If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A weird thing or two

Mr. Bob tagged me with 6 things about myself that’s weird. My first reaction is – I don’t like to be tagged. I don’t like much to read when others are tagged, I consider majority of tagging quite stupid – is it weird? By the way, Bob, I didn’t laugh at the commercial you posted – I don’t laugh at most of them, and I am not sure if it’s weird or cultural differences. Do I want to talk about weird me, especially with 100 people a day by-stopping my blog? I am not weird at all, even though my husband and both my kids openly tell me every day how weird I am. But then again, since I am dealing with yet another injury…and I won’t tell you what’s happening…you know, y’all coming here for inspiration, what I am supposed to say, I am in pain – not very inspiring. Oh, I am not listening to sage advice – who needs this kind of learning experience? Oh, I am well and doing what the doctor ordered – then it’s boring, and why did I complain before? So I’ll leave you in a fog about it for a bit. I had another post brewing for quite some time, I even asked my husband to bring a book from home today so that I can work on it (post) since I made it to work on my own two, and, by the way, I cried – looking over the Willamette river, listening to Arizona dream songs and moving in repetitive motion. What is it about running that gives you such high? The combination of simple steps, the endorphins and adrenalin rush, the fact that I found this love of my life in such a twist of faith suddenly almost 6 years ago, a fear I can loose it just as suddenly, the joy that humans are made for running, the sadness that so many don’t know about it? "You can always tell a Russian, but you can't tell a Russian anything." Mr. Anonymous, I loved it. So true. Although I checked where you come from, it didn’t give me a clue of who you are, yet I still deeply appreciate your genuine interest in my running development. May be you can get a secret email address and shoot me an email? You seem to be a wealth of knowledge about coaching and injuries…

But I digress. Let’s get back to my weirdness. I figured, I can’t be even close to what Doctor Lisa so fabulously and weirdly wrote – and that was good! I don’t think I am extreme, and definitely not unrealistic (I don’t think I am capable of running alongside Nikki Kimball or saving the Universe from HIV, but I can improve my speed/endurance and stumble upon a discovery someone else finds a use for), I am not foolish (I take the world as it is) or extraordinal (I am a wife, a mother and I go to work every day). I am working on limited vocabulary here and don’t use a dictionary, so her post on it helped. What is weird? I came up with 5 things quite easily and got stuck. But after awhile the weird (fantastic? alien? bizarre?) examples flooded again…I’ll spare the most for you.

