Financial Friday: Paying for Things You Should Not “Need,” Like Road Races


On Thanksgiving, we started (or re-started) a tradition of running for 3 miles through downtown, and actually paid for the privilege to do so. Husband and I ended the race satisfied with our performance (we each ran the whole time, though my run is a snail’s-pace jog, not a spritely trot like his pace). However, I did think: why didn’t we just run for 3 miles… for free?

I’m realizing that, in my current state, there are a few expenses that I make simply because they pressure me into making an experience happen or push me toward a bigger goal. The biggest example that is coming up is signing up for a marathon next summer, spending more than 100 dollars on it, and using that investment to propel me to the gym early in the dark cold winter mornings.

A perfectly, supremely rational human being would be able to go to the gym 3 times a week simply because it is good for her, but I am not that girl. Much of my discretionary income goes toward “bettering” myself, but not directly; rather, I bribe or goad myself with this money! I know that saying “going to the gym is good for you” rarely gets me out of my warm bed an hour earlier; for some reason, “you’re going to do SO BADLY in that marathon if you don’t train RIGHT NOW” works better.

One of my recent resolutions, ironically, is to stop trying to see the negative in everything and fear it, and rather see the positive in things and hope for it. Sure, I’d be disappointed more often, but I also wouldn’t be so driven by fear. I’m hoping that the same can be true for some of these non-rational expenses too: rather than thinking of how likely I am to fail, I will try to focus on how good road races feel when you are well-prepared. For instance, my half marathon this past year was wonderful because I had a body that was ready for that distance.


2 Comments, RSS

  1. Vic Crain December 1, 2017 @ 3:02 pm

    One of the interesting questions is how much of a priority (aka, how much money) states and communities should assign to providing outdoor recreation facilities. In principle, it should be a priority, especially if we want to manage or decrease healthcare costs. A physically fit population spends less time in hospitals and uses fewer drugs. The Chinese government once estimated that obesity would add $500 billion to government healthcare costs if they did nothing — hence the investment in programs to combat obesity. Unfortunately, the US doesn’t have leaders who think that way.

  2. Cindy Anderson December 4, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

    I think that is an awesome goal! 🙂

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