Category: 40B440

My 40 before 40… zombie edition

My friends will probably remember my 40 before 40 list. Well I missed my target date and it made me feel like a failure so I just quietly unpublished the page. A friend inspired me to continue working on the list so I’m bringing it back. Let’s call it the zombie edition.

There are some really super hard things on the list… the fitness and financial goals especially.

I’ve updated the official list and stuck the link at the top of the page. Thanks for the inspiration E.

Petey’s 5k Face-Off

Morning! Lets run and thangs.

Completing 5 “races” is the second item on My 40 Before 40 list. On Saturday April 6th, I ran my 3rd 5K, Petey’s 5k Face-Off in Hendersonville, TN. This was my first chipped and certified course.

My goal was to run it in 34:45 but in the back of my head I thought 34:00 was a possibility. I hadn’t really been running as much or as consistently as I wanted leading up to the race but I was feeling real good over all.

I didn’t know what the course profile looked like but it turns out that there were some hills! Gah! As soon as I saw that I thought my estimated time was out the window and this actually allowed me to relax and just run and enjoy it without the pressure of beating my old times.

The run itself was really enjoyable. I started out well and felt good. After the half way mark I really started to push myself and pick up the pace. I normally run an 11:30’ish pace if left to my own devices without trying to pace but I was right around 10:00 the whole second half and it felt pretty great. There were several hills but the training runs I do in my hood has lots of hills and some of them are pretty steep; steeper than anything on the race course and I felt like it really helped me a lot. A lot of other people in my speed group were walking on the hills but I was able to just keep on chugging… I envisioned myself as a big ole diesel engine, complete with smoke coming out of my smoke stacks.

I ended up finishing in 34:03! Hah! I feel pretty good about that considering the hills situation.

My next race is the Cinco De Mayo 5k in Nashville. The weather is going to be hotter so I’m hesitant to offer a really aggressive time estimate. I’d be happy with 33:30 but I think if I can push and get really close to 33:00.

AAR: Run For Adoption 5K

Completing 5 “races” is the second item on My 40 Before 40 list. On Saturday May 2nd, I ran my 2nd 5K, the Run for Adoption 5K in Murfressboro, TN. This was a really small event compared to my first 5K. Plus it was cold and snowy so I bet even fewer people showed up.

I didn’t follow any specific training plan other than running as much as I could. In the weeks leading up to the 5K, I logged 31.18 miles which I felt pretty good about.

I finished the run in 35:28 according to RunKeeper. I was expecting to best the time of 38:38 that I posted for the Mayors 5K Challenge back in November. I would have been happy with 37:00 and would have been totally stoked with 36:30 so to even best that by over a minute was pretty surprising! The course was pretty flat and my normal running routes have a good amount of hills. I actually ran the whole course without stopping to walk!

I felt pretty OK during the run tho I never really felt like I got into the zone 100%. I went out kind of fast and then started feeling anxious about how my legs were feeling. After about the first mile, I was able to calm myself and pace myself better. Compared to others, I’m really slow… I was so slow that I got beat by a mom pushing a stroller! I’m pretty sure see was a cyborg or perhaps an ironmom.

My next 5K is Petey’s 5k Face-Off on April 6th. This will be my first certified and chip timed course. I don’t have any specific training plan for the coming month other than run as much as possible. I intend to run 4 times a week. I don’t know what the course profile is but if it’s flat, I hope to finish in 34:45.

Mike at the Run for Adoption 5k
Me before the run!
Cyborg mom with stroller
You can see the cyborg mom in this picture. I think she had power assist on her stroller.

Trip Report: Cumberland Trail, Laurel Falls

On Saturday Jen and I hiked the Laurel Falls section of the Cumberland Trail. This was a pretty short hike as we only went to Laurel Falls plus Jen brought her DSLR so it ended up being more a photography hike than anything; we surely weren’t breaking any land speed records.


The directions on the Cumberland Trail website were pretty good so no complaints there.

The Hike

This was a leisurely hike with Jen taking lots of photos. We just took our time and enjoyed the scenery and Jen got to experiment with her camera settings and we ended up having a real good time. There were lots of people on the trail including two hiking clubs and various other people.

Track (1-26-13, 9-31-39AM) at EveryTrail

Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls
Hiking Laurel-Snow
This was me most of the hike… waiting for Jen to catch up after taking some photos. 😛

Hiking Laurel-Snow

Hiking Laurel-Snow

Hiking Laurel-Snow

Hiking Laurel-Snow

Hiking Laurel-Snow

Hiking Laurel-Snow
We made hot chocolate on the trail! Ha ha.


