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 07, 2012

Out of a spot light.

It's been calm here, and I love it. It is going to be quiet here for a reason. I had taken a break, and while I am training now, there are no adventures on a horizon to speak of. No awesome pictures to post, no mountains to "wow" at, no views to salivate, no hardships of trail ultra running to describe. But life doesn't "sell" the blog anymore. Everybody gets bored unless there is Tony K. shirtless in high country, or a new record to discuss. I got neither. Just plain ol' me, my boys, and hot and humid Central Texas.
Apparently, for the most part I only have runners friends. While it's not that my running buddies are not wonderful, it does make me stop and think: is running all I am? Or am I more? Is that all you are? And why are we not talking about other sides of our persona's? Aren't we friends?
My return to Facebook was pretty odd - I see now why I left it for over 3 years. Yes, it is absolutely a great tool to keep up with all your friends quick and simultaneously, and I enjoyed catching up. Engagements, weddings, traveling. But as before, I find I spend time looking at updates not productive at all. Yet it has its pull. At least I didn't fall into racking up the number of "friends" I have. Gotta be real here.
Identity. I am about to turn 43, and there is gotta be more to me than being good at making through a mountain 100M race. I can do more things, and talk about books, and know a thing or few. But it almost looks like I got no-one to share it with. I am sad. Where do you meet people if all you do is go to work, cook for family, and train/run? What am I doing wrong?
I am trying to step aside. I am training hard, daily, and have goals. But I am bored talking about it. I don't think anyone would like to hear about another treadmill workout that was tough, but felt better than the previous one? How I got humbled at a local 5k race, first in about 9 years? God, I thought I was about to die! Had to lie down on a bench after finish and got scared I would faint.
We do things we are comfortable with. As human being, at some point, as we get older, challenging ourselves gets really rare. We get in a rut. (And if you believe running another 50 miler is a challenge, look the truth into its eyes. It only is when it's your first. Then it's a familiar territory).
Anyhow, I know a person or few who inspire me to occasionally venture from the comfort zone. Thank you. I'll keep my eyes focused on you.
I'll keep my eyes focused on me. My family. My life.
I volunteered at a Tejas Trails night race. You know, the usual, serving, figuring problems, yelling to go on and finish...so many new folks came to sport, crazy, and it's Texas! Exploding of trail running is good that it gets folks off their butts. But I hope that new generation will not be complacent with simply staying where they are.
Complacency is like a slow death. If you're not moving forward, you're been pulled back - the Earth rotates, don't fall off!
Challenges. We have so many of those often when we don't ask for them. Getting laid off work when you're past your hiring prime is scary. Working on a new marriage. Raising kids - holly cow, this is nuts! Where are their brains? Why is it every year kids as a mass get so eager to just float by and yet ask for more in return from life? Entitlement. Generation of "everybody gets a trophy".
Nope. Even in our beloved trail ultrarunning, there is a timing clock, and the order of finishers. Strive. Even if just against yourself.
Somehow, despite the raffles that the ocean of life sends, and even storms rolling quite often, I am in a good head space.
I think I am growing up.
It's a little unnerving. But it's about time.


ALM said...

Olga, I swear I thought you were reading directly from my heart. I could not have worded things better myself. I've decided after I come back from the honneymoon, which in itself is different, I'm going to take a class. A cooking class, an art class, something to help me identify with more in my life. Good luck, I know it is hard, but you are one tough cookie with massive amounts of tenacity.

Olga King said...

Alison, I plan on taking a class or few as well! Cooking and Spanish are the must to start. Once I get through the final year of my younger son's idiocy of teen and high school, I am all over being out of the house! Right now I am just doing little things on my own. And my and Larry's last retreat was simply doing nothing - pool, good food, TV and some gym and easy running along the beach. It was great, for all the two days! :)

Gretchen said...

Kind of ironic when your comfort zone is running 50 and 100 milers, and you need to take a cooking class to try something challenging. ;) Clearly complacency will never be your problem, so don't worry! Also, I find that while I have non-running friends, I tend to enjoy my running friends the most. Not because we're runners, but because that time spent running together is when we connect and share the most. So much more real than other activities - running puts me in a space where I will be more vulnerable and honest with people.

Great post, Olga!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is now one of the few blogs I check in on every once in a while. I am done with the whole scene. My wife was recently talking about how sad it is that we have friends that never talk about anything but running. She even deleted a few of them from her FB account. She likes the people but is sick of their hourly updates and pictures of their running. It is just freaking running! There is so much more to life. Anyways I like how you keep it real.



Julie said...

I've wondered before why I gravitate to, and open up so much more to my running friends. Your comment summed it all up for me quite nicely, Gretchen. :)

Olga King said...

I agree that while on a long run in a wild place, we get more raw and honest and open up. For sure. That's why we tend to become better friends, because we know each other inside. But, does it mean we can only discuss running? And can we find a way to open up with other people, and help them do the same? And what happens when we can't run anymore, for whatever reason, or even hike? This is what makes me think all that...

