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

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Facing the fear

or the power of a Club.

I had promised myself to check out and join Red Lizards's workouts, a local running club, a month ago. I heard they allow for people to jump into their runs without registering officially (how many clubs I can be a member of?). But, as I mentioned before, I was scared. I haven't done speed workouts for a good half a year, with with a club - for almost 3 years, ever since I left NYC and my beloved VCTC. I was even thankful last week for the snow blizard that allowed me to postpone this a bit longer. Eventually, there was no hiding anymore. If anything could help me to get back into any kind of form - it was a club workout with a coach, a timer and runners that could push my limits. Yesterday was the day.

I drove over to local YMCA track 15 min before 6 pm. Shaking a bit, I asked who the coach is and if I could join in. He looked at me and through a smile asked: why do you want to do it? The girl next to him responded: because she wants to suffer. And suffer I did...

We started with 2.5M warm up around the track, and the coach - Rick Lovett - jogged with me for a couple of laps, touching base of where I come from, what I run and what my expectations are. I read the proposed workout on their message board and honestly told him I am looking at 8 min/mile pace, so he could point to with whom I could pair up.

The first 2 laps we did strides. Something in respect of accelerating the curves and jogging the straights, what I, when I did do it, did backwards. The workout itself was like that: 3x800m with 400m jog in-between, 3 sets of 3x300m with 100m "float" (no jogging or walking allowed) and 500m jog between sets. Hmm, this one is new.

I went for the first 800m. There was another club on the track, an all women, doing their speedwork, but the track etiquet was followed great. When I looked at the watch, I made it in 3:34. What the heck?! Isn't it the time from my last year? Rick walked over and aksed if he could drag behind for the 400m and next repeat. Oh, my! OK, I knew I blew the workout, I knew I went out too fast like a newbie in school, that the rest of it will be a sufferfest, but I was happy. I can still run same time! I mean, I can't hold it for the whole thing, but I do have same leg turnover somewhere deep inside! As he followed me for the first lap of second 800m, he yelled - your pace is Liz's pace, but she is not here today and it definitely faster than 8 min/mile - as I left him behind. I was running alone the rest of the night. 3:42 and 3:49 were my next intervals, and as I expected, the average if I were smart should have been 3:45. I couldn't wish for a better night.

300m were supposed to be run at the same pace with only marginal slowdown on the recovery 100m. First set went in 1:25 (and I still can't figure out if it's the same speed or not), but the following 2 sets I didn't time myself. I was seriously pooped. I contemplated bagging it after the first set, then after the second...there were only a few people left, either the rest of them was that much fatster or they went home. But before I knew it, I sucked it up and went for the last set. I don't know how fast I was going, my ears ringing, the back of my head and temples heavy and pulsating, all I knew I accelerated every time I saw a cone and made it 3/4 of the track. I only gave out on the last interval, finishing with about 5m before, like it matters:) Last recovery lap and I am done with a total of 8M speedwork for the night...

What a night! I hobbled over to Rick and thanked him. He killed me. He is fun and reminds me of Ken Rolston in looks and personality (may be all coaches made of same dove?). And he is what I need. I was even invited to a dinner! What I couldn't go to:)

There. I'll be back. And, oh, yes, I finished last week with 55 miles total (8M on Sunday), ran 7 on Monday and 4 on Tuesday morning. I am off today to recover and do some yoga and will see if I can manage a tempo run tomorrow. But I am hopeful with the help of others I can get where I wouldn't by myself.

On a separate note, I am working on sponsors, shirts and awards for my PCT race. I got my darling Dirty Girl Xy Weiss to donate a few pairs of gaiters. Tony, dear, is helping tremendously on getting the shirts we need and with design printing. I have all the info to find something (can't spill it yet, surprise) the race didn't give out before. Nuun and Nathan are in a process of seeing how they can participate in sponsorship. We are 1/3 full as of yesterday with a mere 3 weeks open registration, so if you want to run a beautiful trail in majestic place - it's time to click that button! Any ideas of what you would like to see at the race, goody bag, aid stations and post-festivities, are greatly appreciated! I just want to add, we have a saying back in Russia (here I go again with horrible translation): "Don't have a 100 bucks, have a 100 friends". I am one of the luckiest people on Earth in this respect:)


Backofpack said...

