Tag Archives: scott jurek

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 Joyful Return to Running

“Humans aren’t built to sit all day. Nor are we built for the kinds of repetitive, small movements that so much of today’s specialized work demands. Our bodies crave big, varied movements that originate at the core of our body.” (Scott Jurek, Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. bullet proof coffee 3
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”)

Ultra-runner champion Scott Jurek (whose autobiography is an extremely inspirational and interesting read, even for those of use who vehemently disagree with the ideas about diet and nutrition he espouses in the work) is correct: human bodies do long for big, varied movements, and when one is used to moving – running! – for miles every day, for long periods of time outside the house, a sudden halt to that activity brings her shock at first, then disbelieve next, then finally a reluctant, depressed acceptance of reality. At the moment when she realizes that she really, absolutely cannot run for an unspecified period of time, a sort of panic takes over. How, she asks herself, will she replace that movement: that activity that releases such endorphins into her being, and releases her into the world as well? Should she do upper body and core work at the gym, where she will be surrounded by television screens showing CNN or music videos? Surrounded by people plugged up to machines that merely mimic running – not even truly moving – while they remain plugged into their various personal technological devices? Where, in the gym, are the trees?

McAllister Park
McAllister Park Boardwalk, N of Tobin Trailhead

Continue reading A Joyful Return to Running