2013 New Years Resolutions

My only resolution is to not make any more resolutions. I already have my 40 before 40 list so I’m just going to focus on that. Of particular interest are the fitness goals and monetary goal.

I have 7 more sections of the Cumberland Trail to hike, 4 more “races” to complete (1 of which I think will be a 10K), I have to get 8 minutes faster on my 5K time, I have to get 3.5 minutes faster on my 1 mile time, I have 60 lbs to go on my weight loss (think I might have bitten off more than I can chew on that one) and the 100 push up/sit up goal. That’s a lot of fitness crammed into 9 months.

The monetary goal is to simply become debt free except for the mortgage. We ratcheted up the difficulty level as we borrowed some money for Christmas which means our hole is a little deeper at $17K and we only have 9 months to pay off that much money.

Wish me luck guys, I’m going to need some! What are some of your goals?


Net Worth: November 2012

2012-08-07_1701Becoming debt free on everything except for the mortgage is goal #6 on my 40 before 40 list. These monthly net worth posts are my attempt to shine a bright light on what is otherwise a dirty little secret: finances.

I realized last month that I haven’t been focusing on an important piece of my financial picture. I’ve been focusing on net worth without highlighting my debt levels (which is my actual goal!). I’ve fixed that this month and I’m also trying out a different format.

Total Debt ($13,277.20) (-1.66%)

As I think about the rest of the year, I realize that we’re not going to be making any extra payments towards our debt other than the “normal” payments. With the holidays coming up, our disposable income is going towards Christmas. There probably won’t be any significant movement here until after the new year.


Our current, non-mortgage debt is $13,277.20 which is just $225 lower than last month for a -1.66%.

Net Worth (-$594) (-75%)

Our net worth took a hit this month as we’ve spent some of our Christmas club savings on Christmas gifts.


Mayors 5K Challenge – My First 5k!

Completing 5 “races” is the second item on My 40 Before 40 list. On Sunday the 17th, I ran my first ever real 5K, the Mayor’s 5K Challenge in Nashville.

Going into it I really had no idea what to expect. There were lots of people — the website says 5000! — doing this thing and I was a little surprised at how many of us there were.

Seeing how the corrals worked was informative. I got into the main corral; the 21-35 minute one. That seemed like a wide range so I got into the very back. I usually do a 12 minute mile so that means I should be able to finish a 5k right around 36 minutes. The course was hilly and I was a little surprised about that. You don’t really notice the hills when you’re driving downtown but that’s quite another story when you’re running.

I hadn’t really ran any the week before which was a huge mistake… I should have figured out some way to make the time because I struggled on the whole run to find my zone and feel good with my pace. I’m not sure if it was all the people I was running with or the fact that I hadn’t run any that was throwing me off but I was pretty miserable the whole time. Plus, headphones were “discouraged” on the run so I didn’t bring mine. I’m a newbie runner and it’s hard to run without the music; weird I know.

RunKeeper says I finished in 38:38. I thought I would be faster and was hoping for 35 minutes. Another one of my 40 before 40 goals is to finish a 5k in under 30 minutes so that means I have a lot of work to do.

In conclusion, I’m happy I got this first one under my belt. I learned a lot about how these things work so I won’t have that deer in the high beams look next time. I should have probably done some recon on the course so the hills wouldn’t have been a big surprise and I should probably have made sure I was training enough the week leading up to the event. I hope to do another 5K in December. If you guys know of anything fun, let me know. I posted a couple photos below. You can check out the others here.


Nervous energy! Darwin is not impressed.
Nervous energy! Darwin is not impressed.
And the finish..
And the finish..


Net Worth: October 2012 +75.15%


Becoming debt free on everything except for the mortgage is goal #6 on my 40 before 40 list. These monthly net worth posts are my attempt to shine a bright light on what is otherwise a dirty little secret: finances.

We continued to cruise along at a decent clip in October, despite spending entirely too much money on a trip to the Smokies. Jen’s Dad and step-mom rented a cabin in the Smokies in October and invited us along. It was a fall break/birthday celebration for Tyler/fun hiking vacation that we thoroughly enjoyed. We weren’t obligated to spend any money but we did have to get ourselves there obviously and we also pitched in with some of the expenses by purchasing the wine etc. Grand total, we spent $394.30 on the trip. We really enjoyed the trip and having the opportunity to spend some quality time with Jen’s family but it’s a nice little lesson on how easy it is to spend money.

