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

Friday, January 16, 2009

The review and the preview

Seems that everyone and their brother posted about past year's achievements and next year's goals. I am way overdue. But as I said, I was taking a break. Lets try and compile something today:)

Why today? Well, it started interesting. My older son Alex had been sick all week long - what I had been "watching" by checking on his MySpace page. I didn't call, didn't email. I simply watched. He makes his own choices, who am I to interfere? So I didn't. But - I knew, when and if he needs me, he will let me know. What he did, at 5am this morning. He hasn't slept in 2 nights due to a horrific cough, even with breaking superficial vessels in his throat and producing some bleeding, what finally scared him enough to ask for help. So, at 6am I was driving on the streets of Portland to pick him up from his friend's place where he spends his nights. He looked pretty bad, that's for sure. Mommy to the rescue. I called in my boss, took Alex home, had him showered, fed, given a bunch of medicine and put him to bed. He slept on and off, however much his coughing allowed him. By 2pm he seemed to get better, and also started getting phone calls from his friends. Priorities...he put his clothes back on and after thanking, hugging and "I love you"-ing a few times, left again. The job of a mother...wait, take care, and then let go...

This left me with 2 hrs before Stephen would come home from school, as it was late to go to work anyway. So I dressed up in running clothes and went to Tryon park. A place so close, yet I visit it so rarely lately. My running started picking up a bit, slowly, after that 30M of Purge and Splurge on New Year's eve, too slowly, but I can't complain. I have to make choices too. Choices of what is important to me right now, this moment. And some things shifted over the past year...

Today was 4 years as my nephew Michael died in a car accident. Today was also my 1 year as the divorce was final. My sister sees things as divine all the time - may be that's why Alex came today? To digest that no matter what he does, he has a place and a person who loves him and will take care of him?

Last year was great. It was difficult, it was challenging, but how many people do you know who'd say the year was easy? I have no regrets. I moved out, I trained, I told my son to leave the house, I raced, I started Massage School, I fell in love after deciding it won't ever happen for me again...it was a good year. I visited with friends, many of them, I co-directed a successful PCT 50 miler, and started to bring to life organizing a 100 miler in OR. I met new people, I saw new places. Grand Canyon was a trip that makes my heart warm and fuzzy, even if not completed both ways. I got my Waldo hat. I paced 2 people to their best performances of life. I ran Bighorn 100 all on my own, in a midst of struggles of life, and ran it awesomely well. Still absolutely astonished by this race. Nobody will be able to take it away from me. I trained for about first half of the year, and then mingled for another couple of months. And then got injured - worse than I ever was before. Got stopped on my tracks for a long period of time. Was edgy as we all get when can't run. Thought a lot about what it means to me - be able to get out on trails and move my body in sync with my mind. Realized no matter what, no matter how slow and pathetic - I love it. It was a good feeling.

Downtime also gave me time to think about other things in life. Things that are important - but not running. To assess who my friends are. You know what? Everyone still is:) No matter whether I am racing or sitting home, didn't change me - neither it did anything to the relationships I had. It was heartwarming like no other. It removed the fear. The fear that I have to do something constantly in order to be liked. It doesn't mean that I want to run well any less - but it is for me. At some point. May be not today...

Although today was a good run. Solid. Tryon park has small hills, but sharp, and all the time it's either up or down. I ran it all. I ran every step of my 7 mile route. Sometimes my climb uphill was so silly, I could have outwalked myself in a bliss. But I ran. Or whatever you call my maintaining running step over those surges.

Running is mental. No, really. Of course, some of us are more blessed with speed, and some train harder. But without mental part neither one of us can reach full capacity. I am slowly getting mine back.

Too slowly, of course, to my liking. I ended up with 44 miles last week, and will likely not break 40 for this one, as I have a full day class tomorrow, and catching a plane to Austin on Sunday at 5am. But that's ok. I can allow myself to be patient. I can allow myself to be accepted by myself. Just for this year. This year will be about allowing it be.

