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January, 2010:

Half Marathon Recap

Sunday, January 17th, 2010, I ran my first half marathon.  My goals were simple: finish the race without dying or being horribly injured and finish the race without stopping or walking.

The P.F. Chang Rock n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in Arizona is one of the biggest races in the world.  They had over 5000 volunteers working the race to take care of the nearly 30,000 runners plus their entourages.  I must have seen over 300 port-a-potties to take care of everyone’s needs.

This race was not like any race I’d ever seen.  All along the route there were interesting things to look at to keep myself entertained and not focused on how much further I had to go.  Sometimes I was so entertained that I wasn’t really paying attention to how much I was running. 

The Clothing Drive
Even though Arizona is known for its warm weather, it’s still cold on January mornings.  The marathon started at 7:30am and the half started at 8:30am.  Many of us arrived at the race in extra layers that we wouldn’t need by the end of the race.  A lot of us wore clothes to donate to charity.  As we began to warm up during the first few miles of the race, we took off our extra sweatshirts, hats, and gloves and threw them to the side of the route where volunteers with huge garbage bags gathered them up to give to the homeless.  I purchased a hoodie at Goodwill for $4 a few days before the race to keep me warm pre-race and donated back.

2010 PF Changs Rock-n-Roll Marathon_09
Image by azchef101 via Flickr

The Costumes
I dressed for comfort in my running pants and wicking t-shirt, but some of my companions dressed to impress.  We had some wild outfits on the course.  I was amazed that they could run comfortably running, and running pretty fast, in their outfits.  We had a duo running in the orange and baby blue tuxes from “Dumb and Dumber.”  We also had a guy running in a banana suit and another guy running while dressed up like Elvis.  There was also a pair of women who were running in matching argyle knee socks with fuzzy pink cowboy hats.  They made me grin.

The Signs
I was so grateful to everyone who came out to cheer us on.  Even if they weren’t there for me (and most of them weren’t), I changed my name to correspond to whatever sign I was looking at.  I pretended to be “Mom,” “Nicole,” and “Uncle Ashley” during the race.  There were also some awesome signs of general encouragement along the route:

  • “Hurry Up.  We’re Hungry.”
  • “You Are Almost Done” (next to 4-mile marker)
  • “5.6 Miles to Free Beer. And the Finish Line.”

The Vaseline
Chafing is actually a big concern for runners.  They can get chafing wherever their skin rubs together or against their clothes, like their arms, inner thighs, and even their nipples.  Apparently some people finish long races with bleeding nipples because they’ve been rubbed raw by their shirts.  I usually only put Bodyglide anti-chafe stick on my inner upper arms so my sports bra and ipod strap don’t tear up my skin, but on race day, I decided to be extra careful and put it on my inner thighs too.  I laughed at my friend who had a canister of Vaseline at the starting line and was slathering his inner thighs with it.  Around mile 9, we had volunteer standing at the end of a water station who had sticks with gobs of Vaseline on them for anyone who was having chafing issues during the race. 

Other Things That Made Me Smile
I’m not going to deny it, running 13.1 miles is hard.  Sometimes it felt like all I could do was put one foot in front of the other.  I was grateful for anything that made me smile along the way.

  • Water Station Volunteers in Costume: It was obvious that some of our water stations were manned by groups of friends who coordinated their outfits for their enjoyment and ours.  One water station was run by people dressed up like hippies.  Another station was run by a bunch of kids dressed up like nerds – with the taped glasses, suspenders, and pants pulled up to their chests.  It was awesome.
  • I Rickrolled my ipod: I created a special playlist for the race and added Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” to the mix and set my ipod for shuffle.  It came on somewhere during Mile 10.
  • The Cheerleaders at Mile 11:  We had various cheerleading squads dispersed between the live bands along the route.  I’m sure they had to be there super early in the morning due to street closures.  To pass the time until the runners starting coming by, the cheerleaders at Mile 11 wrote motivating messages and drew pictures on the ground with sidewalk chalk for us.  I especially liked the manhole cover they turned into a flower.   

I finished the race in 2:09:16, without stopping and without major injury.  I couldn’t be happier about my finish, and oddly I’m planning on doing it again next year.  This race gave me a good lesson in humility.  The half marathoner lined up before the race based on their expected race time.  I started with my friend who finished in 1:42:47.  Needless to say, I was a passed a lot.

