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 14, 2006

What Challenge?

This running thingy is definitely up to something...I ran a great 6-miler on Saturday and 7 on Sunday - I squeezed it right before the storm hit, the one that had over 40 mph winds and left our house with no power overnight. Actually, Sunday was supposed to be our "girls day out", Gail tried to set up ultrarunning pals in Portland area for a run in the Gorge and a spa (at first) or at least a brunch (latest). One by one ladies bailed out...including me. I had so much to do at home, wasn't ready for Gorge climbs, the weather was predicted to be nasty...and I wanted to be home. So there, I ran roads. Nevertheless it felt great.

Until today. I mean, I am a very planning person. I assign myself days of hard work, days of rest, routes (or at least approximate direction). I wanted to get back and build up to trails. I wanted to follow a legitimate plan on after-break training, with 3xweek, then 4xweek, few weeks, then some road hills, and then trails...have no idea where I got that plan in my head from. Because as I did my 2 hrs of cross-training and weight training at the gym (gotta use last 2 months of it to the fullest), worked like a robot non-stop (too much before vacation) and the rain gave way to simply nastiness today on afternoon, the thought of hitting Tryon park sneaked up on me...No, the connection between running and writing is really crazy. I had started to put words into sentences driving in the car to the trailhead...forget that, walking from work to the parking spot. The rush from the trail run anticipation was tingling and tickling. Thankfully, I still kept a change of running clothes - but no i-Pod (whatever!) and no sports-bra (why do I need it again?). Of I went, not even sure how long I am going for. I mean, not long, really, but still. Turn back with 3 miles and make a short loop of 4?

The trees were dark and wet, the trail covered with a huge layer of fallen leaves, and those leaves set firmly on top of any dirt and mud and made a "slosh-squish-slop" sound under my feet. I felt wonderful and ran away, hopping over downed trees and slowing a bit only on 5 wooden bridges and 2 staircases down (too slippery). Breathing was fine, and I hit every hill running - wasn't I supposed to work up to them? By the middle of third mile I felt a bit of a strain to keep pushing and I contemplated turning to the car, but that was a loop I did before WS and before RDL...kind of my own fitness level gauge. So I inhaled more air and moved around the Main trail for an extra mile. In a few minutes all the strain was gone, and I worked, smiling, flying on downhill and pumping arms on the last 0.5 mile uphill. As I was approaching the end, another sentence materialized in my head: and I beat my last time by 2 minutes...whatdayakno...I always said I feel my pace on trails with 6th sense (or is it 7th?), that's why I don't wear a watch on those as opposed to road runs, but rather time myself by the car clock...I beat my last time (pre-RDL) by 2 min! Honest to God! It is still a full 4 minutes behind pre-WS best, but it felt fantastic! After all, breaks are not as scary as they seem to be:) I finished the run as it was getting dark, not "need my flashlight" kind of dark, but "park closes at dusk" type of dark.

Sweet trails...May be I will do a double and come back to Tryon after work again after today's morning easy road run...can't miss on the opportunity of a single dry day...so much for a good plan. OK, may be not, but it's definitely tempting. Why was I afraid to start back on running, tell me again?

Now, Rob had a very interesting idea that I am happily stealing away from him (I think he stole it from somebody else, and I read it in at least 5 blogs by now, but not sure who's). he is going for a 50 day's worth of challenge. Since I read it on Saturday, 50 days (before New Year) ain't happening, so I am just doing "every day challenge" with my own variations.

Daily Challenge:

- 64 oz of water - biggie, but hopefully will get better (not a drinker)
- limit to 2 cups of coffee - should help with water thing. Does tea counts as coffee or water?
- 300 ab reps (stolen from Rob) - it turned out that I only did 200 on my regular routine, so right now after 3 days I am sore
- 1 hr aerobic - not very difficult, between back to running and a stationary bike at home. After all, I better get moving - I can get to 3000 miles by New year, lets keep it as a goal!
- 6 fruits a day - too much, so I'll do 4 and 2 veggies
- no eating after 7 pm anything but that fruit thing

I am hoping these minor adjustments would bring me where I was before-break. When we finally move, Oleg promised to set up a CrossFit training zone at the house - he’s been doing it for about a year and swears by it. So does Catra who was introduced to it by Randy. I am so-o-o looking forward to get closer to looking like this and further away (never is a good word) from looking like that. Oleg can't wait to kick my butt, saying I've been slacking off long enough and just pretended to train:)

We have an addition to the family - on Friday some neighbors were moving out and wanted to leave their 1 yo cat behind. Their kids brought a cat to our house. How can I say "no" to 3 pairs of boys' eyes and a pair of kitten's? Hence Shadaisy, who quickly became Daisy and then transformed into Russian name Dusya (as our previous cat was Tangerine turned Asya). It didn't stop us from the idea of getting a dog as a present to our kids' birthday next month. Oleg had already set up an appointment and we went to see a puppy on Saturday. It is an 8 week old English Setter who's name will be Charlie. He is still at the owner for a surprise after Russia trip, and it was hard to leave this baby there! As often said, pet chooses you - this one ran ahead to me as soon as we entered the house, and licked my face and jumped around. Done deal, papers signed, money paid. Now if we only knew how to train a dog:)

One more thing. I would like to thank everyone who had been following my blog over the last year and who left me comments - online, off-line or in the air. All of them are greatly appreciated! Although I won't lie to you, hearing warm words and encouragements is fantastic, I am a normal human been after all, what is much better is a feeling that my general musings on training, race reports and just life (and not rare when it sucks) could give somebody a boost, or a food for thought. I often start writing a post as a pure commitment to you guys, and while at it, my heart begins to pour out and it becomes natural...just like running.

