Training For My First Half-Marathon: It Ain’t Frugal, But The Medals Are Beautiful!

July 30, 2012

Nike Running Shoes (saving up for a new pair!)


Like with any hobby that you get serious about that seems like a great way to “get healthy and not spend a lot,” it’s usually a fabrication. Running is expensive.  If you do it casually, it’s not so bad, but once you add a ridiculous goal onto that original “Oh, I’ll just run for fun,” nonsense, you start racking up expenses.

My initial investment to start running was around $170 and worth every penny. I headed over to Fleet Feet and invested in some sturdy dry-wick shorts, top & wool socks that have made the workout easier and cleaning (as I wash them after every run in the sink) equally as easy.  They dry quickly during the run and equally so after washing.  It’s added comfort to both the workout and after care- much better than what I used to use!  To save money and avoid going totally overboard, I have been using the Nike shoes I bought two years ago.   Those shoes are the result of a previous “fitness false start” and were rarely used but they will soon need replacing.

When you make a serious life change (especially when said life change was originally going to be less-than serious) the little things start to add up- I’ve also been going through shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, laundry detergent & deodorant a bit more rapidly than normal as well.  Add on the price of the other supplemental items I’ve tried- Gatorade mix & chews, vitamins, protein powder & health supplements and I wouldn’t say this is a frugal hobby at all.

But here’s the worst part- while most half marathons are relatively cheap to sign up with, I have not picked the most frugal of runs.   I realize that it’s totally dorky to get excited  over the medal that’s handed out afterwards, but seriously, runDisney has people like me pegged.  They know we’re all about the warm fuzzies.  They know we already dumped way too much cash into their Vinylmations and pin collecting- so why not optimize our need to collect adorable things with cute medals we can hang up with the rest of our kitsch?




But here’s the kicker- I haven’t run my first half marathon yet, and it’s already costing me plenty of money.   For the past week I’ve been going out 4-5 days a week and either trying to build up my mileage or shave down my time.  I absolutely love running (gasp!) and am totally impressed that with the goal of my first half-marathon, I’m more motivated to get out there than ever- it seems to have done the trick.  As mentioned, I have had so many “false starts” with getting healthy, I am thrilled that I’m still motivated to get out there and work out even when I’m tired and sore.

I have no doubt in my mind that even a curvy, reforming couch potato like myself can run my very first half marathon, 13.1 miles, by January 18th, 2013.  I am also not doubting my ability to raise $500 to donate to the American Foundation Suicide Prevention once I officially start fundraising.  What I am questioning is my ability to stay grounded and not overload myself with my new zest for running.  Why do I say this?  I’m about to go over the deep end wiht this new passion of mine and you can’t half blame me… Well have you seen THESE?!



That’s right folks.  Those are two other medals I’ve been lusting over like a badge-rabid Girl Scout.  If you run one half-marathon at Disneyland and one in Disneyworld in the same calendar year, you get the special Coast-to-Coast medal. I kid you not.  While I’m not going gaga for the C2C medal per se- I am drooling over the idea of running in the Disney PRINCESS HALF MARATHON.  Yes, I have fallen off my rocker.

Good job runDisney marketing team, you’ve hooked another fanatic.  I thought by moving to Chicago for two years I could escape my long-loved Disney fanaticism, but it has returned with a vengeance and in a new, ultra-fit form.

The runDisney Princess Half Marathon takes place at Disney World in Florida a month after the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland in California.  It’s a little less expensive since it hasn’t sold out yet and I wouldn’t be fundraising $500, but dear God- who knew when I fell for running I would FALL THIS HARD.  I sure didn’t!   Now I’m getting all gooey-eyed over the thought of a tiara medal and I’m pretty sure I’m sold on the idea of vacationing at Disneyworld the day after the run.  Yes, there are many layers to this overpriced but delicious looking cake of delusion.

I’ve never been to Florida and thus, Disney World.  I’ve never even run a half-marathon yet.  Yet I’m already planning out my 2013 calendar with runs, anticipating what my next set of running shoes will be and pouring over pages of running blogs trying to figure out how other busy women make it happen without filling their closet with crap & losing their mind to goals.

