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Lent 2010

Today is Ash Wednesday which means Lent begins! I usually give up something for Lent, even though I’m not Catholic. Last year it was shopping, the year before that it was chocolate, and the year before that it was sweets altogether (which turned out to be too hard, thus the reason for “only no chocolate” a year later).

I almost forgot about Lent until yesterday when Chelsea Bea reminded me of it via Twitter. All of yesterday I was racking my brain to think of things to give up.  I talked to J about it, but he thinks it’s ridiculous that I practice something that’s not in my religion. Well, whatever. I think having a challenge and discipling yourself is always a positive thing.

I thought of doing shopping again, but I really haven’t been that much lately anyway so it isn’t a huge temptation. And all other usual Lent items (like alcohol or chocolate or fatty foods or profanity or coffee) I just didn’t feel mentally prepared for or don’t struggle enough for it to be a challenge.

Then it came to me! Instead of giving up something, I’ll give back this Lent season! I thought of quantifying this goal into something like “one good thing a week” but I don’t want to force it and kind of want to see what opportunities open up, whether it’s my time, money or talents (how my talents will help someone else, who knows). I’m so excited about it! I’m on sort of “Do-Good” mission for the next few months and I can’t wait to share the cool opportunities that arise from it!

What about you? Anything you plan to give up for Lent?

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jingle

This past Saturday marked two weeks since I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon and I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t run AT ALL since the race. I know. I call myself a runner? What is the matter with me? Clearly the honeymoon is over between the Nike+ and me.

I wanted to give myself a week off as a little reward for completing the half marathon, but that turned into two weeks and now I am on my third week feeling 100% BLAH. I think I’ve gained at least a pound. I planned to join my running group again last night, but it was canceled because of the rain.

It’s time I face the truth: I am worthless without a challenge. Obviously running for the sake of running doesn’t motivate me. I need to have something to work towards to get my booty off the couch and stay in shape.

So that brings me to my latest challenge: I am signing up for the Jingle All the Way 10k race!

I’m actually very excited about this race because:
1) I know at least six people running it also.
2) It’s only 6.2 miles. Totally doable!
3) The training won’t be as miserable and time-consuming.
4) The $25 registration fee is certainly no budget-breaker.
5) You get to wear JINGLE BELLS ON YOUR SHOES DURING THE RACE!!!

I told J the other night about the jingle bell part and his response was, “Wow, running with jingle bells on your shoes for an entire hour sounds really annoying.” Huh. Hadn’t thought of that one. Oh well! I’m determined it’s going to be a jolly holiday experience. :)

As for my workout schedule, I want to keep my goals broad enough that I have the flexibility to actually meet them and not feel discouraged if I miss a day. So my goal for each week is to run 10 to 15 miles and do yoga at least 2 times. I will put this on my Nike+iPod account for extra accountability.

Let’s hope this will be the challenge I need to get me out of my fitness funk!

 

{photo: via weheartit}

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In order to meet my holiday goals, I plan to cut out two things for the rest of this year:

1. No more clothes shopping!
It’s no secret that autumn makes me lust something crazy for new clothes. Everywhere I go I see things I want: shirts, dresses, jackets, scarves, accessories, boots! I tried to keep it under control, but between September and October I’ve spent $240 on new things. So I’m just going to cut it all off for the rest of this year. If I can do it for all of Lent, I can do it for two months.

2. No more eating out for lunch!
Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks has a challenge of not buying lunch during the workweek for the rest of the year and I’m going to steal that idea. I usually keep things at my desk during the week for lunches, but recently my coworkers have been pretty convincing and I end up going with them. This will also help me eat healthier since I usually eat worse and in larger portions when I go out.

I don’t have a goal of how much money I want to save, but I will consider this a success if I have a debt-free Christmas and continue to pay my debt and save any extra income.

Here’s to the rest of 2009! :)

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I survived!

I did it! I finished the half marathon! I feel like I’ve been talking non-stop about this race since I signed up, so I’ll try not to give you all of the gory details, but just share my experience.

