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

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In a long run...

Friday we had 105F during a day. What it meant was a very uncomfortable night – our house is not air-conditioned. Basically, I tossed and turned all night in a paddle of own sweat, and finally got up at 4:30 am for my long run.

My friend David got stuck for work in LA and offered to do a run on Sunday, but I tend to stick with my plan – just in case something else comes up and I would have to forgo long run completely. Gail invited to join a few gals in the Gorge, but they were going out later and it was a longer drive – not what I was looking for. Because of no car shuttle instead of running the length of Wildwood trail in Forest Park (30.2M) I had to opt for an out-and-back option there from the end point (Newberry Rd) to 16M mark (Saltzman Rd) and back.

I started my run at 6 am, and it felt muggy. Little cloud cover should have given me a clue, but I thought it was good. East coast lessons long forgotten, I couldn’t understand why it feels so sticky. Wildwood rolls constantly, and I was taking little short breaks on steeper parts of uphill, remembering that I am not trained to run the whole distance. I wore no watch and didn’t look at mile markers (every 0.25 M has a blue diamond on a tree), but I knew the time and mile feeling and Wildwood well enough to locate myself within half-a-mile error any time. Somewhere in the first hour 2 deer dashed in front of me, and a bit later – 2 little coyotes crossed the trail. They were so adorable, I wanted to adopt them!

I had two 16oz bottles in my hands and two in my pack. Eventually, I will learn that I am a heavy drinker (just as I am a heavy sweater), but been spoiled by either aid stations at the race or numerous creeks in the Columbia river Gorge, I wasn’t thinking. I was trying to stretch the first two bottles for my way out, and noticed rather quickly I am struggling. For quite some time just as I knew I would I battled idea of turning earlier (may be it would be smarter too), but I don’t like to disappoint myself, so I put my head to the ground and promised not to raise it until I reach the fire road at the 16M. And so I didn’t. There were a few people on trails, but fewer than usually one would expect. The day was muggy, and even though I don’t think it reached above 85F before noon, the air was heavy. Pretty soon I was heaving and getting chills from slowly getting dehydrated. I got my other two bottles at the turn-around and downed a big part of one – I hoped it would help me to recover some and move faster.

I think it made me thirstier. I wasn’t trying to spare water anymore; I kept sucking on it and with 10 miles to go was empty, and all streams either dry or shallow to dirt. Head fuzzy and light, a bit staggering and not running straight, I had vivid dreams of water. Of all the lakes in Teton where I didn’t even put my feet into. Of a big jag of cold water that may be someone stashed at the Germantown Rd (6 miles to finish). Of Russian winter and frozen ponds where fishermen drill a hole – I wanted to put my face inside that hole! Just when I remembered encounters I heard about war stories or lost-in-a-desert stories when strugglers drink their pee (no, I wasn’t that bad, but I understood their survival needs), I came across a running stream! I got in, shoes and all, found a rock with water falling over, and first drank 2 full bottles, giardia and all, then poured another two over myself, and filled two to go. I had about 7 miles left, and I knew I am saved.

Last section was run in a perfect mood. I kept drinking, and though soon my stomach reminded me of knots at WS, I could care less this day. In those last few miles my butt and my hamstrings also got so incredibly tight and were screaming so loud – I am sure drivers on a near-by highway heard it. How muggy and sticky the day was? I was dripping wet in an hour and at times thoguth there is a shower - so much water was coming off my shorts. What also lead to horrible chafing everywhere, one I haven't had since my Vermont 100 run.

As I finished, I had never been so tired after a same distance Gorge run. And this proved a fact that I’ve chosen the right path for my next training. I lost my running legs. In the Gorge there are long continuous uphill sections that I hike mostly (however hard and fast – it is still different muscle group) and long downhill parts that I can tear off. Little is left to flat, and changing gate leaves running legs rested. In the Forest park, despite some breaks on steeper climbs, there are too short, and I get more “running miles” per total miles. Indeed, those need to be accustomed to.

