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, March 05, 2007

Breaking free

Sleep is under-rated. May be if you are Dean Karnazes you can go on 4 hrs of sleep, run from 3 am to 7 am, then send you kids to school after making them breakfast and go to work, where you take breaks by doing push ups and crunches. I am a completely normal human being. So since Oleg is away, I felt that I could actually wake up AFTER the sun is up on at least one day of the weekend and do my run in a daylight.

What meant I woke up on Saturday at 8 am. Holy-molly! It took me a whole hour to mingle around, then I stopped at work for a brief period, and my NEW Montrail Odyssey (remember that old pair from Hagg 50k ? photo courtesy of Tom Riley) hit the trails exactly at 10 am. Because of my late start, I was all alone, single and available, and loving it. I do like to run alone! So I hit Wildwood from Germantown to Newberry as my first out-n-back, and who do I meet not even a mile in but Sean Meissner!

Warning: shameless promotion is following.

Sean Meissner is not only my very great friend, an amazing person and a fantastic ultrarunner of Montrail National Team, he is also a Race Director of Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k & 30k Trail Run.

This is going to be a 4th edition of the race and is held on April 15th in beautiful area of Central Oregon.

From the website:

This is a fun, low-key event on and around the Peterson Ridge hiking and mountain biking trail near Sisters, Oregon. So, bring a great sense of adventure, and you'll enjoy it! To stay true to the low-key vibe of the event, dogs are allowed in the 30k race (Sorry, no dogs in the 60k). Both races will start and finish at the Sisters Middle School. There are two distances in the event: 30k (18.6 miles) and 60k (37.2 miles).

This race is a fundraiser for the Sisters High School Cross Country team. Many of the volunteers will be cross country team members (witnessing what they will be competing in within 10 years). The 60k is part of the Oregon Trail Ultra Series.

The 60k is mostly trail with some dirt road sections. The first third is gentle uphill, middle third is rolling with a few short "grunt" sections, and the final third is gentle downhill, making for a fast finish. Mud is very likely, and snowy sections are possible. The 30k is gentle uphill for the first half, and gentle downhill for the second half. Upon
reaching the ridge, there are beautiful views of many of the Central Oregon Cascades peaks.

Why am I at it? Because with ultras getting the popularity they do lately, his run is half-full too. And you don't want to miss out on it, nu-uh! Did I mention it's dirt cheap? And has cool prizes and great b-b-q and showers at the end? Don't believe me? Ask anybody in OR, they'll tell ya!

Anyway, we spent a good 5 min chatting away. Sean even noticed my new shoes - I guess the tape at the Hagg seeked me certain fame. I've mentioned how I am chugging along to build up some base and may be find a bit of speed lost, how I tell myself that all I have to be for the Team is to look cute in Montrail uniform and shoes and how I am focusing on later goals and consider these slogs just time on my feet. He mentioned about his upcoming races and fun running in a skirt. I spread my idea of having a 100M in OR and got another total supporter and a potential course designer. He said he'd ll be doing Red Lizard's 5M race tomorrow...4 times:) We had good time talking.

He went to finish his "taper" of 11 miles, I continued on. At first it was still grey and misty outside, but eventually the drizzle subsided and clouds gave way to a little sun peeking. I slopped through the mud and enjoyed my flow of thoughts.

Back at the car (after 11M), I put on a brand new Nathan Intensity pack , got another bottle with EFS mixed with Carbo-Pro. By the way, only today I finally looked at the content of my bottles to find out that neither of two has electrolytes, unlike another of my personal favorites Perpetuem from Hammer Nutrition. May be it had something to do with my bonking and sloshing stomach at WS100 last year?

Honestly, I started to feel guilty of my such a late outing, and despite knowing for a fact that my kids had just woken up around noon, I decided to cut the run from 28 to 24 miles (and fill the difference later at night, what I did). I stood in a strong stream of water about a mile from the end of the run to wash off my shoes (I forgot to take change) - cold water was brutal! - and finally made it home after 3 pm.

Before I forget, remember all my whining about no gym access? Didn't Craig in one of his latest posts which I referred to said that we need to "see the options, exercises the options and trust things will work out"? Well, that boxing team Stephen goes to is located in a little West Portland community center. The Center has a little gym. I don't belong to it - in fact, I don't even belong to a neighborhood to belong to a gym. So couple of weeks ago I kind of walked in there and started working out. Nobody kicked me out. I repeated it 3 times a week since then (Stephen's schedule) with a whole 2 hrs to spare. I hope they'll let me stick around, as it is the most convenient time and place for me (not to mention it's free). Who needs big fancy gym, when all we use are dumbbells, leg machines, a bench press and a couple of Elliptical trainers and Treadmills?

