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

    Oh, my. We are so much alike here on this topic. Only, I’ve never been brave enough to attempt a 5K. I tried running, and since it tried to kill me (insert overplayed drama here) I quit. Remember that episode of Mad About You where Paul tells Jamie he could handle having a baby? She replies, “Oh, please. You’d have one contraction and kill yourself.” That’s me. I get one pain, one foot issue, one pulled muscle, and I’m out. No thanks, forget Just forget it altogether! :) I, too, have a never-used gym membership, half-started food diaries, and journals I said I’d write but the entries are weeks & weeks worth of dates skipped. I applaud you for sticking with the running. You CAN do this. Maybe not in the time you’d like, and maybe it won’t be as “perfect” as another avid runner, but you CAN. Have fun with it and don’t worry about how much of it you run. Just go and finish. The in-between will be fine, whatever it looks like for YOU. Thanks for sharing your honesty! Good luck.

  2. says

    I have so been that person. If I don’t do something the day that it’s supposed to be done than it throws me all off track, and I won’t want to do it at all. As for running… I would love to be on the bad wagon of running a half marathon, but the truth is I do not want to put pressure on myself sop that I won’t want to do more than a day. I started exercising in June with just yoga. I loved yoga, how strong it made me feel and the sweat that I would work up. I put no pressure on myself. It felt good so if I ended up doing 20 minutes or 75 minutes I enjoyed every moment. Then I started walking on the treadmill. I would walk sometimes at a fast pace,, sometimes at a slower pace, and then I started running at times. I didn’t time myself. I ran when I wanted to and walked when I wanted to. There are times that I know I run longer than 20 minutes at a time, which is really good for me. There are days where I just don’t have the energy and so I walk. I guess the point I am trying to make is to stop putting pressure on yourself. Do what you enjoy. Once you stop feeling like you have to do something, that pressure you build up will slowly start to melt away.

  3. says

    It’s always been my goal to run a half, but I’ve always chickened out and never found ‘the perfect race’ to sign up for to do it. The longest I’ve ever run was 7 miles and it was a miracle day (perfect weather and perfect attitude). You are so amazing to stick to your goal and do it no matter what. You’ll be great! And you totally nailed the ‘perfect planner’ thing. I can’t tell you how many journals and planners I have that I started and never finished. This perfectionist thing is rough. 😉

  4. Kelley says

    Love your honesty! I’ve felt that way too, many times. No matter if you run your half marathon or walk it, you will be proud of yourself for doing it!

  5. says

    This describes me as well. You are not alone! I need to loose weight, too, just to be healthy and I’m hoping to get into running soon. I will keep this in mind and try not to care if the way I go about it is not “perfect.”

  6. says

    Best post ever. You are my hero – 1. Because you are always so incredibly honest and vulnerable. 2. Because you are actually running, putting one foot in front of the other and running, one step at a time. Many people (me included) are not runners, so 400 yards, 1 mile, or 13 miles is a huge accomplishment. Love you lots!

  7. says

    Everything you wrote sounds like it came out of my head. I think it’s so easy to just give up when we’ve screwed up the tiniest bit, which you’re right, is so ridiculous! I signed up for the challenge too and I have already started eating mindfully (even though that’s not until later this week). Now I have to go buy my flowers =)

  8. Kelly @ Kansas City Mamas says

    Oh, my sweet friend. This was such a hard post for me to read because of how much I love you and your family. I think you are one of the most giving, sharing, caring, loving, and warm people I have every met in my life. I could care less if you can run two or twelve miles, your house is clean, or you can do downward dog yoga position for 45 minutes. I hope you enjoy Sarah’s project…I can’t wait to hear about it.

  9. says

    I am very good at giving up on things, thinking that if I don’t go whole hog, I shouldn’t bother at all. I think you end up with the right attitude here, Kristin…go and keep going and see what you can do. Did you know I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 34? Honestly, I tried when I was younger but I never had a car to practice much on and I was so afraid of failing, I gave up trying. Now I wonder what the heck I was so afraid of???

