young, good-looking, commented on my cute skirt (I bet it was a way to complement what's under the skirt from a shy American boy:)) and he had a great attitude matching mine. My breath was fine after a handful of coughing fits on the first loop, and the altitude didn't matter (I bet it helped to be smoke free for 7 months, oh, yeah). The trail had enough ups and downs to not be considered flat at all, and I enjoyed the change of pace. I mean, if it were a single loop, sure, I'd run it all, but it was a 50 miler. I walked more than I ran in the second half - and was passing folks like they were standing still.
I showed all I could a great structure of the "penis" (yes, I said that, European naughty girl I am), which was located at 7.5M into every loop, and that was my "mid-point" that always lifted my spirits. I never cared about time much, and had only a general idea of where I'd like to be - and I hit it every time. My last loop was a mere 3 minutes slower than the loop #3, and that was my proudest achievement. I ran last 2 miles and passed a couple of guys just to prove to myself that I can...I finished in 10:18 for second female and got a great jacket - the best and most useful swag I had gotten so far. The after-race hang out was awesome with Tejas Trails folks, and Joe and I exchange a huge number of curse words - our special love language. Thankfully, no kids were around. The drive back was the hardest thing in the day, it took me 9.5 hrs and I had to stop 3 times for short naps on the side of the highway. It was still worth it. I got home at 4:30am, having been up for exactly 24 hrs, and thought that I don't want to run a 100 miler any time soon. I also decided not to run a 50k in November I planned - it's not my distance, and I am not interested to pay $70 for a 30M training run and drive sleepless again. But I might volunteer. Speaking of which, Joe and Joyce had asked me to adopt a Crossroads (Equestrian) AS at Cactus Rose 50/100 at the end of October, which Larry and I gladly did. Look for us twice on every loop, and it'll be in spirit of my 4 years at Autumn Leaves 50 run on the same date in OR...and don't bring small children, it may get nasty:)
My feet are a bit mangled, and I managed to loose 5 toenails (need new shoes). My legs felt fine, just a bit stiff in a couple of places today. Once I get a few pictures taken on the course, I'll squeeze them into this "report", but not a clue when. It was a good run, and a good day. Lets the season begin...


  1. Great photos and great result!

  2. You're report just made me laugh and smile! :) We'll miss you at Autumn Leaves, but I'll think of you out with the cacti, cheering and encouraging your runners. With maybe just a few curse words thrown in.... ; ) : )

  3. You just never cease to amaze me. After being sick....imagine if you went into the race 100%!

  4. Love it Olga. Nice job. I think that take it as it comes might be a good approach for us slower but steady folks. Nice Rock too. :) Congratulations, you earned it all.

  5. I believed every word until you said "jacket". They have jackets in Texas? Right, right. Ha, great job choo-choo train what with the flu and everything. Your season is starting as mine is winding down. Sucks that you got the flu, great that you are done with it early. You won't need that flu shot now.

  6. I saw you at the starting line but it was just seconds before the race started and I didn't want to run over and start talking to you and distract you. I thought for sure I'd see you later on in the day but never saw you again. :(
    It was a hot dusty day, that's for sure. Great race! Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet you at Cross Timbers in February!

  7. As I always say, a race with a little (or a big) penis is a good race :). Am I almost European now? :)

    That race sounds great! And awesome peformance - a time definitely worthy of a cool jacket. But, does one EVER need a jacket in Tejas? Ha. Just noticed Rick wrote the same thing - right on, Rick! I'll have to come run another race with you so you can pass it on to a girl who needs it! :)

  8. 5 toenails? Yikes! Congrats on a great finish!