Ego is NOT the Enemy. EGO is the Vehicle.

To remind myself. So important to remind myself to slow down, look in the rear mirror and give yourself compassionate smile; to pat myself on a back and say “Good job partner!”; to shut down my mouth and open my eyes. 

Three months to think, to reflect, to dig deep into myself. Physical pain is catalyst of many mental processes and quickly reminds you of main things in life. That Ironman race in Lake Placid could’ve been my last one… Looking back, it was a scary accident that could’ve put me into the coffin or at least make me disabled. It did not. It was a lesson, not the exam. A bad student was given a chance to try again. I like to think that I learned the lesson, however I also realize that the fact I allow myself to think so, proves me wrong. 

It is comforting to think that the accident is over and I took the most of it and took good notes. I can turn the page now. Or I should rathe ask: Can I turn the page now?

“You can, but after you pass the exam.”

Two years ago I spent Thanksgiving with my friend in Austin, Texas. Jim signed us both for the annual Turkey Trot — fundraising event. Just starting my training/racing journey, I ran 8 kilometers in 41 minutes averaging 8 minute/mile. I ran it for fun, however competitive bug in me pushed me faster than I planned. It was a good run. 

“Hey Sasha, we want you come join us for Thanksgiving this year. Will also run the Turkey Trot. The race we did two years ago, remember?”

 — Jim called.

Of course I did remember and of course I would love to spend this family holiday among the people who care about me. “Hey Sasha, we want you come join us for Thanksgiving this year “ — Jim called. “Will also run the Turkey Trot. The race we did two years ago, remember?” Of course I did remember and of course I would love to spend this family holiday among the people who care about me. 

“You NEED to make this race your “coming back race”. You HAVE to win your age group!!! You MUST push yourself as hard as only possible!” 

— familiar voice popped up in my mind. 

Hmm…. Sounds familiar. Heavy claws fell on my shoulders and immediately I recognized him… He’s back. 

Sasha — the Ironman is now talking. That Sasha who almost killed me not that long ago on the course in September. I realized who was talking and the table turned. I was flashing the awareness light right into his face. Awareness gave me the right of choice. Remain a puppet of my Ego or take the captain’s post…

Yes, I will run! Of course, I will push myself hard! However, this time I will do it not because I HAVE TO or MUST, but because I CHOOSE TO. I choose to train and compete; I choose to enjoy every step I take. Now I know that every single race could be the last one and every experience is so unique and precious. 

The ultimate failure in life is to achieve everything you wanted but still not find the happiness. No matter in what place you finish the race, you always lose if you did not enjoy it. It worth repeating:

No matter how well you perform, you are the ultimate loser if you did not enjoy it. 

The ultimate failure in anything you do is to finish first and unhappy. 

I learned to be careful setting the goals for myself. No hard numbers, no unrealistic expectations. Instead of making a statement and demanding a certain result from my body, I now ask. I ask my body: how fast can you do it, considering the circumstances? Bike accident, surgery, no training for 8–9 weeks…ups and downs. Considering all those facts, what my finishing time could be? What is the fittest you can get on a few weeks of training?

I’ve had three weeks to somewhat prepare for the run. Three weeks before the race, my surgeon allowed to resume light training and I immediately met with my coach to announce my 8 kilometers intention. Renee supported me, however warned to not set high expectations. I know, I know Renee… This is the lesson I needed to learn. 

Only so few running workouts to get in shape. Each of them counts. 

The work is done. I’m at the race venue. I feel so much energy. The fire within is searching for a way out. I am so grateful to be in this city, I am so grateful to be young, strong and healthy!!! I am so happy to be able to move my body, to see all this people around me, to smell the fresh morning air. So glad to be back at the start line and feel the competition.

Even the fact that I missed the start of my wave bounced off my mind and didn’t screw my mood in any way. I would run anyways, timed or not timed, rain or snow, hail or meteorite shower. I flew to the starting line, hoped over the fence and hit the start button on my watch.


I pushed it hard… and I pushed it hard again. I enjoyed every moment of the race. I loved the burning feeling in my legs and the heart pumping in my chest. Finished strong and hit the stop button. 

Looked at the watch: 

8.3 kilometers – 33 minutes  
4 min/km
6 min/mi

Yes! Fuck yeah! 
So grateful, so grateful. I am back! I am alive!
Mission complete…. Celebrate 

It’s so important to remember all the lessons that life teaches you. It is so easy to fall back into the usual model of thinking and responding to the world. 

Remember! Remember!
Remember and don’t look back.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!