Faculty on the Move: Tales from Professors on the Run

 

Dedman College faculty members keep a busy schedule of classes, research, mentoring, and other professional responsibilities, but many of the faculty can also boast about impressive performances outside of the academic arena, and on the roads, trails, and tracks of Dallas. Read on for wisdom, tips, and stories from a few notable faculty members.

Darryl Dickson-Carr: The Club Runner

Chair & Professor, English

Dr. Dickson-Carr is part of the White Rock Running Co-Op (WRRC), a grassroots running organization in Dallas. He races regularly, having completed five marathons, “at least ten” half marathons, and “more 10Ks and 5Ks than I can remember.” For Dickson-Carr, those he runs with are hugely important to the overall experience.

What is your fondest running memory?

I’ve had so many great memories from running with my regular running buddies, but if I had to choose, it would be seeing one of my friends finish her first marathon in Fort Worth. We’d trained together all season, encouraged each other when we wanted to quit, and generally developed a great support system. She struggled—as most of us do—but finished strong.

What are you most proud of as a runner?

That I’ve continued to stick with it this long, first of all. Therapeutic though it may be, simply remaining a distance runner takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment. Earning my marathon PR was a proud moment as well, but so was my first marathon, when I hadn’t properly trained for the race. Simply finishing felt like one of life’s greatest achievements.

How does running make you a stronger professor?

To remain in my profession, I have to work on long-term projects—books, articles, lecture—that can seem to take an agonizingly slow time to develop. But I have to put in the regular work until they are finished. Training for a major distance race is nearly identical. It seems to go on forever, as does the race itself. You face endless doubts about whether you will ever be able to finish, but you can, and you will. You could say the same is true of teaching a course. Is it any coincidence that a marathon training schedule and a semester are about the same length?

Do you have any funny stories to share from your runs?

It’s hard to pick just one, as my training buddies and I have had a lot of fun times on the road telling stories that probably shouldn’t be repeated. We’ve had pit bulls nip at our heels, waded through flood waters, and gotten lost on runs too many times to count. But I’ll try two:

 I ran my first marathon sort of by accident. I had planned to run the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon in 2007, but by the time I went to sign up, all the half marathon slots were taken. So on a whim, I just signed up for the full marathon, thinking, “It’s just twice the distance. You can handle it.” This was ten days before the race. A couple of days later, I told my personal trainer what I had done, and his jaw hit the floor. He saved me from myself by giving me some advice on how to prepare at the last minute. As it was, I ended up walking a mile or two during the race in sheer agony. But I finished.

 One time I was running alone on White Rock Lake. My partners were running a different distance that day, so I had to go solo. I was feeling miserable; it was a muggy, overcast day. Then I looked up and saw one buddy running toward me with her arms swinging wide open and a crazy look on her face. I started howling with laughter as she gave me a big bear hug. The rest of my run was fun after that. Maybe it wasn’t funny to anyone else, but it raised my spirits!

Any tips for someone who would like to start running?

Start slow, start easy, and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. No beginner needs to push herself hard. Running is a great pleasure, but it’s hard. So give yourself time to work up to different distances and speeds. Do not increase your distance running per week by more than 10%, or you risk injury. Hydrate well. Find a good running partner for companionship and accountability, or join a group like the WRRC. Most important of all, have fun. That’s why my running friends and I do this; we have fun, even on the worst days.

 

Susan Hornstein: The Boston Marathoner

Senior Lecturer, Psychology

The Boston Marathon is one of the running world’s most storied races. Runners must meet strict time requirements to enter and many spend years attempting to run a marathon fast enough to “BQ”  (Boston qualify). Prof. Hornstein recently qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:49. Not content with a single marathon, Prof. Hornstein has run one ultra marathon (31 miles), along with 13 total marathons.

What are you most proud of as a runner?

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This was always my “unattainable goal”. 

What is the most meaningful lesson you’ve learned from running?

That there is no such thing as an “unattainable goal.” My first unattainable goal was a sub-2 hour half marathon. One year later I hit it. My next unattainable goal was a sub 1:55 half. I hit it. Then Boston. Never sell yourself short.

How does running make you a stronger professor?

I use the analogy of setting goals in running to setting goals in the classroom. It is not possible to go from 0 to a marathon in one step—there are plenty of lessons to be learned and obstacles to overcome along the way. The same is true in the classroom. This is especially true for my first year students. Succeeding in college, which can be very different from their high school experiences is all about setting goals and overcoming obstacles.

Do you have any funny stories to share from your runs?

I was on a training run on vacation in Mongolia, and I happened to run on the same day and same location as a 100-mile ultra marathon. The locals would come out of their gers (portable, round tents) and cheer me on thinking I was winning the race—not knowing the real winners were only behind me because they had to run a marathon first (up and down a mountain) to get to my location.

 

Ernest Jouriles: Marathon Master

Dale McKissick Endowed Professor of Psychology

Dr. Jouriles’s marathon story began after age 50, but he quickly made up for lost time, racking up 9 total marathons, with two more planned for later this winter. He’s a regular at both the Disney Marathon at Walt Disney World and the Dallas Marathon. With a personal best time of 4:18 in the marathon, he has much to be proud of.

What is your favorite race?  

Walt Disney World Marathon, and the last 1.2 miles of the race are my favorite place to run.

What is your fondest running memory?  

Perhaps the feeling after finishing my very first marathon.

What are you most proud of as a runner?  

Not stopping with the running of the first marathon, but continuing to try to improve as a marathon runner.

What is the most meaningful lesson you’ve learned from running?  

I’m not sure if this is really a lesson I learned from running, but like in many things, it is valuable to be prepared, persistent, and patient when training for and running marathons.

How does running make you a stronger professor?  

It helps give me some balance—a challenging activity I can do outside of my work as a professor.  It also keeps me healthy and improves my stamina.

 

Joe Kobylka: The Streaker

Associate Professor, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Political Science

Dr. Kobylka is what’s known in the running world as a “streaker:” a runner who completes at least 1 mile every day, though some runners will set a higher mileage requirement. As of November 1, 2017, his count is 5,021.

When did you start running?

I ran a 10K in grad school with my then professor, and later SMU colleague, Dennis Simon. In fact, it was Simon who got me into running as a form of exercise. Generally, I run to stay in some kind of shape and not turn into a dirigible.

What is your favorite race? Why?

The annual ACTion Run for the Achievement Center of Texas. Every year I run 5 miles in the Achievement Center of Texas’ ACTion Run. (ACT provides day habilitation services to people with mental and physical disabilities. My son Jeff has been a student there for 16 years, and I am on its Board of Directors. Donations can still be made to TeamJeff here.) I did this year’s run last Saturday, October 28. In the past six years TeamJeff (my legs, the donations of friends and ACT supporters) have raised over $65K for ACT.

What is your favorite running memory?

Running on the cobblestones around the walled city of Rottenburg, Germany, at midnight to keep my streak of consecutive running days intact before flying back to the U.S. after a vacation

What are you most proud of as a runner?

Raising money for ACT, the consecutive days streak (now at 5024), and motivating students to get/stay physically active.

What is the most meaningful lesson you’ve learned from running?

Focus and dedication translate over many different aspects of life and improve them all.

How does running make you a stronger professor?

I’m still alive. It would be harder to teach if I wasn’t.

Do you have any funny stories to share from your runs?

Tons of them.

Any tips for someone who would like to start running?

Get good shoes and run for yourself. Don’t worry about times, distances, and what other runners do: do what works for you. The great thing about running is you don’t need a lot of gear to do it and you can do it nearly anywhere.