Sunday, April 29, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #11

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. I would love to do more races each season but at $65/$75 and more for the "bigger/better" races, the $$ adds up to quite a bit.  And so I find myself only doing the super local races that I can drive to that morning and only if I manage to register to get an early-bird discount.  You refer to your "debt" quite a lot on your blog, you talk about how you don't eat out and that you mostly shop at resale stores.  How, then, do you justify spending so much $ on all the races that you do throughout the year especially when quite a few of them require travel and overnight stay?

A. This is why I always feel a little uncomfortable talking about my debt on my blog--if someone doesn't know the whole story, they will think I am spending outside my means. I think that everybody has his/her own "thing" that they splurge on--some people may get manicures every couple of weeks, some people go out to lunch every day, etc. My "thing" is running. I don't spend money on myself in any other instance--I cut my own hair (haven't paid for a haircut in probably four years, and I also cut Jerry's and my kids' hair); I use 88 cent shampoo and conditioner; I don't buy make-up--I wear it so rarely that one bottle of foundation will last me three years; I buy all of my clothes (except underwear and some running gear) at resale shops and garage sales; I only eat out VERY occasionally; I drink tap water rather than bottled water or soda; I don't buy books or movies (I use the library); and the list goes on and on. 

On my way to MN for Ragnar Great River 2010
I've only traveled to a couple of races--I go to Indy each year for the half-marathon in May; and in 2010, I went to Minnesota for the Ragnar Relay, and Illinois for the Warrior Dash. When I go to Indy, the total for the entire Fri-Sun weekend is about $250. We share hotel rooms, eat the free breakfast at the hotel, and have dinner out. With hotel, gas, food, race fee, etc, the total is about $250. Not bad at all!

I'm lucky to have a brother who is a pilot, also. When I went to Minnesota for the Ragnar, I used a buddy pass, which was $100 round-trip. The race costs were about $150. So for a three-night stay with airfare and food, that trip cost me about $300. This August, I'll be going to MN for another race; and again, using a buddy pass. I'll stay at my brother's house, so the trip will cost me about $200 total.
Our Indy group from last year--2 hotel rooms, 8 people (Jerry is unpictured)
Until recently, I didn't do many local races because of the costs. But I discovered that Jerry's work will pay for local races, so that is the only reason I've been doing them lately. They've only cost me a couple of bucks in gas money to drive there. So as you can see, racing really doesn't cost me much--pennies compared to eating lunch out every day ($10/day=$3650 per year), or buying a Starbucks coffee every morning ($4/day=$1460 per year). And besides, before I lost the weight, I was spending $20+ on a single binge! The money is much more useful going to a race fee.

(ETA: I don't think the person who wrote me this question was trying to be rude.. just curious. And I'm happy to answer!)

Q. I am wanting to get started running and I have been down this road before.  My question is about Sports Bras! As a larger-breasted gal, it is SO hard to find a bra that is supportive when I want to run. I can't find anything that holds the girls in place during that kind of exercise.  Do you have any suggestions?  Recommendations?

A. I've been asked this question a few times, and unfortunately, I haven't been much help. My "girls" are teeny tiny since losing the weight, and I do just fine with cheap sports bras from Target. But I decided to go to the "expert" on this one, and ask my sister. She has some *lovely* girls--everything I am lacking in that department, she more than makes up for.

She said that the best ones to get are from Essential Bodywear. Apparently they were one of Oprah's recommendations. You can actually host or attend a "bra party" where a consult will come fit you for a good bra. My sister swears by these bras. So hopefully that will help you out! ;)

Q. When just starting out with jogging/walking, what is more important...the distance or the amount of time you walk/jog for? For instance, should my goal be to walk/run 3 miles every time, whether it takes me 30 OR 45 minutes (right now its 45...but eventually I'd like it to be 30).....or is it better to just make sure I'm getting a 30-minute workout in and worry about distance later.

