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

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


We have a saying back home: eyes are scared, but arms are doing...it doesn't sound so good in English, but the idea is when you have a dream or a goal, you might be petrified, yet once you start doing things, they eventually fall together...

I am sure I mentioned back when how I came to running. I was doing Martial Arts for a year and was thrown on my back on concrete floor a few times at the competition, what lead to two herniated disks. Months of PT, prescribed pills, spinal cord shot and an offer for a surgery later I joined on a wimp a Bikram yoga studio. I did yoga for some time, but wasn't blessed with good teachers - instructors, yes, but not Teachers. At that particular studio I found it all. When I approached studio owners that I'll be out for a month to have a surgery done, I was told: no, you keep coming, give us 3 months and then see. I did. And before I knew it, the pain in my back got less noticeable (I couldn't sit, stand, and mostly put my shoes on) and then...disappeared. This is when I ran that first 5 k.
Anyway. I was true to My Studio. I kept coming in, and a year later those same owners offered me a position to teach. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. To say I was scared is to say nothing. I declined - how can I teach yoga, no matter how well I can hold a posture?! I don't even speak English, not to mention I have a fear of public speaking and am not officially certified (Bikram has strict standards of 2 months process).
Another year passed by, and I was approached again...they opened a new studio, a smaller version...and I agreed to give it a shot. My first class was a horror in my messed up mind - but a success for the school. I fell in love with it. Coming to class, smiling, sharing my knowledge, encouraging people to push a bit, yet understanding everybody's limits - after all, I wasn't born flexible, I learnt to feel my body and proper form for every posture. It was a gift - a gift that I could feel needed to someone, so many, and I was thankful.
I got certified by YogaFit (an easy 3 day weekend), attended 1 week training with Baron Baptiste and Beryl Birch, then a couple of more retreats and was moved to a main studio. What had started as a 1-2 times a week late night classes turned into part-time job, with often 7 classes a week and more. Job I loved, where I always knew I can make a difference, just like in been in a medical profession...

2 years later we moved to Portland, and I never pursued this idea again. I would talk how much I miss doing it, how much sharing and helping I need for my well being, how much I appreciate yoga for what it's done to me...but you know how it happens, life overwhelms, there was no studios close by, lots of full time working and dealing with kids. I jjst kept dreaming - one day I'll be doing what I truly love. One day...

My friend Gail always knew that. We spent countless hours running and talking, there were no secrets. She kept encouraging seeking. I kept saying "one day". And last week there it was - she told me that one of local ultraruning figures is talking about opening a yoga studio, why won't I contact her?
What do I have to loose after all? I said I have a full time job and an even fuller time family. Training is what goes without saying - she knows it first hand. But I'd like to see if she'd be interested enough to talk...Wow! She was thrilled at the prospect! The studio is not opened yet - what gives me time to think. She has a full time job and kids too, what, like me, she is not leaving (job, not kids), as it is a regular paycheck and a stability plus insurance. But - she is looking for a partner or instructors at the least. And since we know each other and trust one another, we can discuss matters and see for a win-win situation. It is not fitting my head, that "one day" might just gotten a little closer:) Even if nothing happens - nothing at all - what is very much possible, it is still very nice to have the possibility of it to even dream about.

I would have never probably tried actively to find anything had it not been Gail. She is one of the best friends a person can meet on a life path. At times I am almost scared of her - she is so forceful and goal oriented, successful in job and family, highly oriented in integrity and honesty...sometimes I am scared to hear what she says to me...but who else would tell you the truth if not your friend? She never failed to put me on my place, yet she never stopped believing in me. And for that I am eternally thankful.

