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 23, 2011

Mood swings, setbacks and binges.

It's been a hard week. I miss running. I miss running so much, I want to scream. I miss moving from point A to point B, I would take even walking at a snail pace right now. Having just had a break with tibia stress fracture and anterior tibialis tendinitis was OK in a big scheme of things - I had completed my season of racing, I had aa awesome one at that, the summer was in full swing in Austin with temps searing above 100F, I needed a break - and I was embarking on a new adventure. It was a great timing to be hurt, if there ever is.

And I could still walk, by the way. I would feel it, but nevertheless, I could walk. And shortly after I could do some shuffles. And then we went to San Juans and hiked the mountains. By the return time, I was back to running in no time. Life was good. Life was looking up. Even when last mental bonk happened, it took all of a day to re-group and set goals including both body training AND running. I was in heaven...

That didn't last long, unfortunately. It feels so wrong, so unfair, but something snapped, something broke, and I am back to square one, or even past it. Can't run if the foot is hurting. In fact, can't walk, if each step sends pain into the heel, and I roll so violently onto the outside of my foot just for regular life's moving around that now that part hurts too. And it pisses me off, on so many levels. And every other day, when the pain gets better, something snatches, and it comes back with vengeance!

Now is not the time to cut back on the cardio. OK, I can suck it up and do StairMaster, then spin, then EFX - on weekends. I can't drive to the gym 3 times a day during a week! I can't stand on these stupid machines for more than 45 minutes at a time! And may be for some on-the-street person it's a kick-ass exercise, and I work hard, and my heart rate is soaring, once I am off it - it's like nothing happened! I am an ultrarunner, damn it!I am fit and trained! I am bored out of my mind and hate all my music selections on i-Pod by now, I can't stand TV, I used every program on these machines, I made up every interval I could come up with, every day, day in, day out, and it is all mental, yeah, sure, but common, people! I want to run!

I also NEED to run! There are so many things happening in our lives right now, I need to sort through my thoughts, and running is the only way I know how to cope with things.

We got the house things settled. It is truth, we are buying a house. It happened at a whirlpool speed, like everything else in my life. While we had been saying there is no reason to hurry, eventually we'll be moving out of Austin once Harrison reaches 18 (and we will), we can rent and save - we both longed to have a home. Larry - because he is a normal American guy with a normal dream and huge amount of unused energy he would love to put into doing house-related stuff. I...well, because I still don't feel home here, and because I really hadn't had a home, come to think about it. Being a military brat, I never lived anywhere for long, longest stay with my parents lasted in Moscow between ages 12 and 16 - but that was my parents' place. I started Medical school at 16, and while still officially lived with my folks, I stayed at dorms and traveled like crazy (something that is a passion of mine, for sure, I've been traveling with parents since I was 9 months old, and then by myself since I was 10, sleep-away camps, friends and travel packages). At 19 I moved out, at 21 I moved back in, at 22 I moved out, at 23 I moved across the Big Pond...in 18 years of my life in US I had moved 11 times. Think about it. 11 apartments and houses. Yes, I've been an owner 3 times. First house in Portland we bought 3 days after we drove through the country - because we needed to send kids to school after Labor day and it required an address. Second home we bought because we thought by moving we would save Alex from his friends' influence (how naive...) I loved that house, the location, I picked it...but we never got to be the family we planned to be. Alex was back - and back to his destructive behavior, and not 4 months later our marriage, that was already trying to survive on fumes, fell apart completely, and by summer, 6 months after we moved in, we've separated, sent Alex to military school, divorced...What kind of home is that? I bought a condo. Just to get away, be on my own. It was small and had what Stephen and I needed, but it wasn't a home. Another few short months passed by, I've met Larry, and soon made a decision to eventually move to Texas to be with him. My condo, instead of getting homey, was on a mission to get rid of items insides and get sold...And so I moved, again. And we made a conscious decision to rent. The complex is nice, has all you need, located at the trailhead. But...there is nothing you can do in it. And we both love doing things...And the "living for a bright tomorrow" was wearing off on us. We were getting edgy with this place, and just as we simply "looked" at houses online, and one drew our attention - we get a notification that rent goes up in 60 days. Not little, but a huge chunk. 15% up. Insane. Suddenly, owning made sense in so many ways. So, we looked online again. And kept coming back to the same little house. We went inside, by ourselves, just to look. And it was love from first sight. Yes, it is small. Needs a lot to be done. But the location is good, it has what needed to move in - and it's so cozy, we can put personal touches in it the way we want to, it feels home...to both of us. A week later we got a realtor, made an offer, and just like that, we have a closing in less than 4 weeks. And we couldn't be more excited.

