Uncategorized

A New Way of Training

When I lived in Seattle I would run outdoors unless it was pouring rain.  Many a day I ran in the rain, wind, sun and snow.  Now that I live in the desert running outdoors becomes harder in the summer as it is just too hot.  Preparing for a half marathon is even more challenging.  I am now doing something I did not do in my previous two races, I am training on a treadmill.

The treadmill does have some advantages as it forces me to keep a certain pace.  When running on my own I can slow down as I get tired.  The treadmill keeps me going at a steady pace.  I will incorporate one or two runs in the early morning or at night so that on race day I am prepared to run on the hard surface.

It will be interesting to see if working on the treadmill increases my pace or not.  I will time my runs once my program has me run 3,2 miles as I have run that distance often and know what my general pace is.

Cross training is also an important part of preparing for a race.  Cross training prevents injuries by working muscles in a different way than your normal activity.  For my cross training I will be riding my bicycle and swimming laps.  Both of those activities are easy on the joints as opposed to running.  I will be taking today off to allow my muscles to recover.  Have a great weekend!

Running · Uncategorized

The Biggest Challenge Yet

I began running a few years ago.  It was the last thing I could have imagined myself doing 5 years prior as I was almost 300 pounds and could only walk one city block.  At 100 pounds lighter I decided to give running a go.  I down loaded the app “Couch to 5k”.  I followed the instructions to a tee and at the end of the program I signed up for a 5k race.  I was not running to come in first place, I was running to finish.

The morning of the race it was pouring rain.  Not just a sprinkle, but a huge downpour.  I decided to run anyway.  The race took us through downtown Seattle and back to Queen Anne.  I ran the entire race without stopping.  I was soaking wet, but somehow that did not matter.  I had completed my first challenge to myself.

A year later I upped the ante.  I signed up for a 10k.  I used the couch to 10k app this time.   I like these apps because they are a walk/run program which has you running the entire distance at the end.  I trained hard for this race and although I think I finished last or close to it, I ran the entire race without stopping.

This year I am challenging myself to 13.1, a half marathon.  I have begun training and will be signing up for a race soon.   The race gives me a goal to work towards.  When I run I have more energy and the endorphins keep me in a better mood.  When training I can eat almost anything I want and not gain weight, although I attempt to eat healthy.  I encourage everyone to try at least a 5k to challenge yourself and stay fit.

Business · Uncategorized

Who Really Pays the High Cost of Insurance Fraud?

About a year ago I became the victim of insurance fraud.  Having worked in the insurance industry for over 10 years I knew what to do to protect myself during the incident.  Even so, the claimant will receive money from my insurance company.  The incident was an altercation between my vehicle and a bicyclist.  I was backing out of a parking lot at 2 miles per hour, looking back in both directions.  All of a sudden I heard a thud.  I put on the brakes and looked in my rear view mirror.  I saw a bicyclist standing in back of my car, it was like he came out of nowhere.   My passenger and I got out of the car and made sure he was alright.  There were no obvious signs of injury to him or his bicycle.  He began to complain about his knee, so we offered to call an ambulance.  He declined.  We offered to drive him to the hospital ourselves or to give him a lift home.  He declined.  He did ask for cash for a cab.  That is when we realized we were being scammed.  I asked him to roll up his pant leg so that I could look at his knee.  His knee was covered in visible scabs that were in the healing process.  I took photos.  I also took a photo of his bicycle.

 

Around 2 or 3 days later he called me from the hospital.  He said he was there having his knee examined.  I gave him my insurance information and asked him not to call me again.  I called my insurance company and voiced my concerns about fraid.  A fraud investigator called me and asked for my photos.  He agreed with me that this was fraud.  I also put my bicycle behind my car and ran my front tire into it to see what would happen.  Nothing touched my knee.  At the speed I was going, nothing happened at all.

 

I put the incident out of mind until I got a call shortly before I was to move to California.  My insurance company advised me the claimant had retained an attorney and was suing me for $90,000.  My insurance company offered them my policy limits of $25,000, which his attorney accepted.

