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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's time - the wager is on!

In just a touch over a week, Larry and I will line up at Blackhills 100 in SD. I am excited! I wasn't even planning to run a 100, still wallowing in the midst of my long-lasting foot injury back past December, when WS100 lottery announced (yet again) that Larry didn't get in. Upset, he found Blackhills, that was set up exactly for people like him - dreaming of running this "oldest and golden" 100 and not able to squeeze through the lottery odds. I felt his pain. Having done Western States 3 times (gasp!), and having gotten in on a first try (helps to start ultrarunning before its exploding), and having a good one under belt (with silver buckle to boot), I also fulfilled every role there on top of running: crewing, pacing and spectating (I haven't done official volunteering at WS100, but I can live with that). For me, my personal time there is over and I would love to see others reach for their dreams. But, sometimes the wait gets too long...

So, anyway, Larry picked Blackhills. In its second year and what we've heard of, an all-single track on trail 89, this out-n-back is rumored to be difficult without showing it at first. I've never been to South Dakota, and at first I thought I'd be crewing and pacing. Then I thought: "Hmm, last 3 100 milers Larry stopped at mile 80, and the last he finished was Massanutten, where I ran behind him...at least for half of it:)". May be that should be the plan. And thus I signed up...

It is amazing how there are times you feel like crap and hardly can will your legs to move forward on a run, and then next day the light switch plops and you work hard and enjoy it. That was me - it took me a full week to recover from Pocatello 50, even if I didn't feel sore, energy-wise, dragging my feet on a Sunday HCTR group run I was supposed to lead, and then just like that, next day - I am back to training. Feels awesome. If only I could figure out what's wrong with my back...something happened a week ago on Thursday, after weight lifting in the morning (which I didn't feel anything, but as the day progressed, the left lower side was seizing more and more). It still doesn't feel any better, but it only hurts when I sit, when when I transition from standing to sitting and especially back to standing and trying to put my weight on the left leg (oh, the shooting pain that makes me almost scream!). However, running is just fine, so I won't use any excuses:) I got through a great Bikram class yesterday and thought I healed myself, but not to be...

However, hill repeats on Tuesday went "A+" and some extra, and the run, and there are more hills tonight with Tejas Trails group and mile repeats tomorrow, a moderate jaunt on single-track loop I was shown recently Saturday and another Sunday group run with HCTR...and I am coasting into taper!

Blackhills 100 is an out-n-back single-track. Why do I bring this up? Because it means once the turn-around happens, runners get to see who's in front and behind. It means Larry gets to see how far I am...and according to our friend Chris Russel from San Antonio, there are wagers happening. Something like: "If Olga is 1 hr back, she'll catch. If 2hrs - Larry's got it. If 1-2 hrs - the race is on". That said, put your bets on! And remember, it's all in good fun! Despite the fact I did catch Larry at MMT100, he had dealt with a lack of training due to injury. On any given day he is so much faster than me, like 2 min/mile faster. At the same time, as the distance gets longer, I happen to have more of those slow-twitches and gain on folks with consistency. He may run away from me at 50k by a full hour, and in a 50M by 30-40 min, the longer haul is to settle here. Honestly, I would love for him to hand me my booty! He trained hard for it, and deserves a good run. Mostly, I want him to finish, and in good spirits, with a kick he is capable of.

I haven't looked at the course or elevation profile yet, so can't predict any times at the moment. Vaguely, the idea is sub-28. "Deceivingly hard" and "mini-Zane Grey" is what we heard about this single track with lots of rollings hills and rocky terrain. I'll work on it this weekend and add on my thoughts here before I leave, so all is honest.

It's been busy couple of weeks. The school is over, and Larry took his son for a week on a driving vacation. I was driving my own son back and forth every day in mid-work daily for his activities, and helping Joe P. coaching Tejas Trails group. This Sunday both kids get to go elsewhere (Harrison to his mom, Stephen to an adventure camp), and we'll have 4 days to get ready. I am looking forward to it...

I also finished Scott Jurek's book "Eat and Run". Having known Scott for 8 years, I have to say it's all true and I loved the raw honesty of it. I will always remember how back in February 2003 I had watched a tape "Race for the Soul" about his 3rd victory in WS100, and how he crossed the finish line, took his silly cap off and his shoulder-length wet curly hair fell out as he yelled happy. All I could think back then: he looks like my nephew. Ever since, I had a soft spot for Scott. I met him the following summer at my own first WS100, then a month later at Vermont 100, where we discussed him coaching me. He was in a Grand Slam, and was overwhelmed, so he forgot to email me. I moved to Oregon, and the first race I did (and won) was Capitol Peak 50k in October, where he volunteered. As he offered me salt caps while I was climbing last peak, I snapped and yelled at him how awful he was, just like any other famous dude, for not emailing me. Another volunteer caught it in a poem and sent it to Ultrarunning magazine (see below).