Demanding the Maximum Value for my Tuition Buck

Quality and value are important to me.  I want the maximum value for my money and I don’t mind paying extra for high quality products and services.  One of the annoying things about being a law student is that every semester, I have to pay tuition twice.  I have graduate school tuition and law school tuition, plus annoying fees like a $255 “Economic Recovery Surcharge.”  In the words of my classmate, “We’re being ripped off.”

I paid over $9800 in tuition and fees for spring semester this week.  That’s what I owed after my scholarships kicked in.  I know my in-state tuition is nothing compared to what Ivy League students pay, but it’s still a lot of ramen. 

 I am taking 14 credits this semester.  I did the math; my tuition breaks down to $705/credit.  Therefore, my 3-credit Intellectual Property course is costing me $2115 for the semester.  If we meet twice a week for the 15-week term, that’s ~$81 for each 85-minute class, or just under $1/minute.

 I wonder if the professors realize what we’re, or at least what I’m expecting in return for my tuition.

Image by skvidal via Flickr

 I don’t go to a lot of shows and concerts because I don’t think I’ll get my money’s worth.  When someone buys a cheap seat for a show, the experience often costs less than $1/minute.  So I want show quality performances from my professors…every day.  I want my money’s worth.

 If I’m paying enough for a show quality presentation, I want a dynamic professor who uses a teaching style that’s compatible with my learning style.  I don’t doubt that law school professors enjoy teaching.  Unfortunately some of them are boring and teach by standing in front of the class and reading the textbook to us.  I’ve already paid $100+ for the book.  I can stay home and read for free.  The solution to boring professors in college is not taking their classes.  My school, and probably many others, only has one professor for certain subjects.  Therefore, if I take those classes, I’m literally paying $1000s to teach myself with minimal additional guidance.

 What I want are professors who are competent, enthusiastic, and entertaining.  Sesame Street had it right when they decided to teach children with songs and puppets.  I want the law school equivalent of singing, dancing, and glitter in every class.       

 I have a personal rule that I can’t bitch about a problem unless I’m willing to do something to resolve it.  I’m not sure what the solution is for professor-student cross-mojination.  Until I figure out the answer, I’m going to continue to show up prepared for class, emailing the professor when I have questions; but in return, I expect to get the full value of every penny I’m paying for this educational experience.

 I’m lucky.  I have in-state tuition.  If I expect glitter, I can’t image what value an out-of-state student should be demanding.

Miss Ruth Writes For Other Blogs Too

I’m pretty new to blogging, but I’ve been writing for other blogs besides my own:

Improv AZ –

Unchaotic –


And besides writing, I have videos of my solo work on YouTube:


And sometimes people like writing about me:

So I’m A Little Unconventional…

I’ve wanted an authentic antique soapbox for a long time.  My goal was to find one that was large enough and sturdy enough to support my weight so I could literally “stand on my soapbox” when I had something to say.  Since I have yet to be successful in finding such a soapbox, a blog will have to do.

My friend best described me best when she wrote, “She’s funny and does weird things that make people laugh.”  We were in 8th grade when she wrote it but I’d say it’s still accurate today.  I’ve always been the oddball and most of the time, I like it that way. 

If I had to pick one noun to describe me, I’d say I’m a performer.  I don’t have to be the star all the time, but I strive for excellence in what I do, and I’m not afraid to put myself out there.  As a kid, I was a competitive gymnast.  As an adult, I’m a singer and I organize events with Improv AZ.  Our most recent prank was the annual No Pants Light Rail Ride.  I’m not going to deny it – I love the spotlight.

I’m also a great big geek.  I studied the hard sciences for years until I couldn’t stand working in the lab any longer.  To this day I still like math, I celebrate science holidays, and yes, I’m a Trekkie.  Currently I’m in my second year of law school with hopes of working in intellectual property litigation (copyrights, trademarks, etc.) after graduation.

And maybe some aspects of me are a little strange…

  • I can’t wear flip flops because I can’t stand to have anything between my toes.
  • Sometimes I entertain myself by using a fake British accent.
  • I have worn the same necklace almost every day for nearly 13 years.  My friends know not to buy me everyday jewelry because I’ll never wear it.
  • As un-girly as I am, my signature color is pink.
  • I carry a quarter in my purse for the sole purpose of flipping it if I’m having trouble making an arbitrary decision.

So we’ll see what I have to say.  I get pretty riled up about ideas sometimes so it should be entertaining.  Thanks Jeff for getting me set up with this.

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