You see, there is another level at it all. Level of commitment. Seriousness. Marriage. We dated by flying to races in different parts of the country, and we ran in beautiful places. Then I moved in - and we got married. And for the following 2 years we've been adjusting to living together, loving together, being together. While a wedding on a trail with 2 kids, a Reverend and 2 friends was what we chose and wanted, somewhere deep inside, at times, it almost felt unreal. Having a home together is huge. It seals the deal. It makes it real. We are a family. We survived the worst of times in these 2 years - and we got stronger, and our relationship grew, and our love blossomed. This is a logical step. And emotional step. A step in the direction it should be. A step that makes my eyes misty and heart sing. Even our kids are thrilled. We are going to have a home...

So much on my mind, and I can't run! Killing me! I am a doer! To be able to function - I need to move in a rhythm with a free energy, or at least know that when and if I wanted to, I could! And I know I can't! Drives me nuts. So, I buckled for a day under the pressure. Unlike last time, I knew it's going to be for a day, I'll re-group and move on. But I needed to have this buckling, this emotional bonk. You think I write a lot - it's the spill-over you're getting! When the amount of my thoughts is not fitting in, this is when it gets out! There is much more...but I won't bore you. I succumbed and had an ice-cream at work (darn those new students and their welcoming parties!). I came home and had an apple. And an orange. And a pear. None of which are on my allowed food list. Then I ate soup - a chicken-veggie soup, not bad, but oh, so salty. Went to the gym, in hopes to get the frustration (and extra calories) out. Came back - and had a PBJ. And another one. And I am not even supposed to be eating wheat as I am gluten-intolerant! Thank God we ran out of bread (poor Stephen had no lunch for today) - I could have kept going. The effects were immediate - and continued into this morning. I am a fat bloated pig. So, no, no pictures or posing today. Poor coach Drew had to play a shrink and re-wire me back. As he nicely put it, "lets consider it an experiment we needed anyway, to see if we have to do the carbo-load before the show to have a fill-up muscle feel". I guess, no carbo-loading for me. Ain't working with this body's system.

So, we just worked hard. It's 6 weeks of work and 5 days of slimming. No stepping back. We're going to make it. Come hell or high water. Moving or freaking breaking a heat length record in Austin. Not running or walking. No mid-way goals either (you know, when you have a goal 100M race, you run a 50k, then a 50 miler, then another one...so, if you have ideas for me right now, shoot 'em!). And I am sore, just as I am sore in my legs after yesterday's workout I did. I don't back off on workouts. I guess that's a good thing, all things considering...

I was told by a number of folks recently that I had made them believe in many things. It truly is one of my goals in life, in my training, besides the fact that all this brings a personal satisfaction in many ways - to inspire. To prove that anybody, any body, can get anywhere the set their mind to. I keep saying "I am your next door neighbor"...to which my coach responded with a finger knock on his head. "There is something up there you have many don't". May be. May be not. "Something up there" can be changed too. See, I make mistakes, I have break-downs, setbacks, cheats! And even and while I do - I know I am going to be back!

Seems that I wasn't alone at that either:) For Liza help came form reading some book. May be if the word "diligence" meant something to me...It may sound cliche, but when the going gets tough, I think of so many struggles around the world. Yes, about starving children in Africa. Or orphanages in America. Mostly, I think about WWII and Soviet people. Soldiers on the front line. Their families behind in blockade. Partisans of all ages and gender. Nazi concentration camps. I grew up on those stories. Nothing makes me more proud than being Russian. But I am not obnoxious. People that came here only few centuries ago had done amazing feats. Moved through the country's vast lands. Built lives. Suffered, and kept on going.

I am so incredibly blessed. I have my health, and I know how to take care of it. I have a great kid who is back to school and is excited to beat his last year's grades - which were best since he started school at all! I have a wonderful step-son. And a best husband I can wish for, most supportive, understanding and loving. And - we are going to have a home, all of us, together.

Rumbling now...had to delete a couple of paragraphs here. Funny, I just explained to a friend of mine that I don't feel as safe writing my heart's content anymore. Sticking to exercise side of my blog. May be that exploded too. So here. An excursion into my past blogging. I am still the same. I mumble a lot, and I love to run. Which is a good thing. I think so anyway:)

p.s. was asked to share this article. And a shout-out to Ronda for completing and becoming the Leadwoman!


