Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:32:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Save Money, and Your Credit Using FICO Score Watch http://www.enemyofdebt.com/save-money-and-your-credit-using-fico-score-watch/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/save-money-and-your-credit-using-fico-score-watch/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:32:18 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15391 Enemy of Debt - Save Money, and Your Credit Using FICO Score Watch

Please note that a commercial relationship exists between our site and FICO® that could include FICO providing us with product and other forms of payment. The views of the author(s) herein do not necessarily reflect the views of FICO. FICO is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act, and does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” credit records, credit history or credit ratings. I logged into the myFICO website, and within a few clicks I was staring at my current financial state […]

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Enemy of Debt - Save Money, and Your Credit Using FICO Score Watch

myfico-myficoPlease note that a commercial relationship exists between our site and FICO® that could include FICO providing us with product and other forms of payment. The views of the author(s) herein do not necessarily reflect the views of FICO. FICO is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act, and does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” credit records, credit history or credit ratings.

I logged into the myFICO website, and within a few clicks I was staring at my current financial state through the eyes of a creditor. All my outstanding credit accounts including my mortgage, my car loans, and a small credit card balance.

Wait, I shouldn’t have a balance on any credit card!

Digging a little deeper, I discovered the account in question was one that we had recently paid in full. There had been some residual interest applied after our last payment was made. I honestly don’t know if I didn’t get a bill from the creditor, or if it had come but I discarded it because I assumed the balance was zero. One late charge had already been applied, and the next payment due date was within a few days. I quickly paid the balance and put an entry on my todo list to make sure the balance stayed at zero.

I could see that did not have a blemish on my credit report, thankfully.

Being able to monitor your credit report, and your FICO scores is an invaluable service in today’s financial world. While I should have paid closer attention to my statement, or made sure I checked my account online, FICO Score Watch added a new component to my system of checks and balances that helped me catch a mistake that could have cost me dearly down the road. #myFICOInsider

I thought of the implications of how such a mistake, if left uncaught for months, could affect an important financial move for our family. I thought of how we had refinanced our home earlier this year, and how important it had been to have favorable FICO Scores to get the very best interest rates. Such a mistake would have not only racked up late charges and put blemishes on our credit report, but likely cost us thousands of dollars in interest over the life of our mortgage.

I thought of all the security breaches at retailers that I shop at during the past year. My wife is a bit shy to use our debit card anywhere in fear that our information and our identity could be stolen. With a tools like FICO Score Watch, we would know very quickly if someone was attempting to trash our credit.

Do you use a credit monitoring service?  Has it ever caught anything for you?

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Motivational Monday: Mistakes Pave The Way To A Greater Success http://www.enemyofdebt.com/motivational-monday-mistakes-pave-the-way-to-a-greater-success/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/motivational-monday-mistakes-pave-the-way-to-a-greater-success/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:11:59 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15384 Enemy of Debt - Motivational Monday: Mistakes Pave The Way To A Greater Success

I caught a segment on a popular morning news program in which the CEO of Google was being interviewed. The line of questioning centered on the type of potential employee Google typically looks for and the kinds of ideas that would catch the eye of Google as something they would want to pursue. The CEO gave the example two potential ideas, one that would result in a car that could get 50 miles to the gallon, and one that would get 500 miles to the gallon. While the first idea would be more easily attainable and very useful in the […]

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Enemy of Debt - Motivational Monday: Mistakes Pave The Way To A Greater Success

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I caught a segment on a popular morning news program in which the CEO of Google was being interviewed. The line of questioning centered on the type of potential employee Google typically looks for and the kinds of ideas that would catch the eye of Google as something they would want to pursue.

The CEO gave the example two potential ideas, one that would result in a car that could get 50 miles to the gallon, and one that would get 500 miles to the gallon. While the first idea would be more easily attainable and very useful in the world today, they would be much more interested in the second idea. Even if they failed, the CEO asked the interviewer to think about all they would learn simply by trying to achieve a seemingly impossible task.

Thinking that through for a minute, I realized the genius of that perspective. Imagine if two teams of people worked on each of these ideas. The first team achieved 50 miles to the gallon. The second one only reaching half of their goal by coming up with a method to achieve 250 miles to the gallon.

Which one is the greater success?

