April results/ May plans

I can’t believe it’s already May tomorrow!  In April, I managed to pay down $954 of my debt so my starting May balance is now updated on the right, and here’s my April goals results (um, apparently I cut off the dates, oops):


1) Run 75 miles, with 2 hill repeats sessions on Torrey Pines – PASS!  76 to be exact, and I did 3 sessions of Torrey Pines since it’s a great reward at the end of a long work day.

2) Meet all the calisthenic metrics (burpees, side planks with push-ups, walking lunges, push-ups), and 4 each of back/bi, chest/tri, delts/legs sessions – Mostly Pass.  Except for the push-ups portion (not sure what I was thinking with that metric), I completed all other categories.

3) 12 sweets this month – PASS!  With 2 that I didn’t even end up using… I’ve been wearing lighter colored clothes now that it’s spring, so this probably  has something to do with it ever since the “Melted Chocolate and White Trousers Debacle” of 2009 (est.).

4) Stick to or go under $600 in expenses (groceries, going out, gas, gifts, miscellaneous), and meet a 25% want metric – FAIL.  I ended up going to OC a couple of times to help the fam pack and then unpack (and get rid of a bunch of crap when grandma wasn’t looking), so my gas and dinner expenses were higher than usual.  But, I suppose there were some Target purchases I could’ve vetoed.  In total, I spent $716.93 with a 30% “wants” metric, so at least now I have a baseline to compare to subsequent months.

5) Study Spanish for at least 10 hours – PASS!  I also watched “La Misma Luna” which, controversial immigration/politics aspect and fairly outlandish circumstances aside, was a truly touching movie.  I like watching movies with subtitles, and then watching it again the next day by not looking at subtitles.  It can be misleading since an actor might say “I want a ham sandwich with a pickle on the side” and the subtitle reads “I want lunch,” but it still helps.  I’ve also started using the Spanish option at self checkouts or anywhere it’s available, which I always get quizzical looks at.

6) 4 new healthy recipes – PASS!  I also made this quinoa stir-fry with chicken and vegetables which was scrumdillyumptious (I used low sodium chicken broth instead of water for the quinoa, added two egg whites, and replaced snow peas with spinach).  Cash Cow Couple’s kale chip recipe also reminded me that I used to like doing stuff like that, so I made spinach chips with a bunch hanging out in my fridge.  Adding paprika was a great idea!

For May, I’m sticking to those goals, but also tweaking it a bit:


1) Run 80 miles, with 2 “speed” sessions (speed to me, at least)

2) More weights sessions, 2 upper body (arms, chest, back, abs) and 2 lower body (legs, booty, lower back, abs) per week – my fitness competitor friend asked me to train some days with her and I couldn’t be happier.  She rotates me and two others as her workout buddy when she competes, and it’s a win-win since I end up doing more weights workouts even though I use half one-third one-fourth of how much she lifts since she gets in beast-mode.

3)  2 sweets a week – summer’s around the corner!

4) Stick to or go under $600 in expenses (groceries, going out, gas, gifts, miscellaneous), and meet a 25% want metric – um, and actually do this.  This doesn’t include a wedding gift or Mother’s Day gifts for my mom and grandma that I set aside with Ebay items I sold a couple of months back that I mentioned here.  But you will notice I’ve added a $500 “fun” money column as discussed in this post, though I will look for ways to supplement and absorb the costs.  I put my iPod replacement there even though I bought it this past weekend.

5) Study Spanish for at least 1 hour, 3 times a week – so I can be consistent.

6) Veggies in every meal, including breakfast, at least 4 days a week – I need to start preparing “egg quiches” with spinach and bell peppers and pack them up for breakfast – they keep when frozen, so I just thaw them out and eat.  Lunch and dinner always have veggies, anyway.


March Debt Repayment and April Goals

Part of April Goals - two hill repeat sessions on Torrey Pines (ahead)

Part of April Goals – two hill repeat sessions on Torrey Pines (ahead, start at the base and putt-putt up to the treeline)

Since it’s pretty much the end of March (and if the stars align, I’ll have some offline tree-hugging time this weekend), I’m happy to report that I am now $1168 free of debt, with a current balance of $8479 to go.  In addition to my normal repayment, I put ~$200 of my Ebay sales towards the debt despite my gifts allocations for April and May, although all the nice stuff sold quickly so I don’t expect that to happen next month.  I’m still thinking of ways to create more side income, but I admit I don’t put a lot of effort in it.  In my defense, I help out B with his side business, so I’m not completely lazy… just a tad bit of a beach bum, is all.

