Half-Marathon Completed, 2014 Goals, and Holy Canoli, Seahawks!

IMG_20140202_143251_963Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you had a great Super Bowl weekend to those that watched.  Mine was awesome since I not only ran a half-marathon in beautiful conditions and a great course (thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus, for keeping the rain away throughout the race… we could’ve done without the headwinds, but thank you regardless!), but I also got a chance to meet Tonya!  Despite lacking some serious sleep for the past few days, she’s as sweet, nice, and funny as she is on her blog.  She’s also a really cool and considerate roomie (gotta love the dynamics of “I’ll pay for this,” “No, *I’ll* pay for this), and we had a pretty good set-up for race day because Parking Karma was on our side.  The course is beautiful, scenic for the most part, and pretty flat, so I highly recommend it.   Plus, we got the cool surfboard medal, which is as stylish as they come in my opinion.

Afterward, I raced back home so B and I could go to his friend’s Super Bowl party.  Since everyone there was a Seahawks fan, the house was totally crazy throughout the game!  Both offense and defense played incredibly, and I thought the win was well-deserved.  Another bonus of running a half the same day is that I was able to get my glutton on guilt-free with the great spread they had – 7-layer dip with lettuce on top that had a sour cream design of a football field?  I’ll take a couple of yards, please!  Chocolate-covered strawberries in the shape of footballs?  Don’t mind if I do!  Angry Orchard apple cider (since Washington is known for its apples)?  Once it hits your lips, it’s *so* good!  Two points if you get the last reference, by the way. 🙂

Other than that, there’s been a couple interesting financial scenarios that occurred these past couple weeks that made me realize that B and I are not aligning (yet!).  They’re not bad or anything, but it made me realize that our past habits or strains of thought do not equate to a ‘we’ thinking as I still think of things as ‘me’ while he still thinks of things as ‘he.’  I’ll post about it once I gather my thoughts (and stop eating everything this side of the Mississippi).  Also, here’s a quick rundown of how I’m doing so far with my 2014 goals:

1) Stay debt-free.  Pass!  Anything wedding-wise has been budgeted, and while my parents have requested some things that would increase our budget, I’ve managed to reason them out of it or just appeased them.

2) Have a ‘savings’ rate of 40-45%.  FAIL!  My savings rate was 32% rounded, which is at least higher than my 25% average last year (though I did have three paychecks this month).  A large part of this was the above and my car needing some repairs (I had funds for this, but since I took out of ‘savings’ this was a negative saving).  February might end up being the same thing, though I’m thinking by March or April that I’ll be able to accomplish this.

3) Read 24 books.  3 so far.  I read “The Reason I Jump” (interesting though not what I expected), “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” (disliked, he seems a lot more negative, and not in a clever way), and “The Fault In Our Stars” (um, yeah, I didn’t realize this was a young adult novel until I started reading the dialogue.  It made me cry, though).

4) Continue with Spanish.  Fail.  I did about 1-2 hours a week, when I should be doing it a day… I get really lazy after work and weekends have been a little cray.

5) Learn one new Filipino dish, and one new German dish, each month alternating-  Fail.  See excuse for #4.

It looks like everyone’s had a great January so far, but if you didn’t do a recap let me know how you did (or heck, if you did, tell me again or what you plan to do in February!).

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Half-Marathon and November/2014 Goals

Happy Friday, everyone!  So you know how I was mulling over signing up for the half-marathon?  You know, the mulling over that was like a hot minute ago… but anyway, I signed up!  I made little deals with myself and completed them in a shorter amount of time than I thought, so I pushed the confirm button.  The deals were to lose 2 pounds (this was probably from less eating when I had bronchitis, but I’m counting it anyway), to run three miles (did 4), and to sell stuff to recoup the cost (which I did rather quickly, though sadly as I loved the Sky dress I sold (but, I knew I wouldn’t get anymore use out of it)).  I started these on Monday, by the way, and didn’t do it in a span of two days.

So I’m running a half with Tonya (and Michelle and Kathleen, while Mrs. PoP just so happens to run a full, as well!)!!  So if you feel a surge of endorphins that day, it’s probably due to all the running events going on everywhere!

Oh yeah, but I didn’t follow the Cash Rebel’s School of Economics lesson of signing up for the full versus the half.  A full would have been a better bargain in terms of cost-per-mile since it was only $10 more overall, but I know myself well enough that I’m nowhere near ready for a full, both in terms of planning since wedding stuff will come to a head, and physically.