I can claim I am extremely busy and extremely emotionally overwhelmed with personal things I don't even want to begin to bother you with. But who isn't? It's not the scale by which we measure it, it's how each of us views those things for themselves. In 2005 I had same scale of challenges - and I ran my best. Running and racing was my focus. Today it's not. Which one is the right one? It doesn't matter right now what anybody thinks. What matters is what I think and believe in.

I am taking 2 night classes at school and a few electives. One class is "Communication and Ethics". While I can certainly benefit from Ethic part of it (who wants to walk in to massage office and hear: "Hi, honey. Drop your clothes and jump on the table."? That is if you are lucky. A couple of close friends got "get nakkid and lay down"), Communication is something I am really looking forward to. I always gravitated to Psychology, not to claim I am much good at it, but I try. Learning to listen better is something that can help in every aspect of my life.

Another class is Kinesiology. Why didn't they let me by-pass it from the start is a mystery, because I am bored out of my mind. Or jump with answers before the class even gets a chance to digest the question. So I talked to instructor and to school adviser, and we'll do some half-way challenge in a couple of months. Fun, fun...at least I know my 7 years in Medical School gave me an awesome foundation I will never forget. Good times, indeed...

Stephen is becoming a fine young man. I wish I didn't have to burden him so much with instilled frugality, but he is thoughtful and helpful as a 13 year old can be. Keeping busy in sports helps him see a clear path too. He definitely doesn't want to take one his brother chooses so far.

Registration for Hundred in the Hood is going full speed, and I haven't even announced it on the ultra-list. As of yesterday we had 25 applications, amazing. The website will be updated a bit next week, please be patient. Also, we are still waiting on a full Permit from Forest Services. We got a "nod" after the presentation and a "It won't have any problem" from their rep (while our request for PCT 50k on a different date was tuned down right away), so we consider it a "go". However, until I have a Paper Permit in my hands (and who knows how long bureaucracy will take on it) I will NOT release an email to the List and will not activate online registration. That said, I do encourage you to apply if you are so inclined, because, worst case scenario, we will return a full fee in refund since it's our doing. But we are totally optimistic. It will be great. I promise:)

Pier Park 6hr, however, is slow in getting runners, and so far we are in a ditch with money. Fees we payed are far outstanding fees we have from registrations. And that's even before food and drinks and race day stuff. We still have 3 weeks, lets hope somebody will want to run around for a bit of a long run.

I did a long run too. Last weekend I spent 17.5M on Wildwood. First half I shared with my trusted partner and best friend Gail. Second half Mike met with me and "brought me home". I never slowed down. Now, I was slow the whole way, but I never slowed down. That was a good sign. I also never felt bad and didn't hurt afterwards. So, somewhere deep down my body still remembers:)

I did get hurt at the gym on Monday though. What the hell did I do different? Besides last crazy month I missed my workouts for various reasons, I went there the whole time I was injured? But, never mind, it is gone and over now.

So, what about the Preview? I don't know what to tell you. I am registered for Hagg lake 50k, and I am doing an early start. This will be my first, and I surely hope my last for at least I reach another decade or two. But, honestly, this is where I am now. And I am ok with that. I had sent my application for Hardrock lottery, and now it's in the hands of Sister Luck. If I get in - it will surely spur me on into training seriously, as right now this is the only event I can think of that I want to do so badly, I will adapt all my daily schedules to get ready to at least finish. Finish before second sunset would be even better. If I am not on the lucky side - I have no clue. Nothing strikes my fancy enough to dream about it, so, comes February 2nd, send me your ideas. I plan to return to Zane Grey 50 in April to see Angie, have Larry defend demons of this course and simply enjoy it. I love this race. In May there is a new Pocatello 50 miler that seems like it will kick my butt big time, and we are up for it as well. Other than that - who knows. Lets live today, ok?


Rick Gaston said...

Well you already know, that at least with me, you always have a home and a place here in San Francisco. Last year was't easy for me either and my problems are small compared to what people go through, what you went through, but they are my own and only I could run those paths...yet you were there for me too that one time I needed you. One phone call, you listened, we both felt bad about the situation together and then life went on and it was good to have you by my side.

