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, April 14, 2008

Outrageously fabulous weekend.

Happiness is a habit, cultivate it...no, seriously, no joke, truly, I am not repeating it for nothing:) I had a lesson of it full throttle this past week.

You know I am always trying to see the positive and practice happiness. But I am only human, and the lows hit me too. So they did, by last Tuesday I was dipping down, and by Wednesday I hit something that normal docs would label “depression bout”. All I could find negative around – and trust me, I actually have more than a couple of hands full – came on surface, so much so, that sitting at a lab meeting, at 4pm, while presenting my own work to my boss and the lab mates, I got up, excused myself, said “I’ll email the explanation” and walked out…I have a very interesting boss. I think I wrote about him before, he is a nutcase when it comes to science and work ethic, and though I have a gazillion of days with vacation time and sick time accumulated, I always feel guilty taking one (he sets an example of working 24/7 and expects same from us). As much as he doesn’t like us been sick, this is the second time when I honestly told him I need time to re-group – and he was totally understanding.

That said, I took Thursday and Friday off. Thursday was still bad, even though I was saying to myself – and my friend Anna – that I know for sure this is temporary and I will climb out, I allowed myself to absorb into this type of thinking for a touch too long. It didn’t help that my legs started to feel the miles and begun wobble under me on the runs – the morning track repeats and the afternoon Zoo run with Gail and Mike.

I tried to cook healthy (this is dedicated to Devon). I had a couple of nice correspondences, new friendships are forming. But what brought me back – as always – was the Gorge run. Friday early morning I hit the trails of my favorite loop (that I call my Church), and despite the mushy quads, ran pretty well, and enjoyed every moment of sweat, sun, snow and salty tears! A very cleansing experience…

Something tried to set me back again (I got in a small car accident that night), but extended family of Monika’s, as if they sensed the trouble, called me in for a dinner with movie and a sleep-over. What are friends for! Stephen was attending Max’s birthday party on Saturday, and I was to leave to Central Oregon.

Oh, how we, humans, depend on sun and friends!!! Mike and I hit the road early, because my agenda for the last 2 weeks and the next one is to break my body down before tapering for Miwok 100k. Don’t follow me in training, I often go into experiments that are not highly advisable, and drag Lisa and a few more people into it too While I planned to run Rumble very tired, poor Bushwhacker had nothing to do with it, yet complied with the idea getting another 3 hr outing in the Smith Rock park. Common, with temps in 70’s and high sun, why wouldn’t you want it if you’re in the area anyway??

First thing happened – we literarily “ran into” locals Darla and Chris doing long run there. Then we hiked up the crazy climb and settled into throttle across before taking on downhill around Monkey face. We took a trail around and I persuaded Mike to hike up the Scar – a fear for locals that nobody ever ran up – until 3 weeks ago, during Gail and my run with CORK, Eric Scaggs scaled every step of it!!! I mean, not only it is mo-fo steep, it is loose rocks all over! The picture from below The Scar doesn’t do the justice, but if you look behind me from the top, you won’t see the drop – that’s how steep it is.

Anyway, the longer route around and down and around some more was beautiful and with a spring in our steps. Mike carried the camera, so I got shots of myself running! And posing (grin).

Now it was time to eat and hit the sac. We stayed in Redmond, just a half hour drive from Sisters – and it allowed us to practically sleep in. The morning promised a glorious day, warm and sunny yet again…so many friends, so much heart in those local trail runs!