 

Although I had ample evidence to prove this was fraud, and the fact that he did not go to the hospital for several days (a way to explain the scabs), my insurance company will be forced to pay $25,000.  While this person may think it is a harmless little scam and an insurance company will pay, who really pays for fraud such as this?  You, that’s who.  I am angry and you should be too.

 

Every time a claim is paid, the cost of that claim is passed on to all of us.  When an insurance company is determining insurance rates, it gathers data of all of the claims for that area to determine what the odds are of having to pay out a claim and what kind of claim.  We then pay based on past events.

 

A Seattle woman had a landlord turn on a neighbor’s outdoor faucet and flood her basement apartment when she told the landlord she could no longer watch her children for free.  The landlord was looking for a quick way to get rid of the tenant.  The landlord then filed a claim with her insurance company to replace the flooring in the basement apartment.  While the landlord may have thought this was a harmless little scam, who really pays for fraud such as this?  You, that’s who.  Just as in auto insurance, the insurance company passes the cost of fraud onto all those who pay for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  That in turn gets passed on to the cost of doing business, which sends the price of almost everything we buy upward in a grand domino effect.

 

What can you do if you know of someone committing insurance  fraud?  Visit your state’s Department of Insurance website to learn and gather information on reporting this crime.  Stamping out insurance fraud is one way to keep the cost of insurance and everything else at a lower cost.

 

Religion · Uncategorized

Pinhas

In this week’s Torah parsha Pinhas Moses and Aaron’s son Eleazar are asked to take a census of the Israelite people after God had sent a plague upon the Mideonite people for their trickery against Moses.  This parsha brings to light the importance of census taking, inheritance and land distribution.

The census is taken to determine the size of each tribe and the land is to be distributed based on the number of people of each tribe.  The daughters of Zelophehad came forward before Moses and explained that their father had died in the wilderness and had left no son.  They were brave determined women and asked that they be given a land holding.  Moses brought the case to the Lord, who determined their case just.  They were to be given their father’s share.  The Lord then tells Moses instructions for inheritance of property.

In the United States these practices are still carried on today.  Every 10 years in the US a census is taken.  The results are used for determining how federal funds and other resources are to be distributed based on population numbers.  This practice dates back prior to the Revolutionary War.  Census records can be viewed by the public after a period of 70 years and are available at US National Archive repositories located throughout the country.  These records can be helpful in researching one’s genealogy and family background.

The inheritance practices in Pinhas are also largely in place but can be varied based on ones final will and testament.  The daughters of Zelophehad were the first feminists mentioned in the Torah and modern women can look to their example in standing up for their rights at a time when women are beginning to see a backslide in the progress we have made over the last century.

bicycling · travel · Uncategorized

Everything is Better by Bicycle

After my company transferred me to California’s Inland Empire, I purchased a bicycle as a way to commute to work.  Besides saving me money on car payments, insurance and gas, I get an extra work out each day.  An added bonus is that I can also use my bicycle to explore other areas of southern California.

My first outing was to the beach at Santa Monica.  I began my trip by boarding the Metrolink with my bicycle to Los Angeles.  At Union Station, located in Downtown LA I transferred to the subway at 7th street and boarded the lightrail to Santa Monica.  The lightrail ends about a block from the beach.  As you can imagine, Santa Monica is busy during summertime and there are lanes dedicated just for bicycles down to the pier and Palisades Park.

I chose to explore Palisades Park first before riding down to the beach itself.  The park sits atop a bluff overlooking the beach area.

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Benches, palm trees line long paths throughout the park.  A fence runs along the edge of the bluff where you can lookout over the beach and boardwalk as well as the Santa Monica pier.

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Taco trucks lined the street that runs along side the park. People strolled along enjoying the view, getting a bite to eat and photographing the view. Having a bicycle allowed me to explore more of the park than I would have been able to do on foot, leaving me with enough energy to explore the beach area.