- I am a complete anti-pack-rat person. For some time I called it “following Feng Shui” when I was a vivid reader of all you can find on a subject (a.k.a. unclutter your surrounding - unclutter your life), but really, I always was. Please, don’t confuse it with been overly clean, I don’t care that much about it. I just don’t like “stuff” I call unnecessary. Don’t listen to this CD – out! Tired of these clothes – donation store. Broke a glass – we still have 4 left, we get by. Old awards and medals – no place to keep (my family doesn’t allow me to display it anyway, even though Oleg has a few good shots of me running that are on the wall). I clean out photo albums once a year – go through and if the picture doesn’t ring to heart, it goes to garbage. I discarded all his letters to me from summer work camps in Siberia back in dating days and from Israel when he went there (and later to US) even though it was so romantic and sweet. I understand letters from others, but own husband? I do keep the poems ever written to me or by me, in a book where I copy good quotes from the books I read – should it go as a separate weird thing?
- I keep two pictures of myself on the fridge – one from when I was 182 lbs and one from when it went to 117 lbs. It doesn’t do me anything as I stay at 135 for the last 3 and half years, ever since I started running seriously, plus or minus 5 lbs, I don’t dwell on one picture's skinny legs and six-pack abs, nor do my fluffy arms on another stop me from reaching for that cheese sandwich, but the pictures stay.
- I am an emotional freak who cries too much. I think 90% of what I feel come out with tears. I cry of joy, of sadness, of tiredness, of happiness, anything at all. I don’t just cry, I expect those around me to understand what is the inner dialog that goes inside me at that particular moment. Words are useless, but I want you not only to know the main “official” reason of my crying, but how I think of it at the moment, what I want in respond (what words, a pet on a shoulder, a hug, to leave me alone, to kick my butt, to hold my hand…). I cry so much and so often, Oleg sometimes wonders how I manage to pee since I don’t drink much either.
- I am highly organized, planned and multitasking, yet it doesn’t take me much for prepping to it. I know of all the races I want to run in the next 5 years, I book all amenities a year in advance, I can’t sit still for a moment doing nothing, I need to combine chores on the go what drives Oleg nuts. I’d be taking Stephen to boxing class and would grab Alex who has an SAT class an hour later so we could stop and get gas, then swing to Sprint store and talk about cell phone options, then quick-visit my girlfriend for 10 minutes, drop Alex off, run do food shopping for the next 2 weeks (and it takes me a whooping 15 minutes including picking, paying and packing), get back to boxing, write a letter while watching my little one fight, bring him home, set a dinner on the stove and drive to retrieve Alex…and half of it wasn’t necessary to have done this day. It just happens. Oh, and I am a real freak with timelines. I had never been late for a date or a meeting (Oleg once won a box of champagne bottles because it’s so common for a girl to be at least a little bit late), I hate wasting time waiting, I expect others to be on time, and that includes airplanes.
- I despise my job even though I am really good at it. That comes along with another weirdness – I am highly unsure of myself in every aspect of my life, even though when you meet be, I seem to be exuding self-confidence (or at least I heard I am). I’d be sitting in a corner in every crowd I show up to until somebody gets to me and starts talking first - and that somebody will be my best friend for doing so. I don’t think I am good at anything, I am just your regular next door neighbor, what is not a bad thing per se, I just get funky when someone mentions I excel in whatever. But back to my job – I hate working with tubes and pipettes for some far-away often unrealistic goals, I understand that it might bring a turn-around to medicine and human society, but I need to see the results of my hard work today, here and now, and so that I can touch it, feel it and hear it, and not see it on some agarose gel or as a PCR curve on a machine. I want to work with people and make small helpful steps towards their well being, weather health-wise, emotion-wise or whatnot.
- I don’t care much for sweet stuff and have to eat a real food after I do put a piece of chocolate in my mouth. I grew up eating fried potatoes and chicken for breakfast, soup for lunch and more potatoes and meat for dinner. I love food, but hate going out for it. What’s the point to pay so much for stuff that is simply an energy resource (yes, I do appreciate tasty food, but more so home-made), and at the place where I can’t relax and talk without either yelling or been paranoid someone will overhear me? I prefer to wear sweat pants and sit on the couch with my feet up, eat with my hands and speak my heart out (and yes, cry too). I don’t like to be proper, and I tell everything that’s on my mind…wait, it could be another weird count! I get in trouble very often because I do so, and sometimes I hurt people’s feelings even if my intention was good, but I very easily apologize as soon as I figure how wrong I am, and I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I could blame it on been from a different culture (many here are so all about “you are wonderful no matter what”, just look at the American Idol as a great example, do those “singers” really think they can sing? And can you see the difference between the ways Paula says “no” and Simon does? Is Simon rude, or is he a wake-up call? Would you rather know there is no way you're cut for one thing so that you can focus on a different thing?) But the again, I had problems back home too…I’d be the “ultimate truth-seeker”. I’d rather help doing things than blabbing, ask me directly what is it I can do for you...but then again, pretty darn often I like when somebody blabs me sweet nice stuff to make me feel better…is it weird or what? I’ve gotten better with maturing and aging; I guess I just keep my mouth shut more and in general became more aware of no need to hit "a hammer on a head". I am very proud to be Russian, and no, I don't think of my nation as "the greatest", we have our share of not-wonderfil sins, but I sure am happy I have a history of real wars behind, much sufferings and beauty and divercity of culture. Most nations can say the same. I am not putting either first or last. I am just glad I am who I am. Hey, where did this come from? Told ya, too many weird things make me type too weirdly much:)

p.s. Am I expected to tag somebody too? And how does it cut with my first paragraph on not liking tagging game and deviations from running/a little life our blogs are about? Hmm, quite frankly my thought process just proved that we as human social beings love "me" talk, so common, guys, get weird with me, otherwise I feel lonely and unsure of myself:) Michelle, Rob, Craig, Angie...first ones on my list of blogs (Rick is taken) are the unfortunate once, but I put no pressure with time or even compliance.


Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

well after reading this I know why you didn't laugh at that FED X commercial... here is why you can't associate with OR even think about people who are like that... BUT that commercial is so funny to me CUZ I seen so much of that nonsense when I was in Upper Management.

WELL anyways YOUR WEIRD--LOLOL in your Fantastic Weird way!! ... that's why I LIKE YOU!!

OLGA Wrote:Please, don’t confuse it with been overly clean, I don’t care that much about it. I just don’t like “stuff” I call unnecessary. Don’t listen to this CD – out ..etc....

NICE Olag please come on over, I try to keep my place lean but can use you for a day to get rid of some more stuff :-)

OLGA Wrote: I am an emotional freak who cries too much.

Ummm Olga, What women doesn't ? all U women cry a lot :-) ...was that wrong to profile you all like that, well ummm sorry I base that on what I have seen ( and I don't think crying is a bad thing just limit it to 2 - 3 times a day :-)

- anyways don't cry about what I just said--LOL

and another ISSUE a lot of people have, an OLGA did a great job of talking about it, is the "Self Confidence" issue!!... (most people have this and that is GOOD to a point because it means you WANT things and TRY and CARE) the ones who act all COCKY and say they ARE soo Confident nothing bothers them are kidding themselves.

We all have confidence issues to deal with... I believe it is our internal gage to keep us in line and NOT get too crazy or carried away but yet pushes us!

GREAT post Olga!!!!

Thank you very much for a peek into your powerful Spirit!! Your Awesome!!


Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous only has to say he has likely been where you are now.

If I had to compare your running to love, then you are in the "lust phase" of running. It helps to compensate for things in your life that aren't quite where you want them to be. Early success makes you recognized and you don't want to lose that either. Do you run for love of it all? Do you run for the psychological aspects of it? Do you run for the notoriety of it?

Establish your relationship with running but be honest about it.

If you want to build a deep and lasting lifetime love for running (and I don't mean as a jogger for health but as strong runner through the years), you need to step back and put down the fundamentals of a solid and durable platform without worrying about which race you want to do well at this week, this month or this year. I'd go so far as saying spend the next 2 years use ultras as training events to hone and hammer yourself. I think you still have too much enthusiasm to throttle back to think about it in this manner. You will need to go through the 'trials of miles and miles of trials' before you wear your ownself down and the picture is clear. It will be a lightbulb moment and you will wish you could have seen it as clearly earlier. I mean, the answer is there, but it could take you years to peel the onion to find the answer.

Think of guys like Hans Dieter...they've got it down to a natural rhythm. How did they do that?

Truth be told, even if you can rein in your natural enthusiasm, you will likely still be on the fringe of injury. Each persons body has some natural weakness. You will need to train the weakness out of yourself.

You can do this. You are smart. Reach inside yourself and grab ahold of your uncommon self and make a plan for life.

Wes said...

Hmmmm. Mr. Anonymous can come by my blog :-) Is that weird? Are we all weird, or just unique. Ya know? I think weird is like dressing up in womens clothes and wearing perfume and high heels, and looking sexy and...um never mind. I think its just what makes us unique! I got taged by Bob too. I think I'll be oh so boring :-)

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my previous post: You in particular won't benefit from conventional coaching. You are a free spirit. I would almost say you need a catalyst but that isn't the right word, you need a "congealant" if that is even a real word. Thus, you would benefit most from being receptive to nudges or ideas from time-to-time.

BTW, you and your husband are doing something very right. You both have your special interests and invest time on them. It is just my personal belief that children should know that it is okay for everyone including their parents to have a separate identity from the family unit. Also, how many families in any country have 2 parents with a focus on fitness? I would say <1% in the USA.

Backofpack said...

Olga, no matter how wierd you are, to know you is to love you. I love the part about tears and pee - that's hysterical! I'll try to get something up tomorrow - I've got to get to the track right now!

Lisa B said...

Hi again sweet Olga.

