Personal Finance and Running a Half-Marathon

Yesterday, I finished my first half-marathon (21km run) at Pinoy Fitness Challenge.

It was an awesome experience!

It was a journey of pain, happiness, and all other emotions.

But at the end of the day, it was all worth it!

Today, I will share with you my realizations during those 4 hours and 15mins of running and how the journey of completing a half-marathon is the same as achieving Financial Freedom.

Realization No. 1: It All Starts with a Goal

My final paper for my Marketing Class last term (3 months ago) for my MBA in Ateneo was to submit a 20-year Personal Hyper-Marketing Plan.

My professor in that class was VCoach Bong De Ungria who is a great marketer and ultra-marathoner.

The 20 year plan revolves on how you see yourself 20 years from now in all angles of life. And two of them is HEALTH and WEALTH.

3 months ago, I was still 26y.o. and I know I am overweight if not obese. I wrote in the paper that 20 years from now, I want to be a healthy and fit 46y.o.

And I need to do something. Being inspired by my professor, I decided to start running! It is the easiest and cheapest sport to start. All you need is a pair of running shoes and a road to run on.

Knowing myself, I’m not inspired by small goals! I need BIG, BOLD, and AUDACIOUS GOALS! That’s why I told myself back then that 3 months from now I will be running a half-marathon!

In Personal Finance, it should all start with a goal!

And it should be BIG, BOLD, and AUDACIOUS.

Don’t aim for a P100,000 savings but aim for a P1,000,000.

Don’t aim for a studio condominium unit but aim for a 3-storey mansion with a swimming pool.

Don’t aim for an ordinary car but aim for a luxury vehicle.

Don’t aim in just being able to donate 10% of your income but aim for building a foundation.

In whatever you do, aim BIG! Aim for something bigger than yourself!

Make it specific! Give it a timeline!

By doing this, you will work for it even when times get rough.

Realization No. 2: Not Training is not an Option

Not training for a half-marathon is not only crazy but also unhealthy.

I enrolled myself in a gym and made sure I run at least 3 short runs on weekdays and 1 long run on the weekends.

I asked runners for techniques, forms, and tips. I asked my ultra-marathoner professor on what strategies I can do for the next 3 months before the run.

I joined online communities, watched youtube videos, subscribed in running blogs, and asked a friend who is also a runner to join me in the half-marathon.

I also joined CM Manila 10km Glitter Run as my training run for me to get a feel on how a run feels like such as waking up very early, running on the road with a lot of people, and the energy of an event run.

In Personal Finance, it is the same too. You need to train your mind and emotions.

You need to be disciplined in your spending habits.

You need to track your budget monthly if not weekly.

You train yourself to delay gratifications: to save and invest than to spend on things with no value.

You look for mentors, coaches, and wealth planners who are experts in that arena.

You don’t ask a bodybuilder to give you tips on running. You ask a runner.

But how come in investing, you ask your friend than a financial advisor?

You should also study, read books, attend seminars, research, and join a community.

And most of all, find that “race-buddy” who can guide you and will advise you not only as a client but also as a friend.

Realization No. 3: Pain is Nothing Compared to the Reward

 Apparently, a 21km run is not like a 10km Fun Run. It is a serious one.

Around 12km and almost 2 hours of running, I can already feel the pain in my legs and feet.

On the 15th km, I can hardly jog and the pain is excruciating.

Running a half-marathon is not only about managing your breathing but managing the pain.

You know that you can still run, your mind and your lungs can still do it, but it is another thing when it comes to your legs.

But what made me finish is because I have a goal.

And that goal is not only to be able to tell myself that I finished a half-marathon but also to fulfill that 20-year plan.

I told to myself that the reward of being a fit and healthy 46y.o. is bigger than the pain I am experiencing as a 27y.o.

In Personal Finance, you should FOCUS on the GOAL no matter how hard it gets. You know that the pain is worth it.

The sacrifices you do now (such as working hard, doing side-hustles, studying, delaying your gratifications) in order to achieve your dreams (such as a mansion, luxury car, a 1-year around the world vacation, business empire, and way more than comfortable retirement) are all worth it.

Running a half-marathon and achieving financial freedom entails MENTAL STAMINA.

Don’t focus on the pain. FOCUS ON THE DREAM!

Realization No. 4: What is Important is You are Moving Forward.

During my last 6kms, it was very hard for me to jog for long periods. I will jog then walk.

But on the 18th km, I was just walking. And even just walking hurts.

I told to myself one of my favorite sayings that I heard in a motivational video: “Don’t Quit Now! Pain is temporary. You are already in pain. Make something out of it. Pain may last for a minute, an hour, or even a day! If you quit however, it will last forever.”

The solution: One small step at a time.

What is important is you are moving forward! Moving forward towards your goal!

Personal Finance is not always a walk in the park. It is full of ups-and-downs. There are a lot of sacrifices, setbacks, and challenges. But what is important is you are moving forward!

It doesn’t matter how far or how long. What is important is you are moving forward.

And if you fall, as Les Brown always say, always fall at your back so you can look up, stand up, and move forward.

Realization No.5: The Goal is to Finish

A month before the event, I realized that the half-marathon I joined was not an ordinary run. I thought it was just a challenge run for Filipinos to do half-marathons.

But it was not an ordinary challenge.

The reason why is it called Pinoy Fitness Challenge and why we were asked to choose SUB2, SUB2:30, and SUB3:00 is that the goal is to finish the 21km run under those time (2hrs, 2:30hrs, and 3:00hrs).

On the day of the event, you can see everyone is prepared and in their competitive disposition. Almost everyone has complete gears. I believe I was the only one who joined the event because I challenged myself 3 months ago.

I was just on my 4th km when another person overtook me and that person is leading the marathon, I think he was already at his 14th km. Other runners, finished the challenged in 1 hour.

My category is SUB3:00. Hence, I need to finish in 3 hours. 2 hours have passed and I just finished my 10th km. I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes. And as you have guessed, I was the last runner.

Many times in the run, I felt like giving up. I may just take a shortcut and tell to myself to finish it next time. Since I am the last runner, there are race marshals at my back in motorcycle. Thrice, they asked if I still want to continue or just ride the motorcycle and end it.

But I told them that I am okay and I’ll finish it. And I did!

In Personal Finance, there are those who will finish first, those who will overtake you, and those who will ask you to just give up.

But life is not a race but a marathon.

The goal is to finish it.

Don’t compare yourself to other people.

You compare yourself to yourself.

Did your income increased based on your previous year’s income?

Did your net worth increased compared to last year?

Yes, you may look for models, but you focus on yourself and on your dreams.

People have different goals and aspirations.

And at the end of the day, what makes other happy might not make you happy.

Regardless, who goes first or last, what is important is you move forward and finish what you have started.

Your Millennial Wealth Planner,

Harold Q. Gardon, CWP, CEPP


How do you find the article? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to message me if you want me to discuss a particular topic or if you are seeking financial advice.

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