Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports

Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports

Non-Fiction - Womens
288 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2017
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Author Biography

Terri Schneider is an ultra-endurance athlete, speaker, author, coach, and sport psychology consultant. A former 10-year professional triathlete focusing on the IRONMAN® distance, she expanded her challenges to include adventure racing with the inception of the Eco Challenge in 1995, as well as ultrarunning and mountaineering. Terri earned a degree in exercise physiology as well as a master's degree in sport psychology with a research emphasis on risk taking and team dynamics. She is co-author of 'Triathlete's Guide to Mental Training' and author of 'Triathlon Revolution: Training, Technique and Inspiration' and 'Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports'. While Santa Cruz, CA remains her home base, she spends time each year volunteering in Bhutan while continuing to explore and adventure around the globe, sharing her experiences through her speaking, writing, and photography. For more information, visit www.terrischneider.net.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports by Terri Schneider is a radical work that takes the reader to the very heart and principle of extreme endurance sports, and how we can use it to uncover our hidden potential and enhance our emotional, physical, and psychological growth. The idea that we only grow by stepping beyond our comfort zone couldn’t find a better illustration than in Terri’s own life and work. Get ready to step into the dynamics of the mind of an ultra-endurance athlete, follow her in her awesome adventures and her triumphs through rough and dangerous landscapes, and then savor the amazing lessons she generously offers from her experience. In the heart of this book, readers will discover the incontestable truth that we discover our worth, our potential, our very essence when we push ourselves beyond the limits.

Terri Schneider’s nonfiction book is what I have been looking for over the years. As I read through her wonderful experiences and her inspiring words and wisdom, I came to the conclusion that real success only happens when we feel the pain, when we endure it patiently, feeling our muscles tense as we strive to overcome it. This is a truth that happens both in personal life and in business. I needed this truth to ring through every fiber of my being, and Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports has been a wonderful encouragement in this light. I enjoyed Terri’s beautiful prose and her confidence in communicating her experience. Here is a book with a lesson for everyone, a philosophy that could change the way we see ourselves, our life, and our work.

Deborah Lloyd

The “how” and “why” questions surrounding extreme endurance sports athletes are at the core of this nonfiction work. Author Terri Schneider shares her experiences of engaging in these sports over an 18-year period in her book, Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance. By describing sixteen events, and the lessons learned within them, Ms. Schneider gives a firsthand account of the many facets involved. From deserts, mountains and other challenging terrains to a wide range of cultures across six continents to a multitude of physical injuries and a greater understanding of what the struggles are is mind-boggling. The lessons encompass the mental/emotional, physical, and often spiritual aspects of the athlete. Her portrayal of the necessary teamwork highlights the true life-and-death decisions to which the group commits, together. Each chapter reveals new lessons, such as “Suffer Well,” and “Finding Comfort in Discomfort.”

This book is written for both the extreme sports lover, and for the person who knows there is more to these sports than first meets the eye. In Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports, Terri Schneider imparts life lessons that are applicable to all areas of life. Her stories are written with a good balance of factual information and her personal experience of the events – not unlike the kind of balance these athletes must find in order to succeed. Her writing is clear and concise, easy to read, but chock-full of interesting information. The reader is captivated by her tales, being engaged from the first story to the last one. Additionally, the photographs from around the world are stunning. An excellent, fun book to read!

Mamta Madhavan

Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports by Terri Schneider is an insightful book that throws light on adventure sports and the mind of an adventure racer. The author gives a peek into her fascinating stories of physical pursuits and adventures in exotic venues, and exposes the inner athlete that resides inside each one of us. The techniques and stories will encourage readers to push their bodies and minds on the race course and in the mountains, making them ready to face the hardships, struggles, and turmoil in relationships, family, business, and life.