I enjoyed your WEIRD list. You and I merge and diverge at many points. Unlike you, I am a bit of a pack rate. Like you, I can get emotional... except that I only get emotional in 2 circumstances (yes, Bob, only 2!). The first is when I watch runners cross the finish line of a difficult ultra like with their kids or something, or also, for example, when a dad gives his medal to his beaming-eyed son, or when someone like below-the-knee amputee Dan Jensen finishes Badwater after several attempts. I can't help but sob inside and usually a few tears leak out too. It's one of those happy-sad feelings though, if you know what I mean. Circumstance #2 is - now THIS is WEIRD - I cry during movies when animals get hurt or lost or something bad happens to them. I can also cry when like, for example, a dog saves someone's life. Heck, I remember watching "Air Bud" on the plane just silently sobbing and yet laughing at the WEIRDNESS of my tears at the same time! But, other than those 2 circumstances, I tend to be thick skinned, sometimes too thick.

Unlike you, I am horribly disorganized and am always 5 minutes late, even if I get up 10 minutes earlier.

Like you - and this is one of the things I like most about you - we are both "Simon's" - straightforward and to the point. And yes, it gets me into trouble too. I've tried to tone it down a bit, but it's just the way I am.

Together in WEIRDNESS, we unite!

Unknown said...

I think I learned even more than I already knew about you. I am not sure if any of it really qualifies as that weird though. I enjoyed the read and now I need to get back to school work. Just stopped by to say hi. HI!

Phil said...

Olga, I just love your posts. The raw honesty is so refreshing to read. But I think you must either be related to Tolstoy or it's just built into the Russian psyche to write novella length post; but, keep them coming. Hope that hamstring is feeling better real soon.

WynnMan said...

There is something mystical about running that is so refreshing and addicting, maybe it's because it is so basic and stripped down that it's a reminder of how most people don't live by these motives. The 21'st century is technology/industrial savvy and so much is complex then what it needs to be.

Sarah said...

As someone else said...I love the honesty in your posts. And really, what is weird? You're not weird, you're you. And although our personalities are probably different (I see you as type A, which I'm not), I can relate to some of your "weirdnesses." Especially, the not liking clutter and unsentimentality about certain things.

Anonymous said...

olga, i love you

Anonymous said...

Olga, you can come sit next to me on the injured bench.

You know what? You're not weird-- you're wired! And if energy alone could cure injuries, you'd be healed lickety-split. (And if you ever do find a way to channel your high-octane energy into healing powers or potions, please send some my way; my Achilles tendon could use it).


Anonymous said...

I think you'd be great in a helping profession because you would have the courage to tell people what they really need to hear and the compassion to help them work through their difficulties.

But when you work with people you don't always see the results of your work in the here and now. In fact, sometimes you can't see the contribution you make to their lives at all. And if you do it's often somewhere way down the road.

I have all the letters Pamela sent me while dating. I get them out every once in a while to remember where we started from.

Nothing weird comes to mind at the moment but I'll have a talk with Pamela and will probably have more than enough stuff for a post.

Journey to a Centum said...


You are the official "Den Mother of Ultra Running" You care for all of us and want us to do better. And that is why we all care for you too! Get better and do better my friend!

PS - I'd like to sign up for your clutter management class:-)


Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

PS - I'd like to sign up for your clutter management class:-)




Gretchen said...

Beautiful post Olga. It's good to know I'm not the only "emotional freak" out there crying at everything. I've also really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I too would like to join your clutter management class, and the "running and life" coaching class of Mr. Anonymous.

Jean said...

Olga, that was a thoughtful and beautiful post! Very, very nice..and I wish I had your organizational skills! :)

Kind regards,


Anonymous said...

Wow, another great open and honest post one of my wonderful running idols. I can relate to the minimalist trait and the difficulty in finding immediate gratification in our jobs. It helps me to realize the purpose of my job is to support my family and lifestyle and not an end in itself. I enjoy my job more when I focus on the people aspect of it, the mentoring and supportive side, and less on the self ego and gratification. Hope to see you soon and maybe at CCC. I told Rob I would help him at the Snoqualmie aid station.

aka Moogy said...

hugs for sharing and being YOU!
From someone once called "too emotionally available"...ME