A. I think this is just a matter of what you prefer and what your goals are. When I first started, I looked at time. I would run as far as I could, and then walk until I reached 30 minutes. Once I was able to run for 30 minutes straight (I was running slowly, so I hadn't yet reached 3 miles), I started running for distance. I would keep building up distance of non-stop running until I was running for 5K (3.1 miles) without any walking. At that time, it took me about 40+ minutes to run 5K. After that, I continued to run 5K three times per week, trying to get a little faster each time. And since then, I focus only on distance rather than time.

Running for time rather than distance has its advantages, though. If you are an experienced runner and you find yourself having a hard time slowing down on your easy runs (which can lead to injury), you can set a time goal rather than distance--which means you'll be running for 30 minutes (or whatever you choose) whether you run fast or run slow. Sometimes when I know I'm running 3 miles, for example, I will want to get it over with as quickly as possible so I run too fast. But if I knew I was going to run for 30 minutes regardless, I would be more inclined to run slowly.

But really, it's totally up to you how you want to handle it. The most important thing is being consistent! 

44 comments:

  1. I've heard that sports bras at Lululemon (the TaTaTamer especially) are amazing!

    Love your blog btw. Stumbled upon it and I now check in everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think you should have to justify what you spend your money on to anyone. That is between you and your husband. Unfortunately there will always be someone out there to judge. I heard a quote in a sermon once that has stuck with me..."in every situtation there is at least one thing you do not know". That has helped keep me in check when tempted to judge another. No one knows all the ways you are thrifty and what you may choose to do without so that you can choose to race.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just going to say the same thing. Your financial business is just yours and you shouldn't have to explain yourself to anyone. It's a good investment, one towards your health. If you think about it, you're actually SAVING money on all the doctor visits you won't need!

      Also I'm a big breasted lady on a budget (38DD) and I find wearing two sports bras keep the *girls* securely in place. I think I got a 3 pack of XLs from Target for under $10 or something.

      Delete
    2. I do feel that the writer was curious, and evidently is a newer reader or they would have known about the air flight buddy passes, thrift store purchases, among many other awesome money-saving techniques. And Katie responded very well and eloquently. Now, perhaps that reader will research past postings and would be able to copy some of the wonderful money-saving ideas into their life, as I'm sure all of us have. : )

      Delete
  3. Title Nine (http://www.titlenine.com) makes some terrific sports bras!

    I love your Q&A! I love getting to more about you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agree 100% with anonymous! None of anyone's stinking business about how or when you spend your money!!! Rude!

    Keep up the passion that inspires and motivates us each day, Katie. I adore you!! xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Agree 100% with anonymous! None of anyone's stinking business about how or when you spend your money!!! Rude!

    Keep up the passion that inspires and motivates us each day, Katie. I adore you!! xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Agree 100% with anonymous! None of anyone's stinking business about how or when you spend your money!!! Rude!

    Keep up the passion that inspires and motivates us each day, Katie. I adore you!! xo

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've always been impressed with how you watch your money so closely and yet you put a little extra aside for your running. It really shows the priority you give your health, weight loss, and running goals. The dedication you have is inspirational. Please don't edit your comments because uninformed people may form opinions.... the vast majority of us LOVE your blog just how it is.... honest and inspirational!! Keep up the great work!!

    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  8. I shelled out $40+ for a Moving Comfort bra online. I just couldn't find the support I needed. I do still wear a cheap sports bra over the good one, AND a tighter tank top to eliminate the bouncing. There is lots of bouncing :( But if I ever lose the weight I want to, it will be the # thing I miss most ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree-Moving Comfort has some great bras!

      Delete
    2. I second Moving Comfort! I am a DDD cup and have no movement with my Juno bra. You can usually find certain colors on sale, and even get promo codes at RetailMeNot. I got my brabra for less than $30 shipped. For larger busted girls, look for underwire or other material that encapsulates the breasts, and a hook-and-eye closure in the back.

      Good luck! :)

      Delete
    3. I came to recommend moving comfort too! I swear they scare my boobs into being still :)

      Delete
  9. Great questions and answers.

    I can totally relate to the race fee question. We've been thru some tough financial times in my family and race fees do add up and I do have to pick and choose them. BUT. Like you, I watch everything else. I don't get mani/pedi's, I get a haircut every 6 months (if that) I thrift store shop, coupon and go pretty cheap elsewhere.

