This afternoon I did a very non-J.D. thing. I drove to Duniway Park here in Portland, and I timed myself to see how fast I can run a mile. After nearly six months of Crossfit and nearly 40 pounds lost, I decided it was time to see where things stood.

As an adult, I’ve been a non-athlete. Mostly, I’ve been a fat slug, sitting behind the computer all day long. (I spent nine hours in front of the computer yesterday, and that’s typical.) But as a kid, I was active. I played games with my friends, and when I was older, I played soccer and tennis and tried out for track. I had fun, but I never considered myself an athlete.

Lately, though, I’ve been surprised — in a good way — at some of the numbers I’ve put up when running at Crossfit. They’re not great numbers, but they’re much better than I ever thought I could achieve. I ran 5,000 meters in 25:25 recently, for example. So, I decided to see how fast I could run one mile.

According to my Garmin Forerunner 305 (which every runner in Portland seems to own), I finished one mile in 6:36.86. According to my stopwatch, my time was 6:47.12. The stopwatch is probably correct.

That’s not a world-class time by any means, but it’s not bad for a guy who weighed 213 at the start of the year, and who would get out of breath just walking up the hill to his office. (Plus, yesterday I did seven sets of 15 pushups without having to use my knees. And over the past two weeks, I’ve actually been lifting weights. Real weights! Will wonders never cease?)

Enough about my physical fitness! Let’s take a look at some personal-finance articles from around the web.

To start, here’s something light from The Economist. For those unfamiliar, The Economist is a weekly news mag with a global perspective (instead of being U.S.-centric) and a focus on financial stories. I think Trent at The Simple Dollar subscribes to The Economist, and after our trip to Europe, I subscribed too. Anyhow, their PR department contacted me today to mention their Economist magazine caption contest. There’s no great financial lesson here, but if you can come up with a silly caption for a silly photo, you may get your name in the next issue.

In actual personal-finance news, Kiplinger has a fascinating article from associate editor Elizabeth Ody, who asks, “Whose investment advice can you trust?” For those who aren’t aware, brokers have no fiduciary responsibility to their clients. That is, the advice they give you doesn’t have to be in your best interest. But Certified Financial Planners, for example, have a fiduciary requirement. Ody’s article explores all of the grey areas involved with financial advice. To me, it’s yet another reminder that nobody cares more about your money than you do.

And now some quick hits:

  • Wise Bread has an article about how to never pay for another book. Their title is misleading, though. This is a fine intro to places you can buy free digital books, but you’re still going to have to pay for other books, especially recent releases.
  • Free Money Finance runs down the reasons why he buys new cars. I’m generally an advocate of buying used. I bought my Mini used, and when I replace it, I’ll probably buy used again. However, as with the rent vs. buy debate, I don’t think there’s a clear answer here, and FMF makes good arguments for buying new.
  • The Dough Roller has a nice guide to the best side-money gigs on Craigslist. This is a fine complement to my recent article on ways to make more money.

That’s it for now! Don’t forget that if you want to read more about physical fitness, you can always stop by Get Fit Slowly. I don’t post there as often as I should, but my friend Mac offers plenty of tips on diet and exercise.

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