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The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

I am beginning to think that I have been under-estimating myself a little bit.  For those that haven’t seen it in previous posts, running is something that I do as part of my regular exercising.


I have been running now, more or less off and on, for about 5 or 6 years.  This past October I finished my first marathon and I am signed up for another one this coming October.  Marathons, and the training regimen that go with them, seem to be the only thing that keeps me on a regular pattern of running.  In addition to the upcoming marathon, I recently ran a couple of shorter races as they fit within the training plan.

The First Race

The first race was 15K, or 9.3 miles.  Before the race, friends and family will usually ask how I hope to finish or my desired pace.  For this particular race, I had run 8-miles the previous week at around an 8:25/mile pace, so I was hoping for anything around that pace.

I started the race near the front and it seemed like everyone was passing me.  I decided to keep the pace I was at until I saw the first mile marker.  There was a clock displaying the time and it read 8:15 as I passed.  So, I actually wasn’t running slow and was going faster than I thought.  As each mile passed, I was still feeling pretty good and my pace began to quicken.  For the last couple of miles, I was running under 8:00.  I finished the race with an average pace of 8:04, much faster than the 8:25 I had been anticipating.

Next Race

The next race I had signed up for was a 10K, or 6.2 miles.  Again, my training plan for the October marathon had me running 6 miles, so the race fit in nicely.  My goal for this race was to finish at 7:50 pace; I had a stretch goal of maybe 7:45.  This time at the start, I was further back in the pack.  It took me about 20 seconds to actually cross the start line.  I was working my way through the crowd for about the first mile.  When I made it to the first mile marker, the clock was reading 8:04.  I thought to myself, that’s not good enough, I need to pick my pace up a little.  I reached the 2-mile mark at an overall time of 15:33, which means I had just run the previous mile at a 7:30 pace.  Turns out, I was able to keep that pace up for the remainder of the race.  I finished with an overall time of 46:52, or a 7:33 pace.

Don't Underestimate Yourself

Why am I bringing this up?  I think you can translate my lesson here to your own finances.  I did not think that something was possible until I had already done it.  If someone would have told me that I was capable of running the first race at an 8:04 pace or the second race at a 7:33 pace, I would have told them they were crazy, yet I did it.  If you are sitting in credit card debt or another financial hole, you can get out of it.  You might think it’s impossible or unrealistic, but in the end it can happen.  All you need to do is go for it.

I ran the marathon last year at a 9:05 pace, finishing in just under 4 hours.  I have 2 goals this year, regular and stretch.  My regular goal is to finish at an 8:45 pace and the stretch is to finish at an 8:30 pace.  My financial goals a few years back were mainly to see daylight and climb out of debt.  It seemed like it was never going to happen, yet here I am just a few years later with a positive net worth and no credit card debt.

What are your goals you’re striving towards?  Any stretch goals?  Are you going to avoid underestimating yourself?