Running With Alligators: Belated BB 50 (4/16/16) Race Report

Running Streak Day: 505IMG_3340
YTD Running Mileage: 785

Before I delve into the bittersweet details of my particular Brazos Bend 50 race (I ran the 50k, Phillip, the 25k) experience, I have to offer praise to Trail Running Over Texas. Oh my goodness! What a well organized, runner-friendly race this company hosted! The TROT people anticipated and provided for every runner’s possible needs. The food offerings at the tables were abundant and varied (even some gluten-free items, which sadly, because of my stomach, I could not enjoy – but more about this unfortunate state of affairs later). The volunteers were amazingly patient, kind, and helpful. I absolutely fell in love with TROT this day (BB 50 having been my first TROT race). TROT 4 – Ever : )

Brazos Bend State Park is located a little drive from the nearest cities (Rosenberg, Sugarland, Richmond). Phillip and I, following the recommendation of a Strava friend who lives in the area, reserved a room in Rosenberg. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and drove straight to the park for packet pick-up. We wanted to make this drive for two reasons: to know where we were going on race day, and to check out the type of trails we’d be running. I wanted to run the 50k barefoot all the way, but I had read that much of the trail was actually covered with large rocks or gravel. I run the gravel surface at Town Lake (now Lady Bird Lake, but always and forever Town Lake to us) in Austin barefoot, with no problem, so a gravel surface in general would not necessarily present an obstacle to my running the race without my usual rough trail-running go-to Luna Leadville huaraches. Continue reading “Running With Alligators: Belated BB 50 (4/16/16) Race Report”

A Run A Day Keeps the Lazies Away???

I notice that the date of my last blog post is February 7th, some – uummm – three months ago. The space

1st Place AG @ Cocoa Women's Half Marathon, January 2015
1st Place AG @ Cocoa Women’s Half Marathon, January 2015

between that post and the previous is even greater! At that time, I only brought my blog up to date concerning my goal of finishing my first 50k. I’ve set some running goals and run some races between my successful Cloudsplitter 50k completion and now. I’ll recap swiftly! I set and met a goal to run a sub-two Decker Challenge Half-Marathon in December (chip time 1:56:57, 4 / 22 AG). I set and met a goal to run a sub-two Cocoa Women’s Half in January (Chip time 1:53:10, 1 / 44 in AG). I set and failed at the goal of a 4:15 – 4:30 full Austin Marathon (see Wild Hare 50k, same song, second verse as they say). I turned off at the half, and finished with probably the slowest half time since the first half I ever ran. I saved face some with the next race after that one – which happened to be the very next Saturday: the Street to Feet 5k (chip time 25:09, 1 / 32 AG). My business (ATX Ultra Eats) sponsored the inaugural Mission for Life 5k / Half-Marathon on March 21st. I ran the 5k; the half-marathon was turned into a 20 miler at the last minute, due to flooding of the course along the San Antonio River. Continue reading “A Run A Day Keeps the Lazies Away???”

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”

“What Would Meghan Arbogast Do?” Age is No Excuse for Diminished Running Performance

“Our plan had been to run together for hopefully a couple of hours. Amy and I are similarly enough paced that it made sense to stay together as

Meghan Arbogast - Picture from sacramentorunning.com
Meghan Arbogast – Picture from sacramentorunning.com

long as possible. Working with someone on a flat paved long straight road has a lot of appeal, especially if there is any wind involved. Before long we were clicking of 7:07 miles. We didn’t need to run that fast, but we were comfortable, and I use my heart rate monitor during races to keep myself in control. For the first couple of hours it was 155 or lower, which was right on target for a sub-8 hour day.” (Meghan Arbogast, “Tokyo Shibamata 100k 2013,” Racing Through My Life)

“Even leading senior athletes can be subject to some of the fallibilities of age. At the New Zealand masters championships, I listened to a vigorous discussion between two upper age-group 10,000m contenders, tough runner talk about how hard and tactical their race had been. They sounded just like two competitive 25-year-olds – except that they couldn’t remember the names of any of the other runners. “ (Roger Robinson, “New Research on Older Runners,” Running Times, March 20,2013)

Perhaps the most worrisome thing about aging is the forgetfulness that creeps up time and again. These days Phillip and I will sit down to watch a movie that we think we’ve never watched. Partway through the movie, something will seem familiar; one of us will ask the other if perhaps we have seen the movie before. A few scenes more, and we’ll realize that yes, we have watched the movie before. Between the two of us, we’ll start to piece together the movie, remembering something or other that will come up in later scenes. Then one of us will ask the other how the movie ends, and neither of us will be able to remember the ending, so we forge ahead through the entire film just so we can see once again how it ends! Other smaller memory lapses are nuisances, such as those times I walk into a room to get something, but forget what I went into the room to retrieve. I listen to radio shows and read articles that cover issues such as recognizing the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and more serious causes of forgetfulness such as Alzheimer’s disease. I carefully note the symptoms of each and measure my (or Phillip’s!) moments of forgetfulness against the list just to reassure myself that we’re merely dealing with the natural progress of aging. Continue reading ““What Would Meghan Arbogast Do?” Age is No Excuse for Diminished Running Performance”

Accountability and Running: Being Better Than One’s Self

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View From Lamar St Bridge During Run:11 June 13

“Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clear-headedness that follow a long run.” (Monte Davis)

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” (William Faulkner, “The Art of Fiction, no 12,” The Paris Review, 1956)

I really have no idea who Monte Davis is. This quote appears on plenty of running sites, but no one sources it. I googled him but could find no information about him as an athlete. I wish I knew who he is, because I really take issue with these words that are attributed to him all over the web. Honestly, one is quite able to run and feel sorry for herself at the same time! When the weather is rainy, cold, and dark but she has to get in that last five miles to meet her goal for the week; when she has one hill rep left but the previous five, six, or seven reps have sapped all her strength; when her will to run battles her will be back at home eating ice cream and reading a book: oh, yes, feeling sorry for oneself while simultaneously running is indeed possible. But since misery honestly seems to love company, a runner is more likely to complete her running goals when she shares her goals with other runners, and also helps them to achieve their own goals. Continue reading “Accountability and Running: Being Better Than One’s Self”