    I feel that races keep me motivated to keep running. Keeping running, keeps me healthy and fit. Those race fees are a small price to pay for reaping the rewards of good health.

    (Guess that question even got me a little fired up because I know I have friends and family members who think that my race fees are soooo indulgent, but they thought nothing if I dropped $20 bucks a few times a week on a pizza…)

    ReplyDelete
  10. My *girls* are pretty big seeing as I currently wear a 38/40I (yes, you read that right, the letter i)! I've tried a couple sports bra options and my absolute favorite is the Enell sports bra (the one Katie is linking to is actually called Enell).

    It is fairly expensive but it is most definitely worth it! The quality and support are hands-down the best I've tried. It's comfortable and VERY supportive (the wide back and shoulder straps distribute the weight evenly and ease a lot of tension).

    It runs true to size - just make sure you take your measurements with the best fitting bra you own!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed!! I lovingly refer to my Enell as my "straight jacket" but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My girls do not move when they're strapped into that thing :) (And in all seriousness, it's an extremely comfortable bra with excellent coverage and fabric)

      Delete
    2. Totally agree! Great bra and worth every penny! Holds up well to repeated washing. This one bra will last much longer than many of its counterparts, which really makes it a great value in the long term.

      Delete
  11. My $0.02 on the sports bra question: I am a 34/36 DDD or G with lots of jiggle and have had good luck with the Enell sports bra that I got at a running store. It's ugly and spendy (even online has no discount!) but my girls stay where I put them :) It's very similar in $$ and sizing to the Essential Bodywear link already provided. I am still in the process of loosing weight and am looking forward to being in the right size for the cuter Moving Comfort bras!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Moving Comfort has the best bras for us well endowed ladies. I wear a 42D and their bras keep everything in place. It is well worth the price. I have also found some Champion bras in larger sizes and they work well too. I look for the ones that keep 'em separated. The uni-boob bras don't work for me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I tried to save money to pay off debt faster and you know where that got me? Sleeping in on Saturday mornings and skipping my paid for half marathon training group runs. I am now paying for runs again but looking for smaller, cheaper runs!

    Moving comfort Fiona or Juno bras are amazing!!! I find mine in the Road Runner clearance store and amazon, I have not paid full price for one in a long time!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I appreciate the candid answer to the financial question. Anyone who reads regularly and is trying to figure out how the justify there running expenses can learn from what you said.
    As I laid in bed Fri night, praying for rain to get me out of the mini I had signed up to do Sat, I thought about the fees, new Brooks, yoga pants, and iTunes down load of songs. That really motivated me to get up and go! Now sore as hell, I'm thinking what race can I do next!
    I would not have done it without your inspiration! So if a Mike Tucker calls, explain to him how I might be saving us $!
    Thanks for the Q&A, remember everyone if she did not what to answer, she wouldn't have. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree with everyone else about your finances. I have been inspired beyond just health and weightloss, to work on being more frugal from ideas I've gotten from you. You don't splurge often and when you do it's for running, that's so cool! As for the bra, I wear 44 DD and wear only Cacique bras (Lane Bryant) but when it comes to the bouncing from running or Zumba the only thing that has worked for me is to double up on The hanes Sports bras. I actually get them a size smaller so they are little tight but not uncomfortable at all. I have even tried expensive "big boob" sports bras but why spend a bunch of money on one when you don't have to? My last 3 packs has lasted me 8 months for $10 you can't beat it! : )

    ReplyDelete
  16. NIke has a plus size line which includes sports bras. I have one of them and its practically the only sports bra I wear - holds my DD's in place so I don't have to double up. Although if you are running and you want as little movement as possible i've found doubling up works best - regardless of the bra quality.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It never occurred to me to question the money you spend on races. Many people waste money on gym memberships and fitness DVDs they don't use, not to mention diet products. I figure, running is something you love and it's a lifestyle you have chosen that - let's face it - is much cheaper in the end (not to mention better for you) than eating expensive junk food and wasting money on exercise equipment you'll never use! I guess the reader was just trying to get their head around the concept of spending money on running, which I suppose means they have an "all or nothing" approach rather than focusing on balance. I feel kind of sorry for them!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Here is a website that addresses the run vs. walk question.

