Half Marathon Prep Part II

Long time, no blog—like REALLY long time! Work deadlines, family visits, a quick trip to Orlando for FUN, and more Holiday cheer ‘round the corner got me feeling like it’s time to get back on track.

Speaking of, my weekly spending reports went right out the window around Thanksgiving(ish) week. But, I am so so so happy to report that despite this lapse, ALL my spending has been withdrawn from ONLY my checking account, Small $ WIN! I do attribute this to the mindset that the previous weeks tracking my spending has put me into—Spend only what is available (i.e. no Savings account dipping!), Save as much as possible, Extra $$ goes to loans. Needless to say, I am going to get back on the spending tracking wagon for the following week!

Meanwhile, in my personal life I’m training for a half-marathon! And so far, mostly so good. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I continue to recognize the parallels between my health habits (both physical, mental) AND my financial habits. Here are some highlights and lowlights of my training so far based on the goals I initially set out in this post:

Saving money on group fitness classes: This has been a bit of a fail, but could have been a greater fail if I hadn’t been so diligent about tracking my expenses. My bootcamp classes automatically started me on a new month’s cycles, so I was locked in for an extra month (approx.. $150) in November. For December, I purchased a 20-class pass to the tune of $300. Since I only attend classes 1-3 X per week, this should last me until the marathon. Also, since I get plenty of cardio from running I won’t be signing up for any more cycle classes and reserve my off days for other types of training. Thus, I am more or less keeping within that $100 per month range I set out for, but went a bit beyond the initial set point for November.

More time for Yoga: Ouch… this one is a definite fail ! I have not done ANY yoga, aside from some gentle stretching post-run. I suppose on one hand this is good, money saved. But on the other hand, I’m missing out on those mental /physical benefits I had desired. I don’t see it in the budget to purchase more than a few classes. However, this is nothing that free Youtube videos couldn’t solve. New goal –yoga 1 x per week… starting NOW!

Habits, habits, habits: Another Fail?! Say it isn’t so ! I made an EXTRA EXTRA long running plan, so the fact that I missed a few of my runs should not be detrimental to my ability to finish…let’s hope. What got in the way? Work, travel, birthday celebrations, stress…ahem, let’s be honest: excuses…So far, I’ve made 17 out of my 24 scheduled runs. I have also had a few strength training sessions scattered in occasionally, but I certainly been consistently working out the 5 days per week required to get my body in tip top shape. I’m at the point now where I have exactly 12 weeks left to train. Staying on track going forward will be crucial, but it’s not worth the mental energy beating myself up over past mistakes.

Now, here’s where I see the parallel to my financial habits. As I mentioned above, I recently got off the wagon (AGAIN!?!) of tracking my expenditures. And honestly, I’m not that surprised.I haven’t been in the best space mentally these past few weeks and it is insightful to see how this dually impacts my health and financial goals. For me personally, I can’t be engaging in good financial habits if I don’t take care of my health. That’s why I can scrimp and scrape on luxuries, but decent food and proper housing (all relative right?) will always be my utmost priority.

How will I make my habits stick going forward? Well, the sheer fact that this half marathon is only 12 weeks away is honestly enough to jolt me into action—even if it does feel like a chore sometimes (OK, like 95% of the time!). I am also going to be intentional about scheduling either morning or lunch break runs. This will allow me to complete my workout BEFORE that darn winter sun goes down. I had this fantasy that I was somehow going to be altering a bunch of other habits (e.g. journaling, reading, meditation, meal planning) as a result of half-marathon training, but seeing that I’m already struggling here, sticking to just this one habit is enough of a challenge for now!

Overcoming Obstacles: SUCCESS! A few weeks ago, it was post-Thanksgiving, I was exhausted + on day 3 of my period, so I was crampy and cranky as well. My “long” run had me going 6 miles. I had to do it because I had a feeling my upcoming week at work was going to preclude running, which it indeed did. I set out reluctantly, slowly, and dragging my feet. I made it halfway and felt like I couldn’t go any longer. But, this was just the period fatigue talking. After about a minute of walking, I ramped up again and made it the last 3 miles home. I think I have only run a 6-mile distance less than a handful of times in my life. The achievement felt amazing. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll reach higher mileage-8, 9 , 10, 11, 12 miles. Sure, it’s daunting at first, but doable. Plus, the endorphins of running can not be beat.

Where else will it impact my life? Let’s see, the jury is still out on that one! What I do know is that training for this half-marathon is truly a metaphor for my debt-free journey: difficult, exciting, humbling, triumphant. And as I’m writing this, I just came up with a fantastic idea. Perhaps I should make the half-marathon weekend D-Day, where “D” stands for Debt-free?! What an amazing and Non-monetary way to celebrate breaking free of my student loans! I’m looking at rolling into 2018 with approximately $8000ish remaining, so it would be tight, but potentially doable….

I’ll plan to write Part III of my training update sometime in January! I’ll be hoping for more successes than fails next time around ;). My motto here is honor the journey, even the ugly parts!

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