Save me a spot for Hundred in the Hood and yes I haven't forgotten. I'm still working on those shirt ideas. Maybe you use them, maybe not, it's my gift to you.

When you and your schmoopy (larry) make it to Zane Grey say hello to a friend for me. Her name is PJ, she and her friends took good care of Bob, Tony and I at Javelina. She's good people. I hope to see you and Larry sometime in 2009.

Jeannie said...

Wow!!!! I am going through some major things myself right now, among others biting the bullet and moving to the mountains somehow this year despite a zillion financial issues, but it is amazing how restorative and comforting and healing getting outside on a decent run(it is all relative in terms of distance :>)!!) is!!!!!!!!!!
You go Olga!!!

robtherunner said...

Amen, Olga!

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Beautiful post Olga. It sounds like your injury is all better, and it's just a matter of regaining strength and speed. It will come with time. I wonder sometimes if I will ever get any better (got my own hip problems again- some kind of muscle tightness that I can't seem to stretch out). It's good that you aren't stressing out over your performance and can just enjoy being out there. It truly is a blessing.

Hope to meet up someday.


Thomas said...

If someone has a challenging year like you just had and still can say that it was a great year, then that person gets my respect. You are one tough customer! With that mindset you are on course for a few more great years.

Sarah said...

"I can allow myself to be patient. I can allow myself to be accepted by myself. Just for this year. This year will be about allowing it be."

Did I write those word? lol : ) I think accepting yourself and being kind to yourself, where you are, doesn't mean you're complacent. It's the first step to great accomplishments. And there are many more great things in your future, Olga! : )

CoyoteGirl said...

Yes, let's live today. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring? The last year was rough for me too - lots of life changes, epiphanies, triumphs and disappointments. I'm still learning from it all, digesting it and trying to fashion a new life from it.

I'm wishing that we all can look back at 2009 and say that it was the year when all sorts of good things started.

AnthonyP said...

Like Rick said....you are always welcome on the East coast. In fact, it would be fantastic to see you back on the East coast for a visit some day.

Awesome that the Hundred in the Hood is going so strong. I would love to add that to my schedule, but I'm afraid that I have way too much going on already.

Stuart said...

A strong post from a strong lady!

Here's hoping that 2009 brings everything you want and need!

Bret said...

Why did the FS turn down the 50K PCT so quickly?
Injuries are interesting for us as runners. It really opens your eyes to what is out there besides our running. But it also makes us realize how much we love the feeling of wind in our face. (Slow wind for me!)
Maybe Gail and I should come down and do Zane Grey? See you soon.

JeffO said...

A rough year. It sounds like you're not exactly back to the same-ol' Olga, but instead have gone through a bit of metamorphosis. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. (How can someone so strong get even stronger?)
Life is an ultra. Life is so hard but we can't quit. It's up to us to volunteer to be others' aid stations in life.

See you at Zane.

Carilyn said...

Love the post! Yes, life is always so messy, even when everything is running smoothly. But you never give up, or give in, and that is why we love you. You inspire us all whether you are running or not.


Backofpack said...

Know what I love about you? You've had some real ups and downs since I've known you, but you always, always learn from it and move forward with a smile on your face. You go Olga!

Bret said...

I know you get tons of hits on your blog. I posted the flyer for the Pacific Rim One Day Run on my blog. So if anyone wants a copy it is there. I know sometimes this is a hard entry form to find.

Lori B said...

Hey Olga,

Great post. Hope we both get in Hardrock, they need more ladies out there. It is my hold up in planning the rest of the summer as well. Hope to see in Pocatello for a some climbing, should be a great first year. All the best to you and your family in the new year, find the best in every moment.


Anonymous said...

Challenges are what we runners are all about. Why do it if the finish is easy to get to. Keep your head up and your writing real as it has always been.


Moogy said...

Maybe we'll get a chance to hook up next week? Back from Asia and a trip to Canada for my *Christmas*.
Always an inspiration to me!

Evan said...

I have read your blog a few times and you seem like the kind of person that lives life to the fullest no matter what trials come in front of you. Hopefully we will meet up at a race sometime and be able to chat a bit.

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