If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Monday, May 28, 2018


When the real training begins...

Yes, May is when the stakes got real. With 9 weeks to Go time, it was time to buckle down. Normally, by now, I would have been not able to run any longer, after my "yearly spike of 4-6 weeks of good running" (in the last 5 years, I mean). This year, though...knock on wood, 4 months and going. Who's complaining? But, it also means, if in my prior backpacking training cycles I would simply substitute some runs (shuffles?) with backpack walks, this time...I am not giving up my running! I love it too much! And thus comes a shaky balance, managing a fine line between what needs to be done, what is wanted to be continued, and my health at this stage of my life (I still don't know what prompted the sudden death of running, and with that - no clue what makes it worse or better). Not to mention. Austin entered summer, and my body does not do well in this hot humid hell.

That said, the runs stayed as they were for the previous 3 months: Monday 10, Tuesday 8 on hills, Wednesday easy, Saturday 7 tempo. Friday run turned into steep hill repeats (Beauford Hill road at 18% grade). Thursday was transferred at the end of April into River Place trails (with staircases) as a run, then after 2 weeks, in May - into multiple 2 mile stair-stretch repeats with a backpack. Tuesday's Mt Bonnell's 100 steps repeats got loaded with 35 lbs pack. Still weights workout (with legs getting the brunt of the load, and upper body - just for the "cuteness" of it). Still yoga 1-2 times a week. Still getting my monthly massage with Kat - now needed more than ever. Sunday is off! I am consistently hitting over 40 miles a week, and actually trying to not over-reach. Preservation. The first week  of increased load left me very tired (having a job I do doesn't help). But body adjusted, and so did the mind. Fine-tuning this schedule, as well as adding little things to each workout, continues. Oh, how I miss regimented focused training! A delight in its own right. I draw such a satisfaction from each of my hard workouts - and somehow it feels like all my workouts these days are hard ones. Love it. Larry claims last time he's seen me train this way was for San Diego 100 in 2013. That was my last racing season. I do feel as focused as back then, for sure. Bring it.

On another side of the preparation, I packed all my food - yes, 20 lbs of it. Don't judge, I like to carry most of my fuel from the start and count on not resupplying, but rather adding on (an only if I hit a small store directly on the trail, which are only 4 opportunities here, who knows what they carry and if they'll be open when I pass by). I also pulled out all my clothes to use. It is a normal practice for me to start with a 45 lbs pack - 14 lbs of base weight (irreplaceable items I'll be starting and finishing with), 3 lbs of extra clothes, 3 lbs of "things that will be gone, but not food" (random items, like stove fuel, personal hygiene, medical, etc), 20 lbs of food, 5 lbs of water. No, I am not a minimalist, or ultralight packer, I don't follow trends, I do what works for me. If my free-standing tent is in perfect condition, as well as my sleeping bag and other main items making up the "base weight" - why would I spend hundreds of dollars to "upgrade" to lighter version? Once they get used up - I will replace them one by one as needed.
I also worked up the projected time line and mileage, as well as I could from the maps and the book. I'll be carrying the Atlas (on the right), and copied some pages from the book on the left for the tricky sections.
There was some fun squeezed in. First Wednesday of the month my lovely Marta took a day off work, and since I was in for the second shift, we drove 2 hrs to some little town that bears not one, but 2 caverns. It wasn't the matter of how pretty the cavers were (although they were! and lots of information consumed) - it was the matter of spending 7 hrs talking with a dear friend.
Another Wednesday night the former HCTR (local running club that seized to exist, and which I at some point was not only a big participant in, but even a VP) had a resurrected night together - very few people, but still fun to reconnect. It did feel far, far away and gone, honestly...Larry and I continue with Sunday afternoon dates, and the small things still keep us smiling.

My sister-in-law Stephanie (the one in Denver) gave birth to a Little Princess, and I now have more fun things to knit!
 Reading is stalled - not surprisingly! But, I was gifted 2 books written by my co-worker - yes, she is a real publishing writer! - and while I don't even remember last time I read romance novels, I enjoyed these, not to mention it all happens in a small CO town! Check it out if you like this type of reading.
Even knitting has gotten sideways. In this month's crafts - 2 summer tank tops re-purposing previously used yarns (cotton and silk), working on 2 cashmere shawls (one is very lace-y, a.k.a. so thin, it's a struggle to knit), and pushing to the end of an 8-months long cross-stitching project (granted, I took 5.5 months off this, so I really set a goal to get it over with by the time of the hike).

And, on a personal note - in the middle of this month Larry and I celebrated 10 years anniversary as we, quite literally, ran into each other at the Jemez 50 mile mountain race - which started our romance. This is a number we can be proud of!

Partially to commemorate that, along with hitting official 10 years "dating", and simply checking off that "Texas list of things to do before we leave", we escaped from Austin for an overnight trip to Houston to visit some museums and other pretty places.
First date back on May 29th, 2009
It was a delightful 24 hr span. We treated ourselves to a nice room with a view (dinner, breakfast, and unlimited espresso included), a drink and a cookie for after-dinner, a gym workout at the ungodly hour in the morning (of course, who said traveling is an excuse?!), and beautiful walks around Museum District. I have to say, Museum of Science had impressed us greatly - we spent over 2 hrs there, and could keep on enjoying (especially the mineral collection, and the exhibit of Faberge eggs), but getting tired was not in the cards before another museum - although Fine Arts Museum was a disappointment (comparing to the one in Dallas, and don't even start me with Metropolitan, or, especially, Russian collections!) Overall, it was an amazing trip, totally what we both needed - and absolutely exceeded the expectations on how it all turned out. The only other time I ever have to set a foot in Houston - is for my passport renewal. Photoalbum

Its time to stop this photo-assay of the month. More training to do - 5 weeks before Go Time!

With that - our final year of Texas living count-down has began. Last dreaded summer ahead:) Along with happy feelings and eager anticipation, there are many other thoughts that are rolling in my head about it all. It takes a concerted effort to continue focusing on the now - even if, also, continue to dream big.
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening:
...in our lives, how often are we living in anticipation of what comes next, as if that will finally bring us to some sort of completion or fulfillment?

"Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak". Tal Ben-Shahar, "Happier"
A glimpse at one of my own personal journeys I am vastly enjoying.


Lori said...

Nice! ;-)

Leslie said...

Olga! You are killing it at life, but keeping it real as always. Focusing on the pleasures of day-to-day vs.the fantasies of future goals/dreams is always challenging isn't it? Sometimes, I need to step back and re-focus on the Now. Fortunately, your Now is coming soon!! Whoop! Whoop! Colorado Trail. It will be an awesome ass-kicking adventure. I know this, as I did it last summer! And got my ass-kicked. In the Best kind of way. Have fun out there, it's going to be Awesome!!

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