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.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Stories of the week.

It had been beautiful here. As we say in Austin, we have 2 seasons: summer, and something else. Well, the "something else" seem to end, as usual, rather unexpectedly. From 30F at night and totally random and unpredictable 45F or 75F during a day (and quite some rain this past winter), we shot into a nice upper-60's with sunshine and still somewhat low humidity. This is my favorite time of the year in Central Texas, and thankfully, I seem to be recovering from my foot ordeal and am able to run! After my last Sunday's trail run of 10  miles on a Greenbelt (pretty flat and simple single-track), I took Monday off, to recover from traveling and catch up on sleep. Tuesday saw me back at the gym after 2 weeks of "taper/recovery" combo hitting weights hard, and then in the evening a very hard run on a "hilly lollypop loop", where I match my previous best time. I was pleased with my effort beyond belief.

However, Wednesday proved it is not wise to jump into training hard after a long absence of specific workouts and a marathon being pulled out of my sleeve. I felt extremely sore and tired as I slogged my morning flat recovery route, and then took an evening Bikram class to make sure I stretch those parts well. I went back to the gym on Thursday, and lifted heavy, but was pretty doomed after that, walking "funny" at work. Hmm..

Luckily, I snatched a massage appointment for the evening. As a Massage Therapist, it is always difficult for me to fund a specialist who does a really good job (by my own standards) and yet doesn't charge a fortune (per my beliefs, and for the sake of my family's finances). Therefore, I hardly get massages, may be try every other month just to get disappointed, again. However, this time I might have found a combination of both of those things I am looking for, and plan to go visit in April, to make sure it is for real!

Friday was fun. While I started out still sore and feeling run-down, the stride opened up as I ventured into new territories without an exact plan, roughly figuring that if I keep taking right turns on the roads with names that ring a bell, I will eventually come back home. At about 50 minutes into it, I underestimated the potential distance to the next familiar road and run to a man walking a dog near-by (still dark o'early) to ask directions. He thought for a few moments and sent me back to where I came from. I was bewildered, but listened, worried about being pressed on time for getting back and ready for work. A mile later a car stops across me as I run, a window rolls down, and that very man apologizes, saying his wife sent him to catch me as I was right (thank God I still have a sense of direction) and he feels bad sending me the wrong way. He offered me a ride home, I looked at the watch and accepted it, but only to the point where I saw him the first time. He dropped me off, and surely enough, in half a mile the road leading eventually to my neighborhood came to a view. I was telling this story to my son, laughing, till I realized it is probably not a good idea delivering to your teen child that it's ok to jump into a stranger's car. So, I back-pedaled some and explained how I am an adult and can assess the situation and a person better, and prepared to extreme situations better. Yowser, but in general, I do believe in goodness of the people.

Friday evening, after a dinner with a family, Stephen and I quickly packed our sleeping bags, and we were off for a 3 hrs drive to Camp Eagle, where Tejas Trails were putting on Nueces races, the one I won on inaugural year and volunteered the second one. Larry and Harrison had to stay back, as Harrison was being nominated (or whatever it called) from cub-scouts into boy-scouts. Which is unfortunate, because this camp is a fantastic venue for a family weekend! This year, again, the 50M served as a USATF championship. I worked a main aid station (start/finish/loop-end), where I bossed Sarah (who had already helped me at Bandera), as well as a famous Liza Howard, who officially was doing medical help for the race, but in-between tending to a few dozen of gashed knees and other body parts, was employed by yours truly to prepare PBJ quarters, the job I pay big money for to delegate:)). We had a blast, talking, watching a race develop, laughing, gossiping, and having a grand time participating in something Joe and Joyce Prusaitis deliver with such a knowledge and grace!

Here is the recap I sent out to my running club:

Dave James, photo by Liza's i-phone
In 50M Jordan Mcdougal (late entrant from NY and a NorthFace runner) hung behind Dave James (who comes here often) from AZ, put a minute on him by the end of the 2nd loop, and won a race in 6:30, which was a couple of minutes short of the CR. Dave fought hard and still fell back by about 7-8 minutes, finishing in 2nd place (seems to be his favorite place out here). Jason Bryant from NC (LaSportiva runner) was 3rd, also his spot to shake off eventually from the resume.

Female race had Melanie Fryer and Michele Suszek running almost holding hands for over 2.5 loops. Both from CO (Mel is local before moving away), they took it easy. Melanie was still fresh off her minor surgery and having some stomach issues, what put her a few minutes back at the finish line.

