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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moving on, and new partners.

Last weekend, on Saturday night, I had volunteered at one of the Capt'n Karl's night trail races, managed by Tejas Trails. It was a great wrap-up for my 2 weeks of well-deserved rest, which, of course, is rest in our, athletes, twisted mind: I was leading and doing fully Bootcamp workouts twice a week (even on Monday after I arrived), shuffled on neighborhood streets m 2 daily miles for the streak, walked 6M home at 4 pm in the heat from work once a week, and squeezed 2 Bikram classes each week. But running I was not:)

At that night race, Larry ran the 30k version and did an awesome job, despite doing it after 6 hrs of back-breaking work of putting the floors down in my office (the one he hung the doors for the week prior), and I was Master wearing All Hats.

The evening started with me giving a little pep-talk to each of the (separate) starts of 60km, 30km and 10km races. Basically, I wanted them to follow some set of rules, and warned the new runners that I'll be the one with loud voice yelling directions, which I expect to be followed. Yeah, don't mess with Olga!

Then I was sent out to the first (officially unmanned) AS at mile 5 and, well, manned it with one other girl, Lynette, also yielding traffic (different race distances went different ways). I also have to mention that Pedernales Falls race went cup-less for unmanned AS's and limited cups for those 2 that were manned - an admirable act, and all survived (there was a number of 10k runners who didn't carry a bottle, so they either got down under the cooler's spigot, or I gave them ice in hands to suck on).

After an hour and half there, I returned to the Main AS (start/finish) and helped Peter there until midnight.
Around that time, as the shorter distance runners were done, and the 60k ones were almost all on their way to the second loop, I was called by Joe Prusaitis to replace their medical team (which left at that time), and right away was called to a fazed-out guy (air force!) who was pale, cold and not sweating, hardly coherent. The park ranger kept insisting on calling the ambulance, and I kept pushing that idea far away...bringing his memory back to last year's similar case, and our same fight, and my revival of the kid. So, eventually, he backed off, and I got to business, and 30 minutes later dude wasn't throwing up, was warm, talking and walking.

Just as I was about to get back to AS stuff, I was sent out to sweep the course marking of the first section. It was about 1:20 am as I left, and the first mile was very manageable, with streamers clipped on the trees...and then the stakes with signs (arrows and wrong way's) of a square foot began, the glowsticks, more streamers, more signs, PVC poles with tape closing wrong trails...nothing fitting in the pack, carrying those sings in my forearms, ever expanding in numbers, falling out, still jumping to get clipped streamers, can't see my watch, can't drink my water hidden burred under all that...taking 3 wrong turns for some odd reason (I always manage to get lost!)...6 miles took me almost 3 hrs! When I finally hit the road, the AS was wrapped down, and nobody there...so, a responsible gal I am, I began walking on the road still carrying some 30 lbs of al that crap, until a car stopped and gave me a ride. I wish I had a picture, but alas, you have to trust me, my forearms were dead and I had scratch marks.
This is not even a 1/3 of the stakes with signs, but you got the idea what they looked like!

The Moon was beautiful though! I walked with headlamp turned off most of the time!

I drove home and collapsed on a couch at 5:30 am, no shower, for 3 hrs...and the Sunday began with my "other" jobs:)

A gal Amanda was taking interview with me and posted a great recap, word to word, in a newsletter, the part of why I volunteer. Take a look! I think it even sounds Russian:)

Once I caught up on sleep by Monday morning, I was ready and motivated to begin training! And on Tuesday morning the opportunity struck luck to fit in a trail run in the morning - and that was DELICIOUS! Yum! Slow but steady, I was back!

Just in time for the GREAT NEWS! You know how I never talk about any product unless I believe in it. That was one of a few reasons for the last couple of years I raced completely un-attached: no team, no sponsors besides Drymax socks. Even as much as I used to like Sportiva shoes, after my foot injury and their getting away with Fireblades I couldn't vouch for the shoes either.

