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Phoenix canals

Marathon Training Week 5 Recap – First Double-Digit Run

Quick Question: Do you like this format better where I break down my training by day or do summaries of running, biking, and push-ups like I did last week?

5 by rosemary from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

5 by rosemary from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Week 5 of 18 of marathon training was my first 10-mile run. I haven’t a run this far since my last half marathon in 2013. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go but was remarkably pleased with how it went. This was also my first week of training while living in my new condo so I’m trying new running and cycling routes.

Monday: My weekend ended with car trouble so this week started out with a trip to the car dealership for repairs. I walked a total of 4.5 miles to and from the dealership. This distance doesn’t count for anything but I want to document that I was moving. My left shin hurt a bit in the process which reminded me of my physical therapist who said that running is easier on my body than powerwalking (which is what I calling walking). I also cranked out 100 push-ups – 5 sets of 14 and 2 sets of 15 – with no problems.

Tuesday: My complex has a gym so I’m taking advantage of it to do some speed work by running on the treadmill once a week. I ran 4.5 miles in 38 minutes. The speed was set between 7 and 7.6 mph. I felt like I was on the ultimate human hamster wheel. The most painful thing about this run was how bored I got. I listened to an old podcast featuring Gary Vaynerchuk from when Crush It came out, but even that barely took the edge off how boring it is to run nowhere.

Wednesday: I did a 6.5-mile run today at sunrise. I opted not to use my iPod so I could get a better sense of the route. I was already running with glasses or contacts so I dind’t want to dull all my senses. I purposely picked a route that I can easily extend for longer distances and one that has some hills. I heard the marathon route for Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona has a hill around Mile 20 so I want to make sure I’m ready for it. I also finished my push-ups for the week: 5 sets of 15, 1 set 13, and 1 set 12. I’m looking forward to getting up to 5 sets of 20 in the next week or 2.

Thursday: I made the mistake of running towards downtown Phoenix for my 4.5-mile run and ended up in a somewhat sleazy part of town. I suspect it was a good neighborhood to look for meth or a hooker. Thankfully it was early enough in the morning that few people were out and about. Apart from my surroundings for the last half mile before my turn-around spot, it was nice run.

Friday: Friday was my rest day. I enjoyed not getting super sweaty before breakfast.

Saturday: Today was my 10-mile run. I think I ran a little slower than 10-minute miles and that was just fine with me. I just wanted to finish without too much pain – and I did that. The best part of my run was the podcast I listened to – Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz. It’s a podcast about movies and this week’s episode featured the work of John Hughes. I loved listening to them talk about films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club. What made the show extra special (and extra long!) was they had awesome interviews with Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, and Judd Nelson.

Felt good at the time, by lunchtime my quads were sore – didn’t have time to stretch right after my run b/c parents were on their way over.

Sunday: I hopped on my bike for a 19.5-mile ride for cross training this week. I checked out the Grand Canal, which is a good route if you’re trying to get to central Phoenix near Indian School Road or Camelback Road. There were far fewer people on the canal than what I see on the Arizona canal – my preferred canal for riding and it made me sad to ride through poorer neighborhoods were I saw more homeless camps, stray dogs, and trash. I was amused, though, when my route took me past the parking lot for one of the Phoenix bathhouses. I was surprised so many cars were there at 8am. The last half mile of the ride was uphill. I was up out of the saddle pumping as hard as my legs could while telling myself, “This is going to make my legs look awesome!”

My quads are sore from this weekend’s workouts and I’m looking forward to a mellower Week 6. The long run is only 7 miles.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 25.5 miles
Biking: 19.5 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Please leave me a comment below and tell me if you prefer this format or this format for my marathon training posts.

What’s the Answer to Homelessness?

I regularly work out by riding my bike along the canals in Phoenix. They’re well-maintained and there are often underpasses so we don’t have to worry about being hit by cars. A lot of bikers, walkers, and runners use them.

Last Day of Summer...is finally over... by Ms. Phoenix from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Last Day of Summer…is finally over… by Ms. Phoenix from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

So there’s one section of a canal I regular ride that I call “the homeless section” because a large handful of homeless people make their camps near the canal. They rarely camp along the canal itself, but I see them when I ride by. I generally don’t have a problem with the homeless people along the canal. They keep to themselves and don’t cause any problems for people who ride, walk, and run along the canal. The one homeless man who sleeps in the underpass near my house packs up his camp at first light and rarely leaves any trash behind. I only time I have a problem is when there’s a safety issue.

The recent rains have led some of them to seek shelter in the underpass and I understand why they do that. When they do this, they can create a safety problem because the underpasses are barely wide enough to allow a service vehicle to drive through it. When 4-5 homeless people set up their camp in there, the remaining area is so narrow that two cyclists can’t pass each other without a high risk of colliding.

There were a number of remnants of homeless camps in the tunnels. No idea why these clothes were abandoned by Matt Mechtley from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

There were a number of remnants of homeless camps in the tunnels. No idea why these clothes were abandoned by Matt Mechtley from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

As I was on my way home on a ride last week, I saw some of the homeless people who had camped overnight in the underpass rolling their carts out of the tunnel. I thought they were just packing up to get on with their day, but when I got into the tunnel, I came face-to-face with a police SUV that was making all the homeless people clear out. I thanked the officers because, unlike the homeless man who is up at the break of dawn, this group of people were sleeping and hanging out in the underpass during the height of the morning workout crowd which was putting the homeless at risk of being hit by cyclists or other people crashing into each other.

But this situation made me think, “What’s the answer?” How should we address homelessness in the community? There are homeless shelters but they may be full or individuals may have mental health or addiction problems that prevent them from adhering to the shelters’ rules. And there may be people who want to live on the streets when they consider their options. The answers aren’t easy or obvious.

It makes me very sad when I hear about homeless veterans. They have put their lives on the line for us and I hope we have programs in place to take care of those who want to help themselves. One of the veterans’ shelters is at risk of closing unless they raise $56,310. Serah Blain has dedicated her life to achieving this goal. She is voluntarily living on the streets of Phoenix to raise awareness of this problem and she said will keep living on the streets until they raise enough to keep the shelter open.

What’s the answer to homelessness? I don’t know. But it’s a problem that’s not going away. And it’s a problem that needs to be addressed at a higher level to prevent people from being homeless to begin with instead of waiting for people to be in such dire straits before we decide it’s a problem.