The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

September, 2014:

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.