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

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taking care of myself.

Life can be very unexpected. You can either bitch and whine and make yourself miserable, or you can adapt and try to make something of it. The latter is more preferable. Although I am not sure that a break in a running/racing season is unexpected…it kind of just crept up on me without my realizing it, but it is totally expected! And I am surely making the most of it.

I am learning how to take care of me. The “slowing down” in running miles throws the body into some weird spin of sudden weight gain without stopping the appetite. Besides, we (I) are lazy humans and think since we run, who cares what we throw in. Well, half of us anyway. And the other half is looking at food as correct fueling for the activity we chose to do. While I always thought I was eating healthier than 80% of population, turns out it is still incorrect, and definitely not what I need at the stage of my life I am in (and most of it has nothing to do with how many miles I run or not run anyway). So, the process has been slow – and it’s the way it should be to be a permanent change. I listened to ideas of Julie , then had an extremely helpful and thorough exchange with Ronda, and last, but not least at all, visited Meredith, who is a professional nutritionist to boot. So much information, absolutely great one! You kind of hear most of it, the world these days is not without easy delivery, you know, but you really listen when it’s directed at YOU. Kind of like coaching. 20% of having a coach/trainer is to devise a plan that would work towards your goals and with your preferences/life schedule/ability, and 80% is an accountability of really doing the work. Well, the split can be leaning more or less either way, but that’s the general idea. So, that said, I had made a commitment to take a hard look into what I eat, and follow advice of those who the plan worked for beautifully for a long time. Thank you, ladies! I’ll do you proud! I even signed uo for a local CSI! And I am allowing myself to spend just a bit more money on healthier products, which is a win in its own right if you know me:) The only way to know truly is through practical experiment and experience. Theory and speculation, if they are not followed by trial and demonstration, are useless. Knowledge itself is of little or no value if it does not lead to action. Henry T. Hamblin

It’s been a wonderful time so far, you know. I ran for the first time 2 weeks after coming back from Tahoe, with a Sunday group of Hill Country club, on trails next to our home, and it was so refreshing to have people to chat with, to not hurry, to look at the views I almost forgot…it took me a few more days to WANT to run again, on my own. And I did. It was a sudden urge, and I was delighted to have it, so, even though I was just back from a 90 minutes of Bikram yoga hard work, I refilled my bottles and jumped on a trail. With screaming and over-stretched hamstrings, I plodded along my usual route, and enjoyed every moment of it. It was hot, I was sweating, my hips felt weird – but it felt so natural to be there, on my own terms, knowing that next time will be if and when I want it. Like the next Sunday group run…and it also, finally, made me secretly plan my new races and other explorations in the next year:)

It’s important for me to do things I am drawn to. I would be petrified if I only ran because I needed to train. I never thought of it as such, but when I came from the DNF, I got scared because my desire to get out the door disappeared to zero. I couldn’t imagine doing it even later, in a different place, in the future…and that sent me to some quite depressive contemplation. But it also allowed me to re-access my life’s priorities and question reasons behind them. And that was all worth it.
I won’t bore you with revelations, or confirmations, or considerations, and so on. They are mine to keep, change and live with. And I know I’ll have many more…

The weight training has been great. I never considered it to be an “addition” to my running, but rather something I like to do just as well. I like feeling strong, challenging myself, get inspired by other girls pushing the limits, sweating, smiling, grunting…Time off running and the fact that I don’t need to be “fresh” for some intervals or tempo or such let me explore so much more in the weight room, it is a journey I am enjoying. I am consistently sore! But I am stronger by day without adding on too much bulk, and I love plyo. In fact, I felt better than my honey did on his personal plyometric workout designed for mountaineers – and he is in best shape he was in a while! What reminds me to give him a shout out – way to go! Larry’s been relentless in his workouts, with early morning wake up calls he hates, with pushing body beyond, and we see great benefits – the heart rate drops like crazy while the speed and endurance rise by big margin. The commitment he's made is amazing. One more month, and we’ll start tapering…for now I live my racing life through him and a few other friends:)

