Cloudsplitter Race Report: A 50k Finally Successfully Accomplished!

cloudsplitter 3I see that, um, about eight months or so have passed since I last posted a blog on this site (re-blog about the smoothie notwithstanding). Since the last time I really wrote a post for this site, I finished the book I had just ordered at that time, Less Than A Minute to Go (Thierfelder, St Benedict Press), and successfully completed my first 50k: Cloudsplitter 100. When I last blogged, I mentioned that I ordered Thierfelder’s book for inspiration as I trained for Cloudsplitter. The book did inspire me, and reading the book gave me a change in perspective about pain and suffering that helped increase my self-confidence before I began the race. Before I discuss the helpful aspects of the Thierfelder’s work, the former freshman composition instructor in me has to report the negative aspects of the book: the writer’s inferior style and the work’s apparent lack of proper editing. I feel somewhat uncomfortable writing anything negative about Bill Thierfelder’s work; I greatly admire his character and his faith. Given that Thierfelder is the president of a college, however, his work must be held to a high standard.

Throughout the book, Thierfelder quotes extensively. His quoted material is often too long, sometimes about as long as an entire page. In such cases the proper method of quoting is for the writer to summarize the context of the quote for brevity’s sake, then quote only the most striking lines of the quote that the writer believes best express the point he’s trying to make by using the quotation. Even more distressing than Thierfelder’s too generous use of quoted material is his chaotic use of documentation following the quoted material and facts and figures he uses throughout the book. His citation of sources is inconsistent as far as any formal citation style (such as MLA, APA, or Chicago), and it’s even inconsistent within the work itself. Furthermore, until the last section of the book, the work seems to lack organization. The strength of Thierfelder’s writing comes through only at the end of the book, when he relates the secret of improving and succeeding in one’s sport-related performance to improving one’s relationship with God. Although he touches on the relationship between one’s spiritual growth and one’s improved sport performance throughout the book, the relationship seems too loosely connected until the last chapter of the book: at this point Thierfelder’s successfully illustrates the way one’s faith can infuse and positively impact every aspect of his life, even his sport performance. Continue reading “Cloudsplitter Race Report: A 50k Finally Successfully Accomplished!”

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”

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”