The book resonates well with many of us; especially those who try to push their limits mentally and physically. The author blends spirituality, psychology, and philosophy together to come up with an engaging drama that showcases the human spirit, body and feelings. The narration is detailed and the author’s personal trials, struggles, and the blood and sweat of endurance sports are palpable through her words. The book will remind us of who we are and what is offered when we decide to embrace the physical challenges and true endurance of daily life. The author’s words are encouraging and uplifting and they tell us that age is not a barrier to achievement from enduring. The book is about courage, mental and physical strength and growth, exotic locations, meditation on pain, and syncing the body and mind. The book is a must-read as every challenge faced by the author will teach readers about the indomitable spirit of the human body and mind.

Arya Fomonyuy

Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports by Terri Schneider is a book that opens with a very curious and challenging question: “How and why do ultra-endurance athletes push through extreme discomfort for such long periods of time?” A memoir that powerfully documents the incredible secret behind the huge success of a female athlete: it is called extreme endurance. And this isn’t a quality that one finds in athletes alone, it is something that stirs from within — an inner drive, a principle — for anyone willing to grow beyond their limits. This book will teach readers, by way of example, the rewards of extreme resistance, of pushing beyond their limits, of meeting and going beyond their expectations. For Terri, the determination to push beyond the limits is a quality that discovers the person they really are.

Watching Terri Schneider race through rough and unforgiving terrain alongside other women, transcending her limits, one could think it comes naturally to her, but this book shows that there is a lot of inner work, and a lot of courage involved, a lot of facing one’s fears, too. In very crisp and fluid prose and with a voice that comes across with great confidence, she shares her secrets to success. Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports is a book that will appeal to sportsmen and sportswomen, as well as anyone who wants to boost their confidence and engage with a commitment on the path towards personal growth and development. Readers will be entertained by the compelling stories Terri shares, but they will be empowered even more.

Jack Magnus

Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports is a non-fiction motivational sports memoir written by Terri Schneider. The author is an adventurer, endurance athlete, coach and sport psychology consultant, and she holds a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology. Schneider was ten years old when she got her first taste of endurance sports. That was when she participated in her first cross-country meet, and though she finished second-to-last, the thrill and challenge of the experience revealed to her a realm apart and above the everyday world. Running became her entree into another existence, one that seemed to have no limits or barricades. She ran her first marathon at age seventeen, and from then triathlons were the natural next step. In Dirty Inspirations, Schneider includes 16 stories that center around triathlons, endurance events, or climbs. She discusses the preparations that precede each challenge, the highs and lows encountered, and her philosophy on the quest for peak performance. Her memoirs span from her earliest adventures, such as her first IRONMAN race in Kona, the first Eco Challenge held in Utah, a lengthy expedition adventure race which required climbs, whitewater rafting and canoeing, horseback riding and nearly non-stop running as a team, to her more recent climbs on Aconcagua in Argentina and Denali on the Alaskan Range.

Terri Schneider’s non-fiction motivational sports memoir, Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports, had me wistfully wishing that I had gotten into cross-country running in high school. I loved reading about the Eco Challenges in Utah and New Zealand, the Raid Gauloises Expedition Races in Tibet and her seven-day, 150 mile Racing the Planet challenge through the Sahara Desert. I share with Schneider her sense of adventure, the lure of the unseen and the challenge of the unknown. Each of her stories, with the exception I would have to say of Borneo, appealed so greatly to my sense of adventure and love of physical activity. I was especially moved by her decision not to summit at Denali and could feel the difficulty of that decision to step back. As the world has lost too many extreme adventurers, particularly climbers, I’m glad she did. Dirty Inspirations definitely does inspire. This well-written, exciting and highly motivational memoir had me pondering what a marvelous coach Schneider must be, and how fortunate her clients are to have found her. I loved reading her stories and experiencing vicariously those grand challenges and adventures, and hope to be hearing more from this talented and driven athlete. Dirty Inspirations: Lessons from the Trenches of Extreme Endurance Sports is most highly recommended.