Friday, October 21, 2011

The Marathon Plans

As much as I hate to admit it, I am starting to rethink my plans to do the Rock 'n Roll Marathon in December.  Not because I don't think I can do it, I'm pretty sure I'd make it, but because the entry fee is $155 for the half-marathon and I just don't have it right now.  I'm kind of thinking of just planning out my own 14 mile route and doing it on the same day so that it's kind of like I did the marathon but without spending the money.  Last year I found out about the marathon just days before it started but I found places where, if you registered to do the marathon for charity like a cancer foundation etc. they would set you up with a donations website and pay your entry fee for you and then you spend the whole year trying to raise money for that charity.  I wanted to do that this year but I looked into it periodically throughout the year and couldn't find any info on that for this year's marathon so now, here I am just two months from the big day and the price just gets higher the longer I wait to register.

I mean my whole motivation in wanting to do the marathon in the first place was for the sense of self accomplishment I would get from doing it.  A picture of me crossing the finish line would have been great and all but if I plan my own route maybe I can get Snackers to set up my own little mini finish line with a ribbon to run through and then he can take my picture there instead.  :)

I should clarify that it's not that I don't have $155, because I do.  I'm not broke or anything but now that I own a house I can think of at least a dozen ways that money like that could be put to better use.  I guess my financial perspectives have just changed from what they used to be.

140 oz of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1 Healthy choice lunch
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 antipasto salad
>>w/pico instead of dressing
1/2 serving sunflower seeds
Daily Caloric Intake: 880

100 jumping jacks
Walking: 2 miles
Sprinting: 2 at football practice
Dancing: Went to a concert tonight after practice (Foster the People @ the Cosmopolitan)


  1. I agree that you should be careful with your money. You need to have put back enough to live on for a month so you could start a little savings account with that $155. We have owned our home for years and out of the blue one day our well caved in at the bottom and we had to dig a new one - I think it was $6,000. We had to have our house leveled up and that was $17,000. A new roof, well, I don't want to get you depressed. A very wise man I used to share a ride to school with said the only things we should ever go in debt for are a car and a house. We should have the cash on hand for appliances, car repair, etc. Make a habit out of putting some in that emergency account each payday so that you won't have to go into debt if at all possible. Your plan to do the equivalent of that marathon and save your money is a good one.

  2. downsizers: you are absolutely right; great advice. The only exception I would add: you should never go into debt for a car more than $1000. A $1K car will get you to work just fine. Sure, it will be a hassle and it will consume time getting repaired. But almost any decent $1K car, even with repairs, will be cheaper in the long run than financing any other car. I'm not saying I haven't financed a car; I have. 2, to be exact. Paid for my current car with savings. Wish I'd learned that lesson years earlier.

    And even a home... we all think we should just do the 30-year mortgage plan. I challenge that thought. There are lots of people who (as the famous Dave Ramsey says) live on "rice and beans, beans and rice" and get their home paid off in a fraction of that time. I'm not saying I'm living that tight myself; but I'm living tighter than most and saving everything I can to pay it off quick.


    Lyns: there are things here every year like "Walkathon for Diabetes" where you don't pay an entry-fee, you just sign people up to donate to diabetes research. All you do is the work signing people up and the effort/time doing the event. Everything else is provided for you (organization, water, snacks, etc). You might want to look around (if you haven't) and see if they might not have a charity-based marathon; I'd be fairly surprised if they don't... but then again, what do I know, I've never done one! :D

    I sure hope, though, that this does not become an event that causes you to lose focus/motivation. Your savings, of course, is uber-important -- but your health... well, that's absolutely vital. You can live into your 80s bankrupt and living "in a trailer down by the river"... if you are in good health. Of course, you cannot live into your 80s in terrible health but with a pile of cash (well, ok, maybe you can fund a bunch of medical care but what a horrible way to suffer/survive).

    My family isn't made of money either, of course; but we have a fair amount of savings already. If this is going to become the moment where you lose motivation -- *PLEASE* call me up. We can easily afford the $155 if that's what it's going to mean.

    We only want the best for you. To have the best, *you* have to *BE* the best. But that doesn't mean we don't want to be there to help you if/when we can.

    I'm dead serious. Please keep going.

    On that note, we saw a new video over the weekend: "Forks Over Knives". We've decided to try our hand at being whole-food vegans. Yeah. You know how I love my pizza; but living strong enough to see my 2 year old turn 18 (and, even better, hopefully graduate college) is that important to me -- even more important: watching him grow up with better habits and healthier from the get-go.

    Keep on trucking. Please let me know if we can help!


  3. I have to completely disagree on the car comments. I bought a $3,000 Geo Tracker from a dealership when I got back from Chicago, took it to a mechanic and told them I was looking at buying it so would they please look it over. They gave it a clean bill of health. Less than a year later the timing belt slipped and the pistons destroyed the engine. It cost me another $1,000 to put a new engine in it and it never worked right. I finally managed to sell it for $2,000.

    Next I bought a $2,000 Saturn off Craigs List, a mechanic friend of Jennifer's looked it over and gave it a clean bill of health. Within a month it stopped running and three different mechanics couldn't even figure out what was wrong with it, including Ron and his friend Norm.

