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, April 11, 2011

A humbling experience in falling apart gracefully.

The REAL reason of my visit to PDX
The PNW had THE most beautiful weather I don't remember. From the moment my plane made a wave to Mt. Hood on Friday to the after-race food-eating on Sunday, there was not a drop of rain - and even sun! I couldn't wish for more...or, wait, I could! I spent two full days with Alex! My older son, my one and only, that special person in my life who thought me more lessons than the rest of my life...and I can not even try to rely to you what those couple of days meant to me, and how it was. I wasn't a mom. He was my long-lost old friend. He was me. I know it sounds silly, and he may have acted at times not according to the values, but he's got them - and it was like talking to myself, understanding from half-breath, laughing crazy, punching when saying same things simultaneously, and sharing life - past, present and future. No matter what, somewhere along the way, I raised a son, my son, the way I wanted to. The rest is up to him...

Of course, I visited my friends. I stayed at Anna's first night, ran with Gail in Forest Park next morning and dropped by her family, stayed with Monika and Stan and their kids next night, visited with Oleg and Mara, and it was a whirlpool of emotions - and thus far all positive!

However, it also meant I wasn't eating, or hydrating, or resting. Mike Bushwhacker picked me up at 4am Sunday morning, and we made 3 hr drive down to Sisters, OR, for a Ready to Rumble 40M! And - I wasn't ready:) But seeing all my friends in one place was such a paradise! I heard non-stop "Olga is back, are you moving? how's Texas?" and hugs were numerous. Good thing, because smiles and hugs ended as soon as the race began...

I am officially over raced. Or over trained. Or not taking proper care of myself in-between and pretending to be young and resilient. Some of us get concussions when being stupid, me - I just had to figure out how to run on an empty tank. And it wasn't pretty:)

The first hour and half was ok. Best-kept trails in perfect dry conditions, views that take your breath away, soft dirt single track...I made a wrong turn (of course) with a couple of guys, but we were yelled at and retraced back in a minute. And right after that I deflated. Like - puff, and no air inside my tires. Nothing hurts, I am still running, but kind of, well, I don't even know how to explain. And the train of passing people began...crazy long train, when everyone and their mother passed me. Thank God there was a loop with out-n-back when the whole race, seems like, cheered me on, and I did so back. At least that 45 min was fun:) Then I was alternating between getting into sour mood and snapping myself back to life by telling not to pay attention and do the best I can and never give up. That continued all the way to the turn where 20 milers and 40M runners split - and I had to bargain to continue of least favorite 6 mile climb on a red-gravel-dust road. At least it wasn't beating sunny like 3 years ago! When I reached Curt and his AS at mile 30, he later was saying I felt like a big black cloud. I barked something at him, and he stepped away...far away (didn't help I was out of water or gels for the last hour and haven't pee'd the whole race). But - I had 10 miles left, and I was mad. Angry, disgusted with myself, stupefyingly mad, and I took off. Gotta be honest - 70% of last 10 miles are single-track twisted downhill, my all-time best running grounds. I was fuming, and I was running. And I actually was passing. Not "excuse me, may I" passing, but basically elbowing and flying by. When last AS where Amy, Darla and Chris were, came at mile 35, and they wanted to hug me, my only thought was I will break apart, cry in their shoulders and will not be able to run strong. So I pushed them away. Literally. And ran like mad again...

Photo curtesy Cheri Redwine
Well, I surpassed my goal by a good measure (6:52), but the course is quite easy, and so did 3/4 of the field (actually, I have no clue about results). I bet there were 2 dozens of girls ahead of me, and it was nuts. Told you, Oregon breads runners. Real runners. Welcome back to the world:)

Sean Meissner, of course, made up for me a "first Russian", and even "first Texan". And the middle school had hot showers. And as always, Drymax socks and Crosslites (LaSportiva) rocked out on my feet! And since I finished a full hour earlier, we didn't need to speed up, and I spent some time socializing. And then it was back to Portland - airport - red eye - back to work. And thus the life goes on. There are ups, and there are downs. Otherwise, we wouldn't know how to be alive.

p.s. turned out life is not as bad as I thought - I was 10th female, so I did crack the top 10! Just kidding:)



  1. Sounds like an all-around great trip if you ask me.

  2. Sorry we missed you. I always remember you kicking my sorry butt while I was sitting down at that mile 35 aid station a few years back, feeling sorry for myself.
    Glad you got to spend some good time with your oldest.
    Say hello to the sun in Texas for us. We lost it here.

  3. It was good to see you ~ you looked great. You still kicked some butt in my opinion ~ you started; you finished!

  4. So awesome to see you Olga! It was fun running with you until you took me off course ;). Hope you had a great visit with all your friends. We will keep in touch via email for sure. Get some rest. You have certainly earned it.

  5. A whirlwind weekend! Sounds like you made the most of it, as usual. Congrats on your top ten! : )

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Awesome race report, and nothing greater than the time w/son.

  8. Olga, your post made me tear up. I'm so glad you got to see Alex. I've never met him, but since I've followed your blog all these years, I feel like I've watched him grow up. I'm glad he's doing well and that you see yourself in him - what a wonderful gift to a mom!

    And keep rockin' those races!

  9. Great work!!! You need a nap!

  10. I am so happy that you got to see and spend time with Alex. I know how special that was to you. You are looking amazing and running fantastic. Good for you! Keep doing everything that makes you happy my friend!