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, December 25, 2006

Relaxing weekend

Guess what? Training began. This week's schedule called for a 20 min tempo run on Wed, but since I discovered it (schedule) only on Thursday, I decided to go for it Saturday. At same time I needed to check out the nearest track at Jackson middle school. The school is 1.7 hilly miles away - basically all up. What can I say, we live at the bottom of the creek, and Portland is located on hills, so when my voice becomes too whiny, I think of runners in San Francisco and Seattle.
I set out for 2 miles, and, oh, boy, did I fall off the wagon! 8:50 is my LT pace these days? I worked hard, and even with going around all the paddles that's all I could make? I walked a lap after that, and went for a 400m. At least that one was more or less ok, 1:44. The verdict is - I still have some residual speed left in legs, but lacking stamina.
The good part is I will be enjoying my trip home after speed work as much as running from work because it goes mostly down, with 4 small climbs (why didn't they seem to go down on the way out?).

Sunday is prescribed 2-2.5 hrs run on trails. But I woke up (late - ah, joy!) to the sound of rain and decided to wait it out - oh, the joy of been single! No reason to finish a run before everybody is up:) Just before 11 am the steady rain turned into showers, and I was off - but on roads. I studied a map and figured I might explore more of a neighborhood. I took our local road (from which our street tails) and it plunged me all the way down to the Willamette River (quickly turning from a small street into 4 lane parkway without a shoulder and a crazy traffic, especially for a Christmas Eve day). Right along the river there is a paved bike path, flat as a pancake, and I ran it out and back both ways. Through restaurants, marinas, sailing club, condominiums, OPB and other radio stations, and even Spagetti factory (I wondered if I could get fed there:)). At one point I made a wrong decision of jumping over some wired fence and my foot hit the wire, and I fell awkward, and the pain in my injured hamstring shot at me along the whole leg, just the way it did when I tore that hamstring. It took me a few minutes of limping to shake it off, but I was ok later - with a conclusion not to be stupid again. Once I passed the Steel Bridge over the river, the path ended, and I was on some parkway again, with no shoulder - again. I crossed it over and for awhile ran with traffic (yes, I know, bad me) looking for a street which name would ring a bell in my head. I was in uncharted territory and had not a slightest idea where I was. I should have taken map...
I saw a sign pointing to Lewis and Clark Law School, and I remembered that Tryon Park somehow adjusted to this school, so I took the road up...and up. Very soon I was walking amongst huge mansions and palaces with not a single soul around. Quite frankly, I felt scared and lonely. I rather be in a forest all by myself than on that street, overwhelming me with money and success display. I walked for a good 15 min and started shuffling again, still up. Eventually I crested that 1 mile climb and rolled more, and the area changed to having still big, but not as prosperous houses, later getting to normal size living places. I saw a cemetery on the side and remembered it on passing it on my way out on the other side. I even thought - that crematory could be the place my ashes will rest in peace...if I still live around by the time, what is unlikely. I hit an intersection with a road I knew, and soon turned to a familiar zone. The run ended at 2 hrs 10 min, what I'll take as 12 miles due to that hill walk. Who knows, though I mostly kept a good pace.

I don't know how you guys run roads. I don't know how I trained for and ran marathons back in days. I was tight in all the places I could imagine. I swallowed a sandwich with a cup of coffee, poured myself a glass of Irish Cream over ice and soaked in a bathtub, followed by a nap with Charlie...I might like this single living way too much if it continues:)

On the fun part, my girlfriend picked me up on Saturday and we went shopping (for her), then to her place, searching through her closet and talking and laughing. She dropped me home later, and it was quiet - I felt like Stephen should come out of the room any time now. On Sunday after the whole wandering in an area ordeal I took Charlie and we walked 2 miles to our other Russian friend's house for a party - we may not celebrate Christmas, but we'll take any reasoning to get together. We are a family to each other here, and cherish it. The host family have two boys ages 18 and 22, and they are smart and interesting conversationalists! I am not sure one could discuss Hamlet and Dostoevski with many other young men. Oleg and Stephen enjoyed their stay in Seattle with birthday party, Jacuzzi, climbing gym and friends. We met later that evening when they drove in to pick me up, and they even had time to spend at the party.

Monday rolled around and the schedule called for a day off. After 4 hrs wandering around the house I couldn't take my un-awoken body anymore and hopped on a stationary bike for 45 min, while Oleg mounted a weight bench and set up an excercise area in the garage. Stephen and I joined him - and he killed us! With CrossFit inspired weight training for 30 min, all those pull ups, jumps, sudden liftings and weird unusual for my body things I was toast. I could hardly take a shower after that! Especially my forearms were swollen, having never done anything. With Oleg there is not a chance to fake workout, he is some personal trainer! He is off for a run now, and I can relax at the blog:) After he is back - we are going to search for still opened Christmas tree places to buy a Fur Tree for our New Year's celebrations and decorate the house. For tomorrow we plan to go cross-country ski to Mt. Hood area and see new Rocky Balboa movie. Love vacations! Wish Alex were here with us:( Just a bit longer...

Yes, of course, and Merry Christmas!


Runningdoctor said...

Merry Christmas, Olga.

mtnrunR said...

Merry Christmas Olga. I look forward to seeing you soon.
tom riley

Backofpack said...

It sounds like you had a nice couple of days on your own. A little scary getting lost, but you found your way back. I hope your family had a lovely Christmas Day together.

Thomas said...

It seems strange that you would feel totally comfortable on a lonely trail, but scared and lonely in the middle of a posh neighbourhood.

The road running is just something you get used to. And you wear cushioned shoes for it.

Merry Chrustmas, even if you don't celebrate it.

Jamie said...

Merry Christmas Olga! I love runs like that, where they turn into little adventures. They really make it fun. It's so worth it to go down that unfamiliar path or street from time to time for that reason!

And you're right, overall being single absolutely rocks!

Journey to a Centum said...


Do you have any video of your recent fence jumping antics? Hopefully you just losened up a few adhesions in your hammie when you fell.

I enjoy running in new areas however the prospect of getting lost on a long run is always a possiblility. I guess I could always fall back to my Garmin Forerunner if need be. You should have fun over the next few months discovering the many runs that are available from your new home.

I've got to get a training plan together on paper. I guess that will be my task this week to develop a 6 month plan to WS.

Keep moving forward!

Sarah said...

I'm trying to figure out your route. : ) You were all over the place! I used to run the 11 mile loop around the Willamette (Sellwood to Steele bridges) all the time before I discovered the wonders of the trails. Enjoy your time off!

Judi said...

I'm looking forward to the days when I can just head out on a run and see where my feet take me. For now, it's important to be sure they can get me back home! Happy holidays!

Julie B said...

What a great way to spend the day, and a great way to travel around your city. Yes, being single would be nice every now and again, wouldn't it?

Ben, aka BadBen said...

What a nice day! Lost in your own city? Hey, maybe I should come up and show you around Portland, sometime. It sounds like I know the streets of Portland better than you.

Happy trails and happy holidays,
Bad Ben

Love2Run said...

Merry Christmas and New Year's celebrations. You've been very busy getting lost and figuring out your new neighborhood. My finger's are crossed for Alex, good luck!

Susan said...

Here is to a wonderful new year Olga!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

merry christmas and happy new year

sounds like a beautiful few days to yourself

you and oleg are so cute :)

rick said...

Nice pic. The single life with Irish Cream, a bathtub and a dog...more exciting than my single life. What a fit and exercise inspired family you have. Hope the movie was good, I plan to see it, maybe this New Year weekend.

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