I’m pretty positive when my guy friend thought I would enjoy running he had no idea how crazy goal oriented I am and how terribly fixated I get on doing things to the point of glorious overkill.


I want that tiara medal damnit!


When I started running, I balked at the $170 price tag of the new clothes.  I figured I would run casually and then if I got serious, then I’d worry about investing in a better pair of shoes and researching a healthy runner’s diet.  Well, I got serious about running, now I need to get serious about saving up my money for a trip to Florida if I decide to go.


I have no idea if I can afford to do this running thing, but I feel there’s no better time to try.  The job market for recent grads isn’t so hot, I am underemployed and running keeps me motivated and happy.  I will just have to make some financial sacrifices in other arenas of my life to fund the running (cough, cough, runDisney habit) I’ve picked up.


So, as it turns out, running is not the frugal habit I thought it was.

When I started running, I had no idea that it would cost me this much time, energy and yes, money…then again, what really shocks me is how much I’ve grown to love it.  Huge kudos to the marketing departments of Brooks, Nike, runDisney & Gatorade…you have made a really unfrugal habit totally beautiful for this girl!

20 comments so far.

20 responses to “Training For My First Half-Marathon: It Ain’t Frugal, But The Medals Are Beautiful!”

  1. You go girl! Running can definitely be expensive, but if there’s one thing I can always justify splurging on it’s fitness!

    I recently started running as well, I am planning on registering for The Color Run in September!

    Best of luck in your race, I know you’ll do fantastically!


    • Shannyn says:

      Hey Valeri! I am SO bummed that the Color Runs are all sold out in every area I have a chance of attending either here in the midwest, or after I move out west! I am hoping I can squeeze one in in a nearby state, but we will see!

      thank you so much and I will keep you posted!

  2. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    Good luck to you. That’s an ambitious undertaking. My daughter just ran her first 1/2 marathon in preparation for the Chicago Marathon in October. I’m SO proud of her. She’s doing it for “Gilda’s Club”, an organization started by Gilda Radner of SNL fame, who died of Ovarian Cancer. (bg)

  3. Good job! I want to run a 1/2 marathon as a goal too, but the one I want to run (the rock n roll 1/2 in san diego) isn’t until next june, so I have a little time. But its funny that there are a lot of hidden costs in running if you do it more seriously! Good luck and keep going!

    • Shannyn says:

      I’m actually going to be running in the LA Rock N Roll Mini Marathon this October, I might sign up for the SD RNR Half next year..but then again, I don’t know where I”ll be living by then! Congrats on your big goal, keep me posted on how it goes!

  4. Hi, Shannyn! I never, ever, in a million years thought I would be physically capable or interested in running 13.1 miles, and yet, I am a completely head-over-heels about running the Princess Half Marathon and earning that fabulous Disney medal!

    I know it’s a serious addiction because I am the most frugal person in any room, and yet I have no problem whipping out my credit card for this oh-so-pricey trip to Florida I’m going to have next February, and that’s, of course, on top of the countless 5K and 10K entry fees, running sneakers, tanks, and capris, Garmin watches, and all the other gear you need once you decide to be a “runner!”

    But the thing is, I used to weigh almost 100 pounds more than I do today, and after living that life for so long I am more than happy to spend my money on anything that supports my new healthy lifestyle! 😀

    • Shannyn says:

      Jennifer! I just saw your blog and BRAVO, wow, just wow. You truly are a testament to the human spirit and how change can be made- you are tenacious!

      As for Disney, I feel you and I’m totally glad I’m not alone on my running & Disney madness! It adds up, but a trip to Disney World would be the creme de la creme as far as I’m concerned- not only does the run look like so much fun, but the medal is gorgeous and this year is the 5th anniversary!

      I’m pretty sure I’ll be signing up and the money will come from somewhere, but I would love to meet you in person! You rock!