Dining out for October was a wash from last month; $344.58 compared to $359.25. Still, I want to do better in this area but I’m kind of resigned to the idea that I just need to budget enough. Having a realistic budget is more useful than lying to myself about a budget that we can’t stick to.


Looking forward, November is looking like a good month for us. We’ll continue to grow the savings and pay down debt. We should definitely break into the positive side of the ledger on net worth.

Update: My 40 Before 40

It’s been a little while since I’ve looked at My 40 Before 40 list so here is an update.

I’ve hiked 4 more sections of the Cumberland Trail, I run a little faster, I’ve read 8 more books, I’ve paid down some debt,  I did my 30 days of no caffine, filling out my myfitnesspal log and exercising everyday. I hiked Mt LeConte again, lost some weight and went to a Titans training camp. I have to get serious about this list if I’m going to finish it as I’ve only marked off 5 of my 40 items!

  1. Hike every section of the Cumberland Trail(6/13)
    1. Grassy Cove Segment
    2. Stinging Fork Falls
    3. Piney River Segment
    4. Three Gorges Segment – Soddy Creek Section
    5. Three Gorges Segment – Possum & Rock Sections (hiked two sections here!)
  2. Complete 5 Races (0/5)
  3. Complete a 5k in under 30 minutes
  4. Run an 8 minute mile (11:51 is best time to date but I haven’t run a timed mile since August 29th)
  5. Read one book/fortnight (18/34)
    1. Goodreads List
  6. Become debt free except for the mortgage ($13,501.70 to go!)
  7. Purchase a bike.
  8. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days straight (30/30) Complete!
  9. Complete myfitnesspal logs for 30 days straight (30/30) Complete!
  10. Get my passport
  11. Go on an art crawl
  12. Try 10 new beers (8/10)
  13. Try 10 new wines (3/10)
  14. Attend 1 networking event per month (I’m failing miseribly at this)
  15. Get personal business cards
  16. Visit 5 museums (2/5)
  17. Host a Sunday grilling for the neighbors
  18. Complete Code Year Javascript course
  19. Go a month without caffeine (30/30)
  20. Kayak a river
  21. Go on a 2 night backpacking trip
  22. Hike Mt LeConte again Complete!
  23. Go to my first professional hockey game
  24. Go to my first professional basketball game
  25. Go to my first professional baseball game
  26. Learn to swim… really swim.
  27. Complete 100 push ups in a single session
  28. Complete 100 sit ups in a single session
  29. Complete 5 pull ups
  30. Go on an adult vacation with my wife, Jen Harley Complete!
  31. Attain goal weight of 210 lbs (12lbs/70lbs)
  32. Go to a shooting range
  33. Go to Titans training camp Complete!
  34. Go to a Titans home game
  35. Complete my Darwin Sleeve Tattoo (1 session to go!)
  36. Go to see a symphony play
  37. Go to a play
  38. Learn to ballroom dance
  39. Go to an atheist/skeptic conference
  40. Call 1 family member a week (0/64) (I’m really failing at this)

Net Worth: September 2012 +51.31%


Becoming debt free on everything except for the mortgage is goal #6 on my 40 before 40 list. These monthly net worth posts are my attempt to shine a bright light on what is otherwise a dirty little secret; finances.

September was a much better month for us than August. We continued to pay down debt, settled an account in the “bad debt” category and even saved up tiny bit of money. Wooo!

We still spent entirely too much on dining out. In fact, we spent more on dining out ($359.25) than we did on groceries ($338.60). This is just something we have to be more disciplined with. I’ve been trying that method and it doesn’t seem to be working but I’m going to try harder. I feel that if I just keep taking swings at it that eventually, we’ll get it. I’d be curious to know how we compare to other families in the dinning out vs groceries categories.


Looking forward to next month, it seems we’re on track to have another good month. We’ll grow our small savings and continue to pay down our normal debts. I think we might even break into the positive side of the ledger for net worth.

Looking even further down the road, the plan is to get our $1,000 baby, emergency savings in place, save up a bit before Christmas and then start hacking away at the bad debt category. We have $13,774 to pay off before next August 30th (my birthday) but I think we can do it. We improved our net worth by $1,440 this month and there is still lots of slack in our budget. I’m very optimistic about how things are going.