BUT that did not mean I didn't come across products that I loved using! When I began my no grain/no dairy/no sugar/no legumes journey past October, I questioned what shall I consume while racing now. And while there are many advocates of real food, or baby food, etc., I can't neither carry such large items, no digest them, when racing. And then I read that Kami Semick, having being on a similar eating plan, uses VFuel gels - so I found them, got them, and liked them! This gotten even better when Timmy Olson confirmed while visiting for Bandera run in January, that he does same eating plan - and uses same gels! I was sold, they worked, and I never looked back. The difference is - they don't use fructose, a common additional sugar in other gels, which causes stomach distress. So, armed with my awesome performance at San Diego 100 - and in general a great racing year - I contacted a rep, and was offered to be an Ambassador! Yes on great product and great people!

That was not all. My old-time friend Bob Gentile had disappeared from my horizon for a while, only to show up, suddenly, 2 months ago, and, according to his Facebook posting, he was repping for some endurance stuff BRL Sports. I asked, and he stepped forward with an offer of some free product - Epo-Boost pills (similar to Optigen from First Endurance I had taken before) for pre-race and Endura-Fuel as a recovery drink (many athletes use it as in-race fuel as well). I tried it, got on 3.5 weeks of those pills, used powder for my long runs and hard workouts, as well as 3 packages during SD100 - and become a believer. Hey, placebo or not, when you're aging and not extremely talented, every help helps! :) That said, they, too, offered me similar program as VFuel, ambassadorship, and since those products do not cross-over, there is no conflict of interest - and I am thrilled to represent both of them!

See, good things come when you believe in them (see my post a while back on these products before I even considered in my wildest dreams to contact them!), and when you work hard to be considered.

The good thing is, as not a Sponsored Athlete, I don't have to WIN USA Championships and Big Races...just use it and run strong and happy!

Now, if only Pearl Izumi shoes would step in with their N2's so I can TRULLY get ready for Grindstone 100...hello, anybody?

All in all, life is moving on. Check out my Partner's Page if you get a chance, and see if there is something that spikes you interest.

With that - best of luck to ALL Western States 100 runners this week, and all the other racers as well! Enjoy the fact that you're blessed and able to have such a pass-time!

8 comments:

  1. I looooove VFuel gels -- the only gels I have found that work on my fussy tummy! Good for you!!! :) Erin

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    1. Totally good on tummy! Squeezable, too!

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  2. I have been wanted to try VFuel for awhile now but never took the leap. I will now. Thanks for the nudge. I generally don't have stomach distress but I don't like fructose as an energy source anyway so getting completely away from it would be nice. My concern was the size of the gel? They seem big, your thoughts?

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    1. Ronda, the size is similar to Hammer gel (and smaller than Power gel or Cliff, but larger than Gu). I fit 3 easily in a bottle holder.

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  3. Olga I bought the Vfuel gels a few months ago, based on your recommendation. I've used them faithfully during my training for WS100. I love the energy they provide, and they are easy on the stomach. I have them all packed up in my drop bags and ready to use for WS100 this coming weekend. Thank you so much for recommending them. On a side note, having been on a "cleaned up food plan" since March 1st -- not only have I lost some weight, but this is the first time I have trained for a 100 miler when I have not gotten the swollen gland/sore throat/fatigue issues during the last heavy training weeks. I'm SOLD! Good clean food and no artificial sweeteners seems to be working well. :)

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    1. Susan, I am thrilled for YOU! You are going to ROCK it, run your own race, run your best race! It is going to be hot, be wise, smart, patient - and kick ass!!!

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  4. Olga,
    That's great news. Hubz bought a bunch of VFuel and now that I'm reading that you have had success with them, I will try those next. The Vespa Junior seemed to work perfectly in my 70 mile race, but I'm hoping to find another (less expensive) option.
    Do you take them every 45 min to an hour, like a traditional gel, or how often? Anything else you do in particular? I think eating a couple hardcooked eggs and a little fat before my 70 miler, then NOT taking in any other food until about 2 hours into the race, helped my body get in the fat-as-fuel groove. Wondering if you have had that experience as well or if you just use the VFuel like regular old gels?

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    1. I agree on taking an egg (and I also take half of baked sweet potato and half of avocado) the morning before the race, but I take VFuel gels like regular ones, every 30 min. I tried them every 45 min on a long training run, and it worked great, but in general, I am simply scared to entertain new things when I travel to and pay for the races - so I just stick with things that work.

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