Oh, and my Bikram classes…OK, officially the studio is Sunstone yoga, but it is Bikram at its core with a few postures exchanging places and a few added ones (what I like anyway). In a month of consistent twice-a-week practices, the results are amazingly huge! It’s like my body remembers, and it’s coming back to me. I am up to probably 50% to where I was back when then, beginning with 25% residual “memory” I started in mid-July. I am so much more attuned to every small muscle I forgot existed, so much more solid in asana’s, and my muscles, tendon and ligaments are so much more stretched. My left (injured) hamstring is getting close to equal the right one, and I work hard on making it strong and limber at the same time. The difference I see in me is great, and I wish I could express how much it means to me.

I passed the National Board MBLEx with flying colors. They said they haven’t seen this score in a long time…just a prove that Soviet education was truly awesome. I haven’t studied since about 20 years ago. But I love new knowledge, and while I am officially a Licensed Massage Therapist now, I wonder what else I can pick up and study…because without learning brain dies.

I want to do so many things. I want to see so many places. I want adventures, I want goals, I want challenges. I want my life to never be dull, never routine, never boring. I want to squeeze every minute out of the day, wring the hours out, dream, inspire, do…You know, we can't get out of life alive. We can either die in the bleachers or die on the field. We might as well come down on the field and go for it! Les Brown


Danni said...

No doubt being a doctor helped you on the test ;) Eating better is so hard. . . what are you doing differently? More veggies?

Meghan said...

I agree. Something about med school must have helped you on that test. ;) Congrats, girl!

Eating well is a fun exercise, sometimes easy, sometimes challenging. But good, clean fun.

You sound so wonderful, and for this I'm so happy for you!

Thinking of you,

sea legs girl said...


Your words usually ring true to me, but in this post I found myself saying over and over "Yes, exactly!" Especially when you said "It’s important for me to do things I am drawn to. I would be petrified if I only ran because I needed to train." This is something I struggle with all the time and agree. Though it is a tough balance remembering that somedays we feel like being a lazy bum but we feel better after we do something, you know. But I agree that it is important, albeit hard, to listen to our body when it needs to rest.

Anyway, trying new things and an improved diet is always good. I'm jealous you got Julie, Meredith and Ronda to help you... all really cool ladies!

Finally, I wish there were Bikram Yoga in Næstved :(.

Oh, yeah, and congrats on MBLEx, which I had to look up to figure out what it was. Some med schools are better than others at teaching anatomy and I personally learned most of my anatomy from yoga and sports injuries :). Maybe your med school was good or you are just a good test taker. I find the latter to usually be the most helpful if the test is multiple choice.

This comment better not get erased or I'll be so mad.

Larry said...

Nothing but big smiles for you! :)

Dusty said...

You go Girl!!

:) Dusty

SteveQ said...

That new header photo is amazing!

Backofpack said...

Congratulations Olga! Wish I lived close enough to get a massage from you.

amy said...

Sounds like you're having fun! Glad to see you've gotten back into bikram....there is something addicting about it, no? I'm heading there shortly...

Running Diva Mom said...

just found your blog and look fwd to following your journey. Love the photo on your header -- breathtaking!

kelly said...

I love your last paragraph!! I agree completely. I am so excited for you as you clean up your diet. I am happy with my eating these days and feel lean and strong. I am not eating bread or pasta! It's amazing how less bloated you feel with less gluten in your diet. I am glad to see you so happy.

Thomas Bussiere said...

I need to work on my eating habits as well.
My down time was nice, but I got to the point where I wasn’t sleeping well at night, eating badly, and just felt lazy. My life feels better when I’m working my body to exhaustion.
See you on the field!

Bret said...

I would like to schedule a massage with that Russian Woman? I heard she did really good on her test. :)

Autumn Leaves still requests your presence on October 30th.

Say Hi to Larry for Gail and I.

Sarah said...

Sounds like you are doing wonderfully. So happy for you! No doubts you would pass your test with flying colors. Congrats!

meredith said...

So excited for your new meal plan :)

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