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May, 2014:

Frustrating Arizona Board of Governors Election Results

Ugh – What were people thinking?

Last week, the State Bar of Arizona announced the results of the Board of Governors election. This was a critical vote because the Board recently voted to increase our bar dues by $60/year despite receiving a report that this would result in the Bar having a cash surplus of $3.7 million by 2019. (This passed by one vote.) Prior to the vote on bar dues, Arizona already had one of the highest bar dues in the nation. (And we’re a mandatory bar, so you can’t be a licensed Arizona attorney unless you’re a member of the State Bar.)

Thirty-three people ran for the nine slots on Board for Maricopa County – eight of which were incumbents. I thought it was awesome that so many people were interested in making a difference in how the State Bar operates. I made my list of candidates whose actions and profile were compatible with how I wanted my State Bar to govern me.

Here are the nine people who won the election in Maricopa County:

  • Melissa Ho (Incumbent, Opposed the Increase)*
  • Lisa Loo (Incumbent, Voted For the Increase)
  • Geoffrey Trachtenberg (Incumbent, Opposed the Increase)*
  • Steven Hirsch
  • Samuel Saks (Incumbent, Opposed the Increase)*
  • David Derickson (Incumbent, Opposed the Increase)*
  • Diane Drain (Incumbent, Voted For the Increase)
  • Richard Coffinger (Incumbent, Opposed the Increase)
  • Jennifer Rebholz *

* = On my short list of candidates

"'nough said..." by Arnaud DG from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

“‘nough said…” by Arnaud DG from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

What is up with the power of the incumbency?! With thirty-three people running, I’m surprised that we’re only adding two new faces to the Board for Maricopa County. I seriously wonder how many people voted for people they liked vs people who supported their beliefs about how the State Bar should govern its members. Our Board has a history that lacks transparency and they voted to increase our dues that made no sense when they crunched the numbers.

I was pleased to read that we had the highest voter turnout ever for a Board of Governors’ election, but that statement is pretty pathetic when the State Bar announced that only 35% of eligible voters participated in the election. With ~12,000 attorneys in Maricopa County, that means 7,800 people didn’t vote. 7,800 people forfeited their right to bitch about how the Board operates until the next election.

This lack of participation suggests a lack of responsibility among our members, and that makes me sad and frustrating. We’re a self-regulating profession – why wouldn’t you vote when given a say in how we operate?

These results help me understand why some of my fellow legal eagles say that nothing’s ever going to change with the Board. But I hope that in the increase in voter  participation and the fact that a significant number of people who were elected are dedicated to transparency and fiscal responsibility are signs that change is possible and coming in the State Bar. I hope the next Board will have the power and pull they need to fix some of the mistakes previous Boards made and to be more dedicated to providing value to the State Bar’s members.

 

Sleeping in Running Gear – Yeah It Works

Now that The Night Run 10K is behind me, I’ve turned my running energy to building my strength, speed, and stamina as I head into starting marathon training in the fall. But here’s the downside of training in Phoenix in the summer – it’s freaking hot. And when I have to run and walk the dog before it gets too hot, my day begins early. It’s usually still dark outside when I start pounding pavement. By the way, running at first light is awesome. The sky is absolutely gorgeous as it shifts from black, to royal blue, to pink.

Uphill - Explored by Don McCollough from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Uphill – Explored by Don McCollough from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Something got me thinking – Wouldn’t it be more efficient to sleep in running clothes? I sleep in shorts and t-shirt every night so changing it up for running gear is just adding a sports bra to the mix. I kicked the question out on Reddit, and I was surprised by the number of responses I got that were negative. I understand why someone who wears the same running gear multiple times might not want to sleep in in smelly clothes with dried sweat all over them, but I didn’t understand how it could be uncomfortable to sleep in a sports bra if it fits well. Maybe that’s an issue that only affects people with big boobs.

I started sleeping in my workout gear when I’m going running the next morning about a week ago. I sleep in my shorts, sports bra, and shirt and near the bed are my socks, reflective belt, iPod, and shoes. It is a little weird to lie down in bed with the extra layer on top and shorts that have a liner, but I’m usually so tired that I fall asleep within minutes. And it’s comfortable enough to sleep through the night.

Sleeping in my running clothes has definitely made a difference. When I wake up to my alarm clock at 0-dark-thirty, not only can I get dressed faster, I’m more motivated to get up and going. When I sleep in regular pajamas, there could be the thought of “five more minutes” or “I’m so tired.” When I sleep in my running gear, I wake up thinking, “Time to get up.” Not running is not an option. I’m keenly aware of this shift in my perspective and it’s very cool.

The comments on Reddit evened out after the first set of responders were all negative, and several of them agreed that sleeping in running gear is more about motivation than saving time. Conversely, I had an overwhelming positive response when I posted this to my Facebook wall: “Yes, I sleep in my workout clothes when I’m planning to go jogging first thing in the morning. I know it’s weird, but it works.” These were some of the responses:

  • I have been doing the same thing for years now. One less step in the morning and motivation that I am technically ready to exercise and have no excuse.
  • One person’s weird is another person’s fucking brilliant.
  • That is just plain sexy.

Yeah, my friends are awesome.

Official Return to Racing – The Night Run 2014

It’s official – I’m back to racing.

After being sidelined for over a year with shin splints and plantar fasciitis, enduring painful ASTYM courtesy of Endurance Rehab, and learning a brand new running posture, I ran The Night Run 10K in Scottsdale over the weekend. I can say for certain that I’m back and I’m loving it.

