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Cost of the Tar Heel 10 Miler
Cost Estimates & Breakdowns, Fitness

Cost Estimate Breakdown: Training & Running in the Tar Heel 10 Miler

I’m currently thinking about running a 10 mile road race in April. Specifically, I’m thinking of running in the Tar Heel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill, NC. As I mentioned in my goals for 2015, I want to get back into the swing of exercising. In particular, I want to get back into the swing of running.

The cold weather of late isn’t making me too inclined to lace up my shoes and get out there. While I figure it out, I figure there was no better time than now to plan out how much this decision might cost me.

Tar Heel 10 Miler Cost Estimates

Overall, I estimate that I would rack up costs for food, gear, cross-training, the race itself and travel.

Food – approx. $10 – $30

It almost sounds silly to add a food expense to the cost of running in a race, but training for a long(er) distance race means fueling oneself properly. Generally, I like to use something like CLIF Shot Blocks, GU Chomps or GU Energy Gel when I am training for a longer race. Since it’s only a 10 miler, I would probably only end up needing to use about 3 or 4 packages total for training and the race.

If I end up buying energy supplements at my local running store a la carte, I expect that I would spend under $10. If I were to go the Amazon route and order by the case, I’d probably spend around $30, but would have supplements left over for the next race I decide to tackle.

Cross-training – $0

I currently have a membership to my local rock climbing gym. This membership gives me access to the gym for 3 months and cost me $210. I was tempted to add this as a cost of running in the race, but decided to not include it because I will be paying this membership regardless or whether I run in the race or not.

However, it’s important to note that cross-training is important for properly training for a race. There are plenty of ways to cross-train, both for free (riding your bicycle, doing body weight exercises, etc.) and at a cost (gym memberships, classes, etc.).

Gear – $90 – $120

While I have plenty of exercise clothing, it’s almost time to invest in a new pair of running shoes. I’ve had my trusty Mizuno Wave Rider 16s (identical to the infamous pair worn by Wendy Davis’ filibuster) for a few years now. I’ve had them a long time, but haven’t replaced them yet, because my mileage in them hasn’t been that high.

If I commit to this race (and running more in general), I will likely invest in a new pair of running shoes sometime between now and race day, which adds another expense to the list.

Race Fees – $60 to $70

Depending on when I decide to register, my fee to run will change:

  • $60 before March 1
  • $65 before April 1
  • $70 until the race

What do you get with the race fee? Entry into the race and a t-shirt. I’m sure there will also be a few other goodies included when I pick up my packet, but those are the major things that the cost of entry gets you.

Travel to Race – approx. $175

I do not live in Chapel Hill, where the Tar Heel 10 Miler occurs, so that will add to the cost of my excursion.

Fuel: $50

Since Chapel Hill, NC is pretty close (especially compared to when I lived in Rochester!), I would plan to drive down for the trip. Google maps tells me that Chapel Hill is approximately 250 miles from where I live. With highway driving, I can often get up to 300 miles per tank. Let’s round up and say that I will need two tanks of gas throughout my trip. With gas prices hovering near $2.00/gal. right now and an average tank (for me) costing $23, let’s assume that my fuel costs will be about $50.

Lodging: $0

If I go to this race, my plan would be to stay with one of my friends for two nights. If I were just going to a race like this by myself, I could easily spend $100 to $300 depending on what hotel I stayed at and whether I stayed for one or two nights.

Food & Entertainment – $125

Part of the point (and fun) of doing this race would be to visit friends at the same time. A twofer, if you will. I expect that I would incur the following expenses:

  • Friday night food on the road: $20
  • Post-run breakfast/lunch: $25
  • Dinner & drinks out: $60
  • Sunday food on the road: $20

 The Verdict

If I choose to run in the Tar Heel 10 Miler, I would likely spend somewhere between $335 and $395.  I’m feeling a little sticker shock as I read that number, but I’m trying to keep in mind a few things:

  • A majority of the costs will be for travel ($175) and I’ve been wanting to go down to Chapel Hill anyways
  • These expenses are split across two months
  • I’d be getting new running shoes in the next couple of months anyways ($90 – $120)

When put that way, it seems a bit less scary. After all, the race itself costs $60 and the cost for the energy gels is not high either.

At this point, the only thing that is keeping me back is the training itself. I technically haven’t started to formally train, so there is some chance that I wouldn’t be able to properly train in time.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, I receive a small commission for referring you. As always, all of my opinions are my own!

