November 17, 2010

Cheapskates Unite!

I might have mentioned once or twice that I'm poor.  As a grad student in a program that leaves little possibility of employment during school, I've got to eke out a living from financial aid alone.  Many of my classmates get a lot of help from their families, and though my family would love to help me out that's not an option.  So, here's a tricks I've picked up for races to help pay for my long distance running & marathon habit:

Started with the top row
(plus a Roctane) and finished
with 3 bonus PowerBar gels.
Grab extras.  Grab extra Gu, water, and whatever else they're handing out.  My loot from Pensacola?  I ate 4 gels during the race (and an orange slice!  Mmmm!) and only one of the gels was mine from home - a Vanilla Orange Roctane.  I always start with 4 gels *just in case.*  It's better to have extras that you don't need than not have any and miss a gel station.  So of the 4 I ate, 3 were ones I picked up on the course.  Since I grabbed 2 at all three stations handing them out, that means I finished with 2 more than I started with.  Bonus!  Oh yeah.  And one of the Hammer gels I brought from home was loot from the Towpath Marathon.

Note:  If you, like me, are carrying 193 gels in your hands - offer them to people who look like they need them.  I've only ever had 1 person take me up on the offer but you never know.  I've missed a gel station before and I wasn't about to turn around and go back.  If you didn't have gels of your own you might end up really regretting that decision later.  Enter: the gel fairy.  Wouldn't you love a magic gel to appear when you're in need?  It's good karma and it's polite.

What else did I pick up in Pensacola?  A free massage (heaven!), 4 bottles of water (drank them ALL), trail mix, and 1348 orange slices.  I parked myself next to the boxes of orange slices at the finish to make up for losing out on a sandwich.  They were handing out 6-inch Subway sandwiches but they only had meat options. (I'm not eating tuna salad or deli meat that's been sitting in the sun for a couple hours even when it's free.  No, thank you, but I like my stomach!)


  1. Great way to go about it! And I love the idea of handing out a GU to those who look like they need it--I have never thought of that.

  2. Super advice. I have a totally dork question for you. I'm new to longer distances and longer distance races. How does one miss a gu station? I'm serious - I'm not trying to be a jerk - I swear! Aren't they like water stations? Aren't there people there? Perhaps I have the wrong mental picture of what a gu station is? Help - I'm running a race on Sunday - I don't want to miss the gu. Seriously - thanks for being willing to help me to know what to do at during these half marathons. Thanks!

  3. HA! I love it. I too like to take extra goodies. Don't forget the free stuff at the expos!! (if they have any). I am a cheapstake extroidonaire!! :)

  4. great tip! I'll do that on my marathon. Buying GU weekly can really be expensive if you compute it.

  5. hehe I expect I will be employing this advice at my next big race :)

  6. Thanks for answering my question (as a comment on my blog). I hope you didn't think I was being sarcastic. I can totally see how you could miss it now (thanks for painting the visual picture for me). I'll be sure to be vigilant. I truly appreciated you helping me out. I'll grab a couple extras . . . in your honor! Thanks!

  7. great idea! do you do reviews to score free things to review? that would be cool too!