I hope one day I get to meet all of you! What a great thing it is - life!

p.s. I did make it to Tryon trails for a nice 5 miler - gotta use dry skies of OR, you know! Especially before Russia trip where my aerobic activity will have to be limited to running up and down the stairs in the building my sister lives in. Most liley in 2 outings - 1 hr of that seems to be a torture. May be I'll make it out into disgusting dog poop-covered slushing dirty streets...if someone doesn't beat me up or force a dog to bite at me. And if I have time and will to leave my sister for that long of a stretch. But I'll make sure to get 60 min of something. Rules are rules.


Julie B said...

Congratulations on the two pets that adopted you :)

Jessica Deline said...

Wow what a great update!! Sounds like things are wonderful and you are bouncing right back from you 'Break' :)

Kurt in Boston said...

300 ab reps per day??? I was feeling good about 150 ab reps 3 times per week!

Now with you, and beansprout being halfway through running 100 10K's in 100 days, I feel a challenge coming on...

Sarah said...

I think you really needed that rest because it sounds like you are coming back stronger than ever! : ) Good luck with your challenge. I like the specific goals. Now I'll have to think of some! : )

Wes said...

A normal human being? LOL. You are "ultra"! In more ways than one! We have four dogs. Don't ask me how I ended up this way. They just kept coming and coming. I'm such a sucker for dogs. No cats though. Poor thing would be tormented in a house with four dogs... Your training is awesome. Luv the diet thing. How will you survive on two cups of coffee???

robtherunner said...

I'm not going with the only 2 cups of coffee a day just yet. Maybe after I get done with school, or maybe not. I am not willing to try the no eating after 7 either. It is nice to be able to share ideas with each other in the hopes that one of us gets some kind of benefit out of them.

I'd like to look like your first picture as well, only maybe a little more masculine.

backofpack said...

You sound so happy and optimistic! Who cares if you get a run in while you are with your sister - enjoy every minute of your trip home and run when you get back. You'll be fine!

I want you to know I tried to convine Rob to try a few veggies, but he didn't fall for it. Looks like another solid plan in the works.

Congrats on that little puppy. We spent years in Dog 4H - my biggest tip to you about training is EVERY DAY! 15 minutes every day and you're dog will be wonderful. Having that new puppy to come home to will make it easier to return. Have fun!

Ryan said...

Another great running post...very happy things are on the move for you = ) Enjoy the new friends, maybe you’ll have a new running partner?

Jack said...

I have been looking over the crossfit website this week after reading about it on Catra's and Randy's blog. I have already worked in a few exercises in my weight training workouts. There are so many posibilities, I am really looking forward to expanding this. Good luck on your daily challenge.

jas said...

honey...a lot of teas have more caffeine than coffee.....chose carefully so you can put it in hte right column.....love, jas

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmm, coffee. I wanted to limit my intake also, but just love it too much. I found mixing in some decaf did the trick! Cool about the new cat, I may be getting one after Christmas myself! Happy running!

Anonymous said...

This cross fit thing looks interesting, I am sure a fan of Catra, I don't know how she runs so many 100's in a row. I'm gonna get back into a gym membership today so I may try some of your plan. You are some dedicated runner, a real inspiration. Keep it up, but remember your balance.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

yay for running!

rick said...

There's a new energy to your posts which probably comes from all the renewed love and energy in your running. Breaks are good and I will always remind you of that as I remind the folks here. Reminds me of RDL when you took that 15 minute nap and came back stronger. In two weeks I take mine and your posts will pull me through.

Robb said...

Olga, you're a breath of fresh air. I love your positive post today!

Anonymous said...

I predict the pets will be the greatest challenge you are taking on. One of the most stressful thing Pamela and I have faced in 26 years of marriage has been the decision to have a dog. But then Maggie has a real attitude. I love her but she can be a handful.

Mike said...

Great post Olga- glad to hear things are bouncing right back for you! I figured it wouldn't be too bad with all those miles you have in those legs/heart of yours!;-)
You're right about the rain up here- when it's dry, you gotta take advantage of it. This past Saturday was great(dry)!!

Anonymous said...

you have such a positive attitude i always get that boost you talked about. yeah, life is awesome!

Sarah Elaine said...

I agree... life is a great thing!

Welcome to the world of being a cat owner, too.

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