Mission Possible, (or Impossible?): Avoiding the Dreaded DNF

Pine Mountain, Kentucky (Location of Cloudsplitter 100) Image from shaman.smugmug.com
Pine Mountain, Kentucky (Location of Cloudsplitter 100) Image from shaman.smugmug.com

While making my regular trek between San Antonio and Austin earlier this week, I was listening to Guadalupe Radio Network Alive and heard Dr. Bill Thierfelder discussing his book Less Than a Minute to Go: The Secret to World-Class Performance in Sports, Business, and Every Day Life. Dr. Thierfelder is an interesting man. He is a devout Catholic, and currently the president of Belmont Abbey College. Before taking this position he was a successful businessman. He also medaled at the 1981 U.S. Track & Field Indoor National Championship. After listening to his interview on GRN Alive, I knew I had to read this book. With graduate degrees in sports psychology and human movement, Dr. Thierfelder has helped many athletes – including Olympic and professional athletes – improve their performances. Of course I am interested in improving my running performance (and if I’m honest, I’d say my desire to run better is the foremost reason I decided to read the book); however, Dr. Thierfelder and those whose reviews of the book I’ve read state that the book aids in spiritual and personal development as well. People are multidimensional. A book that approaches improvement in performance by acknowledging the need to fully develop all the human aspects of an individual seems promising, indeed. I ordered the book two days ago and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. Continue reading “Mission Possible, (or Impossible?): Avoiding the Dreaded DNF”

The Bare Truth About Barefoot Running

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Austin Marathon / Half-Marathon February 2014

Vibram, maker of FiveFingers minimalist shoes, recently settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused the company of false advertising. As a result of the lawsuit, Vibram has to pay out $3.75 million dollars in refunds to people who purchased Vibrams from March 2009 until the date of the first summary settlement notice. Leaving aside the issue of frivolous lawsuits and personal responsibility in the use of any purchased product, I want to discuss the way news of this lawsuit relates to barefoot running in general. Reading the various articles about the lawsuit in various sources, I became annoyed at the general, blanket statements against barefoot running that appear in numerous articles, but especially at the negative statements that appear in the comment sections following the articles. I don’t have the time to comment on every article I read, although I have a deep desire to respond to the incorrect and uninformed statements that have appeared in relation to news stories about the Vibram lawsuit. Too often those people who support barefoot running as a viable alternative to wearing footwear fail to fully address the criticism in the their responses to the criticism. I decided that a writing a blanket response in one place, my blog, would be the best way to address all the offending statements and information regarding barefoot running. Continue reading “The Bare Truth About Barefoot Running”

Running, Place, and Being

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Eisenhower Park

Thunder booms and rain pours down. I glance out the window and see rivers of water rushing down either side of our street, leaving only a small center strip of asphalt visible to drivers caught in the storm. On my lap sits 12 lb Rex, and on the floor at my feet lay 96 lb Cleo, both of whom intensely fear thunder and seek comfort in my presence as the thunder grows louder. I have already completed two work outs this morning: a session with my personal trainer followed by some hill work at Eisenhower Park. The rain won’t interfere with any of my afternoon plans. Now I can take some time to add to my (much neglected) running blog. Continue reading “Running, Place, and Being”

Out of A Running Slump, Onto the Roads and Trails

Running is depressing me at the moment. I had a triumphant weekend, with a successful ten mile run Saturday and a successful fifteen mile hill

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Barton Creek Greenbelt

run yesterday. Today, I find myself once again rebelling against running in the cold weather that returned over night.I’m back to where I was last Thursday, when I aborted a run at its inception, went home, and finished off a bag of Tyrell’s sweet chili and red pepper chips. As I polished off those chips, I read an article about ultrarunning in the Trail Runner Inside Dirt that arrived in my email box that afternoon. Although, as one person stated in the comment section that follows the article, training for ultras is somewhat unstructured, I’m pretty sure that no one would suggest foregoing a run to stay home and eat a bag of chips as part of a successful training strategy for an ultramarathon, which is my ultimate goal (believe it or not!).

The problem is that we’re having another (really, honestly, super) cold snap. The temperature warmed up quite a bit Saturday and Sunday, which is why I had good runs over the weekend. I did manage to make myself run in the bitter cold last Wednesday, the first day of our most recent arctic front. That day I ran on the river in Austin before driving to San Antonio, even though the temperature was in the thirties and the cold wind made the wind chill factor even lower. I was uncomfortable at first, but I knew I would warm up tolerably for the short run for which I had time. I also knew I would feel better after my run, for having run, than I would feel if I skipped it just to avoid discomfort.

I’m not sure what happened to that woman who triumphed over her resistance to the cold run that day. I must have left her in Austin. The next day, after checking the forecast for the day, I decided to run about 2 pm. According to weather.com, the sun would be peeking out by that time, and the temperature would rise to about 40 degrees (from the 28 degrees with 19 degree chill factor at the time I was looking at the weather). Apparently, weather.com lies. As the morning hours passed, I began to suspect that the forecast was incorrect. The sun stayed stubbornly behind a cloud, and when the time came for me to prepare to run, the temperature was 30 degrees with a 23 degree wind chill factor. Even so, I pulled on my long compression-fit pants and a long-sleeved compression-fit shirt, pulled a knit cap over my ears, looped a scarf a couple of times around my neck, grabbed an extra pair of gloves, and then a pair of black socks for my feet. Yes, I actually covered my bare feet against the cold. I drove to the Stone Oak area so I could include those hills in my run: specifically Tabernacle Hill. I pulled on two pairs of gloves, put the socks on my feet, secured my scarf, tucked my hair up under my knit cap, and stepped out my car to begin my run. Continue reading “Out of A Running Slump, Onto the Roads and Trails”

A Tale of Two Races: Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail 10k / 30k / 60k at Reveille Peak Ranch

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Reveille Peak Ranch: Capt’n Karl’s Night Trail Run
August 24, 2013

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair [. . .]” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

“The 2013 Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail Series wrapped up this past Saturday at Reveille Peak Ranch and what a finale it was!

 As runners arrived and checked in, there was a great breeze and it was definitely not as hot as it had been at the other Capt’n Karl’s races over the summer.  Unfortunately, with the humidity and the cessation of the wind later in the evening, the night turned out to be hotter than forecast but was still fantastic! Continue reading “A Tale of Two Races: Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail 10k / 30k / 60k at Reveille Peak Ranch”