About a year ago, I began training for my fourth marathon. I spent months doing speed training, extending the length of my runs, and experimenting with refuel and rehydration techniques. I had done things in this round of training I had never done before.

I fell far short of my time goal, but it was not a failure.

Over the first thirteen years of our marriage, my wife and I accumulated over $109,000 of credit card debt. We were on the brink of financial ruin, and had compromised my family’s future financial security. Yet I would not consider that a failure either.

Both of these scenarios are certainly mistakes. With my marathon training I had misjudged the impact an extra 20 pounds on my frame would have on my conditioning. I also hadn’t trained at the pace needed to achieve my goal. With our finances, my wife and I did not communicate about our finances, and we simply treated credit cards as a resource to get what we wanted, whenever we wanted.

Mistakes only become failures when you refuse to learn from them.

In both of these instances, I have learned from my mistake. As I begin training for my next marathon in June of 2015, I am putting an emphasis on losing weight and paying attention to the pace at which I’m running. My wife and I communicate constantly about our finances, and make decisions together regarding how our money is spent.

We also take forward the knowledge we gained from our mistake.

Just as the knowledge of a team that set out to build a car that could achieve 500 miles to the gallon, but could only squeeze out an efficiency of 250mpg, our experiences have given us useful knowledge that we can build upon.

With my marathon training I know exactly how often my body needs some fuel and hydration to prevent running out of energy and hitting the infamous wall. With our finances, we know the effects that lack of communication and consistent overspending can have, even if we have learned that lesson more than once.

Set your goals high.

I’m very adamant that my goal for my June of 2015 is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It’s a lofty goal, and will require me to shave 50 minutes off my best marathon time.   If I train and achieve my goal, that will be spectacular. But if I train and shave 25 minutes off my personal best it will still be the best time I’ve achieved by far.

Regarding my finances, I actually have a list of goals both short term and long term that I want to accomplish. They are also very lofty goals.  If I achieve all of them, I will have complete and undisputed financial freedom. If I only achieve some of them, I  will simply be well taken care of for the rest of my life.

Are you setting your goals high enough? Are you learning from your mistakes?

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How to Get Ahead If You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Part 2) http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-to-get-ahead-paycheck-to-paycheck/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-to-get-ahead-paycheck-to-paycheck/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:38:45 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15382 Enemy of Debt - How to Get Ahead If You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Part 2)

In the first article in the series, I covered eight things that might cause you to end up trapped in a paycheck to paycheck life. In this second post, I’m going to show you a few things you can do to get your finances under control, stop spending more than you make, and end the paycheck to paycheck cycle for good. If you read the last article, at this point you’ve probably figured out some of the top reasons why you’re struggling financially. Once you understand those reasons, I explained that it was important to get your mindset right and […]

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Enemy of Debt - How to Get Ahead If You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Part 2)

In the first article in the series, I covered eight things that might cause you to end up trapped in a paycheck to paycheck life.

In this second post, I’m going to show you a few things you can do to get your finances under control, stop spending more than you make, and end the paycheck to paycheck cycle for good.

If you read the last article, at this point you’ve probably figured out some of the top reasons why you’re struggling financially.

Once you understand those reasons, I explained that it was important to get your mindset right and take a deep, honest look at what is really causing the problem.

Those are the two things you absolutely must do before moving on to the strategies below that will help you ultimately solve your problem.

 

4 Tips To End the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle

Once you’ve reached this point in the process, there are four things you should be doing to get off the paycheck to paycheck treadmill (depending on your situation, you may need to do some or all of them):

  • Put Together a Plan- Lasting change is not going to happen without a solid plan.  Winging it just doesn’t work!  Make a written plan for how you’re going to get out of debt (Here’s how to do that), and then work that plan.  It’s very difficult to change your financial habits if you don’t have a plan.
  • Find Ways to Increase Your Income- Even if you’ve already cut expenses to the bone, sometimes it can still be hard to make ends meet.  The best way to fix that is to find ways to make more money in your present job, start a side gig, get a part time job, or even a combination of these.
  • Get Out of Debt ASAP- Debt is a choice.  It drains away your hard earned money through interest and fees, and prevents you from getting ahead financially.  Doing what it takes to become debt free is the best way to start becoming financially successful.  My get out of debt course can show you how.
  • Do a Monthly Budget- It’s impossible to truly know what you’re spending unless you keep track.  A monthly written budget helps you understand what’s coming in, what’s going out, and allows you to see where the money leaks  A budget is absolutely essential.

