Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 Running Goals

My running club has an annual mileage challenge. You set your own goal for the year and you log your runs on their website. This is all on the honor system. You also have to run 10% of those runs with other club members. That is the bronze level and what I want to achieve. You can do more for silver and gold which I will keep in mind for 2020.

My 2019 running goal: 450 miles

Another goal I set for myself is to run in 12 races this year. It would have been fun to do one per month but I did not run any February races.

Stats of today: 26 miles run and 1 race run. That was a 3.5 mile race on New Year’s Day called the Bill Hogan Memorial 3.5 mile run. I came in #196 out of 232 runners and my time was 44:34 (12:40 pace).

In addition to logging my runs on the club website, I am going to post my mileage and race stats here at the end of each month. You can see I have a long way to go but I’ve got confidence I can do it!

Thank you for reading!

Going for my goals

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Banquet and Last Week’s Workouts

So far my posts have been written ahead and I copy / paste into my blog. This is the first time I am blogging and posting in real time. One goal of blogging for me is to recap the previous week with a highlight of the week and also to track my workouts. The highlight of the week is a way for me to recognize joy in life.

On Friday my husband and I attended our running club’s annual banquet. I am so grateful that we joined this club. Going back as far as 10 years ago we had participated in runs that were organized by this group. Three years ago we went on a cruise with them; there were 20 of us and was such fun that we became more active members.

The goal is not cruising of course, but support in running no matter how fast or slow you are or how much or little you run. There are slow runners like me - just being honest - all the way up to one woman who just qualified for the Olympic marathon trials. One man celebrated his 70th birthday the night of the banquet and the littlest runner is 3 years old. He runs with his mom and dad.

In addition to good food and conversation my husband successfully completed several of his 2018 running goals and scored some swag. I have set some running goals of my own for 2019 and will post that soon.

Last week’s workouts were: I swam 50 laps on Monday, ran 3 miles on Saturday and swam 40 laps on Sunday. This is consistent with my winter average of three workouts per week. Yesterday we headed south to warmer climes for vacation. I should hopefully get some runs in. The condo we are staying at also has a lap pool and I brought my goggles.

Thank you for reading!
Hat and travel mug with cool geometric design

Saturday, February 23, 2019

600 Pounds or Titan

Recently I have been watching "The Titan Games" on NBC. This show is hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and is this physical and mental competition where incredibly strong buff people compete in these crazy strength games like Cyclone, where they use brute strength to knock down pillars with a wrecking ball.

When I watch this I immediately want to work out and lift weights.  OMG these people are amazing and they look so good.  Interestingly, most of them had difficult backgrounds or trauma that they had to overcome.  One woman had absentee parents, so she and her brother became emancipated when she was 15 and he was 17.  Then the brother died in a rock climbing accident, so very sad.  Ultimately, she was able to channel her emotions into working out and becoming this amazing strong fit person. One of the male contestants survived leukemia.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am obsessed with a show on TLC called “My 600 Pound Life”. Each episode tells the story of a person who weighs 600 or more pounds and how they try to turn their life around with diet and weight loss surgery. Honestly, watching these people is like watching a train wreck.  So sad and heartbreaking, yet you can’t look away. 

The people in “My 600 Pound Life” recount their childhood and what led them to where they are now.  Some of them went through terrible abuse; others more of the typical dad worked long hours, so I ate to fill my emptiness.  Or mom and dad fought a lot, so I hid in my room and ate to distract myself from the fighting. 
Is it just me or do other people see the similarities between these two shows? Both shows are about individuals who used different coping mechanisms to deal with life’s difficulties. One group, the Titans, used exercise as their coping mechanism and took it to the extreme –they are the 1% in Fitness.  The other group, the 600’s, used food as their coping mechanism and took it to the extreme – they are in the 1% of Fatness.  
Taken to either extreme, the end result is TV entertainment for me.

Thank you for reading!

Be a TItan

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Treat Yourself

This is a screenshot of an email I received the other day. I had to look up Watkins Glen Racing because I’ve never been there.  It’s automobile racing ala Nascar.  Not anything I have ever done or plan to do, but it was the subject line that caught my interest.

