Learning to break free, and understanding how to stay free.
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Posts from — July 2012

My Worst Is Still My Best

Starting at the end of last year I began seeing many bloggers writing up various posts on goals. There are people who will argue that it is good to have no goals, especially as a minimalist. Then there are those who encourage them. Like many things in this world, I think they are like the tide and are meant to have high and low times. They should come in and go out of your life as necessary. Right now, in my life I believe it is good for me to have very concrete goals.

One of the big ones I’ve had for the past couple of years, since I started running, is to run the Boston Marathon. One does not simply run the Boston Marathon {Insert Boromir Meme here}. It is the pinnacle of Western runners, and an elite race in the world arena. As such, they don’t just let the first 30,000 people who pony up the cash enter the race. You actually have to 1) prove you can run marathon level distances, 2) do it in a pretty reasonable time.

Since I’m still pretty young I still fall in the 18-34 age bracket. The qualifying time for this age group is 3 hours and 5 minutes. To put this into perspective the top finishers at this years race were 2 hours 12 minutes for the men, and 2 hours 31 minutes for the women. Less than an hour gap from entrant to elite. My current marathon best is 5 hours 29 minutes. To add insult to injury making the qualifying time doesn’t guarantee entrance to the race, only that your name goes into the pool. They take the fastest qualifiers first, and on average you need to beat the qualifying time by 10-20 minutes to have good odds. So that means a time of 2:45-2:55. Which means I have to cut my time clean in half.

Now what does this mean for my goal of running the Boston Marathon? Is it impossible? No, I don’t think so. I only need to approach it in the right manner. I know that increasing my abilities to max effort will not get my pace up to the 6.25 min/mile I need to qualify for next years marathon. What I do know is that if I take proper care in my training that I should be able to complete a marathon in under 5 hours this year. My ideal time would be 4 hours 45 minutes. Which cuts 15% off my current time, or 25% of the difference of my best and what is necessary.

Now that I’ve been getting myself back into gear with my running I’ve been paying attention to my times a lot more. From what I’ve seen so far my maxed sustained mile is about a 9.5 min/mile, comfortable pace is a 10.5 min/mile and my slowest has been a 11.75 min/mile during the middle of the day in Florida heat. The slowest time is still better than my pace for my first marathon, and my comfortable pace will put me within my ideal time. Does this mean these will stay true as I add miles? I’d like to hope so, but I know better. I learned that lesson last year, which is why I had a 5.5 hour time instead of the sub-5 I was hoping to do.

This is where I find the importance of setting and understanding our goals. If you focus on the pinnacle you will lose sight of the best path. You will try to go straight to the top, and probably attempt a tougher path than is reasonably possible. By setting milestone goals you can achieve greater things, and have a higher success rate, while keeping your momentum moving forward.

Life is a marathon, and not a 100m dash. By training ourselves to effectively strive for each new mile we’ll make it through to our finish line. We won’t fall short, or give up because it is just to far or too hard. What are some of your big goals? And milestones that can help you get there?

July 11, 2012   No Comments

What Does A Minimalist Have Left?

In a recent post on Facebook I asked of my friends who had a folding table that I could borrow for a garage sale. My friend Tony, responded asking me what I, as a minimalist, still had left in my life that I could sell at a garage sale. Which as it turns out I have quite a lot left.

I never set out to limit myself to live with 100 things or less. When I began the process I wanted to ensure that what I owned was purposeful in my life. Part of the human condition is that inevitably we grow to the space we live in. For the past two years I’ve lived in a 1500 sqft home with 3-4 other people. Who’s stuff is who’s can get a bit diluted. My priorities in leading a minimalist lifestyle have not been the same as theirs.

Now, I’m planning on moving elsewhere, preferably on my own. This will mean two things, I can most likely do away with many items that have fit into the space I’ve had available. I may need to buy a few items (second hand where possible) to fill the gap for items that were mutually used; i.e. pans and dishes. Since I don’t know where I’ll be living yet it is hard to say what will be useful yet. I’ve been through much of the process of eliminating most items that I have no sentimental attachment to. I’ve also been slowly whittling away other items as I am faced with them but there is still more to eliminate.

So what did I actually have left that I intend on parting with?

  • Old college laptop w/ discs (harddrive no longer works)
  • Comics!! I’ve sold off a good number. I’ve sold off a couple hundred, but still have around 500 more.
  • Books! I’ve sold some to Amazon, some to Paperbackswap.com and I still have a bunch left. I’m keeping around 10 for now.
  • Poly-fil
  • Cigar boxes
  • Interesting bottles
  • Toy gun
  • Laptop charger (Not for the above)
  • Wireless router (two?)
  • Camping lamp.
  • Adventure helmets
  • Munny (Bub)
  • Games
  • Juggling balls
  • Puzzles
  • Alarm clock
  • Assorted electronics
  • Art File Drawers
  • Book shelf
  • DVD rack
  • Couch
  • Artwork
  • Records
  • Garden kit
  • Glue sticks
  • Envelopes
  • Zippo lighters (3)

During the actual sale we managed to clear through a lot more than I originally thought, but I was still left with more things than I realized I had. Oddly, I found that people will buy the most random things at a garage sale. On a whim I had put an unopened bag of glue sticks for a hot glue gun out on my table. Some guy bought them pretty early on. Said he remembered he only had one left.

I also found people’s attitude toward prepricing items to be vastly divergent. Most people seemed more willing to ask about a price if there wasn’t one on the item. There were some people that outright paid what was listed on the items. Since it seemed like more people were keen on buying items that weren’t prepriced I went ahead and removed all the prices. This led to other issues. I had one woman ask me about the price of the books, then stormed off when I mentioned specific prices for some books.

All in all, I was able to rid myself of plenty of unnecessary items. I was hoping to have made more money off what I did sell, but I did reasonably for a garage sale. Now to just find the new place and see what will be necessary there.

July 4, 2012   3 Comments