 

The Paycheck to Paycheck Life Stinks!

Most of us, especially those in the middle class, have been getting hammered for the last decade or so with stagnating wages and increasing prices.  But that’s no excuse for not being able to succeed financially.

You just have to take massive action and be diligent toward your goals.

You have to become relentless about learning how to overcome the paycheck to paycheck monster and keep it from rearing its ugly head ever again.

IT IS POSSIBLE, AND YOU CAN DO IT!

 

Have you been using any of these strategies to improve your finances?

Leave a comment and tell me what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

 

Resources:

The “How Do You Get Out of Debt?” Series

More Money Won’t Solve Your Problems, Here’s What Actually Works

More Posts on Dealing With Debt

More Posts on Budgeting

More Posts on Money and Behavior

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I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 10/17 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1017/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1017/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:09:57 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15376 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 10/17

The kids are off of school Thursday and Friday of this week so we decided to something fun with them.  We live about an hour south of the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolitan area, and door to door it’s about 70 minutes to the Mall Of America.  In the middle of the mall is an indoor amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe.  I get all day ride wrist bands at a great discount (about 33% off), which helps with the cost.  We allowed them each to bring one friend, and we spent the day riding rides, checking out a few stores, and then meeting […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 10/17

fistpumpThe kids are off of school Thursday and Friday of this week so we decided to something fun with them.  We live about an hour south of the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolitan area, and door to door it’s about 70 minutes to the Mall Of America.  In the middle of the mall is an indoor amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe.  I get all day ride wrist bands at a great discount (about 33% off), which helps with the cost.  We allowed them each to bring one friend, and we spent the day riding rides, checking out a few stores, and then meeting friends and family that live in the area for dinner at one of our favorite Italian Restaurants.  It was a fantastic day, but now I’m ready to spend the rest of the weekend just lounging.

What do you have going on this weekend?  I hope it includes some fist pumping….

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Other fist-pumping posts I wrote, or appeared in this week from around the personal finance blogosphere:

 

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Sunday Afternoon #LaundryBliss With Purex Laundry Detergent http://www.enemyofdebt.com/sunday-afternoon-laundry-bliss-with-purex-laundry-detergent/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/sunday-afternoon-laundry-bliss-with-purex-laundry-detergent/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:06:17 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15351 Enemy of Debt - Sunday Afternoon #LaundryBliss With Purex Laundry Detergent

Laundry was on my mind as I was running errands last Sunday morning, because I knew I was out of laundry detergent. I stopped by Target just as they unlocked the doors, and surveyed the laundry detergent aisle for the best deal. I found a bottle of Purex laundry detergent boasting 10% more product than usual, advertising the potential of washing 90 loads for a cost of $7.99. That’s less than 9 cents per load! As I was standing in the checkout lane, anxious to get started with the day’s work, I thought about how I could have purchased my […]

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Enemy of Debt - Sunday Afternoon #LaundryBliss With Purex Laundry Detergent

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Laundry was on my mind as I was running errands last Sunday morning, because I knew I was out of laundry detergent. I stopped by Target just as they unlocked the doors, and surveyed the laundry detergent aisle for the best deal. I found a bottle of Purex laundry detergent boasting 10% more product than usual, advertising the potential of washing 90 loads for a cost of $7.99.

That’s less than 9 cents per load!

As I was standing in the checkout lane, anxious to get started with the day’s work, I thought about how I could have purchased my Purex Laundry detergent online. I could have picked it up at my convenience, potentially saving me some time. #CollectiveBias

Purex-Laundry-Detergent-Store-Isle

The work week is a whirlwind of busy between work, playing taxi for various kid activities, trying to get to the gym and just keeping the house generally running smoothly. For that exact reason I dedicate time on the weekend to make sure that I’m as prepared for the upcoming week as possible. Before I go to bed Sunday night, I have the following tasks complete so that they don’t need to be done during the week:

  • Meals planned and groceries purchased
  • Dishes washed and placed back in the cupboards
  • Laundry done and put away

When I got home, I dove into the last item on my list. I rounded up the family’s laundry, sorted it, and began the process of conquering the week’s mountain of laundry. I knew the situation was critical when I heard my twelve year old daughter proclaim from her room, “DAAAAAD, I have nothing to wear!”

