Stop Giving It All or Nothing

How Training for a Half Marathon has made me dislike running from www.dineanddish.netAlternate titles for this post:

“How Training For a Half Marathon Has Made Me Dislike Running”

“What the hell is wrong with me and why can’t I stick to anything?”

“Tales of a non-perfectionist, perfectionist”

You get the point. Running and I are not being friends right now. “Well, how can that be?” you ask. “Aren’t you training to run a half-marathon in October? Didn’t you write out all of these lofty goals on your 39th birthday and said you were going to make 39 the best year ever?”

Yes, yes I did… and I have some explaining to do. You see, signing up to run a half marathon was something I did on a whim. It sounded like a good goal at the time, but I really didn’t think it through. Even though I had run 5K’s in the past, I hadn’t ever ran past 3.2 miles and well, to be frank, I am pretty much perfectly fine NEVER running 13 miles. Ever. Of course, I didn’t realize that until I started training for the half marathon and realized just exactly how far 13 miles is! It’s a VERY long ways, people! Very long.

Still, I committed and have been training. I even ran on vacation and kept up with my training then. My problem stems from the day after we returned from vacation. According to my half-marathon training schedule I was slated to run 7 miles. After a week of eating ice cream every day, rich breakfast foods, splurging on all the extras, I was scheduled to run my furthest distance ever, by far. You can probably guess what happened… I got less than half of the way done, felt like I was dying, and I quit. What came next was this self-loathing, disappointed, “you suck and can’t do this” spiral. In my head I knew that my training program was designed to help people finish a half marathon. After failing at one run, I just told myself I can’t do it… and since I failed at that one run I was off schedule and might as well give up. So I did.

Shame Quote Brene Brown


I was/am embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed in myself. I have been terribly overwhelmed at the thought of trying to run that distance again and have decided that running 5 miles, maybe 6, is about as far as I like to run. So what have I been doing? Running hardly at all. Because, if I can’t run the distance the half-marathon training app tells me I should be running, I might as well just not run. Right? Makes sense? No, it doesn’t. It makes no sense at all but that’s just how my brain works. You might be like me if…

  • You join Weight Watchers and do a good job counting your points. Then, one morning, you splurge and have an outrageously calorie laden breakfast. You are sure you went way over your points, so, you just stop counting points for the day. Then that spills into the week because you aren’t sure exactly how many of your “extra” weekly points you may have used so you just throw in the towel for the entire week. That one week turns to two and two to three and before long you realize that your donations to Weight Watchers are quite hefty and cancel your membership… for the third time in one year.
  • You buy a new planner that starts fresh with August 1st. You were so busy you didn’t get to sit down to write in your planner on August 1st. Weeks pass by and since you missed the first couple of weeks of the month your planner starts, you set it aside only to not use it at all because it isn’t “perfect” not starting it on the date you were designed to start it on. $50 bucks down the drain and a beautiful, empty planner remains sitting on your desk, unused.
  • You plan on starting a weekly cleaning regimen. You are supposed to start on Monday, but Monday is crazy busy and you don’t get around to it. You could very easily start on Tuesday, but that’s not “perfect” so you don’t start at all.
  • You set out in 2013 to share a weekly menu plan on your blog each Sunday. You missed one Sunday so then quit doing it all together, because that’s logical, right?
  • You do a monthly photography prompt for fun. You miss a day and instead of picking up on the next day, you quit completely because it wouldn’t be “perfect” to have a gaping day right in the middle of the month where you forgot to take the picture.

I’m ashamed, angry, annoyed, and unhappy with myself. I am not a perfectionist, so why do I try to live my life in a way where I set expectations upon myself to be perfect? I’m at the point where I need to either buy new clothes, wear sweats 24/7 or get on the flipping wagon and lose some weight. And running will help with that… running 1 mile, 3 miles or 13 miles will HELP with that.

I will be running the half marathon.. well not running, but I will be doing the half marathon and I will cross the finish line, even if it takes me hours and hours.


In the meantime, I’ve joined the free “Live More, Weigh Less” challenge that starts on September 3rd over at Sarah Jenks website. Won’t you join me? (even if you start on the 4th or the 5th or the 15th, that’s ok!) I’m looking forward to going on a journey of self discovery and loving myself again – 30 pounds overweight and all. I’m tired of going all or nothing and repeating the same patterns… I’m ready to accept that sometimes, in between is just fine. I want to let go of the ties to perfection and accept what I can do and am capable of without the self-loathing and pity that comes when I try too hard to live up to the un-realistic expectations I set for myself.

Don’t you?


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  1. says

    Man, I wish we were neighbors. We’d train for that damn half marathon and be successful at losing weight and looking and feeling awesome because we’d support each other each and EVERY day!! (when we weren’t drinking wine and enjoying good food) Maybe we can do it long distance. Get on the phone often and get each other’s butts in gear. If you’re anything like me, I like STRUCTURE. I like being told what to do when. Have a schedule. A checklist. Check things off and get things done. We’ll see how I do this time as my new journey begins tomorrow. And you can do this too, my beautiful friend. Get back on the healthy bandwagon. We both know that we feel FABULOUS when we are on track and doing what we are supposed to do. LET’S DO THIS! XOXO

  2. says

    Pro Tip: Everyone bonks (read: has a really bad run) on at least one — IF NOT MORE — training run. If they tell you that they’ve never bonked, they’re lying. Or on steroids. Anyway, the mid-season training, right where you are right now, feels awful at times. And boring. And you want to quit. And you wonder, “WTF WAS I THINKING.” We all do. This is part of the process.