Joyce P., photo by Liza's i-phone
Everybody had an awesome time out there, the weather cooperated, and the fast times in all 4 distances had been run. Both Liza's and my coaching clients did an awesome job, as well as a number of my massage clients. It was fun and fulfilling to see folks achieve their desires! My son Stephen skated every rail and step, took a swim in the river, and in general had a pretty good time, despite not feeling optimistic about a day without friends.

Today the week was capped by a fantastic run! I couldn't wish for a better one. With next week's Prickly Pear 50k, I wanted to "feel" where I am and if I should set out for a run without a goal, or for a race. I really miss racing, and I was eager to see where I stand, with all that time off running and training specifically for it.

I went on our best-in-town (where it comes to technicality, hills and variety) trail loop (or rather a combination of lolly-pop loops strung together into one), which starts at our previous apartment complex. Having 3 bottles and 3 gels, I pressed the "start" button. I haven't looked at it until I crested the last hill, the one that gains over 600 feet in a quarter of a mile. I ran every step of the way, scattered rocks, sharp hills, ledges, flat connecting parts, and everything else. I haven't run this loop in full since before OD100 last year, and I don't think I ever ran it "every step", but all the road training really pays off. While I never felt particularly tasked, I ran with a good honest effort, enjoying every moment of every step, and when I finally pressed the "stop", I had bested my previous fastest time by a full 6 minutes. Wow, that felt awesome! 

I've got lots of things to still do, like training schedules for my running folks, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, taking Stephen to a hair-cut and to a skate park, stopping at work for an hour to spin some bacteria cells for next week, going out with Larry on a weekly mini-date...but I want to add one more thing that has been going on lately.

I am running for a VP position of our local running club HCTR, with Joe Prusaitis going for a Prez. The club, which was a center of Central Austin trail running knowledge and fun, had gotten shaken by various reasons, and Joe (who was the one at the beginning of forming the club before starting his business of TejasTrails.com) and I really think we could be beneficial to its full come-back for all involved, and we'd love to see it strive. I have at least a dozen of ideas (most of which I had shared with our club's email list before even considering running for the board), some my own, and many from my previous running clubs (thank you, VCTR of the Bronx, Red Lizards of Portland, and VHTRC of Virginia). I had put out a little paragraph (we were required to), and am sharing it here.

About myself:

Born and raised Russian, ran in high school for fitness, got into real running and racing over a dozen years ago, 2 kids and a lifetime later. Prefer mountains and trails (as an avid backpacker prior to trail ultrarunning), but run about anything that allows the freedom of movement, meditation of thoughts and means to push thyself. To date had ran 100 marathons and ultras (much heavier on ultra part of it, over 4/5th, including 18 100M finishes) and about 150 shorter events. Had been high, had been low. RRCA certified running coach, NCSF certified personal trainer, Yoga-alliance certified instructor, Licensed Massage Therapist, an MD by education, and a Research Scientist by a present life arrangement.


About running for the board:
Having been an active member of a number of running clubs due to living East-West-Central US and an RD of a number of races (back in OR), I believe I can give a shot to bring more variety to HCTR club. I'd like to see the club fun and social, yet offer support in training and racing (and traveling) to all, novice or veterans alike. I possess passion for running and trails, love for people, tough attitude, a wealth of knowledge in the area, and a tenacity to complete the task. Having volunteered in practically every event in TX (besides previous places I called home), I have exposure to learn what the members want and a capacity to bring ideas to them.

p.s I have no idea how to fix my font!!!

6 comments:

  1. Good to see you this weekendOlga. I'll keep you posted about Pocatello.

    I have to admit that I no longer even glance at the HCTR website any longer. It used to be so good and then a couple of years back it just deteriorated and I dropped my membership. If you can get it back to it's old glory, I'll come back to the club.

    ((hugs)) - Mariela

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  2. Good post, as usual, Olga. Awesome that you're coming back so strong! Good luck with the board elections, who wouldn't want you on their team!

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  3. Great to hear of your progress and as usual, great attitude! I always enjoy reading your posts! HTCR would be so lucky to have you on their board, good luck! I am quite sure your tenacity will run circles around any other candidate!

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  4. Ditto - everything that Mariela said. I was one of the original members of HCTR, and dropped my membership this past year. Would love to see it get back to the club it once was.

    -- Shan

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  5. Olga, thank you again for being my favorite aid station volunteer, and for all of the running advice over the years. I'm sure I'll see you on the trails, in the club, etc. David.

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  6. I love reading your posts about your runs! Because I always "zone out" when I'm running (not good), I never have any details to share in my posts. Funny that I spend so much time doing it and have nothing to show for it :). I'm so psyched you are back to training. Can't wait to read some new race reports from you. And every time you write about Texas, I get a little homesick.

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