I 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!