“You’ve worked hard all year. Treat yourself!” Wow, it’s true. How did they know? I have worked hard all year.  As a matter of fact, I’ve worked hard for a lot of years. Maybe I should treat myself to a day of automobile racing at Watkins Glen. Or maybe a new pair of earrings, or a new pocketbook! I could go to the mall and buy some designer makeup! Or I could go to the new casino, and treat myself to some slots and an expensive dinner! Or not.
Treating yourself well is important to health and wellbeing.  After all, we live in a world of constant demands, work is stressful, then you come home and it’s time to make dinner and the sink is still full of breakfast dishes.  There are bills to pay and errands to run, the kids need help with one problem or another (this does not stop when the children grow up) and the dog is licking her hot spot again. At any given time, one car needs: inspection, oil change, tires rotated, or at a minimum, gas and it’s ten degrees outside.
Something about that phrase "Treat yourself" bothers me. Buying things that you don’t need just to treat yourself will not make you happier.  In fact, I think that the more you buy on impulse the less happy you become.  Because now you have just spent hard earned money on something to make yourself feel better. The item is taking up space in your home and setting you a baby step backwards from your financial goals. And it doesn’t make any of your stress go away. I am not saying you must deny yourself constantly and live a life of asceticism; the problem is when life becomes one treat after another. 
I know people who don’t buy anything.  They wear the same clothing forever.  They shop at the goodwill.  
Sorry but that is not for me.  There is a middle ground between “buying nothing” and “treating yourself”.  That middle ground is recognizing that there is something you want, yes, I said want and not need. Recently, I decided I wanted burgundy pants.  Burgundy is popular this winter and would go with several of my black tops. I did a little internet shopping and picked a cute pair with great reviews on sale from my favorite store. I did not treat myself to new pants, nor would I say that I needed new pants.  I wanted new pants, researched pants, and purchased said pants.
Thank you for reading!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Snowshoeing and Last Week’s Workouts

On Saturday, my husband, my daughter, and I drove to YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George for their winter wonderland event.  The camp was open for tubing, snowshoeing, tours, crafts for the little ones, and other fun activities. There was a delicious lunch in the dining hall, and as a bonus the whole day was free!

I had an opportunity to try snowshoeing; this is something I have been wanting to try for a while.  It is on my list of 2019 goals, and now I can say goal accomplished!

The snowshoeing was a blend of on your own and guided – there was a guide but most of the group set off ahead.  With our snowshoes on we headed towards the trails behind Camp Chingachgook.  They lead as far as Buck Mountain, but we stopped at First Lookout. The snow was fluffy and the snowshoeing was fun.  We had a nice view of Lake George from First Lookout, and then headed back the way we had come.  The weather was perfect with blue skies and a balmy 36 degrees.

Another first for me – we walked out onto frozen Lake George.  We did this from the small public beach next to the camp.  It was free ice fishing weekend (no permit required) so the frozen lake was the place to be.
In addition to snowshoeing, last week’s workouts included Zumba with Tammy on Thursday and a 3 mile run on Sunday.
Thank you for reading!

Frozen LG and snowshoe trail

Saturday, February 16, 2019

FIRE VS. Traditional Retirement

No, I don’t mean getting fired vs. traditional retirement! FIRE is an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early.  This movement has taken the blogging world by storm, and influenced me to start my blog.  In fact, one blogger Rockstar Finance, has compiled a directory of personal finance bloggers.  As of this post, there are 2,131 personal finance blogs in the directory.  Out of those, 366 categorize themselves as Early Retirement blogs.  As a comparison, only 18 categorize themselves as Traditional Retirement blogs. Some of the other categories are: Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Minimalism, Millennials and more. You should check it out.
The FIRE enthusiasts believe that the traditional American path of education followed by 40 - 45 years in the workforce and retirement at age 65 is crazy.  They believe that if you start the FIRE lifestyle in your 20’s or 30’s you can achieve Financial Independence and not be reliant on a job aka “The Man”.  Instead, you can retire early, live off your investments and side hustles, and enjoy life while you are still young.
Unfortunately, early retirement is not an option for me.  For one thing, I am on the wrong side of 50 🙂so that ship has sailed.  Second, I work in government so my retirement will be primarily funded by my pension, and that requires a certain number of years. 
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I worked part time because my children were young, and that means I have to work longer now at this end.  But that is OK, because my children are adults now and I don’t regret one minute being with them.  I would have hated working more in an effort to have saved money back when they were little and needed me around.  Plus, looking back, my husband and I don’t see how we could have changed our lifestyle much to save more than we did!  I mean, those FIRE people really do some dramatic things to save.

I will admit there are weeks when I wish I had more days to do things I enjoy like: reading, running, hiking, cooking, socializing with friends and family, AND the things I don’t necessarily enjoy but must get done like: laundry, grocery shopping, and errands.  Yes, an extra day or two or three or four or five off per week would be nice.  Boy, I am envious of those FIRE people.  
Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Welcome to my blog

Hi, I’m Melanie. You may be wondering why I decided to start this blog.  As of this blog posting, I have 3 years and 9 months to go until traditional retirement.  I work in finance for a large government agency in upstate New York.  On December 1, 2022 I will have 30 years of service, which means I can retire with a full pension.

This blog will be about my adventures leading up to Traditional Retirement.  You will find posts about personal finance and work, as well as fitness and nutrition, books, and life in general.  Why did I name my blog Fare Thee Mel?  Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.
fare-thee-well (fârthē-wĕl)
1. A condition of utmost perfection: played the part of the martyr to a fare-thee-well.
2. The most extreme degree: beat his opponent in the match to a veritable fare-thee-well.

[From fare thee well, may it go well with you, goodbye.]

Thank you for reading!