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The Lean, Mean, Running Dean: Trinity's Half-Marathon Team

By Katie Jones
Katie Jones '18
Runner & Humanities Major

Last fall semester, I participated in Dean Tuttle’s Rock n’ Roll San Antonio half-marathon training group. Participating in “Running with the Dean” was definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of my first semester at Trinity. In high school, I ran cross-country and long-distance track. Although competitive running was a valuable experience, I have found that running without a competitive element enriches my enjoyment and appreciation of the sport itself. While training for Rock ‘n’ Roll, I could finally focus on what I love, running itself, as opposed to running faster than others.

I really appreciate the attitude of inclusiveness cultivated by our group. We operate on the policy that people of all paces and experience levels are welcome, and everyone stays together throughout the run. This policy is designed to prevent individuals from being deterred by lack of experience, and exposes a greater number of people to long-distance running. This is an important aspect of the group, as the benefits of running are immense, and everyone should have access to them.
Trinity students and staff cheer for their friends and other Rock N' Roll Participants
The philosophy of inclusiveness is also evident in that we increase mileage at a very reasonable pace of 1 mile per week. I have a history of numerous stress fractures amongst other running injuries due to over-training. Because of this history, I really appreciate our group’s prudent training plan. It functions to include a diverse amount of individuals as well as ensure that everyone is healthy and able to participate in the race at the end of the semester.

As a first-year, Dean Tuttle’s running group was an integral part of my college adjustment period. Connecting with individuals who shared my interest in remaining healthy and active in college, as well as my love for running, contributed immensely to my feeling of ease at Trinity.

Dean Tuttle (center) smiles as he focuses in on mile five of the Rock N' Roll Half-Marathon
At the end of the semester, I was incredibly nervous about running in the actual race. I missed the last training run, and so the most I had ever run in preparation was about 9 or 10 miles. I told myself that in the context of a 13.1 mile race, 3 miles is pretty insignificant. But at times that merely seemed to emphasize the enormity of mileage I was about to undertake. During the race, I started to feel mild fatigue after about 5 miles. Feeling fatigue after running 5 miles is relatively normal, but it made me feel incredibly apprehensive whilst the remaining 8.1 miles loomed. This is when the race taught me something of incredible value. I realized that if I hoped to finish the race and have a satisfying experience, it was crucial that I focus on the present moment. Worrying about the numerous miles to come wasn’t going to make my experience any easier or pleasant. It may even encourage me to give up. So I began to focus on where I was moment by moment. It allowed me to notice and appreciate being propelled forward by nothing by sheer muscle power and clarity of mind, and the peace that comes with that feeling. It’s important to have these moments while doing anything one feels passionate about. It reminds a person that what they devote themselves to is meaningful and worth experiencing. My memories of that race are far more vivid than that of many other experiences, and I suspect the reason lies in my conscious decision to be present throughout its duration.

Picture of me post-race, but pre-chocolate muffins. Running a half-marathon is challenging, but that's part of the reward!
I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest in running to consider training for Rock n’ Roll with the group next semester. It’s definitely not easy to run 13.1 miles, but anyone who participates in “Running with the Dean” will tell you its well worth it. And if nothing else, I found the post-race experience of eating three chocolate muffins in under five minutes most gratifying.

You can run with the Dean, too! Learn how here. Learn more about student involvement and campus life here.

About Katie Jones
Katie Jones is a rising sophomore at Trinity University. She plans to double major in Philosophy and English. Her interests include yoga, Game of Thrones, and rap music.


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