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

Friday, February 05, 2016

If it's not on a Facebook, it didn't happen.

I decided to take a break form a Facebook 3 weeks ago. I deactivated my account, silently (a.k.a. didn't do any type of announcement "I am taking a vacation/lent/whatever"). Part of it was due to my own tiredness and personal feelings and being busy with life yet addicted to logging in "just to see" and sucking time away. Part of it because I noticed my good friend was deactivated, I emailed her asking if she is OK, and yes she was, but needed a said break, so that prompted my "finally, take an action!" step. Speaking of noticing that friend's absence and emailing: there was a number of times I would notice that and reach out to my friends via a more personal means of communication. May be it's because I monitor how many and who I have as friends on my FB profile (at least 70% of people are real friends in my life and mean something to me), or may be because that's the kind of person I am. What brings me to a sad realization: apparently, I am NOT same kind of person to those I consider my friends. Because in 3 weeks nobody noticed I am out (and as a regular poster/"liker"/commentor, you would think...), or at the least nobody cared enough to try and ask me what happened. If I die tomorrow, nobody will even know...

Which is a sad, sad time we live in. Social media had become our single way of communication, had replaced a lot of feelings and desires, and that is that. Yes, there is a real life in a close proximity, like your friends who are also co-workers and those who live near by, but what about all those people I thought we have strong connections with?

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've used my blog to say anything, and Facebook did influence that as well: all immediate short-term ideas get on FB postings, and the reason to write longer is gone, not to mention nobody reads blogs anymore either, Smartphones and quick-glance not allowing for a sit-down and indulging. So I figured might as well put here whatever the hell comes to my mind, as by now I feel safe random readers don't exists.:)

Where do I even begin? After my unsuccessful attempt at Mogollan Monster 100 (or successful in terms of re-evaluation of my life if you will), my running went to zero, yet again. Just like some 2 years prior, when it all started (whatever "IT" is, that adrenal shut-down plaguing a number of folks not willing to talk about it out loud because no explanation/tests/words are possible), I couldn't make it past a couple of miles at 12 min/mile. So, having learned to deal with it emotionally and physically, I turned, yet again, to the gym 5 times a week/Power walk the rest. It worked, in terms of my body weight and my overall fitness staying consistent. Cardio equipment had become my mantra, so did serious weight training (3 days for upper, 2 days for lower). In the first week of December, though, I managed to have a stress fracture in my lumbar vertebra bone (transverse process of L4, with stage 2 herniation). It was painful for a week to the point of cold sweats and silent tears - and I don't give in to pains easily. Despite all that, I never took a day off work (as physical as being a massage therapist is) or stopped going to the gym - I did adjust my workouts, joined spin classes 3 times a week, and wore a back brace. Thank God for an MRI to tell me the real diagnosis, otherwise I would have dismissed it all, called myself a sissy and potentially would have broken off the bone completely!

That said, even the most driven and diligent person gets tired of gym setting. I often complain how un-inspiring the flat streets of my neighborhood are to run on daily comparing to the mountain trails, trails in general, or even streets of some hilly wild town. However, by the end of 2 months being a gym rat I was breaking down mentally and longing for even that. Last week I went "shuffling" my 12 min/mile and made it 3 times for 3-4-5 miles each. This week, though, the Heavens open up. I had 2 runs that brought me to tears - and good tears they were! I ran! It finally felt natural, last time I had a bout of "running" feeling back in July! Wow, I couldn't have been more thankful and happy, taking it all in, praying - and hoping it will stick around. I don't give a damn if I ever run another race, or run another ultra, or go long - all I want is that "natural" feeling of running - and may be once a month surviving something of 2+ hours for my soul.

That is the "Run More Talk Less" update. Now, the life...In October, I turned 46. Good number, I am liking it. We didn't celebrate it, but a week earlier my younger son Stephen had come to visit, and a couple of days later I made pirogies and a few friends showed up to eat them.