    I bonked last month due to the heat and humidity and the belief that I had run that distance before so I would be absolutely fine. Pride goeth before the fall.

    You’ll be just fine. We all will. Promise.

  3. says

    I get it, I do. My half is in less than two weeks, and since I started training twelve weeks ago, it’s been nothing but head games. But I know we can both do it.

  4. says

    Yes, yes, yes. You have described me perfectly. Except I’m more at the level of, “Why take one silly walk if I’m not going to commit to an exercise plan? One walk isn’t going to help anything.” Argh. xo

  5. says

    I had an old fitness trainer (he was a jerk for the most part but one thing stuck with me) when you cheat on your diet be it a few extra nibbles, ice cream, cake or a whole pizza, get over it. Don’t beat yourself up. Make sure all your next meals are on track. Don’t let one “bad” meal spoil the rest of your plan. It would be like dropping your cell phone and it cracks but still works fine but since there’s a crack you go ahead and smash it to pieces since you figure it won’t work anymore anyway. When it would have.

    So don’t beat yourself up. You’re perfectly imperfect. Just like every other mom out there that tries to do it all. And with fitness – if you find that you’re forcing yourself to do something you just don’t love and it feels like a chore more than you get to do it because you love it. Don’t do it. Life is too damn short to not do what you love every day. I hate running. I love lifting weights. I love training with kettlebells. I love hiking. I hate cardio machines. So I don’t do what I hate. And the minute something isn’t fun anymore I find something new to do that’s fun. Like taking tennis lessons again. I haven’t played since college and now that my 5 year old is taking lessons so am I. And you know what? I’m having a freaking blast and Im pretty good for not having played in 14 years. So there’s my $.5 cents. I would say two but that was kind of long. Ha ha ha

  6. says

    Once you get into that tornado, it can be hard to pull out. However, when you do it, nothing feels better because you’ve conquered that self-imposed stumbling block. (Written by someone who has been there MANY times.) A huge “hurrah!” to you for deciding to finish that half-marathon, whether running, walking or crawling.

    My son has been running regularly, but a couple of weeks ago, he came in feeling dejected. He hadn’t run the distance in the time he was shooting for. My husband and I sat down and told him how many terrible runs we’ve had along the way, and how those runs make the other ones (the ones when you’re having an “on” day) feel incredible. We also reminded him how lucky we are to be able to run…to breathe the fresh air, to pump our arms and legs, to break a sweat. Sometimes it sucks, but sometimes it’s satisfying to the depths of your soul. Don’t be so hard on yourself, my friend. Just put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the process, whatever distance or speed you’re running or walking.

  7. says

    Oh my goodness, you were telling MY story! (But not about 7 miles, but about, um, 1.75…that’s MY story!) I completely relate to the all-0r-nothing mentality that strikes us so easily. I’m so glad I saw your Tweet and hopped over to read this post. It has inspired and encouraged me to try again tomorrow. And you’re right — that WW donation is pretty hefty if I don’t do something with it!

  8. Tam says

    I had to laugh at how many times I have started something and didn’t finish it. I want you to know your pictures and blogs make me smile many times. I can’t even hear a Maroon 5 song without thinking of your pictures and the fun you seem to have with your friends at the concerts. So what if you picked the hottest time of the year to train for a race. Take that time and enjoy your life ! When you are ready to lose weight and exercise you will know it. Just enjoy the life you are living! You are perfect just the way you are!

  9. says

    Oh my word! I am SOOO with you on this! I have heard myself say that I love to hate to love to run….or something like that. Right now it’s mostly hate. Sigh. I am going to cross the finish line, too, God willing. :)

  10. says

    You are decidedly not making me miss running. At all. I’ll be over here, not working out and not working either because I don’t have the time to make it perfect tonight, so why start? Love you. xo

  11. says

    Oh my gosh, I felt like you were telling the story of my life!

    Start Weight Watchers and quit after falling off schedule for a day? Check
    Start a running program and quit? Check (Although, I’m back on this wagon and am scheduled to finish a 5K program this week… yahoo!)
    Start and quit a weekly cleaning schedule? Check.

    The list goes on and on…. it’s good to know I’m not alone! I’m going to go check out that Live More Weigh Less challenge right now. Thanks for a great post that reminded me I ought to cut myself some slack! :)

  12. says

    I’m not sure when you went in my head and stole all the words in this post but I think you did!

    I’m at the six mile mark in my training and we’ll have to see how next week goes. I am definitely not worried about speed – I do a pretty solid 11-minute mile and can’t imagine getting faster than that when I add SEVEN MILES to the distance I am already running.

  13. says

    Way to go for challenges yourself to do the race, no matter how long it takes to finish, I’m sure you won’t forget the experience anytime soon. it IS really hard to keep with things that aren’t really going as planned, but YOU are so up for the challenge :) I wish it was cooling off at night here to run but 90 is still to hot for me, and the thought of a treadmill is just awful for me, so the elliptical is what I’m doing now. I’m sure you will do great on your race day!

  14. says

    I just checked the box next to each of those things. (Everything except for the crazy moment when you signed up for a marathon, yeah that is not going to happen!) You can do this, girl. I’m off to check out the 28 day challenge now!


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