Another proof of my loosing running legs was also loosing speed. I kind of knew that, but the night before I dug out my old running logs and looked at the speedwork I did under Coach Ken Rolston’s supervision with VCTC. How I was happy with my 800m times? They turned out to be normal for those days. In fact, there were few faster ones. That was 2003, when our club VCTC participated in Armory track meets in the winter months, when I surprised my teammates, our coach and mostly myself with a 2:57 800m and a 6:20 mile. I remember Ken said – I didn’t know you can run, not only shuffle. It was also a time when I did my first 50k in a midst of those track meets, and pulled 4:47. I had also raced any short distance practically every other weekend – and we know doing this gives you an edge at any race. We have noted Marathon Maniacs as examples – Van and Chuck just a couple recent - the more you race, the better you get. I had speed (relevant to me, of course) back in those days. Can I have some of it back? Hmm, I run trails, it’s more technical, hillier and longer…I want to try. It’s a long haul, and it is a more difficult one than putting miles in the bank, but I am curious.

On a different and a very happy note please head over to Julie Berg web-blog to congratulate this incredible mother and down-to-earth "next door neighbor" for getting a sponsorship from Inov-8!!! Julie is one strong runner and coming, with great 100M times and most recent 116M at a FANS 24hr track race! Yay, Julie, rock on! I believe Scott Dunlap is racing for them, so she joined one fine team out there.

As I keep saying - we all have potential, the deal is to discover it within. Waht are you waiting for? Go out and find it:)

p.s. On Matt's question if I ever wear my buckles - nope. I don't owe a belt and I learned not to talk about ultras at work. But I did wear my first one - just because the company I worked for in NY saw me doing first 5k, first half, first marathon - and then announced me officially crazy. So I came back from Umstead, walked into an office of our BB and said "I won this f* 100". It was very satisfying:)


Sarah said...

I sure has been hot, hasn't it? We did a shorter loop from Birch on Sat at about 7 am. Coming up Alder I thought I was in a sauna! I've never felt it that humid in FP. Good for you for pushing through!

matt said...

i can't believe the temps that you and sarah are getting up in oregon. is that common during your summers? i thought you had weather like rob...now i am confused...or just a little stupid...certainly both :)

Love2Run said...

Crazy run! Glad to hear you didn't have to drink your p and found a nice stream ;-) We've been kinda busy in blogland, sorry :)

Kim said...

It sounds like humidity descended upon you out west! I thought chafing was a normal daily occurrence. Maybe I should move out west. I'm glad you found some water and got re-hydrated.

robtherunner said...

Shame on you for not having enough water in this heat, but glad that you found some extra. You're a speed demon disguised as an ultra runner.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

whew, hot!!! take more water next time, woman :)

sounds like foresthill is a great training ground for JJ. rolling, runnable, etc. are you planning on some more speedwork?

stephruns said...

i feel your pain :-( i also noticed that i need water more than other runners - it can be a problem sometimes. guess a camel backpack would be good to have!

backofpack said...

Wow Olga - thank goodness you found water. I want you to know when I was struggling I kept thinking of you and WS100. I kept wondering how you do it!

Thomas said...

I can only repeat what others have said - thank goodness you found water! Last year I ran an 18 miler in the heat and ran out of water at mile 12. I thought I would easily manage the 6 miles home, but 3 miles later I had to knock on someone's door and beg for a glass of water. If I had been on a trail like yours, I would have been in real trouble.

Feminist Runner said...

I love the buckle story. All the NYers in my life (which is everyone) declared me crazy after a road 10K. Little do they know what they have in store for them next year.

Jessica Deline said...

Hot hot hot. Is there anywhere in this country where people are not running 100 degree heat these days? geesh.

I love your quote:

"we all have potential, the deal is to discover it within. Waht are you waiting for? Go out and find it:)"

Julie B said...

You are so stubborn!! That's a good trait in an ultra runner. "I'm not looking up until I reach 16M" I had to laugh, I've said the same thing Olga! I hope you don't get sick from that stream, but it would have been worse not to have a stream. Maybe you better wear a camelback on those unsupported solo training runs. I don't like camelbacks though; I used to use them and haven't at all this past year. I hope it cools off for you soon!

Juls said...

I haven't ventured into the world of ultra's (yet). Did *I* type that?! Someday, I might. You are amazing for all that you have accomplished, but I understand why you keep it pretty quiet. Many cannot fathom why the marathon; I would imagine that FEW can understand the ultra. Good run.

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