Moving on a Budget: Don't do what I did
Life, Money, Moving

Moving on a Budget: What NOT to Do

I’d like to think that since I’ve moved a number of times in the last 6 years (PA > NC; NC > MO; MO > NY; NY > NJ; NJ > NY), that my move this fall would be the easiest yet. I should be an expert at moving on a budget at this point, right?! Think again.

Clearly, I’m no stranger to moving, but woooeyyyyyy this time around was a doozy. I should have been reading my own advice when I made the plans, but alas, I did not. I’m pretty sure that we made every rookie mistake there is to make for two people who wanted to spend as little as possible on a move as they could.

Avoid These Things If You Are Moving on a Budget

1. Underestimating the amount of stuff you have

When you underestimate the amount of stuff you have, you put moving on a budget at risk. It’s tempting to think you can fit all of your stuff into the smaller rental truck, but if you make a mistake and need more room, the cost of renting another vehicle or shipping things last minute adds up.

My moving mistake: We ended up needing to ship a number of items via FedEx and to rent a mini van in order to get our stuff down to DC due to underestimating what would fit in a 10′ moving truck.

2. Splitting it into multiple trips

This one seems obvious, but for us, it was unavoidable, because I moved down to DC a month and a half before Richard was able to join me. When you move over multiple trips, especially when you are moving a 7 hour drive away, the cost of gas, time, food on the road, and wear and tear on the card add up. Also, if you forget something in location A that you need in location B before you are able to move everything down, you might need to buy it when you get to location B.

My moving mistake: I packed kitchen utensils for myself in Rochester, but accidentally left them on the counter before departing for Virginia. When I arrived in Virginia and realized I had nothing to cook with, I ended up having to go to Target to buy some new ones even though we own PLENTY of kitchen utensils. It’s not a huge expense, but the little things add up.

3. Leaving things behind or donating things you still want / need

I’m all for minimizing when it comes to moves. When I moved from Missouri to New York, my goal was to move with just my car and no rental truck or anything else. In order to do that, I had to downsize drastically. We did the same thing this time around, since we knew that the stuff in our 1000 sq ft house would not fit into our new 750 sq ft apartment. We spent the weeks leading up to the move selling as much as we could, but time ran out and we ended up donating or leaving behind a number of things that we would have wanted to keep or needed to replace once we got to our new place.

My moving mistake: One thing that we left behind that we needed to replace was our vacuum. It was one of the things that we needed until the last minute, but didn’t have room for it in the car at the very end, so we left it behind. Luckily, we were able to borrow one of Richard’s parents vacuums for the time being so we didn’t have to spend money to replace it… yet.

4. Last minute moving truck reservations

In my opinion, moving truck companies are a little sheisty when it comes to reservations. They seem to overbook their reservations and let you book a truck that they may not end up having when you arrive. To make up for this, they will often let you book the next size truck up without the extra charge. At the very least, this is how it works with U-Haul.

My moving mistake: I made my reservation too late and the 14′ truck that I wanted was not available. U-Haul offered to bump us up to the 17′ truck at no cost, but we were renting a trailer to haul a motorcycle, so it seemed extreme (and potentially dangerous) for us to try to drive a 17′ truck PLUS the trailer. We ended up getting the 10′ truck, which obviously was too small. In the end, we rented a large mini van to put extra stuff in and that still wasn’t enough.

5. Multiple apartment hunting trips

Another part of moving on a budget is finding a new place to live. If you are trying to find a place to live in a new location out of town, the costs of transportation, lodging, and food add up. This is why it is important to be prepared, give yourself ample time to find something, and do everything you can to find an apartment in the time you’ve been given.

My moving mistake: When I moved to both Missouri and Hoboken, I made a trip ahead of time to find a new apartment and was successful both times. In September, we made a trip to DC to apartment hunt, but were unfortunately unsuccessful. This resulted in me having to go down a second time to apartment hunt, but thankfully I was able to find something at the very last second (almost missing my flight too!).

Lessons for Moving on a Budget

Hopefully, I’ve learned my lesson and you can learn some lessons from me. For me, the lessons are:

  • You have a crapload of stuff, no matter how much you try to downsize, so just accept it and act accordingly.
  • Plan ahead and be realistic.
  • Stop selling or donating things you’re just going to need to re-buy anyways.
2014 Yearly Review
Goals, Life

2014 Yearly Review: What Did & Did Not Go Well

Every year, I try to write up a yearly review post. This year, I’m running a little behind, but I wanted to squeak it in before all was lost. In case you weren’t here for my previous reviews, I completed them for both 2012 and 2013.

