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, September 06, 2010

Chasing the light.

What happens when you leave home late in the evening, feeling like a fat bloated elephant after spending the previous night volunteering and eating like a pig at an event (with no sleep, may I add), and decide to go for a run? You may surprise yourself with a fast time. Because as sunset approaches and the light fades, it surely isn't fun to run on local trails without a headlamp, tripping over roots, rocks and snakes.

Last week has been good in terms of running, I put another 50 miles in, and as I had looked back today, 40 of them were on a "tempo" side, not planned that way at first, until the run’s start. Just so happened that I enjoyed a spring in my step and that I also pressed that tiny button on my watch, and it all transformed into solid runs with rather fast-ish times. The leg is still hurting, and it finally pushed me to take 6 days break from yoga, until Friday I was back and trying to touch the limit again, as far as this limit is nowadays.

Saturday night was another race, last in the series of Cap'n Karl, which Larry ran, and where the kids hung out, and where I played the boss of an aid station. As Joe puts it, he needs someone as bossy as I am to be there, and so it works for both of us, because I can't be any other way:) Unlike last race, this one had great temperatures, and with 4x9.1M loops runners took pretty good care of themselves and were quite self sufficient. What meant, once all was set up, all I had to do was to keep cutting PBJ and melons occasionally, while chatting away with staff, volunteers, photographers and family members. (Olga, thanks for your never-ending support. I heard from two runners that said if it wasn't for you not letting them quit, they wouldn't have finished. One guy said if it wasn't for that "Russian chic...".) Eating insane amount of hamburgers (sans buns) was a time passing in its own right - see first paragraph, fat bloated elephant I am:)

Larry ran this 38 miler as his last long run, keeping HR well under 145, kept coming through calm, relaxed, composed and fast, and finished in 6:46 for 3rd overall. Thomas blew his own expectations (especially considering an injury he's been dealing with for the last 10 days) and finished in 7:07, right behind, and for 4th overall in a series of all 3 summer 60k night trail races. Both did me proud!

With that, last week turned my mind into thinking next season, and I didn't even have to "make" myself do that. I always said, when it comes, it comes. I happened to come across Texas 50M Slam, and since I had completed Texas 100 Slam last season, it seems like a natural progression to pick this as my next fun challenge. The only thing that doesn't make me thrilled is that first race comes in just over a month, and there is no way I can put any effort into it, so I plan to make it through a couple of longish runs of 20-25 miles and pray to God I'll finish Palo Duro 50, before focusing on any kind of serious training.

So, with this Slam, and in general with living in Texas and committing to not travel until the summer comes, it means a couple of other local shorter races (subject to change), and possible only one 100 miler, if that (also Hardrock subject to lottery Gods). Seems weird to see my list not including a bunch of mountain 100's...but as Devon had recently had a post, I think I am making a break for me and see how it goes. Besides, when it comes to challenges, 100's, as incredibly hard as they are, make me rather comfortable, and 50's scare me to death. I was laughing with Larry today, because we both thought, well, we need to figure out how to race 50 miles, then may be next season focus on 50k's, and the following I might run a marathon. Kind of opposite to what "normal" people would think, huh? But to each their own, and this is where I am in my life's progression. On top of it, a couple of important details on this plan: neither of those races fill up early enough to make plans 9 months in advance, pay and then loose the money for one reason or another. And - 50's surely take less time/miles to train for (and more quality), and I do need this time to focus on other aspects of life.

I had quite a slow slog this morning, feeling tight and actually tired. Wow, this Palo Duro is going to knock me out, if 2 weeks of 50 miles ending with 3 tempo runs in a row left me sore! But it was still good to be out there, with clouds covering the sky and light drizzle keeping me entertained. Reminded me of home...


Julie said...

I've read your blog for quite a while now and always look forward to a new post! I'm signed up for Palo Duro 20K and hope to get to meet you. You are really an inspiration..the longest race I've done so far is 25K but am planning my first 50K next year. Just wanted to tell you thanks for sharing your thoughts and race reports on here..I love reading it!

sea legs girl said...


Oh, it is so great that you are getting so much running in. I am jealous and want to be Olga in Texas, but I am stuck recovering from a marathon at the moment. :) Could be worse. But you must be in great shape when you run all those miles and tempos just happen. And congrats to Larry on 3rd place in the 38 miler. Sounds like a fun distance!.

BTW, unlike you I am comforted by 50 milers and scared to death of 100 milers. But maybe that's cause I run 50 milers pretty easily and you know you can run them fast - you did beat me by 10 or 15 minutes after all :).

Danni said...

50 miles is a tricky distance because there's less excuse for ambling. . . sounds like things are good!

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Glad to hear you're perked up again. It's amazing what a little rest can do. Makes me wonder if we all overtrain some of the time. I hardly ever have spring in my step any more.

I was wondering if your "burnout" was due to the more intense training you did this past year as opposed to the easy training you did while recovering from your stress fracture. Maybe it's important to limit the intensity.

At least you can do 100's well- no need to prove it over and over.

Very amazing about Larry. Wish a 145 HR did that for me!


Thomas said...


I just want to thank you for being such an inspiration over the last few years. I have just finished my first 50 miler, and I am absolutely sure I would never have gone down that path had it not been for people like you guiding me.

Thank you so much!

Sarah said...

It's good to try new things. Well, maybe 50's aren't exactly new to you, but really focusing on them may be. As always, I will enjoy following along your journey!

I'm working on where my focus will be in the months and year to come. It may become clear very soon.

johnt said...

Pri'vet, Olga

Sorry I missed y'all at the last race. I woulda loved to see you in action running the aid station. Keep on Larry's behind. Best to you on 50 Mile Slam!!!

Team RASH said...

Hi Olga,
I was wondering if you could email (bear100man at hotmail dot com) Leland the race director for the Bear100. Last year Ashley and I volunteered at Hundred in the Hood. I forgot to get have you sign off on our contribution. thank you
Ryan Krol

Meghan said...

You're beautiful, girl, that's all I wanted to say. I'm getting caught up on your life and you look so happy and fit in all your pictures. I think Texas is treating you right!


Bret said...

So what does a Texas-Russian accent sound like anyway? "Net Ya-all"? :)
Yeah a new goal. Thats what Olga needs. Plus 50's will make you tired but not wipe you out like 100's.
Still have a open position for chief hugger at Autumn Leaves.

zbsports said...

This is a very inspiring story to read, thanks for sharing more good thoughts. Nice blog too.

Rooster said...

Very excited about your 50M running. Though I don't enter many of them that is my favorite distance. It's just long enough to push you into that state of mind where you have to be cautious but short enough to push the limit and see what happens. Hey, what's with that huge spider in the pictures above? Plus, snakes??? That is where I draw the line :)

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