I’ve also decided to continue with goals but making them monthly, since it sounds like it might be interesting to read (at least for one or two people), and I do admit it helped me stay accountable.  So here are my April goals:

1) Run 75 miles, with 2 hill repeats sessions on Torrey Pines (pictured above) – Torrey is actually straight ahead and a bum kicker (it’s part of La Jolla Half Marathon), but the ocean views are a good distraction.

2) Meet all the calisthenic metrics (burpees, side planks with push-ups, walking lunges, push-ups), and 4 each of back/bi, chest/tri, delts/legs sessions – I won’t go through every session, but I almost always do 4 sets of 20 with medium weights, with 2-3 different exercises per body part.

3) 12 sweets this month.

4) Stick to or go under $600 in expenses (groceries, going out, gas, gifts, miscellaneous), and meet a 25% want metric.

5) Study Spanish for at least 10 hours – I know I should be practicing daily, but sometimes it’s challenging when I’m juggling other things that might be more important like eating bon-bons and watching trash TV on my couch.

6) 4 new healthy recipes – I tend to cook for taste, and while I’m pretty good about portion control, B might not be – he’s muscular, but he may or may not have packed on some pounds since I came into the picture. :p  I’d like to find 4 healthy recipes (perhaps paleo) so I can mix it in with my dozen or so stand-by recipes that I tend to make.

I’ll do a midpoint check in to keep me accountable, and will keep track with the spreadsheet below (probably click to see clearly):

April Goals

April Goals

I’m excited for April, and actually love the name until that awful Avril singer ruined it for me.  If anyone has any April goals or delicious paleo recipes that I should try out, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Week 2 results and challenges are zzzzz

Last week, I posted a Week 2 challenge filled with health and budgeting fun, and here are my results from it:

1) Run 4 times a week for 20 miles total, with a 6 mile “long” run – Pass!  I’m still slow as molasses due to a layoff in running during the Fall, but I completed the mileage so at least I’m getting some endurance back.

2) Weights week -one back/bi session, one chest/tri session, one delts/legs session – Pass!

3) 2 sweets only – FAIL.  Let’s just say stuffing my face vs. projecting it on to B this past week was better for our relationship, because let’s face it, I’m not always a nice person and no one wants to see a grown man cry. 😉

4) No more than ~$100 for food/going out/gas – FAIL.  I was close since I spent under $113, but I still went over $100.

5) Post on Ebay or donate 5 articles of clothing and 2 pairs of shoes – Pass!  And not only parsed it out, but I put all of it out there, plus put a couple of bags into the donations bin in a shopping strip near me.


I also realized I didn’t do the math with Johnny Moneyseed’s wants challenge last week, so I tabulated my “wants” from last week’s and this week’s spending.  I kind of eyeballed the calculations, but I probably spent about $100 per week on wants, which in a course of a year is $5200.  That was eye opening, because this is me actually trying to tame my wants.  Looking at the list, though, I don’t think I would necessarily cut out time with friends or family (and I suppose I “need” headphones for my runs because it’s not very fun listening to me mouth breathe for miles and miles on end), but maybe I can cinch in the belt a bit more so that I’m shaving off a couple thousand this year.

As I predicted, even though it’s kept me accountable with running and spending, I’ve already grown bored with posting weekly challenges.  Maybe I’ll do monthly ones instead, but who knows how long that will last.  I figure as long as I’m putting in my miles, staying aware of my spending, and trying to keep my hands outta the cookie jar, I should be okay.

Cop out?  Probably. 🙂  Have a great weekend!

Week 1 Update/Week 2 Goals – the “60% of the time, it works every time” edition

So last week, I decided to start a training plan, and here’s my results from it.

Week 1 Goals (Saturday – Friday schedule):

1) Run 4 times a week for 20 miles total – FAIL.  I was fighting off a cold and managed to run 18, but not the full 20.  I guess I could’ve rallied today to run the extra 2 today but didn’t because 1) I’m lazy and woke up late and 2) well, that’s it.

2) 100 crunches, 100 side planks each side, 100 burpees, 100 push-ups, 100 walking lunges – SUCCESS!  Though I had to come in this morning to make up for Wednesday… but it’s done at least.

3) 3 sweets only this week – SUCCESS!  Unless Luna bars count, then I failed miserably.

4) No more than $150 for food/going out/gas – FAIL.  Last minute, my cousins from AZ decided to visit for their kids’ spring break, and we went out to eat last night.  I wasn’t going to miss out since I haven’t seen the kids since they were in diapers, but I knew that I would probably “have” to foot the bill (well, felt compelled to).  I don’t have a problem splitting the bill with friends, but it always feels awkward with family, especially with ones I haven’t seen in awhile and that are visiting my hometown.  Does anyone else get like this?