I just ordered both Eric and I a pair of Dirty Girl gaiters. Steve loaned Eric some for the race last weekend and they were great. I didn't have any and had to empty my shoe once - the other time I thought I caught a rock it turned out to be a chunk of ice that quickly melted.

It sounds as though you are putting together a great race package! Good job on the track workout too - and on overcoming those fears about the group. Now you'll be adding 100 new friends!

Eudemus said...

Olga, congrats on some great sounding speed work! Almost makes me want to hit the track...almost. Haven't done a track workout in a few years. Haven't done a group workout on the track in about 22 years! I'd be kinda scared to approach it.

Your race sounds awesome. However, I am not making any plans past May right now as I'm planning my first 100K. If I survive Miwok and its still open maybe I'll make a trip up north...

Wes said...

Man, you are a speed demon! I can imagine the feeling after that workout. It's really cool you had some friends to share it with. Your race is coming along nicely. With you involved, I'm sure it will be spectacular.

Thomas said...

That's one tough speed workout. You're in much better shape than you give yourself credit for.

Sarah said...

Great speed workout!

You don't know how excited I already am about PCT! Or maybe you do. : ) I need to bring it down to a simmer and save some fire for later. I think anything you come up with will be awesome! It's such a great race. : )

Jamie said...

Nice job on the track. I'm jealous, as the track I normally have access to is buried under snow. Best of luck with organizing the race. Sounds like it's coming along nicely.

Bob Gentile said...

Great Job Olga on the Speed work and work with that group & coach to monitor and advise you...that's why your a pro, you keep on learning and pushing yourself!! KEEP IT UP !!

Ryan said...

Way to push yourself, speed hurts, but it’s a good hurt! Looks like a great running club, I like there website. Good to hear things are running smoothly for PCT.

WynnMan said...

Hope all is well in the north west! pretty brisk runnin' in the land O' lakes region.

Sounds like the runnin' is going well! keep it up, check out my new ultra race slated for 2008


save me the gristle~

Meghan said...


Great speed workout! I hope by now you are less sore.

The first workouts on a track in a while are often painful, but one's body grows used to that kind of workout quickly. I've found it useful, when getting back into track workouts after a hiatus, to alternate directions around the track, either during workouts or from one workout to another. When not accustomed to the tight turns on the track, IT bands and knee joints are particularly at risk for injury. Plus, you just get stiff and achy from too much banking in one direction, unless you do it all the time. (I come from a track and cross country background and I coach high school cross country.) Good luck if you go back for more!

Also, very cool that you are a race director! Your race looks like lots of fun!


Meghan said...

PS. I forgot to say that I will be at some of the races that are on your schedule. Among those you're doing, I plan to be at Bighorn at the Grand Teton Races (both are close to my home!). Maybe Silver State (working on my work schedule for that one!) I'll be racing shorter distances than you, though!


rick said...

Jealous. Miss track. I did it for the first time ever last year and ended up staying for the whole year. Loved it. I thought it would be boring but I really got a kick out of running with other folks. It fired up the competitive side in me and for the first few workouts I was going to hard, wised up though...thankfully.

Whenever we're out there are other clubs also using the track, sometimes it feels like a school meet. More the merrier. There was an all women's track club that used to practice the same night as us. These women...beautiful, runner type bodies, fast. They made me feel like a little girly man :)

OCRunnerGirl said...

Looks like everything is coming together for PCT! =) That is great! I ordered another pair of gaiters from DirtyGirlGaiters too. They are awesome!
Great workout! I was tired just following along. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

Well I never really believed all that stuff a few posts ago about you being a turtle. Should be encouraging to have some evidence that you aren't.

Looked at the site for the race you are directing. That's a beautiful course. The only thing that would make the site better is a picture of you as race director.

psbowe said...

After reading your post, I suddenly feel so tired! Teehee That's some workout and nicely done there.

btw, thanks for the kind comment and it's nice to be back. I'm also planning on entering a trail run this year too... :)

angie's pink fuzzy said...


robtherunner said...

Trying to catch up, so you're first.

Sounds like a great track workout and I am sure you will intimidate them all. You know you are a high caliber runner, right?

Liv said...

Eeek - just *reading* about that workout makes me tired!

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