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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back to the grind!

This first week back was hard! Not only it had to be in Texas, where it's been over 100F for 31 days, and there are still 2 more months left at least to be there, it's been work, business, training - and no mountains! I even had to change my blog lay out to remind myself of my truest love - because only mountains don't promise to love you back, you don't even expect them to, but you love them still. I don't get the feeling I do when travel across ridges, climb steep, bust down, get into the dense woods or open vasts - anywhere else. I remember when I was freshly divorced and my girlfriend suggested dating website, she insisted I had to put "love moonlight walking on the beach", and I was like "really? I hate beach, and everything with walking next to or swimming in the water, unless it's a creek crossing high above tree line where I can refill my water bottle!". That said, I enjoy many other setting, but if I had it my way, no responsibilities attached, I'd be in a place near loads of trails leading up to high peaks:)

When I complained at my job that I am sore and tired after not doing anything for 10 days, my co-workers were surprised "What do you mean, "nothing"? You've been hiking and running in every picture!". Interesting to see reaction of a  normal human being after hanging out with insane people. What I meant was there was no structure, no effort, no weight training routine, no stretching...I planned to have some of it, but bottom line is, I was on vacation, and there was no way I was going to spoil it with trying to squeeze in push ups into a day in a room where I can hardly walk around our bed, or forgo a Majito (my new favorite drink!) - even if I only had it twice during all stay. I did adhere pretty well to the diet plan - for all of 5 days, and the second half was as close as I could get, with occasional rice dish (cooking meals from supermarket's packages is different then from scratch after visiting local veggie market store) or a Larabar. I even had a burrito, for which I paid the price of a huge belly (gluten!). Still, I managed to stay right around where I left off. But the weight workouts were hard when I came back! Sore and sore again. I also got on a track on Thursday - just to see where I am. This was my first real run test. We did the hiking, and while we ran some downhills in San Juans, there were here and there and rather effortless. Also, my stress fracture pain bothered me for the first few days, but then was gone (like, I would stop!), but the anterior tibialis tendinitis did hurt - and still does (funny how my tendon's injury linger longer than my bone's ailments). Also, while on Bear Creek trail, I kicked a rock into my right ankle bone, what produced a small hole and a large bruise - and that spot hurts still too. Anyhow, the track was a pure misery, and the times (I did 400's) were where I started this year, not where I finished. With Rim to Rim to Rim planned for October 22, I needed to do some running here. I went for a 10M trail loop this Sunday. At the worst part of the day where humidity (highest in early hours of the morning) meet the heat (worse as the day progresses) - 9 am. All I wanted was a continuing forward motion. I tried to run as much as I could, and more (albeit I walked the steeper longer hills, not that they can be compared to REAL hills), I felt aches in every muscle (from weight training) and ligament (from yoga), and the last couple of miles felt like the finishing part of a 100 miler. Man, I might be in great shape, but I am in a horrible shape for running! Time to revise the plan and add some maintenance...

Speaking of yoga, I've been back to faithful. My Bikarm studio is the best. I spoke to Amy, one of my favorite teachers at Yogagroove, about this and that, and she asked me to write down my path to the practise - and here is what I intend to send to them.

After gaining 40 lbs with the birth of my second child and shedding all of it and some more with gym visits, weight room, some 20 min cardio machines, exercise classes and such, I went and joined Martial Arts studio. Things were going great, although this being a full-contact style Kajukenbo, we got thrown onto the ground a few too many times. After attending one of the competitions, I returned with 2 herniated disks in my lower spine. The pain was growing worse. In October 2000 I quit the studio, and could barely bend over. My (then) husband had to help me put on and tie my shoes, I was in tears getting in and out of the car...PT, chiropractor, massage, spine injections...I was eventually scheduled for a surgery. Someone, in a meantime, recommended to try Bikram yoga. I had some regular Hatha yoga experience, so I went and stopped by Greenwich, CT, studio. Everything was weird, different. Nobody paid attention to me, and I was sweating. However, being type A personality, I loved the workload! So, I seeked a closer studio (I lived in The Bronx at the time) and found a newly opened Yoga-Spa studio in Westchester county. They practiced strictly Bikram, but at the time were not franchised yet. They were offering a great deal of discount for a longer stretch, but I told them I had a back surgery scheduled. They asked me to give them 3 months. I took my chances. 3 months later (only going 2-3 times a week) I was feeling much better and beginning to run around the block. In 5 months I ran my first 5k race and got hooked to this sport. But I never gave up my Bikram practice. I was coming, I was serious, and I was progressing, both in getting better, and getting healed. 3 years later, I had been running ultras, and practically pain free. Granted, it was a long haul, but eventually the disks got pushed back, the spine stretched out and gotten stronger, my back pain disappeared for good, and I never had to get a metal rode inside my body. I also never stopped coming to classes. In fact, by 2002 I was offered a teaching position at the studio, which I gladly accepted (no, I wasn't Bikram certified, but I did take a few weekends with his seminars, and YogaFit certification). I was teaching (or, leading classes, if you will) for over 18 months, until the day we packed the car and left for Portland, OR.

And that's my story. Now, 11 years later, I can say I am forever indebted to Bikram yoga, and I absolutely love it. I love the heat and humidity of the class setting (all 104F of it), love the fact the postures are same 26, even that the monologue had been and will always be the same. It gives me time to zone out - and tune in. To learn something new every time, despite years and hundreds of classes. It pushes me. I had a rather extended break when my running was high in miles (about 4 years of very few classes), and it shows. I am far away from where I was - and surely from where I can be, not to mention where the real yoga practitioners are. But I am coming to my classes, with an open mind, one day at a time.


ALM said...

I totally love what you said about the mountains never promising to love you back, yet we keep loving them without an ounce of resentment! What different weather and geography between Texas and PNW, it's like night and day. I am glad you are back to doing what you love!

Will said...

Great post. you really put it all out there. I keep telling myself to try Bikram yoga but haven't done it yet. like everything, life is just a bunch of priorities...100 miler this weekend, maybe Bikram the next? Or something like that. keep up the honesty in your writing...its very inspirational.

Carilyn said...

Dang, girl! I can't even bend that far going forwards! I'm like an oak tree - push on me and I just fall straight over :)

Thomas Bussiere said...

Another great post Olga. Just got back from vacation myself and it was most excellent (FL beaches, VT mountains, and NH Presidental range).

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