Oh, and I came home to one of the most wonderful interviews posted by Lisa Bliss about Jamshid Khajavi. While sometimes many of us struggle to find words to answer why we do what we do, this interview just put it all in writing - and combined whatever any of us said in bits and pieces. Jamshid is an amazing athlete, and he is an amazing person too. Not only he organizes and leads runs for kids, he volunteers for every race he finds and doesn't run, especially in PNW - bet is you can see him either running along you or serving you, and ALWAYS cheerful and encouraging! What I didn't put in reply to Ultra list is that he is also a real gentleman. These days and age and in this part of the world we often forget about gender and become somewhat of a “middle one”. Think what you will, but while I can run like a guy crazy distances and crazy mountains (what may be less than 1% of normal females do), I can spit, snot and pee like a guy and I sure stink like a guy on the run, I don't want to ever forget I am a girl, dirty, sweaty, dizzy, tired, with cuts and bruises - but a girl. And Jamshid never fails to remind me that:)

Sunday went even better. I did wake up early (having a day before gone by in a blurry flash is not something I like) and went to the Gorge to build my climbing and downhill legs with a 12M loop I adore. We actually had SUN on Sunday! There was snow above 2,000 feet elevation, but nothing like that time I did a run last year. And I wasn't wearing shorts either - it was pretty warm, but my knees displayed all the shades of purple from Hagg fall and the scabbing from my miserable chafing of same run wasn't looking too nice as well, so I didn't want to scary occasional hiker. Sliding back on uphill proved to be a challenge, but running in the snow downhill is pure fun! As I passed Devil’s rest and turned to Foxglove trail (the least traveled one in this part of the Gorge), the thoughts of meeting a wild cat popped a couple of times (some of us saw footprints there at one point or another), when I suddenly was startled by a Golden Retriever and his owner appearance right in front of me. Yowser! If I ever do see a cat on a horizon, I am sure I will die long before it will make a decision to come near me from heart attack and will not live to tell you this story:) Soon after I bumped into another guy - 2 men on a rare traveled path, Oregonians must have really missed the sun! After hitting the Angel's rest, I got out my EFS bar and chewed on it while running. Have to say, it is a hard one to chew (thanks to a sponsor for a free box, but it is better after the run, although once you get it down, it digests easily and is delicious). The trail from Angel's rest down to Wahkeena Falls is my most favorite one - it's the softest, the cutest, has dense trees on one side and gorgeous drops on another. And just as I always do when alone, I stopped at the edge and screamed: "Hello, Gorge!!" I swear I heard it answered back to me: "Hi, Olga!!!" On I went, to finish up in great spirits.

I came home, and Alex made me huge breakfast of eggs and bacon while I took the shower (he also vacuumed the house yesterday - isn't he wonderful?). We hit library, shopping and other small chores - and I even worked on our taxes!!!


January - 261M

February - 257M

YTD - 567M

Last week - 74M

The good news: I don't get sore after running long anymore - neither after Hagg, nor past weekend, so I must be gaining my base back. The weird pain behind my right knee is gone, and my left hip hurts much less (is it healing? am I used to it? do I care?)

The bad news: I am not getting any faster or much perkier so far.

The ugly: none, what means - the wonderful: I may forgo my daily runs if needed, but I am not giving up on long runs, they are my soul cleanse and I will die without them. Take me as I am.

I was about to end here, but I went on an easy 6M run this morning and would like to share a couple of more thoughts. Funny how when I go up the incline, I think: oh, may be I should cut it shorter. And when I get to run down, I think: well, may be I’ll make it longer and pick up my pace on the way back. But since the daylight is extending, I hit the trails on the way back, and my pace quickened by itself, as I splashed my road shoes muddy, broke the cobweb with my face and heard the birds waking up. I am such a sucker for a dirt path in the woods!


mtnrunR said...

Great post Olga.

I know you will be pacing at Waldo but it too is filling. 18 on the first day of open registration!!!

Tell Gail to get her registration in fast!!!

Have fun this weekend!

Sarah said...

The mental image I have of you greeting the Gorge and it greeting you back has put a big smile on my face! : )

Jamie said...

Nice! You are racking up some major mileage. Those long runs are the bread and butter, good plan on keeping them!

Bob Gentile said...

OLGA SAID: I stopped at the edge and screamed: "Hello, Gorge!!" I swear I heard it answered back to me: "Hi, Olga!!!" On I went, to finish up in great spirits.

love it!! that about SUMS it all Up :-)sounds like an Awesome run day Olga, well done!

Larry said...

Great post! I can relate to the "sleep is under-rated" comment. Last Saturday, I got up at my usual 4:15am to go do a long run. I was on the trail by 5am, but only made it a few hundred yards when I stopped. From this highest vantage point on the trail, I could see laid out before me the entire route I would run that morning. At that moment, all I could think of is I wanted to sleep more than I wanted to run. I walked back to my car, drove home, and crawled back into bed and didn't wake up until 9am. I went back out later that morning and completed my run, all alone. The trail looked so different in the mid-day light. It was as if I was running on different trails since the shadows were in different places than I'm used to. Hope to see you at Zane Grey.