5) Post on Ebay or donate 5 articles of clothing and 1 pair of shoes – SUCCESS.  Posted some on Ebay, donated more along with some other stuff.

And in case I needed to submit proof of my week’s activities – BAM, son!


Which, I guess doesn’t really prove anything except my ability to populate a spreadsheet, but oh well.  I also tracked if I needed or wanted my expenses based on Johnny Moneyseed’s Challenge, and plan on doing this again for a few weeks just to get me more aware of my spending habits.  As you can see, my wants far exceed my need, and I’m just going to work on improving this over time.

For Week 2, I’m just going to build off of Week 1:

1) Run 4 times a week for 20 miles total, with a 6 mile “long” run (since I didn’t meet this metric in Week 1)

2) Weights week (mixing my weeks between calisthenics, weights, TRX workouts to stave off boredom) – one back/bi session, one chest/tri session, one delts/legs session.  I’ll probably still do a calisthenics session since I do this one routine with my gym buddy, though.

3) 2 sweets only

4) No more than ~$100 for food/going out/gas – with the intention that with Week 1’s spending, it’ll average out to ~$150/week

5) Post on Ebay or donate 5 articles of clothing and 2 pairs of shoes – so the rest are starting to be long sleeves and sweaters, which I don’t currently use but “might” use if we ever move somewhere colder.  Should I keep them (they’re nice and mostly work clothes), or sell them and risk having to buy more clothes in the future?  Trying to figure this out.

I had a 60% success rate with Week 1, so way to set the bar low!  I can do better.

I also put a chunk towards my debt repayment – I didn’t pay off my credit card because I have 0% interest on it for a few months, and as much as I’d like to debt snowball that mofo away, I figured I would put it towards my student loans that’s accruing interest.  I’d like to reduce it further before finalizing my April beginning balance, but I’ll report that end of the month.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Generation gap situation and training like I’m running a race event

So I have this one client that I call The Dalai Lama (in my head) because he kind of looks like him but he has white hair, and his demeanor reminds me of TDL (calm, reasonable, inner chi seems totally centered).  He inquired about something over email, I provided the answer fairly quickly, and a few hours later, he stopped by my office and said, “Ms. Hungryface, thank you so much for the prompt response” as he had his fist balled up and moved it over my desk towards me.  I was kind of confused about what was happening, so I went with my first instinct – I said “you’re welcome” and cautiously fist bumped him.

Well, he then shook his head no, and without words somehow convinced me to open up my hand.  So I did, and he dropped some candy in my hand.  Which… definitely made more sense and generation-appropriate.

In my defense, this guy might be elderly but he has an iPhone and stuff, so I didn’t think it was that much of a stretch that he knew what a fist bump was. 😉

Anyway, I have a lot of friends doing San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in June – since I’m on my shopping abstinence and not buying clothes, shoes, and race fees this year, I’m feeling a twinge of envy with all the posts they’re putting up on their training.  But, I realized just because I’m not running the race itself doesn’t mean I should stop from doing some sort of training, I just have to be more motivated since I’m not plopping down a couple hundred for the registration.  So, I’ve decided to set a training schedule and mix it in with some financial and minimalist training, which I’ll be posting weekly to keep me accountable.  Each week until I lose interest, I’ll increase or make it more goal-specific just like I would marathon training, so hopefully by summer I’ll become a lean, mean, increased net worth machine:

Week 1 Goals (Saturday – Friday schedule):

1) Run 4 times a week for 20 miles total

2) 100 crunches, 100 side planks each side, 100 burpees, 100 push-ups, 100 walking lunges each week (I’m cheating, I think I might be doing this already but maybe in the 80 range)

3) 3 sweets only this week (this will be hard, that Widget on the right is such a liar when it states I’ve had less than 50 sweets since January… the debt and running mileage are updated frequently/accurately, though!)