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I worked at a dizzying pace transferring loads from the washer to the dryer, and then reloading the washer; each load getting a cap full of Purex Crystals fabric softener to leave our clean laundry soft to the touch, and smelling fresh and clean. Each dried load was brought to the spare bedroom for folding and sorting into one of three baskets, one for my son, one for my daughter, and one for my wife and I.

When the last load was complete about mid-afternoon, the baskets were delivered to the appropriate bedroom. My daughter’s eyes lit up as she jumped right into putting her laundry away and laying out the outfits she wanted to wear each day for the week.

I think she may have picked up some of my desire to plan ahead.

Purex-Laundry-Detergent-Full-Closet

Now that the rest of the family was happily putting away their clean laundry, I could sit down in a state of #LaundryBliss and enjoy hours upon hours doing what Sunday afternoons in Fall are meant for: watching football!

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When do you do your family’s laundry?  What is your idea of laundry bliss?

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How Does the Target RedCard Work? http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-does-the-target-redcard-work/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-does-the-target-redcard-work/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:14:49 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15344 Enemy of Debt - How Does the Target RedCard Work?

I was hurriedly going through the checkout lane at Target picking up some items on my way home from work when the cashier sprung a question I’ve heard a zillion times: “Are you going to be saving 5% with your REDcard today?” I shook my head, “No,” after which she asked me if I knew about the REDcard. I quipped at her my understanding of it being a Target Visa card that saves me 5% on my purchases. I told her that I didn’t like to use credit cards, but thanked her for the offer. I was surprised when she […]

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Enemy of Debt - How Does the Target RedCard Work?

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Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was hurriedly going through the checkout lane at Target picking up some items on my way home from work when the cashier sprung a question I’ve heard a zillion times:

“Are you going to be saving 5% with your REDcard today?”

I shook my head, “No,” after which she asked me if I knew about the REDcard. I quipped at her my understanding of it being a Target Visa card that saves me 5% on my purchases. I told her that I didn’t like to use credit cards, but thanked her for the offer. I was surprised when she corrected me by stating there was a Visa REDcard credit card, but there was actually a debit card version that I could link to my existing checking account.

I politely declined again, but left the store thinking I needed to check into it further.

When I got home, I searched the internet and found the following information about the Target REDcard Debit Card:

  • Connects To Existing Checking Account: As the cashier had stated, I could connect a Target REDcard to my existing checking account.   Each purchase made at Target with the REDcard, the amount is deducted directly from the linked checking account.
  • Discount At Target : Each purchase made at Target is discounted 5% when the method of payment is the REDcard.
  • Free Shipping: Purchases made online at Target.com with the REDcard will not incur any shipping charges. Customers can have an item shipped to the store for free even without a REDcard, but it’s much more convenient to have it shipped right to your doorstep.
  • Return Policy: Purchases made with the REDcard allows for an extra 30 days to be returned if you’re not happy with the purchase.
  • No Fees: There are no fees of any kind imposed by Target to have and use a REDcard.

After reading the benefits of having a REDcard, I started searching for negative reviews regarding the card and found the following:

  • Can Only Be Used At Target: Because the card is not associated with a processing network such as Visa or Mastercard, it can only be used at Target.
  • Transaction Speed: Many REDcard users state that transactions did not post immediately. Sometimes it took a few days for purchases to post to the account. This shouldn’t be a problem for me, since I reconcile my checking account almost on a daily basis.

Here are some additional observations of my own:

  • Target is doing this simply to attract people to come through their doors. The REDcard is essentially just a creative way to give customers a never expiring 5% off coupon along with a few other minor perks. It isn’t a huge discount, but every little bit helps, and it helps to build a loyal customer base.
  • I do the majority of my shopping at other retailers where products are generally cheaper. However I do shop at Target for a handful of products that are not carried at my primary shopping outlet. As with my Costco membership, if I decide to go ahead and get attach a REDcard to my checking account I need to make sure I don’t shop there just to get a 5% discount. If a product costs 10% more at Target than somewhere else, but I buy it at Target at a 5% discount, I’m still paying MORE for that item.

