*If you don't get the joke, you're clearly not parked on the couch at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night watching bad t.v. What's wrong with you?
A few weeks ago, I was inspired to sign up for a triathlon. (It's a sprint, in about 2 weeks, and I'm pretty much winging it.) Having not raced for six months, I conveniently forgot how expensive the entry fees are, especially when I remember that I'm paying for less than 2 hours of racing. Most races were in the $80-100 range, and while I realize putting on a race, especially a three-sport one, requires a bunch of equipment and man-power, I still had a hard time pushing "submit" after I typed in my credit card number.
Triathlons are more gear-intensive than running, but I've found running isn't quite the minimalistic sport it's made out to be. "You just need a pair of shoes, and you're good.," says the earnest 17-year-old Paulie Bleeker at a 5k. Um, not so much.
Running requires more than a pair of (supportive, fit-for-your-feet) shoes, which set you back at least $75, and probably more like $100 or more. A capable sports bra? At least $30 if you have a chest like me that benefits from some umph and padding. And if you're well-endowed, count on closer to $50 or more. (I just finished a sports bra review for Runner's World and was alarmed to see $70 price tags hanging off some of the cantaloupe carriers. That feels ridiculous to me.) Then there's clothing, which has become more affordable thanks to cute techy lines like C9 at the Bullseye Boutique, but you're still gonna drop another $40 at least on a new outfit. And the requisite accessories? Hat, sunscreen, gels, drinks, insoles, socks. Then add in entry fees; training plans or books (ahem, RLAM is a bargain at $14.99); the occasional massage if you're lucky or a foam roller if you're not; a Garmin or heart rate monitor or watch; some kind of music player, if you're so inclined, and the all-important $.99 song updates at iTunes that, like a cart at the dollar store, seem to add up much too quickly.
I'm not about to do the math, but one article put the cost of a marathon at $675, minimum, which might be the case for injury-free runners who already have a pile of gear, can wear their shoes until they log 500 miles and pick a race close to home. But it feels low to me.
I'm also not about to tell you, even in these crazy economic times, to stop running. It is, as we've all heard more than once, cheaper than therapy and an investment that pays off in emotional, physical, spiritual spades. But what I do want to know is this: how do you budget fo r your running expenses? Do you save monthly? Do you bargain hunt or just swipe the card and deal with it later? Do you figure out what a whole destination marathon--travel, hotel, meals, entry fee, requisite gear to prove you were there--will cost before you
decide to do it? Do you cut back on other things to make room for the expenses of running? Do you scour the web for money-saving ideas like these?
In order to ease the burden, a random winner will take home a $100 Asics gift certificate, good enough to get you through a few months of marathon training (or more, if you're not in intense mileage mode).
So how do you reconcile your monthly bank statement and your monthly mileage?
P.S. On the topic of shoes, the random winner of last week's giveaway, a pair of Spenco sandals and a Zooma race tee, about your toughest running moment is Robin, whose toughest moment, I think, we can all relate to one way or another (being dehydrated, having random, unwarranted time goals, getting frustrated with a spouse, crying on a run, communicating with a spouse, rehydrating.)
Here is a bit of honesty from the marriage and running trenches. It was over year ago, so not so recent, but it was the very first thing that popped into my mind when I think of tough running moments. My husband and I were out for a 17ish mile training run. We had a goal (arbitrarily determined by him) to run sub 4:30. I was running fairly slowly that day…who knows why…heat? stress? Don’t know. Anyway, whether he was trying to “motivate” me or start an argument I got really upset about this pace thing. I started crying and hyperventilating. It turned out I was so dehydrated that when I started weeping, no tears came out. It was the most bizarre experience ever. Needless to say, what got me through was rehydrating and then having a rational discussion about our goals. Fluids and communication — VERY important. AND — come race day — I did manage a 4:26 at the marathon — I was SOO proud.
We are proud of your 4:26 too, Robin: congrats on the shoes and shirt!