Before I begin talking about the race, the best part of my weekend wasn’t crossing the finish line–it occurred Friday night. My parents told me they wanted to come up for the weekend to watch my race. I was waiting for them to arrive so we could go out to eat and carb-up. A few minutes after they arrived, I heard a knock at my door. I open it and there was my boyfriend J. I couldn’t believe it. There he was in my doorway, grinning from ear to ear. I was so confused, then screamed and jumped in his arms. I hadn’t seen him since August and I was so excited. Apparently he rode up with my parents (seven hours in the car with them!) and they had been planning this surprise for months. He said he just had to see me run. It was the sweetest thing ever.

But anyway… the race:

Well, the first five miles were absolutely terrible. My mind got the better of me. I tried to pace myself in the beginning and not use all of my energy, but that meant that runner after runner kept passing me. At first that was fine, but then after three miles I started to get discouraged. My coworker (the only other person I knew running the half), caught up with me during that mile and we reached Mile Four together. He said, “Yay! Only nine more left!” Only nine more left?! I didn’t feel like rejoicing.

He eventually joined the others and zoomed passed me. Soon after that, I reached a huge, enormous hill. I thought about crying–not because I was so tired, but because I was so discouraged. Why didn’t I train harder? I paid money to be in this misery? There’s no way that I can ever finish this. I saw some people walking and thought that would at least look better than my pathetic jog. And it was. I had a good walking pace and would find landmarks to start and stop running. It is probably what saved me.

It rained most of the race. It wasn’t hard, heavy rain, but a cool refreshing drizzle that gave me energy. I reached a lake at mile seven, I think, and it was there that I found my stride. I started running my normal pace and just kept going. There were a few times I stopped for water, but my legs hurt more to walk so I just kept running. And running. And running. People were along the sidelines cheering and I was inspired by their signs that said things like “Pain is temporary, the glory of finishing is forever!” The crowds on the sideline started to get thicker and I could see the mile 11 marker ahead. Then the 12 marker.

When I had one more mile to go, I booked it. I don’t even know my legs had it in them but I ran faster and faster, passing a girl that I remember seeing at Mile One. I ran through Camden Yards and I saw the finish line. I heard my mom screaming for me and ran as hard as I could. It was the most amazing feeling crossing that line.

I got my participation medal and limped around trying to find my cheerleaders. I finally found them and J lifted me up in the air and my parents told me how proud they were of me. We drove home, I showered, and then ate like there was no tomorrow.

It was one of the greatest weekends of my life and I cannot believe that I did it. I know this sounds silly after months of training, but for the first time ever, I actually feel like a runner. It feels amazing.

Oh, and I spent absolutely nothing from Friday to today. ;)

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I met my $50 Challenge. On Monday my balance was $9.42 and since then I’ve spent $3.92 for a Chickfila kid’s meal (such a great price for all the food you get!). That’s it! So ending this month, I have a whopping $5.50 left in the account. Scoooooore. That means all of that money I earned over the weekend will be towards my savings. More to come on that at the end of the week. Also, more to come on the Earn More Challenge, but you can see on the side the results. I’m pretty pleased. :)

What about the other $50 Challengers?

Did you guys stay under $50 since last Thursday?

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$50 Challenge

One of my favorite blogs, Always the Planner, posted about Small Challenges and how they help with achieving big goals. I have a small challenge for myself that if met could make a huge difference in my savings for October.

My challenge is to only spend $50 from now until payday, which is next Wednesday, Sept 30th.

That’s actually all I have left in my bank account (spending report will be up tomorrow), but I also will be getting some extra money this weekend and I want ALL of it to go to my Emergency Fund or Car Savings. I’m thinking I’ll make a minimum of $270. That would definitely help pay for all those car repairs I need.

How do I plan to spend $50 in one week? It shouldn’t be too bad because I am babysitting tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday. So I’ll make money, but I also won’t have any social-spending temptations. Aka: my weekend’s going to be lame.

I’m thinking of this $50, about $30 will go towards gas and the rest I’ll use for quick dinners out or little expenses that may come up. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Anyone else want to join me with spending no more than $50 until payday? Come on guys, have a lame weekend with me! ;)

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