 On the way back off the peak I apologized for the low sugar level in my brain, and at the finish line we made friends. Scott coached me all through 2005, my best year in my "running career" (that was also the year my nephew died...). I will forever be grateful for his guidance and advice and friendly relationship we developed over this and following years. I will tell you why I admire him so much. He walks the talk. He not only wins, he stays there and cheers everyone on from 2nd to last finisher. He volunteers as much as he races. He is sincere and kind. And - he has an amazing work ethics. I've heard all I read in the book before, and yes, he had developed his working attitude since early childhood, and may be that's why I can relate so much. He, of course, without a doubt, possesses and amazing talent, but he also works extremely hard and doesn't shy away from it. There is none of "I just run in the mountains with my hair flopping and no plan attached" many other use. He uses the deep knowledge of the best in the world - and he had achieved what the best did because of it. And helped so many to get there as well - I still use his general ideas for my own and anybody who asks for help training. And lastly what I'd like to say about the book is that while it may sound sometimes like a lot of chest pounding (after all, he did win all of those races he writes about), he comes across (at least to me) as a very tender soul, in search, uncertain, at times lost, but looking, and somewhat fragile. Oh, and yes, there are recipes and the path he took from regular guy to a vegan health-conscious guy (I know a lot of vegans who look like crap and eat whatever as long as it's vegan, Scott, certainly, took it all to extreme). But, you have to admire while he keeps saying it helped him, those who know him also know he would never look down on anybody who eats meat and other products he personally chooses not to. He seems to just want us all be aware of what is good for us, and make own choices. With my son away for the most of the next 2 months, I know I am going to take extra-careful look into what I am eating (even if I cook from scratch every day and in general am very proud of my healthy efforts).


That was long-winded, but I have to say, felt very timely to have read it. Scott will be in Austin next Monday with his book tour, and I hope to catch up if his PR people and the masses of fans allow. Otherwise, I am inspired to dig deep next weekend and do the best the day will have given me at Blackhills 100.

Put your best on:)

26 comments:

  1. Good luck in SD. Coincidentally I am passing through the Black Hills region today on my way to Wyoming.

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  2. Good luck in the 100, Olga...my money is on you catching Larry ;-)

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    1. Don't bet too much...just in case. But if you win, I expect Mojito's in Silverton next summer.

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  3. Have a great race! The river crossings should be better this year. Not super technical with plenty of ATV size trails. You'll easily get sub 28. The weather can be an issue we had a big storm roll through. If you get a storm they usually pass quickly. High humidity too, so bikram is perfect training. We loved South Dakota!

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    1. Thanks, and good luck at Bighorn! I can't say I am a fan of ATV trails, or high humidity...but we all are in the same spot, right?

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  4. Maybe, I should skip the mile 83 a/s, just in case...

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    1. Or wait for me, and like Danni said, hold my hand for the next 17...:)

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  5. Have fun!!! Perhaps you and Larry will finish hand in hand singing a duet?

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    1. I can't sing. If I do, he'll run away...may be it's what I need to do?

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  6. You are amazing, Olga! So cool that you are going to do Blackhills 100 - and so awesome that Larry is going to do it too! I wish I could give him my WS100 entry as things aren't looking good for me. I'm waiting on test results, as I am still having issues with my foot. Life is always complicated :) Have a great race - can't wait to read about it when you get back!

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    1. Wish it were better for you!

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  7. Olga- GOod Luck at Blackhills! Owen and I have the same dynamic as you and Larry. We sometimes have fun wagers as well. We ran the first 75 miles together at Umstead as well....it's great to share such events with a loved one. I can relate to feeling so foul one day and then the next day feeling like everything is moving just right. From zero to hero, right? After my absolutely terrible run today, I hope tomorrow is better! BTW, what do you do when you are recovering for a week? Do you do any excersize or just rest rest rest?

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    1. Alison, I take 2 days off, then go to the gym and lift light weight and do a Stairclimber for 20-30 min easy. Then I kind of jog/walk trails on Wed and have a Bikram class. Thursday I do another weight routine with heavier load and then run in the evening. Friday depends, but by Sat and Sun I'll be running 6-8 miles on trails very easy.
      It IS nice to share same thing with your partner, indeed!

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  8. Olga, Best of luck to you and Larry this weekend! What an exciting summer you are having! I can't wait to hear about it when you get back!! Shannon M

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    1. And the summer just begins with it...I am just trying to run away from Texas!

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  9. Blackhills will be awesome! Best of luck to you and Larry!

    Saw Scott this past Monday for his reading at Powell's. What a great guy. I'm sure you won't have any trouble talking to him. Rumor had it he was on Wildwood the day before and it was true - but darn it we missed him. I remember him passing me at both McKenzie River 2006 & McDonald Forest 2007 (I had taken early start of course) and all the other top guys were intense with race faces on. But there he was bounding down the trail with a big smile --- I guess that is his race face. :-)

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  10. Good luck to you and Larry in South Dakota, Olga! I've never heard of Blackhills 100 but it sounds interesting and I'd love to go to SD someday so I'll keep this one in mind. I am reading "Eat and Run" right now and am so engrossed in the book I can hardly come up for air. :)

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    1. fascinating read, and hits close home.

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  11. Olga, I met Scott for the first time here in Portland and I can tell you he WILL make time for you. Me, I am not a great ultrarunner but he ran with me talking for a few minutes and at his book signing we chatted for a bit and took a picture. (maybe hanging with Amy Sproston might have helped! :)

    Scott is my hero!

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    1. I don't need a picture or a signature. And I don't like masses of people. But this shall do for today, for a brief moment.

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  12. While both of you are my friends, my bet is on you Olga, and for two reasons. First, I know you get stronger on the last 50 as other people start dying. I think you suck energy from those around you. :) The second reason is I hope my prediction fuels Larry to prove me wrong and "hand you your booty"!!! No matter what happens, let's just get 2 Kings through the finish line!

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    1. How about a King and a Queen?

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  13. Your race sounds awesome! I look forward to your report. I had no idea there was a South Dakota 100. I have the Scott Jurek book too but still need to sit down and read it. It looks so good.

    Good luck and have fun this weekend!

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    1. Thanks, girl, hope to have good stories!

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