Meet Our Moon Jogger of the Day: Ruth Bartholomew : Spartan
MJ: Tell us about who you are. Where are you from? What do you do for a living? What do you like to do for fun?
RUTH: From Montana but now living in Utah. Still kept my 406 area code though! Software trainer/implementation for medical billing software. I’m a black belt in Taekwondo, a Spartan multi-Trifecta runner, and love horses, photography, reading, I play classical piano, and have been known to sing outside the shower as well!
MJ: Tell us your running/walking story. When did you start running? What is your favorite distance? What is your favorite event you’ve participated in? What motivates you to get out and get moving? What is your favorite motivational quote? We want to know you and what running/walking and fitness means to you? What trials have you overcome in your life? How has running helped you overcome these trials?
RUTH: I started running to train for my black belt in Taekwondo as it’s an 8-hour test and I knew I needed the endurance. I’d never been a runner and loathed the mile in PE in school. I started unable to run across the parking lot of my work because I knew nothing about pacing or breathing techniques and could barely do an 11 minute mile. My coworkers were marathon runners and encouraged me to sign up for a running class from the local running store but I was too shy. A fellow martial artist invited me to run a 5k and I literally flipped out “5 thousand what?!” He laughed and explained it was 3.1 miles! Oh! I can do that! I’d worked up to running 3.5 miles several days a week on my lunch break (I wear my workout clothes under my dress to expedite the process, lol!) I was utterly terrified at my first race- but he stuck with me in the starting gate and BOOM! We were off! I ran to cheering and bands and even the cops stopping traffic had radios blasting and then they fed me and gave a shiny over the finish line and I.was.hooked! No one ever claps for me when I got off the treadmill at the gym! I’ve now been racing and running over a decade. My favorite distance is a 5k- it’s true! It’s short enough that I’m fairly competitive in my age group, and not so long you miss second breakfast. However, I wanted to beat my prior half marathon time so I’m training for my next half. But what I found that I truly love are SPARTANS! I’ve had a shoulder injury for 14 years and am 6-months post-op and unable run a Spartan for a full year to prevent re-injury. (A horse hurt it.) In Spartans the course is so hard on a ski hill and with so many obstacles, mud, barbed wire, tire flip, and finally a fire jump that when you cross the finish you KNOW you’ve earned that medal! I’ve run 14 with small breaks for a C-section and now shoulder surgery but I absolutely love them! Hoping my son will learn to be active and a black belt and future Spartan himself! And a 10k is the utter worst distance… though I’ve never run a full marathon and not likely to (though never say never!) I have a lot of injury that I’ve had to overcome- a car accident had two herniated discs in my back and two in my neck- my shoulder – I did 9 months of PT on the C-section scar and it changed my running form permanently (I still wouldn’t trade getting to be his mom for anything!) And now, restrictions from shoulder surgery. But I just am too stubborn to quit (including walking a 5k just 10 days post op still in a sling because I didn’t want to stop (- and I REALLY liked the medal!) Almost every run my mind makes excuses why I can’t or why we should stop, or how we haven’t eaten enough breakfast or too much, or it’s too hot or cold or whatever. But discipline through martial arts and the fact that the finish line only gets closer if you keep moving get me there. The hardest race is ever done was the Tahoe Spartan Beast in 2017. It’s was 17.5 miles with over 5,000 vertical elevation gain up and down TWO mountains. It was the race that would complete my post-baby goal of earning my first Spartan Trifecta. It had frigid 40 degree water for the swim, wind and exposure on the top of mountains (especially after being wet), I banged my toe into a rock at mile 3-something and split the nail and smashed my shin with a giant goose egg at mile 7. There were doubled obstacles like the sandbag and bucket and spears… and a 60-burpee penalty for skipping the hanging monkey bars/rings obstacle (I couldn’t do from my shoulder), almost at the end. I was cold, hurt, dirty, hungry – and determined. That race almost broke me, but after 8 hours – I finished. I vowed I would never run it again. But I lied. After running one Trifecta, I decide for 2018 to run 3 Trifectas! And Tahoe made the list. This past year I determined to do better and worked with a personal trainer who worked around my injuries to get me stronger. I raced Spartans in AZ, CO, MT, Sacramento, Ca, and finally back to Tahoe. The course was “only” 14.7 miles long and I had my mom, a friend & my amazing son at the finish line! I took over 3 hours off my finish time and 4th in my open age group! I was so fatigued one moment I feared I would fail to jump the fire, and the next hugging my son over the finish and jumping for joy! Truly the highlight of my whole life (I hated my half marathon – lol!) and two weeks later had surgery. When things get hard (Spartan courses there are moments you may forget you’re having fun…) I remind myself I can do hard things, that I am a Spartan, and a black belt, and that I’m doing it for myself and my son, to inspire others and to better myself. After all, who else pays to run this far just for a crunchy green banana??? Some of my favorite running/related quotes are: “A Mile is the same distance no matter how fast you run it.”, “Slow progress is STILL progress.”, and “faster!” the cry from the jogging stroller as my son encourages me on (he does almost all my races with me except Spartans.)