The rain season is full swing here; it is miserably wet and grey. But my life is brightening up. Alex sent us a good letter, one that brought wonderful feelings and many questions. The house stuff is moving forward non-stop, all preliminary papers signed and dates set. The moving date is December 16th, so I started packing a few boxes here and there. The new mortgage is almost twice higher, so we had to get around the finances (we lived frugal before, now it's more like cheap, but nothing that we can't live without). I had to cancel gym membership - hopefully with stationary bike and a few weights I can get by, as long as I can make myself exercise at home. I finally got on scale and was hit on a head (not surprisingly) with 7 lbs gain, so now I really need to take a hard look at what the heck I am eating. Julie's LeanLife style is great, but too strict, so for now I am just keeping a journal (I tend to eat less when I monitor it) and avoiding white stuff. No candy either:( Stephen and I are going to MotherLand in 10 days, and we can't wait! I am so looking forward to see my sister again, talk a lot, visit Michael's grave, see parents (who knows if I see them again, every time is like that now that they reached 70), helping my sister with house issues, just inhaling the smog of so nasty yet so dear Moscow streets...

One last addition: finally, Van (who I talked about last post) was officially accepted to Montrail team! I pushed her since early this year (silly she wasn't sure she deserves) and emailed our rep Paul. I also recommended Caleb from KS and he is still waiting on that. At the same time Paul asked me to talk Gail into joining the team as well, and after some "excuses" (I am not running well...what do they want from me) she decided on "yes". Another win-win situation! Gail is a director of Forest Park and can get Montrail/Columbia sponsorship for Park's needs, yet she is a great ambassador for the sport and forest services, not to mention it would put her to train without slacking:) Yay for all! After volunteering at the race I got itching again to be back, what is a good thing. I still have passion and drive, and it was great to re-discover it. Now I just have to work hard to get my legs back:)

With that - smile!


Sarah said...

Great news all around!

Keep us posted about the yoga studio. If its even remotely convenient (time and location) for me, I'll be the first to sign up for your class! : ) I've dabbled and took a class years ago and have been wanting to get back into it. But just haven't found the right studio....or have been too lazy to look! : P

Runningdoctor said...

Great post, Olga. I love it when you get so long-winded and thoughtful.

I am one of those stiff runners, who really should be doing yoga for flexibility and core strength. Plus I am getting older. I wish there would be someone catering to athletic type guys who just don't know where to start.

mtnrunR said...

YOGA SCARES ME!!!!!!!!!! I am the most non-flexible people out there. I like pretzels but don't want to end up like one in some yoga class. I would be stuck there for days! Good luck, but heck you don't need it.

backofpack said...

That is so exciting! I'd love to take a yoga class from you. I've never tried it - just a few things I picked up from a book, but never a class or video. I know exactly what you mean about teaching though. I love teaching my Pilates class - one of those things that I enjoy so much that I am doing it as a volunteer. I feel good about how it helps people and how it helps me. Plus, the connections you make with others in a class like that are great. I hope it all works out for you!

robtherunner said...

It all sounds great Olga. Life's path takes us in many directions.

Hilda said...

Happy to hear so many good news in your life!

Good you are feeling so positive about all this :)

Scott Dunlap said...

I love the saying! Thanks for sharing.

And Van TOTALLY deserves to be on the Montrail team. She's a rock star!


rick said...

Yoga...I'll pass, it's the hardest thing I've done and leaves me in a fetal position most of the time. I did Hatha for 4 months at my local Y. So good yet so damned hard and painful. But good for you. I hope the studio takes off and you with it.

Ryan said...

Coming off a well deserved period of rest, you'll be back to your old tricks in no time! That's great news about the yoga!

Smiling back at you = )

Sarah Elaine said...

"Eyes are scared, but arms are doing" - best saying I have heard in a long time.

I did not know about your yogic past! My yoga teacher now is having quite the effect on my views on life. I like how yoga keeps me centered and helps me get stronger, both in body and in spirit.

Rock on, Olga.

Carilyn said...

Hi Olga,

I have followed your blog for a long time. You are quite an inspiration! I am running my first 100 next weekend and I have taken much from your wonderful blog.

I was diagnosed with a herniated disk with nerve impingement this morning, and was so appreciative of your timely post about your experience. As soon as I get back from Dallas, I will start yoga!

Thanks for sharing your life with us!

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