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

Saturday, June 17, 2006


What’s an ultrarunner do when one can’t run much? Go crazy! Like get a new tattoo, finish up little house projects, weed the whole backyard and the front yard (these poor things forgot they had an owner), move the furniture around the first floor (not to extend planned, but Oleg refused to completely change the meanings of the rooms), have a major clean-up of the house (including bathrooms – yuck!), go through all the paper files and recycle most of them, wash the windows, prepare to paint two rooms upstairs, finish reading a book, deal with a major disaster from IRS (in progress), visit a girlfriends, pack for the race…I am sure I lost a thing or few. Have to admit, my husband loves the released energy that would have been spent running, though laughs that he is not sure what to do with it.

Honestly, the first part of the week my runs were sluggish. Recovering from high miles takes time, and may be I am not supposed to be doing 100s after all and stick with 80-90. But on Wed I pulled my last speed work and a double, on Fri – my last weight session (no legs). I religiously use sauna for heat training (OR went into hibernation instead of summer), and on the second half of today’s run finally woke up from being a “sleeping beauty”. Just in time – I bumped into Mike mid-way back to the car, as I didn’t want to disappoint him before his pacing duty. Mike had a surgery on his hand and was nursing it while pulling a 20 miler – ha! Who is crazier?

Being tired and having a couple of things interrupting our family life blocked the excitement of going for WS this year. I am not thinking of it much and when I do, feel guilty of not thinking enough. Well, life happens, despite the fact that WS100 is my favorite race of all, it’s still only a race and doesn’t make me (though defining a lot of me nevertheless).

On the run today I looked back at my 100M runs and did a little “problem recap”.
4/04 Umstead 100 – diarrhea first 40 miles (but no pain) and acute hip bursitis last 16 miles (Oleg heard every swear word on two languages while pacing me, and I had to get cortisone shot later). 18:46. 1st gal, 3rd overall.
6/04 First WS 100 – entered on 3 week old tibia stress fracture and fresh (not diagnosed before the race yet) metatarsal stress fracture, but not much pain (pills are GOOD!), yet managed to tear a ligament behind the knee for the last 10M and turned into turtle. 25:19. 20th gal, 100th overall.
6/05 Second WS100 – what I call “my perfect race”, despite an explosive diarrhea (water, gas and blood all together) last 20M that caused elimination of calories consumed before that and not allowing replenishing those, not to mention all the stops for bush squatting. Felt strong and healthy. 23:14. 9th gal, don't remember (70-something) overall.
7/05 Vermont 100 – humidity got the best out of me, couldn’t get in any fuel until later in the evening, and the blisters on the balls of my feet were insane (darn fire roads)! That and horrible chafing. Hung in – knew too many people to quit. 23:29. 10th gal (50% of the field dropped).
8/05 Leadville 100 – diarrhea (again) for first 30 miles, then altitude killed my chances – got pulmonary edema going over Hope Pass at 12,000+ twice, no breathing slowed me down to a crawl and I pushed cut offs until sweep pulled me at mile 62. DNF.
9/05 Wasatch 100 – good fist half, but then just lost it mentally. As the “running” got slower, the hypothermia (20F and knocking winds at 9,000 feet) got worse, and Mike saved my ass from falling off trails. Second day was a pure misery of boring survival with a quote “finish today and never come back” (I rethought this and WANT to come back – the course was great, tough and beautiful). 34:04. As far back as I ever plan to be untill I turn 70:)
10/05 San Diego 100 – that was my revenge for the previous two. It took me a lot of mental energy to recoup and start training again, and I set my goals high. Race day went fine, I had a bad patch of some bonk and last 15 miles or so my hip flexor went out of commission, but I had it done with style. 23:08, CR. 1st gal, 7th overall.