We started shortly after 8am, after announcement that 60k was shortened by a few miles due to snow/ice on higher loop, but we still had the Grunt and beautiful ponderosa pine trees and soft trails (where we didn’t have to go on forest service road, grr). With first steps I realized I feel worse for the wear than I feared I would be, and it took me those 3 first miles of road shuffle to adjust, accept and vow to make the best out of the day, as I watched friends one by one pass me by. Just before 1st AS Glenn is with his camera - left are his 2 photos. Always uplifting to see his smile and his selfless commitment to trail running! After that first AS I ran for a bit with Bret, saw Sarah at couple of places crewing for her hubby Marc and taking pictures, got to hang out at second AS with Krissy, Bronco and Jenn Shelton (who we ran together back 4 years ago at our first Umstead 100 and who shot so high up in her athletic pursuing , it is crazy to think about! It was so great to catch up, as she walked with me for about half a mile! – she dropped due to battling a flu). This is where I got to see front runners coming back at one of the turn-arounds – woohoo, Biener, who promised me a job at one of his shops if I ever decide to move to Bend! Then it was another little stretch where I saw pretty much all of the field coming back from the Grunt, and I stopped and chatted with each and every runner - isn’t it awesome to run on home turf and know everybody and love them all? Made Eric take a picture of me. I had a great time, as I battled for the (what I thought was) DFL position with Carrie (from bend) and Danni - the blogger who made her way to OR. Danni came down with a cold and was slowing down a bit. There were also 3 guys and another one who signed up last for PCT50, and we chatted away as we entered snowy and icy section leading up to the Grunt. I slid there a few times (and fell just before that too, I am getting to be a very clumsy runner, got some pain in my shin and a skin rash on top of the old scars fro OP50), and on the Grunt I got giddy. After that was another nice section I ran with Carrie and Danni, downhill, and I ran, then went with Carrie for a few miles together, and we talked up a storm about life and how we love to live “here and now”, not later. Saw FatBoy here too (just came off 1 loop at Barkley!) and Michelle doing 30k. It was a hoot! As we hit the flat road section, I kind of lost that giddiness and my partner as she pulled away as soon as we turned off the road onto first a short trail, and then a long slow uphill red hot rocky road. That was my only low – no, my body felt fine, my legs were same wobbly, my stomach was perfect, but I kind of felt lonely after all those exciting meetings with friends. I was worried Mike at the finish line (who thought I might surprise myself) would be worried about my time, and that most of the festivities will be over by the time I am done (I figured I’d be done well over 7 hrs). But as I finally arrived at 25M AS and saw Curt, I picked up my mood back. I see a guy ready to drop and sitting down, and I was like: dude, I am walking the course, get your butt off the chair and come with me! It turned out to be Mike, who ran Teton 100 last year (in a great time) and remembered me. He was tired and cranky, and my “pacer” mode kicked in. I suddenly started running. Of course it helped we had lots of Manzanita ridge downhill single track here, and Glenn taking pictures (see another fabulous shot on the right), and the “barn smelling”, but we blasted it! I also scared poor guy with my hollering and screaming at any chance I could come up with - yeah, I love yelling on the run:) Last AS with Darla and Chris was what I needed for the final push. I yelled at Bret sitting there, complained that my “cute ass I picked 5 miles ago” wasn’t talkative, and went on to break 7. Hey, small goals, why not? Mike actually started to talk here! We had a grand time discussing past and future plans and ran most of those 4M as well, to enter a track hand in hand and finishing in 6:45. Not bad for walking the course, don’t you think?

Bushwhacker took a bunch of photos at the finish line banquet – see full spread HERE. I’ll also add pictures from Glenn, Sarah and Eric later as I get them.

We hung out some more time (hot showers, yum, thanks, Sean!) and ate delicious burgers and had delicious talks.

Maura and her “1000 watt smile”

Hot chicks of PNW!

Don’t ask details, they are not for public viewing!

Proves of nasty fall (looks worse today) and heel blister (bloody and under calluses) developed due to too much walking!

Abusing friendship with RD Sean!

It was a fabulously gorgeous weekend, and I am running high, ready to take up on the world. Please do believe – we are only as happy as we allow ourselves to be. Thank you all who helped me to realize it yet again this weekend. Thanks so much, Sean, for putting on the run and been such a great and carring RD and friend! BTW, I got a t-shirt for "1st Russian" (don't you think every race should have this prize? I'd be picking it up right and left!) I also scooped a gift certificate for an appointement wit Mark (dude who is an ART specialist and who started my quest to healing back after the CORK run - oh, yeah, I'll be back to Bend for it, he is good!). Mike B. ran an amazing time of 4:54, Kami Semick won female, Biener placed 3rd, Maura had her competitive guts kicking in and did awesome, so did Linda and Caroline, and all you guys, sorry I was so far behind I don't even know results - great job! I’ll try harder to be DFL (Dead F*ing Last) next race. Until then – another 93 mile week is in the books, and I’ll see you on trails!


Danni said...

Hi Olga! It was so great to see you!!! Despite the fact that my head nearly exploded it was worth the trip. Great job! I didn't realize the woman with the down coat had the flu -- talk about foot in mouth. (I asked her if she was heat training). I'm an idiot. Anyhow, good work and great attitude! And, btw, even though I finished about 20ish minutes after you did, neither of us were very near DFL. There were at least 10 people behind me.

Sarah said...

Didn't I say you looked great? Now I know you looked fabulous because of that happiness running through your veins! : ) Hold on to that feeling! Yeah, I have some pics of you I'll send later....

Thomas said...

Nice report, apart from that foot photo - that freaked me out.

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm envious.

Dmitri said...

Olga, I found a new memoir for you: "Happiness is never decreased by being shared!"
Thanks for awesome recap and pictures!
P.S. Great six-pack, by the way:)))

AnthonyP said...

Looks like another blast. Great weather too ! You look rock solid. So, what's the deal ? You go visit Gentile in sunny Florida....when are you going to head back my way and go for a few Rockies runs with me ? :)

Backofpack said...

It was good seeing you Olga - and even when you were walking you were smiling.

