money / it’s a crime

“No one ever told me how expensive this would be.” -Summer, pondering her need for a bike rack after purchasing a fantastic Orbea road bike at Victory.

When I agreed to train for the tri, on something of a whim, I figured I basically had what I needed: Speedo suit, running shoes/socks/clothes, bike, helmet. I was set to renew a costly membership at a crappy gym, and even the group training fees plus UT membership didn’t total out to the same amount. I was saving money! Yeah, no.

The more you dedicate yourself to a sport, the more you end up needing to perform well. First my crappy cotton shorts and Ts got the boot for some moisture wicking tops and running tights/skirts. Then I had to buy the good shoes. My Speedo wasn’t the right fit so I bought a newer, tighter suit. I budgeted for cycling and swim classes. Bike shorts became important. Oh yeah, there was my entry fee for MIM, plus there will be subsequent entry fees for subsequent tris. Mmmhmm, and the USAT license fees for each tri.

I’ve found myself daydreaming about getting a light and fast road bike (mine’s a hybrid, cyclocross bike). That is $1000+ that I just won’t have to spare anytime soon.

My financial stress this morning is about more than just daydreaming. A tri top is an absolute must, sooner than later so I can practice in it. Had my bike tuned up over the weekend and while it was more than worth the dough, it feels like the paycheck I got only a few days ago is pretty much spent.

I almost ordered a tri-top ($75) and a lightweight running jacket today. I added the jacket to get free shipping, and because it wouldn’t hurt to have a nice jacket. A credit card can be really evil, because it’s all too easy to buy things we can’t afford. Fortunately I emptied my online cart before I purchased anything. I’m going to check out a couple local shops for tri tops and hold off on the jacket until absolutely necessary.

I’m working on a list of what is actually needed to train for and compete in a triathlon, versus what I thought I needed. Maybe this will help anyone else who is first getting into triathlons. Budgeting and buying things gradually really helps. And of course, since training is so time and energy consuming, you spend less going out. I’ve all but lost interest in normal clothes (another money saver), which is shocking since I’m a bit of a style nut.

May I just end on the note that these investments are TOTALLY WORTH IT? Not just because good gear improves both your comfort level and ability to perform unfettered, but because training for a tri is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. Six weeks in and I feel excited and proud of myself. Exercise is no longer a question mark in my life that provokes guilty, sulky thoughts. My overall stress level is greatly reduced, I’m making better decisions on food and drink, and I’m happier overall. My body is tightening up and I just feel–lighter. Don’t even get me started on the sense of belonging and community. This blog is a good way to vent because it’s truly difficult to train at this level. Every single workout is a struggle but when I’m done I know I’ve made my willpower muscle all the stronger.

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