So, as you can see, I am yet to have a “no problem” 100M run. Had anybody ever had one? I doubt it. It is such a long way, there is no chance one can go through a full day and that many miles without any trouble. I am un-injured right now (knock on wood) though tight in a few places. I am trained well - if not over-trained. My taper goes by the book. I’ve got two best friends as crew and pacers. I have a carb powder and gels that work for me. I’ve practiced patience and pacing during my races. I’ve gotten used to running with music and loving it. WS never gave me blisters, but stomach issues are almost inevitable. It will be hot in canyons. I know the course like the back of my hand (some changes in the first 30 miles, but I don’t care about first third of the race anyway – I am just slogging along). Will I have problems? I am pretty sure about that. Will I overcome those? I sure hope so, otherwise why start? Can I make a prediction? No and neither am I going to obsess about it. Will I have fun? I better, as it is the best trail ultra party ever existed!

p.s. Race webcast: click here, then go to "Where is my runner", my number is F9 (ha-ha 3 times, but yap, it's my number).


mtnrunR said...

Sorry I missed you today. You were just ahead of me on the trail. I am alomst done. Maybe a 30 minute run on Monday and that is about it. See you down there as I am staying in the same Condo complex as you. I'm in #48.

Nice to feel bounce in the legs again. See you soon.

Anonymous said...

olga, is there anything that can be done to avoid the GI problems during these races? does that only happen in 100s?


angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, you have been one busy woman! what energy :)

nice recaps on your previous 100s

does WS have Internet updates during the race.

Sarah said...

Olga...I think this is the only time I've seen "explosive diarrhea" and "perfect race" to describe the same run. ;) :) You're hardcore!

I'm looking forward to watching the WS100 webcast. Have fun!

robtherunner said...

You deserve that F9 as much as any women does.

Jessica Deline said...

Wow. You are amazing! ANd what a great attitude about getting through a 100 miler. "will I have problems - probably. will I overcome them - I hope so".

Go get em! I'll be tracking you :)

charlesbj68 said...

Olgs...you are ready, go get em!!

Good luck and I will be following the webcast!

Thomas said...

Just reading about your previous 100 milers made me wince in pain. You are beyond amazing. Don't do too many project in the house - you're supposed to save your energy for the race, not for redecorating your entire environment.

Hilda said...

Reading this recap made me dizzy... you are just incredible. I wish you've included the dates too.
You should put again next to your name the 100, but like this 7/100:)
You are the strongest woman I ever know!!!!
Thanks for being here Olga!

rick said...

Hey F9, reading the problem recap from the past 100-milers made me woozy. I've never had a no problem 100-miler but then I've only done two previous. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one, for you and me.

Sweet tattoo. What happened to the Snake? I want one on the back of my left calf.

TryAthlete said...

I think that tattoo is very apt. The Chinese character there is the word "neng" - which means "able" or "can". Definitely very symbolic of the ultrarunner!

robtherunner said...

And I thought you were just using the example of getting a new tattoo. It looks good.

Donald said...

Olga, I'm totally excited for you. You'll do great at Western States! You have so much experience and toughness that you'll get through anything.

Kim said...

What kind of tat did you get?
Wasn't that alot of energy expended cleaning the house?!Thanks for the recap of your 100 milers, that was good for a newby to know-that pretty much something will go wrong on a 100 miler and you can still finish!!

Catra said...

Hi Olga-

Nice tattoo!! I was sent into a forced taper. I got a total of 32 new tattoos last week.7 big stars going around each ankle 8 differant size stars on each foot and a heart with flames and wings on each foot. I got tattooed two days last week total of 8 hours.

Oh of course i ran right after he tattooed me on Wed. big mistake my ankles were so big!!! When will i learn!!

See ya,
I need to post a picture of the finished tattoos but they are peeling so they don't look that great!

Julie B said...

Very impressive 100's there, Olga! If I don't get into WS next year to do the Slam, I'm still doing Wasatch. Maybe we could do it together. Sounds tough; but tough is good!

Sarah Elaine said...

You got a tatoo! You are one cool lady... But then again, we already knew that. ;-)

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