Olga King said...

I get kinda scared when I hear myself (and my hubby) talk about only running when at the dinner table with kids. Sometimes I feel they hate us for that. I make an effort to shorten it every time and try for other topics, but get dumbfounded when find few if any. This is S.O.S.

Olga King said...

I think it's worthy to note that nobody's ditching running, or talking about running. Just doing things other than that in addition, and chatting those:)
And p.s. - if you ask those few non-running friends I do have, I am open and honest there. Give me some time, I won't stop deep conversation. I call it "I am incapable of small talk about weather".

Lavrusha said...

разговор по душам and not пустой, right???

Onegin was assessed by many
(critical judges, strict as any)
as well-read, though of pedant cast.
Unforced, as conversation passed,
he had the talent of saluting
felicitously every theme,
of listening like a judge-supreme
while serious topics were disputing,
or, with an epigram-surprise,
of kindling smiles in ladies' eyes.
-A. Pushkin

Sheri Parr said...

Beautifully put Olga. You are an inspiration to me on the trail and off. Keep being yourself! And I'd love to hear what you are reading. just bought an Anne Beatie book. Love lazy Summer days. Hugs friend, Sheri.

Steve Pero said...

I like where you are going with your thoughts....life is more than running and running friends. Deb and I are learning this a lot now post Hardrock and Speedgoat and now two young grand daughters visiting for 1.5 weeks. Who has time to run? ;-)

Olga King said...

I found where you got it from: http://blog.properrussian.com/2011/02/small-talk-not-in-russian.html
"A conversation in Russian culture is more than just a casual talk, this is a mutual involvement into the process of information and emotional exchange. Any communication has to be meaningful, but it doesn't have to mean “full of words”. You can keep silence and still enjoy the conversation." The example is of Onegin as a very superficial person, without putting deep thought or emotions in anything he says, and listening lightly if at all.
If anybody ever cares, here is full text: http://lib.ru/LITRA/PUSHKIN/ENGLISH/onegin_j.txt

Danni said...

I think you are fascinating no matter what you want to talk about.

Olga King said...


Anonymous said...

It is hard to make routine running sound exciting, isn't it? And, I agree, there is a lot more to talk about than running, but it's still nice to have friends that understand our hobby.

Hope to see you soon for another girls night out. Sushi....Mmmmm.

Ron B said...

As is usually the case on this blog...a compelling and meaningful read.

Ron B

Sarah said...

I will enjoy reading whatever you want to write about. :-)

Just recently I unsubscribed to a ton a running blogs - you can only read so many race reports and they start sounding all the same. Or at least aren't relevant to me. I also found myself getting too caught up in "the sport of ultra running" and had to back off a little bit. Sure it's inspiring to follow record breaking runs at WSER....but it's so different from my own experience of ultrarunning that I was losing sight of myself and my own goals/aspirations. Hard to explain.

Ebbs and flows...I know I'm already looking forward to focusing on other pursuits too once this "season' is over.

Thank you again for another thought-provoking post - whether you meant it that way or not. :-)

Carilyn said...

Glad you're back - I missed you! I know what you mean, my life definitely revolves around family, work and running. But for now, I guess that's okay. At some point, I won't have kids at home and probably won't really be able to run much, so I think the tunnel vision is okay for me for now. Not for always, but for this moment. I'm 44 and we are at the crossover period, so I completely felt your post - as always.

Chris said...

Wow, very timely. When Benjamin was born last September we were all of a sudden like-where did all our friends go? Oh, that is right, they are RUNNING friends. Not the type to come over and just hang out with you talking while you hold your baby or just hang...Running friends are the best but I also am in need of those friends who aren't gone every weekend for some huge race or long run. I get the feeling if I stopped running, 90% of my friends would slowly disappear...

Megan said...

I have very few friends who are runners/ultrarunners. While I get to talk running all day (at the store I work), I wish I had more of that in my social life. Instead, I go to a party, mention a 50 miler, and people look at me like I'm crazy. Then, someone says, "I'm training for a marathon! It's a 5k mud run." Marathon does not =5k. But... I am thankful these friends keep me grounded. Thanks for a real, and honest post (as usual) :)

Dale Jamieson said...

wow, this is THE most powerful running blog post I have ever read. And I know why. When I've got time, I'm coming back here. You may have just about got my head back on track. I feel as if I know you very well and we're thousands of miles apart.
Thank you

Thomas Bussiere said...


Julia said...

Great post Olga. I think seeming one-dimensional is a common human trait. When I rowed all my friends were rowers, when I climbed all my friends were climbers. And the sport was all we talked about. My cab driver on the way to the airport wanted to talk about production of vinyl records!! Choosing something different to do is good for a while but you will always gravitate towards your real passion. But as I have experienced, that passion can change with time. Keeping your passion fresh or moving along when it isn't is part of life's skill. And I think you have that skill in spades.

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