I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

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, February 27, 2006

Post-race blues

I think I am figuring my disastrous run causes. OK, the first and most stupid was the fact that I didn't eat enough. I am somewhat better in a 50 miler (and first 50 of a 100M). The thing is, I am not a fast runner, and 50k is a bit of on a short distance for me. I go out too speedy (for me, of course, it's all relative) and get so consumed with breathing and working, I forget to swallow extra gel. I did have total of 2 bottles with Pro-Carb and 3 gels, but gels started late, and it might have not been enough for me. The "fat from thighs" didn't come to play due to speed yet again - we all know that fat conversion to energy happens at slow speed, what helps me in a longer/slower runs. Something to pound on.

Second, my compartment. OK, this is inevitable for me. I've had it for years, last year just about this time I was at the point to have surgery, but found John and his Graston technique, and slowly but surely (twice a week for 5 months) we put it to a level it almost wasn't noticeable. I kept going for preventive treatment twice a month afterward, but sue to my job loss and insurance problems stopped. SO this worries me, but not too much, it can be done again.

Hamstring. This is a biggie. I ruined it somehow at Miwok last year (end of April) and it was on and off ever since. Usually it doesn't stop me from running, but it almost always felt as nagging pain. I tried massage, Graston, rest, anti-inflammatory, ice and the whole nine yards - nothing. I changed my gait to smaller steps and worked on stretching/strengthening. Well, may be need more work.

The "pain in a butt" thing. The realization hit me today at the gym. I have very tight piriformis/gluteus medium and when I visit John, he always works on it by employing deep active release technique (simply described as digging his thumbs into my butt muscles, what hurts like hell, but has a weird masochistic pleasure in it). I had done it so many times, including the day before the race, but apparently, because I had missed 2 full months of this treatment, it made my ass sore. Now, reliving the pain at the race, it hit me - it's the same kind of "masochistic" pain at exactly same places! Well, at least this one is easy to avoid.

Now, all in all it doesn't make me much happier for how my race went. Mostly my emotions. Mike says I keep my emotions right on my shoulder and it jumps off any second. I am such a girl! Gee...I am not sure to work on that one. Most of my crying comes not from pain, but from self-doubt and self-punishing. Since it's been developing throughout my life, it's the one that most likely will not get fixed. Unless, of course, I go to a shrink:) what I won't.

Mike Burke ran a superb 4:40, and Tom Riley finished in 5:13 (woo-hoo!). Caroline had her own struggles with asthma triggered by swolloing a bug, and I heard her coughing behind (pour thing, I feel bad, but she still smiled!). The marking of the course was wonderful, even though you'd think there is only one way around the lake - Ronda and Stacey didn't have shortage of chalk and ribbons. People who worked the aid stations were all knowledgable ultrarunners and helped tremendously with words and advice, and the finish line with soup and hot dogs made my day. Love the soup!

Some stuff to think about...and hopefully learn a bit of a lesson.
Thanks to all the nice words. Happy running.
Oh, and on placing. It rarely shows how good or bad anyone is, but how good or bad a day for those around you and who came to this particular race. So I usually judge my time, not place. Though it is nice.


Johnny Lyons said...

Please feel free to take it easy on yourself, at least emotionally. Everyone is always so encouraging for people to push harder and "you can do it"s, that it's sometimes only fuels our own personal judgements and makes us harder on ourselves. Not that encouragement is bad by any means, but often times acceptance is only heard after a failure occurs. I want you to know that I accept you now, even if you don't "live up to your potential" and choose to take it easy on yourself sometimes.

Hilda said...

Sounds like enjoying for you means being and doing your best, but I don't think you could reach it stressing yourself on that way.
Give your mind some rest and don't be sad, you are so big!!!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

it's good that you can review it and figure it out. hopefully you'll feel emotionally better soon.

robtherunner said...

Olga, Olga, Olga. If it makes you feel any better, have I told you lately that I am fat and slow?

Anonymous said...

Olga, we are always learning. I have heard it said by many experienced ultra runners, that's so easy to overlook the 50K distance for someone that has run 100's and 100K...however, we always must remember,..it is 31 miles of running and that just plain a long ways to run on any day, for anybody..throw in injuries..wow!
You're a great runner, don't forget that, you'll draw upon the some of this experiences of this day..in another day when it's more important. Take care,

psbowe said...

Nonetheless, you're a hero to many out there like myself!

backofpack said...

Olga, you definitely had a bad day. You've had them before and you'll have them again, and you'll hate it each time. You finished the race, assessed it, looked at possible changes as a result, and now you move on to the next one. You are amazing!

Donald said...

God, those hamstring injuries can be absolute buggers...even when you think you're over them they sneak up and grab you again. I can sympathize with you there.

But, as the others said, don't beat yourself up too much about the race.

Sarah Elaine said...

I admire the fact that you can talk about your injuries and human-ness as openly as you do about running itself.

You are an amazing woman - bad day or no.

Anonymous said...

That's a great explanation on the difference of running for place and running for your personal time. Never thought of it that way.

As for self doubt and punishing yourself, I'm with Johnny Lyons.

Thomas said...

How can someone have such a bad day and still run such a great race? I know you go by time not place, but finishing third is a great achievement, no matter how much you deny it.

You might have made some mistakes, but I'm sure you will learn from them.

Lora said...

Life is a journey...the "journey" you took to get you to this race is what really matters. The fun you had, the people you were with, the support you had. Soak that in.

You won't be remembered by how you did in a race, but by how you treated the people around you, how you made em smile. I'll just bet you have a sparkle in your eyes to have so many so interested!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Olga,

I saw your mention about Active Release. Is John a certified Active Release provider? I have had so much success with ART that I can honestly say that it has changed my life and added years to my active life. When driving in the car does that "butt muscle" just throb away after a while? Mine did. If John is not certified, I encourage you to find a provider that is certified in Upper, Lower, Spine and Biomechanics. Nothing has helped me the way ART has.

Good luck!!!


Ben, aka BadBen said...


You may have the post-race-blues, but you've done a good job of assessing all of the (known) datapoints surrounding the circumstances of your raceday experience. You are not in denial of your injuries and limitations (like a lot of runners are). This is a GOOD thing. You know what you need to work on and what to do.
Therefore, you should be very happy, and now you can plan the tactics of your next run, and have a glorious success!

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

I'm having a bachelor party for my Russian ultra-buddy Alexander, this Saturday. I've ordered the salted pork fat, and have plenty of vodka and pickles on hand. I'm going with the Hungarian pork fat, (because it has pepper in it), and will have Belvedere (Polish) vodka, because it's Sasha's favorite.

runninturnip said...

I just visited your blog as I am interested in getting into ultra running (trail running already, ~30 mpw)
A nice site, i really like your Neitzsche quote! Hope you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for using my name and "Superb" in the same sentence.
I would say anybody that can share their deep feeling with the world deserves "Superb" label more then me.
I cherish our friendship and trail time.


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