I had known about the Target REDcard for years, after all, the cashiers mention it literally every time I shop at Target. However, I misunderstood the details, not understanding that I didn’t have to get a credit card to save 5%.

While 5% isn’t a huge discount, I don’t see any downsides to getting one.

Did you know that you could link a Target REDcard debit card to your existing checking account? If you already have one, what is your experience in using it?

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I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/10 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1010/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1010/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:07:33 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15318 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/10

Happy fist pump Friday, EOD Nation!  I thought about you last weekend as I ran the Twin Cities Marathon, and fist pumped my way across the finish line!   I was ecstatic to see that the official pictures taken caught me mid fist pump.  I think I’ve finally found the picture I will use for these Friday posts, at least for awhile. I’m also happy to report that I’m back to walking normally, but I have not returned to running yet as my joints and muscles still hurt when I do impact exercises.  It will  be the bicycle for cardio for […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/10

fistpump Happy fist pump Friday, EOD Nation!  I thought about you last weekend as I ran the Twin Cities Marathon, and fist pumped my way across the finish line!   I was ecstatic to see that the official pictures taken caught me mid fist pump.  I think I’ve finally found the picture I will use for these Friday posts, at least for awhile.

I’m also happy to report that I’m back to walking normally, but I have not returned to running yet as my joints and muscles still hurt when I do impact exercises.  It will  be the bicycle for cardio for me for a little while longer.  Until then, please allow me to fist pump from the seated position.  :)

 

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Other fist-pumping posts I wrote, or appeared in this week from around the personal finance blogosphere:

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Keep Workin’ Your Moneyplan Like Biz Markie http://www.enemyofdebt.com/keep-workin-your-moneyplan-like-biz-markie/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/keep-workin-your-moneyplan-like-biz-markie/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 09:29:41 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15296 Enemy of Debt - Keep Workin’ Your Moneyplan Like Biz Markie

This weekend I had a connecting flight in Baltimore. On the way to my gate I saw Biz Markie getting ready to board a flight to New Orleans. I checked his Twitter feed and found he would be performing in Baton Rouge that night. If you don’t know who Biz Markie is then just search YouTube for “Just A Friend”. Yeah, now you remember. What amazes me is that he hasn’t changed a bit. I would know, I saw him perform live at the Rosemont Theater back in the late 1980’s. How does a rapper who hasn’t released an album […]

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Enemy of Debt - Keep Workin’ Your Moneyplan Like Biz Markie

biz-markie-26This weekend I had a connecting flight in Baltimore. On the way to my gate I saw Biz Markie getting ready to board a flight to New Orleans. I checked his Twitter feed and found he would be performing in Baton Rouge that night.

If you don’t know who Biz Markie is then just search YouTube for “Just A Friend”. Yeah, now you remember.

What amazes me is that he hasn’t changed a bit. I would know, I saw him perform live at the Rosemont Theater back in the late 1980’s. How does a rapper who hasn’t released an album since 2003 continue to rock the night clubs and parties?

  • Repetition
  • Persistence
  • Focused goals

These are the same ingredients that can help you become financially secure.

Repetion

Biz didn’t retire when the records stopped selling. I think Biz may be working harder now to get gigs than when he started out 25 years ago. It was easier back then because everything was still fresh, the record was still hot. Now he works every angle around his established position (what people now refer to as “his brand”).

Biz Markie’s wikipedia.org bio is peppered with numerous performances of “Just A Friend” on late night shows and MTV flashback appearances. He even performed the song with Jeff Goldblum in an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2010. In essence, the record just keeps playing.

Shouldn’t he retire the song? I don’t know, should you stop working at your current job? Of course not. You keep showing up, you keep delivering, and you continue to improve or reinvent yourself so you can remain relevant in your career. You keep sending money towards your debt or saving towards retirement – even when it seems like new opportunities to score overtime or cut expenses dry up. Keep hustling and keep working all the angles you can.

Persistence

Another key ingredient for building financial security is persistence – also known in the industry as “stick-to-itiveness”.

Biz Markie keeps working the circuit – even after his songs stopped hitting the charts. I can only imagine there were times when he thought about quitting and doing something else. Is rapping the only thing he can do? Nope. He continues to find ways to be relevant in the entertainment industry with appearances on Men In Black II, opening for Chris Rock in the late 2000’s, and spinning records at parties.

