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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Calming the mind chatter.

I always say good things come out of everything. Mysterious God's ways (or, in my former Soviet words, just ways by Universal laws). Quite a number of folks contacted after my post on overtraining (along with joe Uhan's original post), some just normal human beings, some even elite and somewhere there. It really doesn't matter what others see us as or what we see ourselves - if the effort between our lives and our training is our max - we get duped, at one point or another, no number of years to be predicted, just happens. Deeper for some, not too bad for others. may be depending where we figure out we're duped...

I had been highly recommended to try The Maffetone Method and The Van Aaken Method. Not that I didn't know about those, in fact I had written a blog post on it, suggested it to others, and probably somewhat used it during my own down times - just not in a very scientific ways. My experience with Heart Rate Monitor was back in 2005/2006, training hard with Scott Jurek and later with Lisa Smith-Batchen - after that I was pretty in tune with my body and was able to figure out paces/heart rates via own breathing, even developed technique what song I should be able to sing or phrase to say to monitor my 135/150/165/175 zones.

I asked Larry to pull out his HRM (mine died a long time ago) and strapped it on. We went for a short 5 mile trail loop, and I was to keep my heart rate under 142 (having used my HRmax as 186 from that time back). And here what was interesting - not in a good kind of way. I could talk in full sentences and having relatively calm breathing, what I would consider being at 135, yet the watch went over 155 easily right away. And as I always tell my own clients and anybody who asks - the definition of being fit is when your HR drops fast to normal withing 30-60 seconds after going up with effort (once you slow down the effort). Well, it would take me longer (2 minutes plus?) to get from 158 to 135 via extremely slow walking, and back up to over 150 as soon as any incline (or, God forbid, hill) comes. I am definitely in some other state but fit...

And it's not the muscles - no weakness detected, I can power-walk same, Stairmaster same, lift same weights same reps same sets with no soreness...it is that state of heart rate not catching up to the task. My fibrillation back in May (?) came to mind. Was it a sign?

So, I am at peace like never before, funny how it sounds. Every other time I was forced to have a break, I was fidgeting and anxious crazy. Now - the constant "train and race" wound down without my doing, and I am brought back to basics. Removed all the history, I want basics, I crave basics. I am exactly where I have to be...

And to be more in-tune and have that mind-body connection, I decided to take a break from Facebook. No, I don't think I am off for another 3.5 years span, and no, FB is not evil and at fault - I am responsible for being addicted to checking in, and I need my space today. Not only not see all talking about latest workouts and races, but to free y'all from awkward feeling of watching me not being the same rah-rah hard-core runner. It was funny to see some folks peel off, some get quiet and not respond to my post about potential over-training syndrome (whatever you think about its legit status), potential no-racing future (may be, may be not). That pause - what do I say? Nobody died, yet it feels like it. It's all good. Really is.

And the interesting part is - so far I haven't missed it. Just like with stopping half-way at Ozark, I am assuming this decision, too, came at the right time. Now I know I can float in and our of social media at will, depending on where my life is. 

Right now my life focus is on me. Why write a blog, you ask? Well, you must be new here. It's my blog, and I sort through my thoughts via writing. I don't have other means to do it, and not at the point to start a new web journal every time my life takes a twist. So, deal with it:) Sometimes I run, sometimes I run a lot and well, sometimes I contemplate on life.

We watched Picasa album yesterday - my God we traveled! And half of it had nothing to do with races, yet included triple the fun! And no, it doesn't mean races are no fun - they very much are. But those trips are priceless and have so much more in memory, it's insane.

I am the healthiest I've ever been in my life. Actually, I've been really healthy, like "99% population should be jealous" healthy, for the last 3 years - my weight is normal, my "diet" (or eating habits) are great (I took up on services of a nutritionist, but as I wrote things down, I was realizing the information is known to me, and utilized too), the food is all good, the exercise routine is exactly where it needs to be - not crazy training for ultras like I did years before (which you should if you have specific goals) but where it is sustainable, healthy mix of everything. Ran a bunch of blood tests - everything checked out A++. No bad stuff at all. Do I have belly fat? Absolutely yes! Do I want it to not be there? In theory. Do I realize it is stupid to have that as a goal? Yup, I sure do, as I know it's either calories restriction or serious HIIT (in our running world translated as track and hill repeats). Neither is what I am going to do in the near future. I'll eat my veggies and chicken and eggs and drink my latte with my honey on Sunday - and eat my chocolate with my girlfriend at work.

All the while wearing HRM and going back to basics. Lots of yoga included.

Life is good. So, so much good. Time to let go...


  1. i'm so excited to read about your continued and upcoming adventures! i do love reinvention... even when it's painful and uncomfortable to do so... i like that there aren't the usual benchmarks and you really have the freedom to explore! GO OLGA!

    Kristin Z

  2. Sounds like you are having a blast nowadays!

  3. I hear optimism in your voice. :) Life IS good.

  4. Two phrases Larry threw out there in our few conversations (as a side note, there is so much time freed up with less running and less facebooking!): "ran its course" and "comfortable in my own skin". Hit the spot, both, in combination. Looking forward what's ahead, without rushing it in.

  5. This made me smile. It sounds like you have a lot of important things figured out, much better than me anyway! Enjoy the running/yoga/whatever you decide to do.

  6. To me there's something about HR training that makes me feel like I am in control of what I'm doing, rather than hoping I'm doing it right. I figure that in the least I know I am not overdoing it, at the expense of not training fast enough....but I'm OK with that. Hope this is the same thing you're feeling...and "when" you get into Hardrock, know that for that run, you are doing the best training you can ;-)

  7. As always, Olga, a very thoughtful post. I think one of the reasons I keep reading your blog, and Julie's, and Ronda's, is that we've all been around about the same amount of time, and have all gone through the ups and downs of the sport - sometimes at the same time! I truly understand everything you are saying and I'm glad you keep on writing.