Basically, each year, I focus on the things that did and did not go well. I find that this helps me orient myself for the year to come and it helps me to appreciate where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Since I didn’t post much during the second half of the year, this post also will act as a bit of a catchup for you all.


What didn’t go well: As we went through spring, I started to become restless about being in Rochester. We finally knew that Richard wouldn’t be returning to school and working from home by myself was started to wear down on me. This led us to make some major decisions about where we wanted to take out lives in the coming years.

What went well: This year was certainly full of surprises. What started out as restlessness turned into something great. We ended up closing out the year in a new city and me with a new job.


What didn’t go well: I made some pretty aggressive financial goals for myself for 2014. Unfortunately, my financial priorities shifted heavily once Richard and I decided that we wanted to try to move by the end of the year. This meant that instead of heavily contributing to my student loans, I put those on the back burner to build up additional savings to cover the costs of moving and security deposits.

What did go well: While moving to Washington, DC / Arlington, VA was pretty expensive (and I’ve decided that I’m NEVER. MOVING. AGAIN.), by getting a new job, I was able to secure myself a higher salary than I was making previously. With my new salary, even though our expenses will be higher overall, I’ll still be able to contribute heavily to my financial goals.


What didn’t go well: Well, I pretty much didn’t meet any of my 2014 goals. I didn’t contribute $25,000 to student loans, I didn’t read a book every month, I didn’t run in two races, I didn’t sell 30 items on Etsy, I didn’t go on a trip using points/miles, and I certainly didn’t build a built-in closet for less than $500. So, I really didn’t meet any of the goals that I set for myself last year, and that’s okay.

What did go well: While I didn’t really make much headway on my formally articulated goals, I think I did achieve the two biggest ones that didn’t make their way onto this site: I moved and I secured myself a new job.


What didn’t go well: This is actually a tough one. I think overall, my year from a career perspective went well. After doing it for a year, I determined that working from home really wasn’t for me for a long term situation. I NEED PEOPLE.

What did go well: As I’ve already mentioned a few times, I was able to find a new job in a new city. So I went from working remotely for Cloudberry Creative in based in New York to working in person for Deloitte Digital in their Washington, DC studio. Overall, I’m loving my job so far – the people, the opportunities, and the work itself. I’m excited to see what this new position will bring in this coming year.


What didn’t go well: Ha, I’m not really sure what do put here under DIY other than the fact that I spent a LOT of time and money on DIY projects before we moved out of Rochester. In Rochester, Richard owned his house so that gave me pretty much a blank canvas to work with (time and cost permitting). Unfortunately, I think I burned myself out on DIY for a bit, so I’m glad to be renting and pretty much prevented from doing any major projects for the time being.

What did go well: Despite the burnout, we completed some pretty cool projects before leaving Rochester. I built a built-in dresser-closet combo in the bedroom, I added board and batten to the back entry and bathroom, we installed a new exterior door, I painted the floors, ceiling and stairway on the front porch, and I built a workbench for the basement. Needless to say, I’m pretty tired after all of that.


What didn’t go well: Unfortunately, 2014 was a light travel year for me for pleasure. For work, I did get to go to Rhode Island a number of times, as well as California. For weddings and other things, I went to Philadelphia and Lewisburg in PA. This year, we really want to try to get out there and get some travel in.

What did go well: Although I didn’t travel too much, I did add a new state to my list: Rhode Island!

2014 Yearly Review Wrap-Up

So there you have it, my 2014 yearly review! It was a weird, but great year. Here’s to a more stable 2015 with less moving, more saving, and even more fun!


Hello, 2015! Getting Back Into Balance

Hello friends!

It’s a new year, so it’s about time to end my radio silence. I haven’t posted since June! And guess what? Life has been crazy!

Long story short, I was in the midst of a big job search and another long distance move. The last 6 months have taken me from working remotely in Rochester, NY to getting back into an office in the Washington, DC metro area. Between all of that, there has been packing, moving, settling, selling Richard’s house, more packing, more moving, more settling. And then the holidays!

And now, it’s 2015, things have calmed down a bit, and I think I’m ready for some more Living In Flux action.