When times get tough it’s time to get tougher. There will be flat tires and medical emergencies in the middle of your get-out-of-debt plan. You can’t quit when the record stops playing – you need to get out there and keep rockin’ it.

Read more about persistence and the secret to getting out of debt here on my blog.

Focused goals

Do you think Biz Markie ever dreamed he would still be partying in night clubs when he turned 50? Did he have a 30 year game plan? I doubt it, there is no way to predict our future that far in advance. But here we are 25 years later and he’s playing the Stadium Club in Washington DC, the Lyceum Ballroom in Baton Rouge, and the Pier One Pavilion in Baltimore – all within 10 days.

He remains focused on his goal of entertaining people of all ages. I don’t need to prove to you that focused intensity turns light into a laser. Add a bit of focus to repetition and persistence and you have the building blocks of a success story.

I haven’t thought about Biz Markie more than a few times over the past two decades. He’s not in the news, not on the charts, and isn’t co-staring in the next big reality show (yet). He doesn’t have to be. Biz Markie continues to be The Biz.

Keep Workin’ Like Biz Markie

I’m inspired by his story and his ability to still work his craft. It’s proof once again that you can keep working at something for a long time and turn it into a success story. You don’t have to win the lottery or inherit a bunch of money to be financially successful. You just need to keep working your moneyplan, be persistent and focus on your goals.

Now, if you will excuse me – I’m Goin’ Off because I Need a Haircut. Maybe I’ll do it this Weekend (Warrior) after All the Samples are Cleared. (Only a true Biz fan would know what I’m talking about).

What, or who, inspires you to be persistent and stick to your get-out-of-debt plan?

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What I Learned From Running The 2014 Twin Cities Marathon http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-i-learned-from-running-the-2014-twin-cities-marathon/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-i-learned-from-running-the-2014-twin-cities-marathon/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 12:54:45 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15299 Enemy of Debt - What I Learned From Running The 2014 Twin Cities Marathon

I sprang out of bed at the chime of my cell phone alarm at 4:30am yesterday. I quietly got ready for the day, gathered my things, and quietly closed the hotel room door behind me as to not disturb my sleeping family. I headed downstairs to the lobby to meet some friends and to walk over to the light rail station that would take us to the start line. In just a few short hours I would be lining up with over 11,000 other runners to run the Twin Cities Marathon. It would be my 4th time, and I had […]

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Enemy of Debt - What I Learned From Running The 2014 Twin Cities Marathon

Medal

Showing Off My Finisher’s Medal

I sprang out of bed at the chime of my cell phone alarm at 4:30am yesterday. I quietly got ready for the day, gathered my things, and quietly closed the hotel room door behind me as to not disturb my sleeping family. I headed downstairs to the lobby to meet some friends and to walk over to the light rail station that would take us to the start line.

In just a few short hours I would be lining up with over 11,000 other runners to run the Twin Cities Marathon.

It would be my 4th time, and I had expectations of a personal best as I had been training hard. My long runs had never gone smoother. I had done more hill and speed training, and my legs felt rested and strong from the two week taper period.   I entered my starting corral and quickly found the pace runner that would help guide runners to a finishing time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.

If I could meet that goal, I would beat my previous best by 20 minutes.

At 8:00am the wheelchair race started, and shortly after that the elite runners. They then delay for 8 minutes as to allow those groups to get a sizable start as to not have the rest of us get in the way of potential records.   When the announcer finally said, “Runners ready? GO!” goose bumps formed as I made my way to the starting line, and broke into a run just feet away from the pacer I was determined to stay with.

Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that I would not run a personal best.

I slowly watched the balloons on the stick the pacer was holding get further and further ahead of me. By mile 6 I couldn’t see them anymore.

At that point, I had very important decision to make that would likely dictate how the rest of my run would go. I could wallow in failure for the next twenty miles, or I could accept the fact that I had misjudged my conditioning, and simply enjoy the race and whatever finishing time came with it. Knowing full well the impacts of negative thoughts when exhaustion would set in later in the race, I chose acceptance, adjusted my pace to be comfortable, and continued on.

