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Marathon Training Week 2 Recap – Annoying Things

Giant Number 2 by Ruth Hartnup from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Giant Number 2 by Ruth Hartnup from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Another week of training is in the books! This week of training was a success on the whole but had a lot of annoying moments in it.

  • I realized when I was mapping my long run the week that the run that I thought was 6.5 miles is only 5.25 miles – Eww! (So that means I only ran 19.5 miles last week, not 22.)
  • I’ve had intermittent problems with plantar fasciitis (arch pain) for most of my life. Keeping my shoes loosely tied helps because it allows enough space for my feet to swell when I run. That also means they’re loose enough to let little rocks in.  I don’t stop to shake them out unless they’re causing pain.
  • My Scraped Up Arm - 35 Hours After the Fall

    My Scraped Up Arm – 35 Hours After the Fall

    I dislike having to fuss with my iPod during my run. I prefer podcasts that are as long as my run. This could be more of a challenge as my runs get longer.

  • There is a strange truth about gymnasts – we have balance and grace in the gym but once you put us in the real world, we turn into complete klutzes. I caught my toe on a raised portion of the sidewalk 2.75 miles into my 7-mile run on Saturday. I got a bruise on my knee and a big scrape on my arm. I hope it’s not going to scar. I still have scars on my elbow from falling off my bike last year.
  • I know I’m a bit rigid and controlling. I planned to do an 18-mile bike ride on Sunday but unfortunately the storm on Saturday resulted in downed power lines across the canal. I had to turn back and finish my miles in other direction. It turns out I did 20.25 miles instead of 18 – the last two were with a head wind.

My friend is training for his first Ironman in November. He said he’s at a point in his training where he doesn’t get sore anymore. Although I have a lot less pain on my runs in general, I’m definitely not there yet. My quads are definitely sore from this week’s ride.

Care Label on my Cycling Shorts. Who Irons Spandex?

Care Label on my Cycling Shorts. Who Irons Spandex?

Padded Butt Shorts
As I climbed into bed after my first long ride, the base of my butt was sore. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get some padded cycling shorts. So that was my birthday present to myself this year. I opted for the $50 gel padded shorts instead of the $40 foam padded shorts because I think I’ll crush the foam faster than the gel will wear out.

I had a good ride this week. I was used to wearing cotton bike shorts and I hadn’t worn spandex shorts since my gymnastics days. It felt good to be in slide-y shorts again and the butt padding was awesome. I had no gluteal discomfort during or after the ride. I thought it was funny when I changed out of my riding clothes and I noticed that the care instructions mentioned that I can iron my shorts.

Push-ups Update
I got through my 200 push-ups – split out over three days: 50 on Monday, 80 on Friday, and 70 on Sunday. I’m doing 10-12 push-ups in each set. My chest and arms still feel like they’re getting a workout throughout the week but it doesn’t hurt to sneeze or lift my arms anymore. I’ll probably split my push-ups out over three days again next week before bumping it up to doing 100 push-ups, two times a week.

Week 2 Totals:
Running: 21.25 miles
Biking: 20.25 miles
Push-ups: 200

Marathon Training – Week 1 Recap

Week One of marathon training is in the books! I’m pleased with how it’s going so far and I encountered an unexpected challenge with my strength training.

20130324-024-of-365 by Wilson Hui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

20130324-024-of-365 by Wilson Hui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I was a gymnast for 17 years and I consider myself to be relatively strong. When I trained for the half marathon, strength training was on my calendar twice a week. The best upper body and core workout I know is push-ups. So I thought for the marathon I’d do 100 push-ups, 3 times a week.  That seemed easy enough.

And then Monday came. I made myself do 100 push-ups – taking as many sets as I needed and lowering down almost to the floor with each one.  It took 7 sets but it got done. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

By Tuesday I was sore. I ran my usual 4.5 mile while listening to the Invisible Office Hours Podcast. My legs have been doing well with running. I typically get a little bit of soreness in my shins or feet, but nothing worse than a 3 on a 10-point pain scale. The rest of my body was a different story. My triceps, chest, and abs were so sore that I felt like I was running with bruises all over my body. My abs hurt every time I sneezed.

