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, August 28, 2011

Why I love my ultrarunning family.

It's been a blast. It's been a pretty short lived one, since Stephen got really bored quickly, and we didn't stay past 11 pm (and I completely understand him, I offered him to stay home, yet he wanted to spend time with me, so, you know, priorities, I love my kid and so on), but it's been great to be at The Shoe night races. And, I didn't even have to be a medical, since all our regular medical stuff was accounted for - Shannon, Troy, and the one and only Liza! She was in charge, and tending to fallen comrades, while Troy and Shannon did the course loop and glow sticks, and I, well, simply nipped at the aid station food, chatted away, yelled at some runners when they come by the loop start/finish, and had a generally awesome times, answering a bunch of questions on why I am wearing Hoka (ahem, injured), how am I liking them (not very much unless it's for a long road/dirt road race, definitely not for technical trails, but can see the benefits for others), what's next for me (nothing really, and I am renewed in this), what I think about our US runners dropping out of UTMB as a high rate (sad, really, wish they sucked it up to inspire all of us, regular folks, like Hal Koerner did, even if their day wasn't developing well)...Liza brought me an UltrAspire pack, my dream came to fruition! Can't wait to wear it for Grand Canyon trip - Larry, of course, is sceptical of my running R2R2R due to foot not getting any better, but screw this, even if I don't run a step until late October, I am going to do the Rim run! Larry ran an awesome 30k, boosted all the confidence, even though he kept being upset with me for rolling my entry onto him. The temps at the start were 108F. Stephen went for a swim in a lake/Colorado river at the campground after we sent off the runners on their 9M loop. I got to see so many friends and realize, yet again, how blessed we are to find each other. As one of our up and coming (or, rather, screaming) runners here Neil Lucas said recently “It’s like ultra marathons are a magnet for hardworking, caring, and dedicated people; nothing but the best out there.” This kid is, like, 21. he's got a great life ahead of him - for recognizing this and voicing it so well. I met a Russian girl the other day at the bus stop, and she tried to strike a conversation, and after a few sentences I kind of shied away. Come to think about it, I can relate to folks doing crazy trail things and adventures much more so than to those who speak my tongue. My dad was disappointed...but, really, it's just the way it is. I found my niche. I love these people. I don't feel like trying to validate myself with more of a normal crowd. It takes way too much energy, and I don't know why I have to...I am reading a book written by Jill (by the way she is an amazing and captivating story teller!), and all the adventures she had had so far in her life (and counting) make me envious, in a good way, just like photo-shoots by Leslie and Danni, Sue's trail explorations and Gretchen's beautiful Tahoe mountains...Frankly, I had seen a lot, by all standards. I was always in love with travel and seeing as much Mother-Nature as I could, even before ultrarunning came into my life. But with so much around, it feels I am running out of time, and while a few years ago  my FOMO consisted of "run more races", these days it's more of a "explore more trails without organized events". May be I am getting old, or may be it is a normal progression of things.

Larry and I went for a coffee this morning. We don't do this often, and it is a very special event. this was my first break from exercising daily since we are back from San Juans, and we talked...and it is thrilling to know we have same goals in our future. Where to go, what to see, how to plan and squeeze it all into our normal lives of adults with obligations and responsibilities...No, it doesn't mean we'll stop doing races, because we actually both love racing (and you can read Larry's report here), but we also would love to take a step back and see something that WE want, without any strings attached, and be able to open eyes wide and exhale...So much life to live!

I took some pictures, and you can find them all HERE, and tomorrow the official photos will come up on the race's website (there are a few funny of us re-enacting the finish, hopefully will be posted, along with results). In a meantime, we'll keep dreaming and slowly chipping into them, coming up with more and more new ones:)

I love my (other) job too!

I have some awesome job with this gig of being a massage therapist and a running coach. I have it even better because it is not my "bread abd butter" job, but rather "I love helping people" passion. I don't have to fill my waken hours with clients - I get to choose whom am I working with, and commit to them fully, and connect with them on a very deep level. This weekend I had those fantastic people on both sides of my so to speak "business" - wonderful people taking care of their body and soul through the power of massage touch, and great success story of my client Jim running his first ultra - after only doing a half-marathon a year ago. Below is his letter which touched me dearly.
I did it. 8:55. I wanted to beat 9 hours and I made it. Happy with my performance. My feet, muscles that support the feet in lower leg, and the insides of my thighs are most sore. No cramping, except when I fell on lap 4 (my light was dying and I couldn’t see well). Almost no stomach upset – 1 min on lap 2 and 3-5 min on lap 4, took salt caps immediately and it went away. I used bandana with ice to keep cool for first time – worked great. Used new insulated handheld to keep water cold – worked great. Headlamp only lasts 6 hrs, not 50 that advertisement says.  Garmin 305 doesn’t last 9 hrs, even with new battery. Overall, very happy with first ultra. I told some friends that I should write a book. How to go from not running to ultramarathon in 18 months. Thanks for all your help and support!!! Best wishes,Jim

And that's my friends, why I do what I do. To get to encourage someone to success that they are capable of! And to be able to look at a map, point a finger, and say - yeah, I can go here, I know how to get around these mountains, and I have just a friend who can share it with me too!


fitmacdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fitmacdaddy said...

Olga...sounds like you had a blast. Glad to hear it. Those ultraspire packs look awesome! Good to know people huh?

I had a running epiphany thanks to a family member this weekend. You can read about it tomorrow. Also had a great 17 mile run on the Waldo course last weekend and a nice 22 miler on the roads yesterday. Feel like I'm getting my groove back...just in time for Victoria and Peterson Ridge!!!

Jcollins76 said...

Olga...I have met/seen you at several ultras over the years. Some you were running, some volunteering, at least one you were an RD. Been reading your blog for several years. You are an amazing lady! Good things come to good people...

PaleoRunnerGirl said...

HOLY SMOKES!!!! You are incredible! Congrats! You deserve some serious R&R! I hope you have a massage booked!

Jill Homer said...

Thanks for the kind words. I have been lucky to carve out some amazing adventures during my 20s, and still have a lot of stuff on the bucket list — fastpack Pacific Crest Trail, Alaska Wilderness Ski Classic, Brooks Range traverse, Iditarod Trail to Nome, bike tour across Asia, the list goes on. Plus, Beat promises me that one I visit the Alps I'll have plenty of European adventures on my wish list as well. There just isn't enough time in this life to do it all, which is all the more reason to never stop adventuring. You have the right idea. Good luck with the continued healing.

...and the Adventure Continues said...

I always admire your desire to really live life..to take it all in...and am praying your foot gets better...Endurance Peeps are some of the best...

Helen said...

There probably isn't enough time to do all we desire in life - but there is nothing better than having the chance to dream about it and do as much as we can with someone we love. I echo your thoughts on the community and how sometimes it's easier to just not try to explain it :)

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