In November my old-time running partner and a great friend Gail came to visit me from Oregon, and we made it for a hike on trails - and that was awesome, my first stepping onto the dirt since Arizona trip.


A few days later Larry ran a Tejas Trail race - yes, he did! - a 25k, and did well for the state we are both in (him sort of supporting my not running to some extent, or life interfering, or priorities changing, and training is off the top of the list...), and I hung out with a bunch of old timers.


That day also began my relationship with a new local Trail Running Shop and its owner, and the hats I knit for the running community found home - and a distribution place. Pamela took that task off  y hands, and the batches I make go well in her store or at the races she travels to with the merchandise.

The there was a whirlpool of a traveling week to Russia - with my father battling cancer and my sister taking care of him, I made it a point to have a 3rd visit in the span of 1 year. He is definitely getting weaker and loosing weight, and according to more recent conversations on the phone, the end is near. We were never particularly close (if at all), and parents are supposed to "go" before kids, but still, dealing with the emotions - his, mom's and my beloved sister's - takes out of you. In good news, I signed up my sister Tanya to the local Fitness center, and she's been using it since consistently and having a great time, mental break and increase in health.



 And then there was December. A crazy month with lots of work to make up for the trip, work-through-Christmas times, quiet drive to Enchantment Rock park with Larry on Christmas morning, and a "look, I stayed till 12:03" New Year's eve.



Which brought us to year 2016...A leap year, by Russian superstitious rules it is going to be a bad one - and technically, with impending sudden flight to Russia coming any time now, and some things I can't discuss happening with my children, good things  are the ones I will have to create for myself, and trust me when I say" I am working hard on that.

Speaking of kids, I went to visit them to Portland for 4 days in the 2nd week of January.
Yes, these are my boys. I don't give a shit what you think, and if you know - you know, and if you don't - it means you shouldn't, but even with all that, I love them to death, will never stop telling them that, ever stop being pained by their choices and decisions, and am genuinely happy ever time I get to see them, even if the days/weeks prior those trips the anxiety level goes through the roof.
And I mommy them how I can on those times, and you can see the "thawing" happening in front of your eyes. And despite all the crap, I know - KNOW! - the love me back with all their hearts.

Unfortunately, I can't give them my brain, my wisdom, my drive, my resolve, my will power...but I can give them knowledge that I am here, and any time they need me, I will help them make steps they need to make to a better life. That's all I can give them right now.

And to keep myself sane, I knit. I knit like crazy, exploding, and it's soothing, like a blanket, provides an outlet in creativity, a mind calming effect, and a lot of items for myself, my Larry, and my friends.












And I read. A bunch more since I quit Facebooking:) And back to doing yoga twice a week. And planning new adventures with Larry for the year 2016, the Leap year - and a new backpacking trip for my soul. Trust me, it's going to be awesome.

21 comments:

  1. It's always nice to see a blog post by you pop up in my rss reader. And yea, it wasn't until I saw the post when I realized I haven't seen anything from you in forever. Social media is a bit of an echo chamber.. so much activity, so little real connection. There's an unfortunate aspect of contemporary social media in that it largely replaced blogging. I remember the first time I met you, in Wyoming, I was able to say, "I read your blog!" The long-form writing and photos that blogging provides is largely lost. I miss that.

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    1. Wow, Steve! I do remember that time we've met, and the boy of yours, and your intro to trails and ultras, and your Umstead, and many adventures of yours I followed...And I really like the coining of "echo chamber - so much activity, so little real connection". True that.

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  2. I've had a lot of friends taking breaks from FB lately ... good for you. I think I probably should as well, but I do love it for seeing thoughts/photos/news from friends (even those I've never met in person, like you). Anyway, I missed you!

