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Finished My Second Ragnar


This post is more of a “life” post than a strictly financial one. If you’re not into the “life” stuff, feel free to skip it.

I finished my second Ragnar race last week!

If you’re not familiar, Ragnar is a relay-style race where participants run for 24+ hours. We ran at McDowell Mountain, which is a trail run (there are trail races & road races). At this race, each participant runs about 16 miles, split up into 3 different legs, an “easy” leg, a “moderate” leg, and a “hard” leg.

I fancy myself a runner (though I’m incredibly slow…but I enjoy it and it’s something I do regularly, so even if I’m not speedy or great at running…..I still consider myself a “runner”). It was something I first got “into” when I first moved to Arizona 10 years ago and I’ve done it basically ever since. I usually participate in about 1 “big” race every year or so, and I do a handful of shorter distances each year (maybe one 5K and one 10K on average, plus in our area there are free Kids’ Mile races so I do 2-3 of those each year with my kids and they’re super fun! The kids still get shirts and medals and post-race food and drinks, etc. and it’s literally 100% free! So there <<< I still have a financial connection in this post, lol)

Even though I like to think of myself as a “runner,” preparing for this type of event is a PROCESS for me. It’s been interested to see how my teammates have approached it, as I’ve now done it twice. Several of my teammates across the two years have basically shown up with very minimal training and crushed it, no problem (though, in fairness, they are in-shape and participate in other types of exercise like rock-climbing, tennis, etc.) For me, it’s a 3-month long ordeal where I run 4-5/week and train my body to handle the long distance runs; then adding in 2-a-day runs, etc. It’s a lot of fun, though, as we often organize Team Runs and there’s a lot of camaraderie involved.

I debated whether to drop from the team multiple times this year. I didn’t feel well enough prepared. I was slower than everyone else. I missed an entire week of training when I got Kidney Stones.  It just didn’t feel like a good time in my life. For much of training, I was right in the middle of my move, separation-related stress, and general life chaos. It felt like taking time to run was a luxury I could not afford.

But then……maybe the training occurred at the perfect time in my life, too. Maybe I needed those mental “breaks” to just be out running. And the connection with my teammates, feeling their support and friendship.

Funny how sometimes the thing you think you just CANNOT do, is the exact thing you NEED to do for yourself in that moment in time.

We were slower this year than last (last year we finished in 23 hours, this year we were at 25 hours), but I felt stronger this time, had less soreness in the aftermath, and it was the same amount of fun.


In all honesty, I can’t remember the exact costs and registration isn’t open for next year yet so I can’t see what the current cost is. I know our team registered early so we got a price break and I want to say it cost $60 or $70 per person. I did buy some new running shoes (about $100), but the rest of my running gear I have owned for awhile.

Overall, I think my running hobby is pretty inexpensive. Most of my “running” related accessories have be re-used for years. I’ve had the same fuel belt for probably 5 years, for example. I’ve had the same headphones and headlamp (for night running) for over 2 years. Many of my running compression socks, sweat-wicking headbands and hats I’ve owned for a number of years, etc. And all of my training runs are free. I either run at trails by my house or the team has met up for trail runs at a local trailhead (also free). Given that I train for the race for a solid 3 months in preparation, that $60-70 entry fee amounts to 3 months of “entertainment” and team-building leading up to the big race. Not to mention the potential psychological benefits of getting exercise and Vitamin D, and of being able to unplug and be outside for awhile. It’s pretty powerful.

I’m 99% sure I’ll be joining the team for Ragnar 2019, too. I guess it’s just become an annual tradition at this point. 🙂

Another Single Woman Win!


I think I’ve just experienced my greatest “Single Woman” win thus far! (Side note: I capitalize “Single Woman” as a half-joke. One of my good grad school buddies just went through a tough divorce and bought her first house as a single woman. She sent a picture of a portion of the house contract. The contract listed her as a “Single Woman” in caps, and she was a bit offended by it. So I’m seizing the term “Single Woman” – with caps – as my own and making it into a good thing instead of a perceived negative).

I fixed my driver’s side-view mirror that has been broken for literally 6+ months! I first wrote about it back in the summer and it had already been broken for a couple months at that point. I’d intended to get it fixed over the summer, but then our A/C went out and cost $$$, then hubs and I decided to separate, then I moved out (which cost $$$), and I mean it’s just been one thing after the next this whole time.

After fixing my electrical dash/MyTouch system, by myself (something I never thought I’d do), I decided to conquer the side-view mirror. I bought the part on E-Bay and the exact day it came in I determined, “I’m going to put this mirror on today.” Period. That was it. My resolve was strong (I can also perhaps be a bit stubborn sometimes???)

THANK YOU to the commenter who told me to check out this YouTube video for guidance. It could not have been more perfect!

It showed me how to remove the mirror coverings, how to use a plastic ziplock bag to save the bolts from falling into the door (genius trick!), and what to do.

In full disclosure……It did take me nearly a full 3 hours. I got most of it done in about 15 minutes. It was that easy!

But there’s one bolt that’s down low/covered by another plastic piece. I had a REALLY hard time accessing it. I worked and worked trying to unscrew that bolt, but I just couldn’t get a good “grip” on it with the pliers (or wrench? Whatever. I don’t know this stuff…lol) I owned. I went to Ace Hardware and bought smaller pair that would more easily be able to fit into the small crevice of a crack to access the bolt. But it STILL didn’t work. I couldn’t grip the bolt tight enough to actually loosen it. It wasn’t working.

After a long time, I was feeling defeated. I had this mirror 99% removed and only one single bolt stood in my way of replacing it. How could the video make it look so easy?

I watched the video again and again. I must’ve watched it near 50 times that day. Finally, it hit me. As I watched the guy effortlessly loosening the bolt I realized…..he’s accessing it from above!!!


I was standing, so I was more-or-less the same height as the bolt (it was about chest-level with me). I ran inside and grabbed a chair. Ran back out to the garage and used the chair to elevate my position. Now, I was looking down at the bolt from above. I was much more easily able to slip in and I FINALLY made the concrete connection that was needed. I jimmied it a bit and finally the bolt started to loosen. Once it was off, the entire mirror was able to easily detach. I slipped the new mirror into place and it could NOT have been any easier! There was a plug I just plugged in, lined the bolts up in place, and then re-tightened them all. It worked like a charm!

Bye bye, old & busted mirror held together by tape for far too long:

Hello, shiny new mirror that only cost $250 and a few hours of time (as opposed to the $800-$1,000 quotes I’d received from a couple places around town):

Those are pliers, right? I’m telling you – it’s a miracle I was able to do this! lol

Friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I mean, I was riding this wave of satisfaction and pride all weekend (I’m still pretty proud writing about it now, too)!

Another “win” for the Single Woman, and the frugal woman, too.