It’s been a while since I posted a fitness update around here. I’ve been a little scared to — some of you hate them! More than that, though, I’ve had a nagging injury. I’ve still been able to do my Crossfit exercises, but a bad Achilles tendon has prevented me from running since early January.

Well, my foot has been feeling better lately, so last weekend I joined 30,000 other Portlanders in the Shamrock Run. Some folks ran 8k or 15k (5 miles or 9.3 miles). I did my first-ever official 5k run (3.1 miles). The result? Not too bad. I finished in 24:07. That’s 24th place (out of 437) for men aged 40-44. (And 305th place out of 6400+ overall.) I’m pleased with that, especially since it used to take me more than half an hour to run that distance. (I plan to run another 5k on April 3rd; my goal is to break 24 minutes.)

Meanwhile, I’ve joined my gym’s team for the Crossfit Games, the annual competition to find the world’s fittest person. Hint: That person is not me. I’m doing this for the experience, not because I think I’m buff. But maybe in a few years, I’ll actually be fit enough to take this seriously.

Finally, after maintaining 175 pounds for the past few months, I’ve decided to drop a few more pounds. I’m almost to where I want to be, but still a little heavy for my body size.

Okay, enough of that. No more fitness updates for a while. (And I swore off travel updates this morning, too. Yikes.) I guess that means it’s time to talk about personal finance, right? Here, then, are some recent stories from around the web:

REMINDER! First, a reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday, March 16th) is the bi-weekly GRS tweetchat. If you follow GRS blog on Twitter, you might know this better as the #moolah chat. Between 7pm and 8pm Eastern (4pm and 5pm Pacific), Andrew — the head social-media elf at GRS — will lead a discussion about the “new” retirement: What will retirement be like for Gen X and Gen Y? How much money will it take? The last tweetchat was fantastic, and I expect this one will be too. To learn more about tweetchats, take a look at the announcement for our first one in January.

Speaking of retirement, Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme recently wrote about why so few succeed at financial independence. Jacob says that going against the flow is the surest path to early retirement, but peer pressure makes it tough to do. He argues that you should spend much less than you earn, and that you should learn to do things yourself. But because people aren’t willing to do these things, they’re not able to retire early. (My summary really doesn’t do the article justice. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it.)

Jacob’s article is actually a response to a l-o-n-g but excellent piece at Financial Mentor that describes how anyone can retire in 10 years (or less). The key? Extreme frugality and basic investing. “The critical factor to success is the percentage saved from earnings,” the author writes. The more you’re willing to save, the more control you have over your future, and the sooner you can retire. This article is excellent, too. In fact, it may be worth a full post here at GRS in the future.

Another thoughtful essay comes from Jennifer at Personal Finance Advice, who writes, “Don’t sell yourself short. Think bigger.” She complains that when people think about making extra money, they think too small. They sell their time for pennies instead of dollars, and they don’t try to do something meaningful.

Finally, here’s a little love for long-time GRS reader Nicole, who recently wrote at her blog that there is no best: “There’s no best job. There’s no best way to raise kids. There’s no best way to live your life. There’s only your way. There’s only your path. Some are better than others along different dimensions…but choices are so multidimensional and there are so many tradeoffs that it is impossible to optimize along them all.”

Wow. Four deep, thoughtful articles and zero numbered lists. What on earth is happening to the internet?!?

This article is about Spare Change