Wednesday was a long run at 6.5 miles. It was sprinkling just hard enough that I didn’t want to bring my iPod. Only the diehards and people who don’t have treadmills seemed to be out on the trail. It was a nice run. When I got home I tried to do push-ups, but I couldn’t get into a push-up position without screaming pain radiating through my arms and chest. That’s when I remembered that my half marathon training only had strength work twice a week so I decided that I should do the same for marathon training and decrease my push-ups from three times a week to only twice a week.

I was a still sore on Thursday for a couple of reasons. I ran 4.5 miles and I could tell my body wasn’t used to running 3 days in a row. All summer I was running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. For this race I have training runs scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and cross training on Sunday. My quad muscles could feel the difference – not exactly soreness but awareness of not getting as much rest between runs. I was surprised by how much my chest and arms still hurt from Monday.

Friday was a rest day and Saturday is my long run of the week – 6.5 miles this week. It was an easy 54-minute run. My new favorite movie podcast, Profiles with Malone and Mantz, kept me entertained. When I got back, I decided to split my 100 push-ups for the weekend over 2 days and do 5 sets of 10 each day. I still can’t go as low as I could on Monday but they got done. I’m thinking I should do 50 push-ups a day for 4 days each week until I get a bit stronger.

Sunday was my cross training day. I plan to ride my bike for most of my cross training days. I really don’t ride my bike enough; I love it. I did an 18-mile ride along the Arizona Canal. It was harder than I expected but it really shouldn’t have been since it’s been a few months since my last ride. One thing that’s nice about riding is I get to read everyone’s shirts. When I go running I usually don’t take the time to put in contacts so my world is blurry but they’re a requirement for riding. It was fun to see everyone’s shirts from past races. My ride took about 100 minutes and I knocked out my last 50 push-ups for the week when I got home.

I’d say it’s an excellent start to training for the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon.

Week 1 Totals:
Running Miles: 22
Bike Miles: 18
Push-ups:  200

Marathon Training for the RnRAz 2015

My training program for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon 2015 begins this week. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon every year for four years (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013), (PR: 1:52:04), but then I had to sit out 2014 due to shin splints. Now that I’ve finished physical therapy and learned a new running posture, I’m ready to do another long race.

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2013 - Pre-Race with my Uncle and Cousin

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2013 – Pre-Race with my Uncle and Cousin

I will be using one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training programs for the next 18 weeks. I’ve used his half marathon training program for my previous races with a lot of success. It’s easy to lock in to his program of how far to run on what day. I’m a little worried about how fast the mileage climbs on the long run days.  I’ll be running 10 miles by week 5. In his novice half marathon program, 10 miles is the longest run you do before the race and that’s in week 11 of a 12-week program. I hope my legs and feet can handle the stress.

I am grateful to be in the best running shape I’ve ever been in heading into a training cycle. I’ve been consistently running and stretching since March as part of the rehab from my injuries. I’m currently running 22 miles a week (2 4.5-mile runs, 2 6.5-mile runs). For previous races I was barely working out so the first 3-mile run of training was painful.

Since I’ve been running so much, I’m slightly modifying Hal’s program for the first 13 weeks. If the run in Hal’s program is less than what I would have run on my own, I’ll run the longer distance. For example, the first run in Hal’s program is 3 miles. I’d normally run 4.5 miles that day so I’ll do that distance instead.

I’ve also heard that the route for Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon has a decent hill around Mile 20. So right when I expect to really hate myself, I have to climb a hill. (This will be awesome for a masochist like me.) My training will definitely include some hill work to prepare for this. There was a small hill in the last Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon I did and I could easily tell whose training included hills and who only trained on flat ground.

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

My Foot and Leg in KT Tape before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

Hal’s program adds 1 day of cross training to the mix. I’ll probably bike 12-20 miles on those days but there may be some hiking and other fun on those days. I think I also want to add some upper body and core strength training by doing push-ups 3 days a week – just push-ups, not the 100 Push-ups Challenge.

The real challenge in doing a race is staying dedicated to the training program. I don’t know if non-runners appreciate how much time and dedication goes into preparing for a race. The race itself is filled with excitement, fanfare, and comradery with your fellow racers. Race day is easy – if nothing else you have adrenaline to get you through it. The training is hard – long hours of pounding pavement rain or shine (most likely by yourself), scheduling your life around your runs, potentially living with perpetually sore muscles, and taking care of minor injuries. (I literally lived in KT Tape my last two training cycles.)