Kendra Borgrunner said...

Hi Olga! Happy to see you had a happy weekend. I can tell the Gorge is a place one would bond with! And thanks for your post -I know just what you mean about kindred spirits - I feel it when reading your blog. I would love to run together sometime. Thank you for describing your refreshing long runs from the weekend - I enjoy them vicariously!

Love2Run said...

So you 'only' did 24 and not 28? Sheesh, I'm tired already. Maybe that's why there is no pop in your legs. It'll come around soon. Nice work!

Backofpack said...

What a cheerful post! Sounds like a great weekend - except for the taxes part. I am really being a procrastinator about the taxes. Anyway, I'm glad your aches and pains are fading away - I think the spark will come back before you know it. In the meantime, you've found the peace again.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

That Pertersen Ridge Rumble sounds great. I adore Central Oregon. If I could get there I'd do it. Spring is too busy at my house. A husband who coaches baseball eats up so much time! Maybe another year.
Sounds like an exceptional week! I wish I could log all those miles. Again, when my kids are a bit older!
Hope this week is as satisfying.

Mike said...

Hey Olga,
Now how was that SUN yesterday and today!?! I almost forgot what it was like running with that big bright ball in the sky! ;-)

Great post and glad to hear you have your "legs back"! Those are great mileage numbers!

Jack said...

Sounds like a truly awesome run weekend, nothing like a long run to cleanse the soul.

Ruslan said...

Olga Vy Molodets!

Meghan said...


I -think- we're coming out for the Peterson Ridge Rumble. Still trying to work out the scheduling deets, but it's looking like we'll be there!

Nice long run this weekend! I'm totally jealous of your bare-ground training surfaces. The world appears to be thawing here, but it's gonna take time.

Most importantly, I'm glad you felt happy out there!

WynnMan said...

Great to hear all is going well! Steady as she goes!
Looks like you have Chuckanut coming up already (:

Is there a particular race you're peaking for this year?


WynnMan said...

Great to hear all is going well! Steady as she goes!
Looks like you have Chuckanut coming up already (:

Is there a particular race you're peaking for this year?


Lisa B said...

Very nice post, Olga. Your words exude ENERGY! The Falls are gorgeous. Hope to c ya at Chuck.

DawnB said...

You go girl!! what an awesome weekend you had!!! thank you for giving me some nice fueling tips!! but I think I should get my mileage up a bit:) 24 instead of 28 you are my hero!!!

Wes said...

"I am a completely normal human being."

You are an ultra.

"I can spit, snot and pee like a guy and I sure stink like a guy on the run, I don't want to ever forget I am a girl, dirty, sweaty, dizzy, tired, with cuts and bruises - but a girl."

You are an ultra woman.

"I came home, and Alex made me huge breakfast of eggs and bacon while I took the shower (he also vacuumed the house yesterday - isn't he wonderful?)."

You guys have worked so hard. Baby steps, Olga. You are running again, without pain. The speed will come.

rick said...

Me too, me too, a sucker for a dirt path in the woods. Well I'm glad you found a gym, free at that. I on the other hand will probably have to suck it up and rejoin my local YMCA. I need to do some weights myself.

Yeah Carbo Pro doesn't have any salt. Jason told me that when I mentioned I was going to try it out. Speaking of which I am totally out of Carbo Pro. I the new stuff comes before the weekend starts.

maniac hippo said...

So good to see your attitude improving, Olga! And I share your opinion: Sean is the best! and a great friend to all.

I'm hoping to see you blow my doors off at Chuckanut, I'll cheer you the whole way (but don't plan to make it easy for you either.)

See you soon.

Anonymous said...

Glad the gym thing worked out.Love the last paragraph and the picture of the water fall.

~nattie~ said...

olga says:

"I am a completely normal human being."

olga's Stats:

January - 261M
February - 257M
YTD - 567M
Last week - 74M

i absolutely love it how ultrarunners do all these crazy things, yet we still consider ourselves normal. you're awesome, olga! keep on kicking butt!

Caleb said...

Sleep is under-rated...I tried the 12AM-5AM sleep cycle and I was torched after a week of that....Yowzers! Looks like your year of running is off to a great start!! You Rock!!!

Eudemus said...

Nice post Olga and it sounds like your training is really kicking into gear. I have total "mileage envy" :-). I also wish I could get by on less sleep. The bottom line is that I'm just not a morning person and all these people who run at 4-5am just leave me aghast. Perhaps my nocturnal nature will serve me once I start running 100s. Keep up the great work and take care.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Olga, this post put such a smile on my face! You sounds strong and secure, which is good to hear.

Wasatchspeedgoat said...

Hi Olga,

I look forward to meeting you at the Bighorn 100 miler, Karl and I will be at the start! Thanks for all your comments!!

Scott Mason

Kendra Borgrunner said...

Hee hee. Dr. Seuss! That was cute. :)

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