Jill Homer said...

Olga, I've enjoyed reading your blog, in no small part because some of your journey parallels my own. I can relate to your restlessness; I once had chondromalacia that limited me to the pool and workout machines for the better part of three months. Now, with my arm injury, every day I feel a little better and stronger while running, but I miss riding my bike. It's interesting; there is a void there that even running can not quite fill. We all have our methods for connecting with our bodies and ourselves.

But this made me wonder, with your PF, if you've considered riding a bicycle? It would allow you to move outside without foot pain. I had a case of minor PF once (a result of wearing supremely worn out running shoes during a three-week strenuous hiking binge.) I was still able to ride without issue. Just a thought.

ALM said...

Olga, I enjoyed reading this post as I feel so much like this right now. I am a restless injured runner who is misses running/training so much so that I think I was running in my sleep last night! I think what helps me is to see that many people "like us" go through this and then we get pushed out the other side and we are stronger in many ways. I know that sounds so boring and unsatisfying when you are going through it, but just think about the other side! It's sunny with a cool breeze and the trails are glorious! Hang in there. And how normal it is to hav setbacks and binges during the setback itself. I am totally going through something so similar. I am glad you wrote from your heart about this, it has helped me!
Take good care....

Larry said...

You need more of these posts. Don't be afraid to lay your heart out there instead of expressing what you may think others want to read. I know it can feel uncomfortable to write that way, at times, because it makes you vulnerable. But people tend to relate more to that expression even if in silence. It enables others to realize they aren't alone in this thing called life, with all its triumphs and struggles. Having the courage to admit openly about life is what makes you "Olga".

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Just one thought -- I've only really binged when I'm overly calorie deprived. Is it possible that you're taking your eating to an obsessive/compulsive extreme? Not saying you are but just throwing it out there. If you are not getting enough that could also make you more injury prone. -- Danni

P.S. I don't know why I can only post as anon and not with my gmail account???

Olga said...

Danni, I AM on restricted calories! I am at about 1500/day, and this is because I have a specific goal, which requires me to do so. But it's not like binges don't happen no matter where I am, anyway, it's human nature. And this particular injury IS old, just finally had enough and burst. I am not blaming anything in particular. And - yes, half the blogs I read I can only comment as an Anon. Google crap.

Jill and Allison, I responded on your blogs. Lets hang in there together!

Sweetie, thanks...after all, honest blogging is how we connected in the first place:)

Dusty said...

Olga, you're amazing. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad. It sucks to not be able to run. I broke my hip a couple of years back and can understand how you feel now. I tried really hard to try to understand what the Universe was trying to tell me. I don't have any words of wisdom because I am still at a loss! The only thing I could come up with was that my body needed to rest.

Hang in there girl. You inspire so many! I think sharing that you struggle is even more inspirational than only telling the puppies and rainbows part of achieving a goal. You'll get past this and it will eventually seem like a blip on the radar.



Jacob said...

X2 what Larry said!

Good post, and the rambling really did make sense :) See you guys this weekend!

Helen said...

Olga - I've been out of touch on blogs for too long - this is exactly the kind of post that got me hooked on reading yours! I am sad for you that you cannot run but soooo happy for you and Larry and your new home! You guys will have so much fun (and maybe a few frustrations) doing things with it and making it your own. I had to laugh at poor Stephen going without lunch after you raided the bread - it isn't funny but of course it is - again, that is why we all love reading your posts :) Hang in there.

Sarah said...

Oh I feel your pain! Not running when you want and need to to is So Hard. You're only human and that's why we all love you. But I agree with your coach, you've definitely got something special "up there". Maybe everyone has it but not everyone knows how to tap it or even cares to.

It seems like forever now but you'll get through this rough patch. And congrats on the new home!

Will said...

Olga, I know you don't want to hear it, but be patient with you body. Patience pays big dividends in our sport, both on and off the trail. Give things time, you'll be back with a new perspective.

Carilyn said...

Oh Olga, I so understand, and I am so sorry! Injuries for us are almost impossible to take because running is so much more than exercise. I will be thinking about you and your quick recovery. It was a great post, very expressive and heartfelt. And good luck with the house - there is something about having your own "home".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Olga. Seems the best stuff comes when we are in a depleted state. Either running an ultra or otherwise. I have no doubt you will weather this storm and reach your goal. Keep at it.I am so impressed.

Good luck with your new home. congratulations.


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