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    1. I love seeing news as well, especially if they are news-worthy, but more often than not it's a blubber I get myself caught in. Also, way too many nice trail/mountain photos when I got nothing to "post back": me, myself, work, more work, gym. I feel extremely insecure, even if in a real life I am pretty darn happy with how it goes - and what goals I am aiming for with all that "boring stuff". It's the big picture. But it can't be put on a FB. Too deep and complicated:) Missed you too!

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  3. Welcome back, Olga....some of us read our friend's blogs ;-)

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    1. I can always count on you, Steve! Hugs to Deb, how is the Homestead?

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    2. Homestead is going well. The barn was built, finished end of Summer. We now have 2 male goats, one pregnant female, about 35 chickens and a couple of geese. The girl is for milk for yogurt and cheese, the boys are just pets.

      Now sure you knew or not, but Deb had a knee replacement in November, so She's been hobbling around with that...tough recovery, but the long range goal is good. Worst case she can return to hiking, best case is She'll be able to run a 100 (surgeon's words). Our best to Larry!

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    3. Yes, I knew of her knee surgery. She is a tough cookie, she'll be running 100's soon!

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  4. I still read blogs, even though I rarely update mine. :)

    You're looking good!! Sorry we weren't able to connect in January -- would have loved to see you. I wouldn't put too much into whether people notice you're on FB or not. It has a mind of it's own and yeah, if anyone thinks it's real life then they need a real life!

    I was jealous of your Mogollon Monster attempt. I love the Arizona high desert and mountains but that race scares me, as it should. Maybe if I don't get into Cascade Crest or Waldo....

    Looking forward to hearing about your awesome 2016. And thanks for keeping it real!

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    1. Most of MM 100 comes from dealing with dry high heat and serious technicality of the trails. They beat your feet up. Living in PNW and utilizing those prime soft single tracks doesn't give you as mush as a glance into what kind of rock and roots AZ high desert has, even with 3 Zane Grey finishes I forget how bad it is. Recently I lost 2 toenails from still MM "run" (just because I didn't pull them right away, I knew they are goners). But, regardless, it is truly beautiful out there, different then Cascades, but beautiful. You should totally see for yourself:)

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    2. I didn't make a big announcement on Facebook (so did it really happen?) -- but I got into Cascade Crest. So one challenge at a time! :)

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    3. Oh, it's happening, honey! Yeah, it's happening!!!

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  5. Well, I noticed. Good to see your post here. Best to you. ;)

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    1. Thank you. Hope all is well with you and yours!

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  6. Hi Dear Olga! I missed your FB posts so went looking for you and saw you no longer had an account so I found your blog. The photos of you with your boys show such love in your eyes. It's good to read an update from you. Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks, Jul! Glad you are running again!

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  7. Hey, some of us still do read blogs. I even occasionally write them (but not the one that anyone reads). Thanks for sharing the update on your life, Olga. I always appreciate how "real" you are in these posts. I often think about taking a "break" from FB, but I don't really do anything there but read other people's updates and post maybe once a month. There are very few people in my list of friends whom I would consider "true" friends in the sense of really knowing them in person. However, there are a (very) few with whom I do feel some "real" connection and I include you in that group.

    I don't really have the wherewithal to give a full update, but on the running front I am currently nursing an injury that I am hoping is minor as it caused me to miss a 100K, but will hopefully not derail my plans for Ultra Fiord in April. When I attempted MM100 it was in a complete downpour, but I loved the course. I'd love to give it another try, but not if it is hot :-)

    If you and Larry are ever in the Bay Area please hit me up an I'd love to meet up with both of you.

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    1. Hey, Brother! I am glad I made the list. :) I am, really. By the way, somehow, from time to time, I stumble onto your short assays. Keep 'em going. Hope you're holding up ok. By the way, how are you going to survive without Beat beginning April?? ;) And while we're at it, come visit him - in 3 years we'll be neighboring his territory not far away.
      Good luck ridding of the injury!!

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  8. Hi, can I contact you through your email? I've something to share that might interest you.

    Aaron
    aarongrey112 gmail.com

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    1. My email is linked to my profile.

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