4) No more than $150 for food/going out/gas (I seem to go over each week and want to aim for this and trim down each week)

5) Post on Ebay or donate 5 articles of clothing and 1 pair of shoes (I used Mochimac‘s tactic of getting rid of stuff if I had even the slightest doubt of keeping it.  A stash is sitting in the corner of my closet and I’m planning on letting go of it bit by bit)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Justifying running shoes

So I confess that I blew my $100/month personal care budget for this and next month already.  A week ago, my favorite running store sent me a 20% off offer, which is hard to resist since 1) I need new shoes anyway, 2) running shoes is a necessity if you run habitually, 3) I have the flattest feet since Fred Flintstone that horribly over-pronate and limited to two models, 4) that tend to be pricier than normal running shoes.  20% is a savings of $22 in this case, and since running shoes hardly ever go on sale, I went for it.  Unfortunately, though, since I also had a deep tissue massage earlier this month (which I didn’t need since my back was maybe a 5 out of 10, but I felt too guilty to cancel), I borrowed from Peter (March) to pay Paul (February).  I’m completely aware that my debt probably stems from this kind of justifying and going over my budget, but I’ll just have to not buy anything in March to make up for it.  At least I’m aware, right?  Bueller?  Bueller?

I know… I suck with self-control.

I’ve made peace with it, though, since running is a source of so much happiness and I use it in lieu of coffee in the morning.  So, shoes might be a thing, but it’s also the vehicle (literally) for daily experiences that I enjoy. /endjustification

This weekend we’re going to Palm Springs to hang with my parents who are coming from Arizona, and my bro and sis-in-law from the OC.  I’m excited since we didn’t hang over the holidays, and I’m fortunate to not only love my family, but actually like them in three to five day increments.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

San Francisco Nike Women’s Half-Marathon

Tiffany's medal at a race - yes, please!

Tiffany’s medal at a race – yes, please!

One of my favorite “theme” races is the San Francisco Nike Women’s half and full marathon.  I am not sure if it was the first of its kind where the main pitch was mostly to women (though not exclusively to women, as my male friends have ran it), but I’m pretty sure it was one of the first.  There’s a high demand for it, evident by their lottery system that they created so everyone would have a more equal chance to run it, but once you’re picked it’s an incredibly fun experience.

I’ve ran it a couple of times (the half both times) and, like most of the people there, traveled with my girlfriends who were also into running, or decided that was a great half-marathon to start out with.  It’s a super fun course to do, especially if you love pink (or pastel color of choice for that year), Ghirardelli chocolate (given around mile 11 or 12), mani/pedi (only on the full marathon course last time I ran it), empowering signs along the way (“you are strong”, stuff like that), Tiffany’s (medal/box at the end), and a fireman in a tuxedo presenting your medal on a silver platter at the end.  I do think some of it is stereotypical of what femininity is, but I think I just had to let it go and take it for its face value to just have fun with it (which once I did, I had no problem doing since it is rather fun).  The course is a bit challenging in that it’s hilly since it’s in San Francisco, but it’s the best camaraderie feeling to run with thousands of enthusiastic, healthy, determined, strong, and amazing group of women (and some men, as well as some men who dress up like women which was kind of hilarious since one guy had the hairiest legs ever underneath his pink running skirt).  I was running for time during both races so unfortunately I didn’t have a camera or phone on me, but here’s the few pics I have:

If you register early enough, I would definitely recommend to pick a hotel situated at the start line.  We stayed at the Marriott and it was incredibly convenient to wake up, have a bagel and banana, gear up, and go to the start.  To save costs, we packed as many as allowable in a room, and another time a friend hooked me up with a free room for myself and others due to the Marriott points racked up.  I also brought my own food for breakfast (bagels, Clif bars, banana), but that’s more because of my nerdy running rituals than keeping costs down.

Registration fees are pricey, not going to lie – when I signed up a few years back, it was the first half I ever paid for that was either close to or over $100, so it was a tough pill to swallow even back then.  The whole experience is kind of worth it, though, and the schwag is pretty cool if you like form-fitting race shirts and the cute medal.

Also, if you are running for time, definitely stay in the corral according to your pace.  One year, I wanted to hang with my friends before the race who stayed at a slower minute/mile pace than me since they mostly planned to walk, and it was very challenging to wade through the throngs of people in order to get up to your regular speed.  If it’s a race with 5,000 people or so the crowd usually disperses evenly, but since this had like 20,000 racers or more it was more congested.  As a result, it added 15 more minutes than my regular finish time, so that was a bit disappointing though it was through my own fault.  So, if you don’t want to be a jerk and push through walkers and ruin their fun, then definitely go with your speed (not that I was a jerk, for the record, I’m too shy for that).  Alternatively, I think it’s good to not overestimate your speed, either – I feel it’s good runner etiquette to not disadvantage someone who might be running for a PR but are slowed down because of the crowd.

Overall, it’s a great alternative to most girly trips I’ve been on (mostly for bachelorette parties), it’s well managed, and I love the energy of the weekend!