    Then I bought a $2,000 Ford Taurus from a dealership that Ronny and Norm both told me was a great car, great buy. It blew a head gasket less than 6 months later on my way to Las Vegas leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere on I15. I had to have it towed to St. George where Norm was able to fix it well enough that I could sell it before something else went wrong with it. I gave him the Saturn in exchange for the work he did on the Taurus.

    I finally went down and got a Hyundai Accent for $11,000 and it ran like a dream for a year. We had a little problem with it two Christmas' ago but Hyundai fixed it with no out-of-pocket expense to me. I traded it in last year for a Hyundai Tucson and, again, loving it! I have a 6 year, 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10 year 100,000 mile power train warranty that are worth their weight in gold to me.

    I will never own a $1,000 car again as long as I live due to my own bad experiences. And for the record, no I am not hard on cars. That's what dad said but Ron and Norm both said it wasn't my fault. The timing belt on the tracker could have happened to anyone and apparently the previous owner of the ford had replaced the temperature gauge with one that didn't belong in that make and model of car so it didn't warn me that I was over heating until it was too late and my engine was smoking on the side of the freeway. Something neither of them ever thought to check because it's just so unusual.

    On to the subject of motivation. I don't feel like I'm losing motivation by deciding not to register for the marathon. I'm still going to do the distance on that day I'm just going to do my own route for free. :) I even have a friend that is willing to do it with me and Snackers said would drive around in the car with us to keep us hydrated and motivated.

    It could actually be even more fun that doing the real marathon!

  4. p.s. in addition to the warranties I have 4 years free scheduled maintenance with Hyundai also. They send me an email reminder when it's time to get it serviced, I take it in, they give it the full treatment and give it back to me ... doesn't cost me a penny.

  5. Yeah, now price-out how much your new car is costing you per month compared to your used cars... include all maintenance performed.

    Now consider that, whether you were hard on cars or not, things like timing belts don't just "go out" with no warning. A good inspector would've noticed a belt wearing out.

    Sure, an older car is going to have breakdowns and maintenance. If you are driving long barren distances, it might pay your sanity/time to spend a bit more. But older cars cared for cost less per month. And that was my point.

    But even then, the average used car with a few thousand put into maintenance over a few years will average less money per month than new car or even a much more expensive used car.

    It sounds to me like you found yourself stranded on the side of the road and causing you emotional-grief, then had to pay a lot for repairs and causing you emotional-grief, and just when you got them to where they might have gone a year or two without anything major going wrong, you dumped them out of emotional-frustration.

    I understand that. But I'm just saying.

    I never said they would be hassle-free or not need repairs. I clearly stated they would cause some grief.

    What I said was, the average used car you can pay cash for will be cheaper averaged-out per-month than the average car (used or not) that you have to finance.

    I stand by that. I've had my share of hassle-cars, older used cheap cars, brand new cars, and used but newer cars.

    The cheapest car I ever owned was an $800 2-wheel drive piece-of-crap half-rusted-out little commuter truck. It didn't have air and it took 30min. for the heater to start pumping out hot air and I had to stuff cardboard in between the grill and the radiator in order to get any heat at all. But it drove great, cost me $800, my dad drove it 6months before I took possession, I drove it for 2 years, and he drove it another handful of years before selling it. No major breakdowns at all. As you recall, I also had a VW bug that was a pretty cheap car -- other than standard maintenance that thing had almost no major problems either... our family drove it for like 6 years.
    My current car I spent $10K on (cash out of pocket, but still moderately high-priced). Sure, I've never been stranded in it. But man have I had to fork out the cash over the last few years. I've probably spent $3K over the last 5 years just on non-routine maintenance... things like broken engine mounts.
    The difference (IMHO) is that I see most people buy a car and just expect it to last forever with little to no maintenance. Some people actually realized they have to change the oil but think that's the extent of it. They think anything more than that the 15-min quick-lube guy will spot and tell them about. Cmon. Seriously? That's a lot of trust you're putting in a guy who has 15min. to change your oil and spot wear-and-tear problems across every possible make/model in existence. I take mine to the dealer every 6months for oil and full-inspection. Yes, I pay a bit more. But I catch problems before they become "oh-shit-I-blew-a-timing-belt"-problem.


  6. Oh no, I dumped them before something else major could go wrong with them. The tracker never worked right after we replaced the engine. It would suddenly lose power for no apparent reason whenever in third gear. It would have cost hundreds of dollars on a diagnostic computer to find out why. The Saturn never did run, we had to tow it to Norm's and he sold it for parts. I barely got the Ford to St. George from Norm's after he "fixed it" so that I could put a For Sale sign on it and park it on a main street. The guy that bought it wanted a project car.

    Bottom line is, unless you're willing/able to do a lot of the maintenance and repair work yourself, it's just not cost effective. I've had my new car for a little over a year now - which is longer than I had any of the el'cheapo cars and, including my free scheduled maintenance on it, I've spent less on it in cold-hard cash so far this year than I did on any of the other cars in the long run (that includes tow trucks, mechanics, parts, maintenance, hitch hiking from Carp, NV to North Las Vegas, shuttle and taxi fees to get around, having to call in to work because I was stranded on the opposite side of town [I was on my way to work when the tracker crapped out] and the many favors I had to call in from Jenn, my friends, and her friends each time). I spent over $300 in one month on taxi rides to and from work alone when the Saturn died.

    Peace of mind is soooooo much more valuable to me than money.