Here’s my training plan so far, since I want to get enough miles in but also still focus on Jamie Eason’s weight training plan (that’s a great workout plan, by the way – learned some new things!).  I made it flexible enough that I can either combine two workouts into one or probably skip my Sunday workout, though the latter tends to dorkily be B and mine’s “day date time”:

SC_training

Thank you everyone for convincing me the race fee is, indeed more of a health/wellness expense versus entertainment/fun (which is where I’ve always considered it).  That’s a great change in perspective since I do agree it’s not as frivolous as I perceived it to be, but rather an investment in my health.

As for as other November goals, it’s mostly to get rid of cc debt through Michelle’s challenge, and to focus on my 2014 finances per Shannon’s great post on Fall goals.  I’m still old school and use spreadsheets over Mint (love that new spreadsheet smell! ;)), and have fresh 2014 monthly’s/overall to populate.  A big goal is ‘saving’ 40-45% of my total income next year (safe goal of 30-35%).  When I say ‘saving’ I mean putting it towards retirement, investments, and actual savings, but that’s quite a jump from what I’m currently averaging (slightly less than 25%).  I do think it’s possible since debt repayments/wedding stuff will be squashed during the first few months of 2014, but I’d still like to cut costs since I’d like to go with a higher rate.  We do plan on combining our finances (but still keeping a portion for personal accounts), as well, so that’s another layer of figuring out my our finance strategies/goals for next year.  While we’re both eager about starting a family, we’re pretty terrified of the costs, so we just want to line our ducks in a row as much as possible.  I’ll report about it more when plans firm up!

Anyone else have November or 2014 goals that I can copy be inspired from? 🙂

October Repayment and Half Marathon Musings

Hi everyone!  Since we’re fairly close to October’s end, I thought I would give a brief update on my debt repayment.  This month didn’t have a flurry of September birthdays, but there were a couple more wedding payments (florist, DJ), which resulted in a repayment of $272.  Michelle at Shop My Close Project posed a Black Friday Debt Payoff Challenge (to get rid of one bill), and I’m ready to get rid of the credit card balance once and for all.  I wasn’t too worried about paying it off completely as I did with other credit cards earlier since this one is sitting at 0% interest through the end of the year.  But, to keep things simple and since it will be end of the year before I know it, I’m committed to paying that off on Black Friday.  Is anyone else doing her challenge? 🙂

Another thing I’ve been mulling over lately is signing up for a half marathon.  Another PF blogger is practically forcing me to sign up for it (I won’t mention her name, but her blog rhymes with Mudget and the Meach)… I mean, look at what she wrote:

“Love the medal!! I don’t love the price either but wanted to do a big race. YES, I’m for sure doing it! DO IT!”

Did you see the big capital DO IT?!  If that isn’t compulsory language, I don’t know what is! 😉

Okay, so obvi she isn’t forcing me… but I have been seriously considering it for the following reasons:

1) Awesome medal and schwag!  Some gals love bling, I love me some race bling, and this one is in the shape of a surfboard!  My favorite is the earthy look of Big Sur‘s, but this would easily take its place.  I also love the race tee since it’s the trifecta of what I love most – long sleeves, v neck, pink!

2) I was going to sign up for a local one, anyway.  I don’t know where we got the idea, but B and I are starting to talk about purchases that cost more than a given limit (as in, run things by each other).  I already got the go-ahead from him with a local race, but it ended up being the weekend of my bridal shower so I put the kibosh on it.  So this just kind of transfers?

3) Tonya’s running it, and Michelle and Kathleen are running another race the same day!  What cooler way to hang out with another PF’er than a running event!  It’s like being able to go to FinCon… except nothing at all like it.

However, now that I’ve learned some things from the PF-blogosphere, here’s some cons to it:

1) It’s pricey.  It’s really expensive for a half (especially since a full is only $10 more), plus I’d have to consider transport costs since it’s not local.  Lodging I’m not too worried about since I have family around there, at least.

2) I’m so close to no races this year – while technically the race isn’t until 2014, I’m paying for it this year.  I also get concerned that if I allow myself this, would I revert back to my old ways?  I don’t think I would, but thoughts like those are always in the back of my head.

3) This is 100% a want – as I had an extreme rush of excitement at the prospect of signing up, Shannon’s post on “How to Handle the ‘I Wants,'” quickly deflated that excitement as I realized I was on extreme emotional overdrive and tempered it down.  I do feel I would have recognized this prior to actually making the payment, but it was kind of trippy how timely that worked out in reading that article!

So, I’ve decided to just give it time, muse over it for a few days, and then decide with full rationality and consciousness that this is what I want.  Hopefully it won’t sell out by the time I decide, but even if it does, then that’s just a part of how things work out sometimes.

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!