I’m looking forward to training for my first full marathon and being able to share the journey with you.

Adventures with Rosie: Getting Homeowner’s Insurance

I promised Rosie a new bed. Of course she picked out the most expensive one in the store.

I promised Rosie a new bed. Of course she picked out the most expensive one in the store.

In case anyone missed the memo, Rosie and I are moving. Don’t worry, we’re not leaving Phoenix, just getting a new place to call our own. And it’s a smaller place that better accommodates my aspiring minimalist lifestyle.

Part of the process of becoming a homeowner is buying homeowner’s insurance. I amused myself going through the questionnaire with my insurance agent to get a quote.

Do you have any pets?
Yes. I have a basset hound.

Has your dog ever bitten anyone?
I have a basset hound.

(In all fairness, my family had a basset when I was younger that would get violent when he got confused. We think he had hearing loss from a severe illness when he was a puppy. But come on – who has ever heard of a vicious basset hound? Grouchy yes. Vicious no.)

Does your home have a security system?
I have a basset hound.

Oh, I’m way too easily entertained by my dog. But who wouldn’t be?

 

New Project: Minimalism in 90 Days

I’m taking my minimalism project to the next level. When I moved to Phoenix ten years ago, I moved into my parents’ second home – lovely two bedroom, two bathroom, 1800 square foot, furnished place with a pool and a yard. It’s been a wonderful home but it’s time for Rosie and me to get our own place. I recently found a condo that I loved from the moment I saw it – 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 900 square foot place with a patio and a nook that will be my home office.

I’ve been systematically cleaning out my stuff for the last eighteen months but for this move, I’m stealing an idea from Ryan Nicodemus, one of The Minimalists. When he decided to become a minimalist, he and his fellow minimalist friend Joshua Fields Millburn had a “packing party” where they packed up all his stuff as if he was going to move. For the next twenty-one days, he only unpacked what he needed as he needed it. After the twenty-one days, he went through his boxes, pulled out a few extra items, and got rid of the rest. By packing up his stuff, it opened his eyes to how little he actually needs to be happy and comfortable.

I suspect my new place will look like this for a few weeks. Charted by Shelah from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I suspect my new place will look like this for a few weeks. Charted by Shelah from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

So here’s my plan for the move. I sold or gave away all my furniture before I left Oregon. (As a joke, I signed a lot of it – does anyone still have any of that stuff?) Once I take possession of my condo, I’m going buy a few staple furniture items that I know I’ll need – bed, couch, desk, and probably not much else. (Oh, and I promised Rosie a memory foam bed for her birthday.) I’m going to box up all my stuff – and probably use file size boxes so their easy to use and stack. Each box will be filled based on where the things were stored in the house and labeled so it will be easy to find stuff after I move. I’ll also go through my boxes of kitchen stuff and linens from my Oregon apartment and get rid of the stuff I know I won’t need in my new place.

After I move, everything will stay in the boxes. I’ll only unpack or buy things as I need them. I’ll probably do this for three months. By then, the weather will have changed from warm to cold so I should have all the seasonal items I’ll need unpacked. I’ll probably spend the dead week between Christmas and New Year’s going through the boxes one more time before giving away whatever I’m not using. If I get to the point where I know I’m not going to be going into the boxes anymore, I’ll call it early and do the final clean out then.

I’m curious to see how many boxes of stuff I actually own right now compared to what I actually use. There’s nothing like moving to motivate you to get rid of your stuff.

New Business Cards – Pretty Freakin’ Awesome

I’m sure plenty of people who don’t know me but hear that my name is “Ruth” and that I’m lawyer envision me to be a stuff old Jewish woman who embodies all the lawyer stereotypes.  I suspect that’s who my co-panelist at Phoenix Comicon thought he was pair with when he heard he was doing a panel on Comic Creator Rights with “the lawyer.” He was probably surprised to see a young pixie of thing in a pink geeky t-shirt instead. We had a great time doing our panel. He said we looked like gurus but I think we look like a couple of Muppets in the photos.