AnthonyP said...

Olga - I'm going to get your e-mail address from Bob and send you all of my info. Next time you are in NY/NJ we can get together and you can meet my 5 and 7 year old monsters ! :)

robtherunner said...

Looks like the trail running life to me. Amazing climb up the rocky trail. I dream of the trails...

Rooster said...

Awesome pics Olga! Great race report and if you want to be DFL it looks like you are going to have work harder ;/

Anonymous said...

olga you saved my bacon this weekend! i can't thank you enough for getting me off my ass.you are truly amazing!! i hope to pay back the favor in the future. take care and see you at bighorn!
michael e.

Journey to a Centum said...

Olga - When I saw you on the trail it looked like you had DFL locked! Sorry it didn't work out.

Thanks for saving my bacon by sharing your S-Caps with me! Fortunatly they had some at the AS and Karen and Herb both shared as well.

I don't usually get blisters but I got a nice one yesterday at the Rumble. I should take a picture and post it.


Jacqueline Florine said...

It can be so hard to beat back the blues when they come to stay. It is wonderful to have the healing presence of friends and your sport to move you into the light of life. You are wonderful to share this not so fun side of the grind of life. As always, I love your reports.

rick said...

Sorry to hear about the lows but glad to hear the trail lifted you back up again. What would we do without trail running. Nice action pics. The "Scar" looks intense, I can only imagine what it's like in person. Anyway good job on a 93 mile week! That's crazy, after all of that to hit that kind of mileage.

Bret said...

Olga, Olga, Olga....Don't you know you are not supposed to pick up guys on the trail??? That is for bars!!!:)

I told you that you would catch me at mile 20 or so, it just happened to be at 29! Boy you were so happy and smiling by then. I told ya you would come around.

Good job taking some time off work. We all need "me" time.

Oh and next time...tie a rope around me so you can drag me to the finish. I was too much of a wuss to keep up with you two. Great finish!

Devon said...

Olga- I feel so honored you posted foodie pictures in honor of me. Looks absolutely delicious!

You are always such a delightful inspiration!

kelly said...

Olga, You continue to inspire me with your great attitude. Your race report was awesome and I just loved your pics. I think I know Carrie from Bend. Ask her next time you see her. Oh, and I have been using Devon's recipe's too. How funny. See you at Miwok!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

yay olga!!

Meghan said...


This blog entry reads like a roller coaster, and I'm sure that living it was like riding an amusement park ride. Wow, what lows and highs! I'm thrilled to hear that you rallied for a fun weekend of running, though. Congrats on gutting out some tough miles on tired legs!

Thinking of you and hoping this week rolls smoothly along!


Matt said...

Nice food pics! Good food makes for good photos, eh? Speaking of food.. perogies at the aid stations! Yummmmmm! I seriously considered filling my pockets with 'em.

Sorry I missed you after the race. See you at the mac!

Anonymous said...

I really look forward to reading your thoughts. They maybe all over the emontional map but always a great read.


Ryan said...

It's been way to long...happy to read things are going well for you. I enjoyed all the stories and photos and ur looking super. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation….keep on enjoying those miles...best wishes for the future.

Catra said...

Love you race report Olga! Sounds like we both had a bout with depression last week.
We made it though.
Love ya girl.
See ya soon.

Donald said...

No way will you ever be DFL.

This was a great report! You and I had the same photo idea. Pretty soon we'll be bust taking each other's pictures at Miwok.

Bob Gentile said...

ho hum another 93 mile week huh--lol

Great Re-Cap Olga, sorry u didn't get ur DFL Goal :-)

Keep up the GOOD Trail Running TImes Chica !! Pics look great and some lovely posing for us bloggers!

CoyoteGirl said...

Yay for great weekends Olga! Glad to see that you're feeling better. Never feel guilty about those mental health days!

I have to bank at least one trail run during the week to keep from falling into the dolldrums myself. The trails really make me feel happier.

saschasdad said...

Awesome report, 1st Place Russian! Thank you so much for making the trip down to Rumble, Olga. Your attendance at the Rumble is something I look forward to every year. And hopefully your great report will encourage others to come out next year. Thanks for all you do for ultrarunning, Olga.

Oh, and you can use my soft belly for a pillow whenever you need it.

JeffO said...

I'm always the last to post these days - I do nearly all my blogging on m tiny iPhone screen anymore. It's hard to log any ass-time!
Sorry to hear about your downer-time. That's worse than my foot. I have low times too, so I guess I feel lucky with just a sore foot.
I must say, woman, you look extremely impressive. I've never seen a DFL looks so good. but of course, you weren't quite DFL then, were you?
Nice race report, and great job picking up guys on the trail! Don't listen to Bret! Mike is a lucky and worthy dude - even if his last name is "anonymous"!

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