      • Shannyn, thank you so much! That’s probably one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received! I do hope to send the message that if I can do this, ANYONE can! 🙂

        Oh, it definitely is…could there BE a more exciting running event?!

        I hope you sign up, and if you do, we’ll absolutely have to plan to meet up! That would be awesome!

  5. Elisa says:

    wow! that tiara medal is enough to make me consider taking up running, too! Good job Disney Marketing team, indeed!

    Also, LOVE your running shoes. Love Love Love. Want.

  6. Kat says:

    You can do it! I am running my first 1/2 in November at the Women’s half marathon here in St Pete. I then got crazy enough to say “I want to become a half fanatic!” and do 5 more in the course of 6 months! I’m also doing the Disney 1/2 here in Disney World Orlando 🙂 When you embark on a fitness journey you just make new goals on top of new keeps you going, or I wouldn’t have lost all the weight I have or been in the best shape of my life at 31!

    • Shannyn says:

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I’ve been signing up for races like crazy …the Tinker Bell Half, the Princess Half, The Rock N Roll Mini, The Hot Chocolate 5k… I just love races. I know I’ll make more friends locally that want to run with me and that aren’t friggin’ track stars since I’m still slower but working on it!

  7. AverageJoe says:

    Like you, I hadn’t run a half marathon two and a half years ago. After my first half (a local run), I did the Disney marathon next and then proceeded to do five in 400 days. You’ll LOVE the Disney race! Over 40k people and halfway point at the castle. Cool stuff.

    We use the Galloway method to train (also endorsed by Disney…I’m sure they heard I like it….). It helps prevent injuries. Just remember to go fast during the week and very, very slow on weekends. Congrats! It’s a great stress release. I listen to your Frugalpreneur podcast while running!

    • Shannyn says:

      I am SO excited to run Disneyland AND Disney World…esp since I haven’t been to WDW before. I am glad I’m not the only crazy one- I signed up for several 5ks and half marathons in the past few days and I’m happy to see I’m not the only one! You did 5 in around a year, that’s crazy awesome!

      I need to look into the Galloway method. Right now I listen to my body and do a 5 mile on Sunday and then 2-3 miles each day during the week. I need to do some research on this but there are so many training sites out there it can be overwhelming!

  8. I just found your site recently, and love it!

    You are absolutely right about the medals being an inspiration. I’ve been running a few years now and have about 10 from half marathons and marathon displayed above my dresser in the inside of my walk in closet. It’s my little space to be proud of myself, so don’t be embarrassed about it!

    As for runDisney, they definitely know their marketing. One of my goals is to “run a goofy” in January 2014. That’s a half marathon on Saturday, followed by a full marathon on Sunday, both of which are a Disney World. Completing both gets you 3 medals! The third one is the goofy medal, since you have to be goofy to do it! I hope you keep enjoying the running. =).

    • Shannyn says:

      It’s all about the medals baby! I am so oddly picky about which ones I do- if the medal is not cute or the cause isn’t personal, I don’t want to do it. I’m going to be signing up for a Color Run next year (fun fun!) and this spring I’ll be doing a Hot Chocolate 5k in San Diego- chocolate and a cute hoodie…what’s not to love?

      As for the Goofy, just wow! I can’t IMAGINE doing a half THEN a full in the same weekend, you do have to be Goofy to do that ..then again, I have a feeling this time next year I might just be that kind of crazy!!! haha! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this great comment 🙂

  9. Yoyo!
    I really enjoyed your site! This article in particular caught my eye. Great writing! Thnx!

  10. Ha ha ha, I can totally relate to so much of what you’re writing in this post. When I saw the medal for the 2013 Princess, I was hooked! And…racing after my Coast to Coast is just Disney icing on my delicious Disney cake!!

  11. Christy says:

    I love your site! I too have fallen into the Running Disney Trap, I just ran Tinkerbell and I am also running Princess in my quest to get the Coast to Coast Medal. I do need to find some cheaper races but I love the Disney one’s so much! Good Luck to you in the Princess 🙂


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