    http://walking.about.com/od/calorie1/a/calorieswalkrun.htm

    The only question it doesn't answer for me is how running vs. walking affects your body and toning. Yes, more distance = more calorie burn, but I think running also makes me leaner. I am so much smaller on the way down at the same weights than I was gaining on the way up. I don't think walking would do that for me at the same level. I could be wrong, but that's my experience. : )

    Joan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also found this site, which sort of answers my question, I think.

      http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304-311-8402-0,00.html

      This article sites research that indicates that running DOES burn more net calories because your center of gravity changes when you run, since you are basically kinda hopping from foot to foot in fast motion. Neat chart so you can figure your calorie burn based on weight.

      Joan

      Delete
  19. Katie stay committed to yourself and your success and don't let others influence your spending. What run will you be doing in Minneapolis in Fargo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to do the Women Rock MN half-marathon in St. Paul. It looks like a lot of fun!

      Delete
  20. I don't think it's rude to ask about the money, only because you're so open with you spending normally. If you never discussed your finances that's one thing. I think it is hard to decipher judgment and curiosity through the internet! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Self magazine just did a big spread on sports bras

    ReplyDelete
  22. My Essential Bodywear sportsbra changed my life. I'm not even kidding. It is SO AMAZING. I no longer have to wear 2 sports bras to run or work out. And it holds way better than my two sports bras ever did!! I HIGHLY recommend them!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. TitleNine.com has a great variety of sports bras. They have extended sizes and rate them based on support. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am a super big chested gal... Think 38 G. I shelled out 65$ for an Enell sports bra. I call it the bra of steel. I get little bounce and no rebound at all. I cannot say enough good things about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I 100% agree with all of the Enell suggestions!!!! Best sports bra ever!!!!! The only way I could continue to run while breastfeeding!!!! I did have to wear a simple over-the-head sports bra underneath to help prevent rubbing, but that was fine.
      I found this bra the cheapest on Amazon.com, but I also found them at my local running store, which was good for trying it on first!!!!
      ~Laura

      Delete
  25. I need to look into everyone's bra suggestions! Maybe the reason why I'm chafing is because my bras are too big on me now! DUH!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love Sunday Q&A's! You're so open and honest. I need to start shopping at thrift stores more often (especially while losing weight). Last week I found a really nice work top for $7.99 that would've cost 49 or 59 from the store it was from. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am larger busted, and the bra from Essential Bodywear (or also known as the Enell sports bra, which I have) is awesome! I can't say enough about how well it keeps the girls securely in place with nearly zero bounce. It will be snug as it should, so measure and order according to their size charts. Plus, it holds up fantastically to repeated washing.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't think the question was intended to be intrusive or rude. I think that, like myself, the reader probably respects Katie's opinions, not just on running, but on finances and making good choices in many aspects of her life, and so just wanted to get some perspective on how to justify race fees, etc. for herself. And as always, Katie answered openly, honestly, and eloquently!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I re-read the question about finances and agree with you. Sometimes comments on the internet can be easily misinterpreted.

      Shelley

      Delete
  29. The revelation that you do not wear make-up is too much! Seriously, you are beautiful! Not that women aren't beautiful naturally, but you know, most of us need a little makeup to help us along!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Connie, to be fair, most of the non-running photos of me on my blog are me WITH make-up ;) I look much better with make-up on, but I usually don't bother unless I'm going out.

      Delete
  30. Title IX has good bras. They are rated for high support, medium, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I see a bunch of people already recommended the Moving Comfort bras. I prefer the Maia. :) This website is really helpful in choosing a sports bra based on size & type of exercise: http://www.seejanerun.com/c-10-dd_cup_and_up.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm glad you put that ETA in, I was starting to get mad on your behalf! I consider my race money as part of my charitable contributions since many of them are for good causes, the rest of it I consider a splurge I've earned since losing 130 lbs and a necessary evil to maintain the loss.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)