It’s always been important to me to have effective non-boring business cards. I made a joke after Phoenix Comicon that I should have business cards made that say, “Ruth Carter, Esq., Not That Kind Of Lawyer.” Recently, I needed to order more business cards and I figured, since I’m paying for shipping for two boxes of cards, I might as well make it four – so I made them! I’ll probably use them at events where I’m more likely to meet people who are likely to wrinkle their noses when they hear I’m a lawyer.

New Business Card - front

New Business Card - back

What do you think? A friend mentioned that these fit in well with my goal to becoming a minimalist.

I love these cards. We’ll see if these become my standard business card. It takes me about six months to go through two boxes of cards so we’ll see how I feel the next time I need to reorder.

New Running Mantra: “You Forgot Your Flash Drive”

It’s monsoon season in Phoenix, so I got to go running in the rain last week. A rainy day means I can’t run with my iPod which means I’m left with the frightening experience of running with only my thoughts to keep me entertained. (And trust me, my mind is frightening place that no one should visit alone.) I set out on my 4.5-mile run. I’m sure I looked like a drowned rat within five minutes, but it warm outside and so the rain was a refreshing change to being covered in sweat which has a tendency to sting really bad when it gets in my eye. At the beginning of the second mile, I was settling into my pace and listening to the rhythmic sound of my feet pounding the pavement.  I randomly started thinking of the train episode of The Big Bang Theory and the phrase, “You forgot your flash drive,” started repeating over and over in my head.

You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. I don’t know why this became my mantra. It has nothing to do with running, or exercise, or any real aspect of reality for that matter. But it worked. It gave me a solid 9:00 mile pace for the rest of my run.

Funny marathon signs - Smile or it drops by Jeff Moriarty from Flickr, used with permission

Funny marathon signs – Smile or it drops by Jeff Moriarty from Flickr, used with permission

Now here’s the weird part. Two days later it was a beautiful sunny morning and I headed out for a run, happy to have my iPod strapped to my arm and earbuds in my ears blasting my training playlist. Despite my musical distraction, within the first mile my mantra starting playing again my head: You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. So it looks like this is going to be my running mantra this season. It’s so weird but it’s working so I’m not going to fight it. When I start feeling tired, I just play it over again and it picks up my pace. Historically, I’ve asked people to insult me when I’m doing a race. It makes me smile and feel loved. (Thank you to everyone who has ever yelled, “Move your ass Bitch!” at me as I ran past them while fellow spectators looked at them in horror.) I will be running my first marathon at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona in January 2015. I think it would be awesome if someone would make a sign for me that says, “You forgot your flash drive” and hold it up as I run by. No one else will get it but that would so make my race.

The Slippery Slope of the Hobby Lobby Fallout

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that a closely-held for-profit company could use their religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to pay for birth control their employees. I think the court was 100% wrong in this decision and I’m annoyed that it’s probably going to take us decades to undo the damage this ruling is going to cause.

Hey, You Got Your Church In My State! by David Goehring from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Hey, You Got Your Church In My State! by David Goehring from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I’m a huge advocate for the separation of church and state and the notion that people can have whatever religious beliefs they want, as long as they don’t try to inflict them on others. This ruling crosses that line. If the federal government passed a law that says companies with 50 employees or more have to provide certain health insurance to employees and a company doesn’t like it, their options should have been to pay the penalty for violating the law or shrink their company so the law wouldn’t apply to them, not getting an exception based on religious beliefs.

This week I read about a similar case – a pharmacy in Washington State wants to refuse on religious grounds to stock and dispense Plan B (the morning after pill) even though all pharmacies are mandated by state law to carry it.

Here’s my take on these situations – laws should be passed for the good of the general public. If you don’t like a law, don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to abide by it. If you’re a pharmacist who dislikes your state’s laws about what products you have to carry, get out of the business or move to a state that doesn’t have that requirement.

There are plenty of laws that I don’t like but I accept that I have to follow them or accept the penalty if I get caught breaking them. I can try to get the law changed, but until that happens, I’m stuck with them.