The path in Palisades Park leads to the Santa Monica pier.  There is a ramp down to the pier for pedestrians and bicycles.  Souvenir shops, restaurants and an amusement park can be found on the pier.  A ramp leads down to the boardwalk on the beach.  Once on the boardwalk I rode down to a cafe on the beach where I stopped for a drink.  Many people travel the beach by bicycle allowing one to really expierience the entire beach.

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People leave their bicycles at designated areas and head for the water on foot through the sand, stop and eat at one of the many cafes, rent a surf board to ride the waves or walk with their family to enjoy the scenery.

Santa Monica by bicycle is the only way to go.  By taking the train with my bicycle I avoided LA’s traffic jams and was able to see more of Santa Monica than I would have been able to on foot.  I got some great exercise in without it feeling like exercise.  And I spent time at one of my favorite places, the beach.

Environment · Uncategorized

The EPA Denies a Petition to Ban Dow’s Chlorpyrifos

In her book Silent Spring which was published in 1962, environmental scientist Rachel Carson warned us of the effects of using pesticides.  In March of this year Scott Pruitt, an administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency  and the Trump Administration’s top environmental official, met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris regarding the use of Chlorpyrifos, which according to the Los Angeles Times interferes with brain development  of fetuses and infants.  Their meeting was regarding the use of of the pesticide in which the EPA decided to reverse its ban.

On their website, the Environmental Protection agency defines Chlorpyrifos as an organophosphate primarily used to control foliage and soil borne insect pests on a variety of food and feed crops.  The EPA states that Chlorpyrifos can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion and at high exposure respiratory paralysis and death.  More than 6 million pounds of Chlorpyrifos is sprayed each year on fruits and other crops making it one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.  The pesticide had been on the market since the early 1960’s and has been blames for sickening farm workers in recent years.

Why then did the Environmental Protection Agency decline to ban the pesticide from being used?  In a recent article, the Los Angeles times states that Dow donated $1,000,000 to Trump’s political campaign.  This appears as though it may be a conflict of interest which could result in causing serious illnesses and death.

Unfortunately Rachel Carson’s pleas to ban pesticides from use have largely gone unheard and we are only now beginning to see the effects on humans and other living species as well as water quality.  We may feel the harm for many years to come.  Is a political favor worth it?

Running · Uncategorized

You Don’t Need to be an Athlete to Run

A few years ago I decided to challenge myself by taking up the sport of running.  I had never really been a runner but it was something I was driven to do.  I found a track and tried jogging around it a few times.  Not feeling like I was getting anywhere I realized I needed something more structured.  I downloaded the app Couch to 5K on Google Play and everything changed.

The app claims that it can take a person from couch potato and by the end of the program they will be able to run a 5k.  I had my doubts as I had not run that far since my late twenties.  The program starts out slow combining running and walking.  Diligently following the program I worked out 3 or more times a week.  Soon the track was no longer an option because my distance had increased significantly.  About midway through the program my knees started hurting.  I was worried I would have to stop, but I read about knee injuries in a running magazine.  The magazine suggested changing your form by making sure to keep your head up and your posture straight.  The recommendations worked and I continued on to the end of the program.

At the end of the program I was running 3.2 miles without stopping and I signed up for a 5k race in downtown Seattle.  I had been training for months now and was ready to put all that training to the test.  The morning of the race, true to Seattle, it was pouring down rain.  Not a drizzle but a full downpour.  I was devastated.  Not wanting to back out due to weather I put on my running wear and headed out the door into the rain.  I ran the 5k without stopping and by the end was dripping wet.  Running is not just about being an athlete, it is a challenge, it helps you set and reach goals and it is great for ones health.

The year after the 5k I signed up and trained for a 10k.  The 10k is almost 7 miles and a major achievement for someone who was once a couch potato.  This year my goal is to run a half marathon which is 13.1 miles.  I do not run to come in first place, I run to finish.  It will be a major challenge, but I am determined to reach my goal.  All you need to be a runner are a good pair of shoes.