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how to donate your hair
Goals, Life

How to Donate Your Hair


During my 26th year, I set out to do 26 new things. I’m a couple of days away from my birthday and I haven’t done all of them, but I did manage to make my own ice cream, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, run in a Color Run and more! Here is my experience donating my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

This week, I did what I thought was the unthinkable: I cut off my hair with the purpose of donating it! This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason it never worked out until now. Here is an overview of my experience of cutting my hair to donate and a run down of how to donate your hair if you are so inclined.

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how to build a workbench

How to Build a Workbench

One of the nice things about moving to Rochester is that I’m now living in a house rather than living in an apartment. More specifically, a house with a very large and spacious basement.

So much room for activities!

Throughout the months, I’ve found that having a big basement in and of itself isn’t necessarily useful. You need some infrastructure to help reign in all of the STUFF (hanging onto the STUFF is a conversation for another time).

Part of our strategy to keep our stuff organized has been to install a number of shelving units around the perimeter of the basement. Shelving units are only good for so many things though. With all of the DIYing we have done in the past few months, we’ve acquired a number of different tools. One way that we’ve reigned in the tools and other DIY accoutrements is to build ourselves our very own workbench. I did a bit of research to figure out how to build a workbench that fit our needs, but was also soft on the budget.

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Cost Estimates & Breakdowns, Life, Money, Moving

Cost of Living Comparison: Greater New York vs. Rochester


As you might remember, last summer I moved from Hoboken, NJ to Rochester, NY to close the gap in my long distance relationship. I was able to work out a remote work situation with my employer, so I’ve been doing the whole work from home thing for 9 months now.

Now that it’s been a while, I figured it was as good time to do a cost of living comparison and look at how my expenses have changed since moving from a high cost of living area to a relatively low cost of living area.

Of course, as with everything, not all of the differences that I found were cut and dry. My lifestyle in the last 9 months has changed, which makes the overall cost of living of the two locations only a portion of the picture. Lifestyle changes that have impacted my expenses include:

  • I work remotely in Rochester; I commuted from Hoboken to New York while living in Hoboken
  • I lived by myself in a small one bedroom apartment in Hoboken; now I live in a two bedroom house with a roommate (Richard)
  • In general, I have been cooking at home more and reducing my restaurant outings since moving to Rochester
  • I did not own a car while living in Hoboken; I purchased a car after about three months of living in Rochester

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Homemade ice cream finished product
Food, Life

Savor the Last Bit of Summer with Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Looking for a way to hang on to summer as fall moves in full force? Make some homemade peach ice cream!

I made this ice cream a while ago, but as you all know, my life has seriously gotten in the way. Making homemade ice cream was one of the things on my 26 Things While 26 list. I thought it would be a fun, yummy and potentially cost-saving endeavor. Ice cream in the grocery store? Expensive! This ice cream? Not necessarily cheap, but it’s organic, free of preservatives and the like, plus I made it myself!

Making homemade ice cream is deceptively easy. The hardest thing you’ll need to do is scald the milk, but other than that… it’s pretty easy to do!

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Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Annnnnd… I’m Back!

Long time, no talk, people of the Internet!

Life has been moving pretty fast lately and, instead of posting here, my time has been consumed with some of the following things:

  • Moving
  • Adjusting to a new home
  • Figuring out cohabitation
  • Painting lots and lots of walls
  • Cleaning and organizing
  • Preparing and packing for a two-week trip out of the country
  • Flying across the ocean
  • Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower (see photo above)
  • Staying in a castle
  • Exploring Barcelona
  • Flying across the ocean again
  • Surviving jet lag

The good news is that I’m back and eager to share all of the life, money, career and travel goodness of the past few weeks! Keep your eyes and ears open for some posts coming up soon.

Au revoir!


Smiling for the Camera Post Color Run
Fitness, Life

First-Timer’s Guide to Running in a Color Run

It now seems like ages ago, but once upon a time, I traveled to Philadelphia to visit some friends and we all ran in our very first Color Run. We had a great time and we really lucked out with the weather. Being a hot July morning, we were pretty relieved that it was fairly overcast. It was hot without the sun, so we could only imagine what it would be like with full-force sun.

Since we were all new to this, there were some things that we found out through trial and error that we wish we had known or thought about before the race. If you’re thinking about running in a Color Run or if you are signed up and ready to go, here are some tips that you might find useful if you are a first-timer.

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