Having legally recognized exceptions written into laws is one thing, but giving people the ability to refuse to follow the law based on religious beliefs is a slippery slope. When I was an undergrad, I was furious to learn that a pharmacist at the student health center wasn’t filling prescriptions for the morning after pill because of her religious beliefs so students could only get that prescription filled when she wasn’t working. She should have been fired for that. What’s next – a clerk at a sex shop telling his boss that he’s ok with selling sex toys but he can’t sell porn because it violates his religion? Or a biblical literalist who works at a department store who claims she can’t ring up customers who buy garments made of more than one fabric?

If I had to claim a religion, I’d say it’s Wheaton’s Law (“Don’t be a dick”). As a business owner, I get to handpick who I do business with, and I don’t work with clients who are dicks. But if there was a law that said I had to, I’d look for a way to change my business to get out of it or make it worth my while. However, if I was ever someone’s employee again, I would never get away with that. If I refused a direct order from my superior, claiming that dealing with dicks violated my religious beliefs, I’d expect to be fired.

(Mental note: If business owners and employees are allowed to violate or get exceptions to the law based on religious beliefs, I need to start documenting my sincerely held religious beliefs which are not affiliated with any official religion so I can use them to get my way when it suits me.)

Top 10 Bonus Skills from being a Gymnast

Although I was a gymnast for seventeen years, I haven’t done anything harder than a handstand without the assistance of a trampoline for at least the last five. Nevertheless, there are certain skills you develop as a gymnast that stay with you for life. Here are the top ten:

Beautiful Erika with a Sunset, used with permission

Beautiful Erika with a Sunset, used with permission

Beach Handstand 2008

I Try to do a Handstand every Place I Visit

  1. How to wash your hair with one hand because it hurts like hell to get shampoo in a rip.
  2. How to change leotards in a parking lot without committing indecent exposure because the line for the bathroom at the meet was too long, also how to pee without taking off your leotard.
  3. How to turn your hair into cement with the right combination of hair products where you can take the rubber band out of your hair and still have a ponytail, also how to cut tiny rubber bands out of your hair without cutting your hair along with it.
  4. How to shave your legs, arm pits, and bikini line in thirty seconds in a shower of any size
  5. How to pick up clothing, pencils, etc. with your toes.
  6. How to flush toilets and open doors with your feet – yay for flexibility!
  7. How to do read and write in the car without getting carsick – because the car ride to/from practice was your only time to get homework done.
  8. How to sleep and do homework while in the splits or otherwise bent in half.
  9. How to ride public transportation without having to hold on anything without losing your balance.
  10. How to eat a full meal before working out and not have any issues.

By far, the best skill that comes from being a gymnast is the ability to focus, compartmentalize, and stay determined. I’ve heard from several former gymnasts that being in this sport gave them the ability to work through physical and emotional pain and “go on with the show” when they’d rather curl up and cry. As my coach, Rocky, used to say, “It’s only hard.”

Once a gymnast, always a gymnast. It’s been over a decade since my last competition and I love that some people can tell I was gymnast by the way I walk and carry myself. Gymnastics is more than a sport; it’s a way of life.

Minimalism Project Update – Cleaning Out My Photos

I’ve been on a roll with my minimalism project lately. I cleaned out my CDs, got rid of most of my Star Trek collection, and most recently I scanned and threw out most of my photos. I got rid of a lot of my photos last year when I cleaned out my dresser, but I still had about half a drawer of photos.

During my down time for about a week, I sorted my photos, sent them through my scanner, and saved them to my hard drive. I kept the prints of the ones that were the most important to me and I threw out the rest. I have less than a shoebox of photos left.

I also threw out all my negatives. I kept all of them for years, taking comfort in the fact that I could reproduce an image if necessary. But really, what’s the likelihood that I’m going to want a photo that I only have a negative of and that I’ll remember that I have a negative of it? They all got tossed.

Scanning all my photos was a fun trip down memory lane. Here are some of the highlights.

I was an adorable baby. (1980)

I was an adorable baby. (1980)

Always an athletic kid (1987)

Always an athletic kid (1987)

USAIGC Regional Gymnastics Championships (1995)

USAIGC Regional Gymnastics Championships (1995)

The Psychotic Friends Network (2000)

The Psychotic Friends Network (1999)

Undergrad Graduation (2001)

Undergrad Graduation (2001)