On Running and Finance

Today’s guest post is a great poem by Mario over at Debt Blag. He writes about running, finance, travel, and red panda. Enjoy!

I slow to a shuffle upon meeting my first red light of the morning, giving rise to a trickle of on-ramp traffic, bringing me to a stop just before hitting Adam Yauch Park. I think to switch to a Beastie Boys song, but pocket my earbuds instead. Standing still for the first time, I feel the sweat forming across my brow and chest and get the briefest chill as I eyeball a straggler — he’s not going to make his light — take a deep breath, and then I run some more.

Running is the simplest of exercises, but its complexities hide among its details. Is it any wonder, then, that so many of the tinkerers and hustlers that make up the cadre of personal finance bloggers also count running among their hobbies? Personal finance similarly appears simple on its surface — buy less stuff and you’ll have more to save or invest. But like running, these simple mechanics — along with anything you might learn in a book — are mere starting points; real progress only comes by eschewing shortcuts in favor of doing the hard stuff to learn what works for you, mile by mile.

I start up again slowly, but pick up the pace as the East River comes into view, as if to make up for lost time. Running now without distraction, I can feel my carriage pressing forward, my leg muscles tighten and relax, and my ankles adjust as the asphalt of the streets becomes the concrete of the piers. My mind too relaxes, sifting through the day’s goals and yesterday’s disappointments, and making peace with them. I don’t meditate nor even do yoga, but know that this is as decompressed as I could be all day. My mind wanders to my budget and I remember that running too must be budgeted in amid time obligations to family, friends, work, and sleep, and weighed against long-term goals, and sacrificed for.

I’m nearly at a sprint when I reach the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park as the whole of the Manhattan skyline comes into view. The city seems softer than normal bathed in the dawn sun and muted at this distance, but nevertheless reminds me that I have work to do and big loans to pay. But in the morning quiet, I can also hear my heart beating strongly; it tells me that I’m not done yet.

And then I run some more.

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  • Shannon @ moveeatcreate.com

    If only I was as good as this finance stuff as I am with running. Sigh.

    Nicely written!

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Thanks :)

      And I do like your cooking though :)

  • http://brokemillennial.com/ BrokeMillennial

    So creative Mario. I wish I had the motivation to run like I do with handling my finances…

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Ha. Once the Twitter gang is settled, we can next work on getting a NY running group together :)

  • http://Www.Plantingourpennies.Com/ Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    Nicely put. I’m a runner as well, and there’s just a huge grin on myself when I get to lookout points like your Bridge. It puts everything in perspective.

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Definitely. Going for a long jog is one of my favorite ways to sightsee :)

  • http://theheavypurse.com/ Shannon Ryan

    This is beautiful, Mario. And you tell me you can’t write. Uh, I don’t think so! I’m a runner too and I love how free and strong it makes me feel. Plus, I’m pretty sure I solve all the world’s problem when I run. It’s too bad I forget them when I stop running. :)

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      You’re too kind :)

  • inbudgetswetrust

    Your writing is incredible! I’m completely in awe. I’m a runner, too. It certainly wasn’t easy when I started… I complained a lot, hurt a lot, and envied a lot, kinda like when I first started cutting back on spending. Then one day, it occurred to me that I was actually keeping pace with all my running friends. (Maybe not as fast or as far when they were pushing it, but I was no longer behind either.) Great post!

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Wow! Thank you so much :)

  • Holly Johnson

    My sister-in-law is a runner and I think she is obsessed! Unfortunately, she’s not so great at her finances =/

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Ha. The more I get into both, the more I find they have in common. Maybe she just needs to hear more metaphors? :)

  • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

    Great story Mario! I agree there seems to be a lot of PF bloggers who run. I think it clears the head and when that happens you can make smart, informed decisions.

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Yes! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the short bursts of quiet time that running affords

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  • http://www.retirementsavvy.net/ James Molet

    Great read. Thanks for bringing to my attention, @debtblag.

    • http://debtblag.com/ Debt Blag

      Thanks! I really loved writing this :)