I was so giddy and nervous to run again. Would I remember my new running posture? How will my pace compare to my last race? I love the energy of race expos – everyone’s friendly, helpful, and bubbling with anticipation for the race. I’d never done The Night Run before and didn’t know what to expect. I was definitely surprised by the number of people. A friend said he’d heard that there were 1800-1900 signed up for the race.

My Medal from The Night Run - It Glows in the Dark

My Medal from The Night Run – It Glows in the Dark

The race started after sunset at 7:30 p.m.  We got glow bracelets in our goody bags but that was more being seen than being able to see. I was grateful for the police cars that blocked traffic with their lights flashing and the volunteers who waved multicolored light saber-esque sticks to guide us along the route.

The Night Run was a 5K and a 10K – one loop through the course for the 5K, two loops for the 10K. The first lap was super crowded. I weaved through the herd of people, fighting for a position where I could maintain my pace.  The second lap was much more relaxed since there were only 705 people who opted to do the 10K.

My new running form felt great. I was more thoughtful about what my feet were doing when I started getting tired. That helped keep up my pace. I’ve been running 3-4 days a week for the last few months, but I’d only done one 6-mile run, and this was my first time really pushing myself for speed.

I love the playful competitiveness on the course. There were a handful of people around me and we went back and forth on who was the leader. I amused myself by staying right with a guy who was trying to pass me. I got the vibe that he didn’t want to be beaten by a girl. We switched places a few times during the race, and around Mile 4.5 he really seemed to want to get ahead of me. I kept up and egged him on by kicking up my speed so he’d have to run that much faster to hold his position.

Part of the race hand a strong head wind. It probably started around Mile 2/Mile 5. It was so windy it dried all the sweat on my face into a salty crust. My lips felt so chapped. And since this race was two loops, I got to experience this twice.

Somewhere around Mile 5.5, I almost started crying. I had the thought that my coach and mentor who died last year would have been really proud to see that I was back out running and happy after going through three months of physical therapy and the frustration of learning a new running form.

My goal was to finish the race in under an hour. I was ecstatic to see that I finished in 52:31.

  • Overall: 119/707
  • Gender: 33/422
  • Division: 7/81

I try not to care about where I place. Ultimately, running is about me competing against myself. I could to a personal best and finish last or have the worst race of my life and finish first. The real winning is with me – being prepared, running a solid race, pushing myself to leave everything I have on the course.

Somewhere along the race I asked myself if running was what I was supposed to be doing, and I think it is. There is something very satisfying about getting out and pounding pavement, and I genuinely enjoy the race experience.

So what’s next? I’m not exactly sure but the plan for now is to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in January 2015. Historically, they have a special on National Running Day in June so I’ll wait ‘til then to register. Training for the race will start in early September.  I might do another 10K or half marathon between now and then if I find the right opportunity, but we’ll see.

It just feels good to be back.

New Minimalism Project – Eliminate Paper Clutter

Part of the challenge/fun of being an aspiring minimalist isn’t just getting rid of stuff that doesn’t add value to my life but also not bringing new things into my home that are superfluous and create clutter. I’ve notice one of the things that creates a lot of clutter in my life is paper. I subscribe to the Phoenix Business Journal and sometimes it takes me a few weeks to find time to read it; I get business cards from new contacts at networking events; I get flyers and handouts of useful information. I get bills and financial statements that I hold onto for tax purposes; but, unfortunately, I suck at filing them so they will become a massive pile on my desk and every few months I’ll take an hour to sort it all out.

Collectible Cards by J Aaron Farr from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Collectible Cards by J Aaron Farr from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

This month I’m challenging myself to eliminate the paper clutter in my life. I want to get rid of the stacks of paper that are around the house. They’re not as bad as they used to be, but they’re still there. I also want to try to adopt a rule that every piece of paper that comes into the house has to be put away or recycled within 24 hours of crossing the threshold. This will be a big challenge when I get the latest issue of the Phoenix Business Journal or I get a massive stack of business cards from networking events. Last year I went through my stacks of business cards, updated my contact database, and threw them all out. I don’t want those stacks to come back because I’m never going to look at them again. If someone wants a recommendation, I’ll look it up.

When it comes to organizing my records, I’ve noticed that I prefer to use binders instead of file folders. It’s just easier to manage everything. I got a bunch of binders from a friend last year who was cleaning out their office and they’ve been sitting on a bookshelf. I want to take some of my paper file, three-hold punch the documents I need to keep, and organize them in binders so I can easily find what I’m looking for when I need it instead of having to potentially go through every page in the file. This will be especially handy for documents and receipts I have to keep for taxes.

There will be a few exceptions to the 24-hour rule. One is bills and bank statements. I have one day a week that is designated for dealing with bills and bank statements. It’s just more efficient to deal with them in one sitting. Those envelopes have a designated space on the kitchen counter and once a week I deal with them. This system is working so I’m not going to mess with it. The other exception is for grocery store ads. I save money by buying things when they’re in season and stocking up on staples when they’re on sale. When the ads arrive in my mailbox, I highlight the things I might want to get during my next grocery trip and I make my shopping list based on that. The ads sit on the counter until the following week’s arrive and that’s when the previous week’s get recycled.

So basically the rule for the month is all paper has to be put away or recycled within 24 hours of entering the house unless it’s more efficient to keep something on the counter for a specific purpose for up to a week.

This will be interesting to see how this challenge works out. I think it will be great for creating new habits that eliminate clutter, but I think it will be hard to get home late from an event and know that I can’t go to bed until I deal with the papers from the day.