I interacted with the crowds lining the streets. When there was a line of children holding out their hands raising a sign saying, “Free high fives!” I swerved to the side and touched as many as I could. When I saw signs with a big star and the words “Press for Power” I did it. Every single time. I pointed and laughed at signs with sayings such as, “Run Like a liberal is chasing you!” and “You’re running better than the government,” and my personal favorite, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear.”

By mile 21, I had hit the infamous wall. My hips and groin were killing me, but strangely enough my actual legs felt fine. I looked up at a very long and steep hill and decided I was going to run up it as a small personal victory. About three quarters of the way up, I saw a familiar face out of the corner of my eye. I saw my brother-in-law and my son screaming words of encouragement at me. I high fived them as a smile burst on to my face. About 50 feet later I saw my daughter and my wife also on the side of the road cheering me on. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I felt like someone had just breathed life back into my lungs.

The next 5 miles were essentially a run/walk. I don’t remember much about them to be honest, but I know they were not easy. At about mile 25.5 I turned a corner to the left, and stood atop a hill looking down on two hook and ladder trucks hoisting a gigantic American Flag waving over the road, with the state capital in the distance.

I breathed a sigh of relief as every ounce of pain melted away.

With the Cathedral of St Paul on my left, I began my descent towards the finish line, breaking into a sprint. The street was lined with crowds of people shouting at anybody and everybody. I could hear the announcer at the finish line reading off the names of those crossing into the promised land. I found my family on the right side of the street, about a hundred yards from the end. Another brother-in-law and his kids, as well as my mother and father-in-law had joined them. I raised my hand in victory, and high fived each of them. I crossed the finish line in 4:25:41. Twenty minutes slower than my previous best, and 40 minutes slower than my goal.

 

marathon finish

Finish line, here I come!!!

I couldn’t have cared less about my time. My marathon experience was everything I had hoped it would be.

The journey of life will not always be what you had planned for. You can take a route of self-pity and failure, or you can accept those twists and turns, adjust accordingly and enjoy whatever happens. I promise you that acceptance and enjoyment is a much better choice.

On the other hand, you get the life you train for. I read an article about a week ago that talked about the dangers of adjusting your pace on race day. The article suggested that it’s OK to slow your pace due to weather conditions, but never push your pace to try to get a better time. Run the pace you trained for. I felt enlightened at both the common sense and brilliance of the phrase. I also felt stupid. I’ve been a runner for most of my 40 years of life. Never, ever have I trained for a specific pace.   I just put in the miles, do the speed work and the long runs and then hope it magically translates to a personal best. Looking back, I had trained only to finish, and that’s exactly what I did.

Today I begin training for my next marathon. It is Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN on June 20th, 2015. My legs need to heal before I can lace up my running shoes again, but I’m already mentally preparing. While I’m satisfied with yesterday’s marathon experience, I want a very different experience in June. I have aspirations of bettering my time and eventually qualifying for the Boston marathon. This experience has taught me that I will have to train very differently if I want to achieve my ultimate goals.

Are you training for the life you want?

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I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/3 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-103/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-103/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 13:11:51 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15293 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/3

Marathon weekend is here.  I don’t mean to beat you over the head with it…….OK, yes I do, but since it’s this weekend you’ll get to stop hearing about me and marathons for at least a few months until I run the next one in June.    This has been the slooooowest week ever because running this race has been taking up all my brain power.  It’s going to be a great day, I cannot wait! Something else I wanted to share with you is exciting news for a friend of mine and fellow blogger.  Prudence Debt Free, who has […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 10/3

Marathon weekend is here.  I don’t mean to beat you over the head with it…….OK, yes I do, but since it’s this weekend you’ll get to stop hearing about me and marathons for at least a few months until I run the next one in June.  :)  This has been the slooooowest week ever because running this race has been taking up all my brain power.  It’s going to be a great day, I cannot wait!

Something else I wanted to share with you is exciting news for a friend of mine and fellow blogger.  Prudence Debt Free, who has been blogging for awhile over at blogspot, decided to move her blog over to WordPress.   She’s been working on the move for quite awhile, and her new blog, PrudenceDebtFree.com went live this week.  Her story is amazing, her transparency is second to none, and her writing style is captivating.  If you haven’t checked out her blog before, I highly recommend it.

Congrats, my friend, extra fist pump for you today!

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