  10. says

    Oh this is me to an absolute T. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started something and given up as soon as I ‘mess up’. I’ve signed up for the challenge too and I’m determined to complete it whether or not I miss the odd day!

  11. says

    This is exactly how I feel way too often! I am obsessed with making a plan (usually not very well thought out plans) and then going at itfull force. One day of becoming burnt out and I’m done. It’s not a healthy cycle, no matter how good my intentions are. In fact, one of the main reasons I started blogging was to prove to myself that I could commit to something I was passionate about and stick with it… even that is sometimes a struggle. Well I cheers my morning coffee to you and me both! May we set more reasonable goals and expectations in the future, and not beat ourselves up over the small things.

  12. says

    Girl…you sound *just* like me. I could go on and on with many examples. Hello, University of Cookie blog?!? And I hate every run these days. It’s so damn HOT!!! And some dude “cheered” me on the last week as I passed him with a thumbs-up and “you’re doing great.” Can you imagine how bad I must have looked for some stranger to feel like I needed cheering? I’m impressed you even had an *inkling* to do a half-marathon.

    Love the post. Checking out the link now. :)

  13. says

    What you wrote describes me so well. You’re definitely not alone. Although I would never have the balls so sign up for a half marathon to begin with! So that’s impressive in and of itself! You’re raising 4 beautiful children, nurturing a successful marriage and friendships, running a business, and fostering community in the blog world. Give yourself a break, girl. So many people look up to you as a mentor and an example, I don’t think you even realize it!

    With that being said, I’m looking forward to the challenge too — but also scared I won’t follow through. We’ll all have to keep each other accountable.

    Love ya!

  14. says

    I love this post!! You already know my story – training for a 5K made me hate running and discover my love of group exercise classes. The only advice I can give you is to forgive yourself. I know it’s cliche and we think we are forgiving ourselves but it’s harder than we think to forgive ourselves. I really think the mind is a huge barrier to achieving the body we want. Your honesty is commendable – I know you are inspiring so many!!

  15. says

    It’s so good to hear that I’m not alone in disappointment in myself over expectations that I alone set—no one else. I tell myself that moving in some way is better than nothing, but oft than not I find myself extremely aggravated that I (again) put off hitting the treadmill. Last week out of frustration I put on my running shoes, turned on the treadmill even though I was packing for a family trip and didn’t have a block of time to run, then I hopped on for a minute at a time, packed a little, ran to the other end of the house to retrieve another item for the suitcase, hopped on again, and so forth. I’m going to try to choose to do what I can even if sometimes it’s little by little. Little by little is better than nothing at all. Hugs to you, my friend! Cheering you on! xoxoxo

  16. says

    Kristen, I can relate to this on so many levels. I love your honesty in this post and I think so many people, especially women, can relate to it! I’m very much a perfectionist and an “all or nothing” kind of person. Most weeks if I don’t get a good workout in on Monday morning, I can just kiss my workouts goodbye for the rest of the week. I hate that about myself!! The half I’m training for right now was a whim-decision and I hated myself for registering for the first 6 weeks of training – until my 8 mile run. My 7 mile run was so, so terrible. It took me forever and it hurt so bad. And then I found someone else to run with and the subsequent long runs haven’t been bad (until this weekend, anyway…) I’m cheering for you, and know that I truly admire you as a person, blogger, mother, and friend! xo

  17. says

    My goodness, this is totally me, too. I am a perfectionist, so when things aren’t working out perfectly, I tend to get frustrated and give up the whole dang thing. Which only makes it worse sometimes, argh!

    All that to say, kudos to you for even running 5 or 6 miles when you can, as that’s more than I can say (I LOATHE running). Any little bit helps, and I think there is a lot to be said just for having the desire to do something good for yourself. I hope this new challenge will be good for you, too!

  18. says

    Kristen, m’love, how does it feel to know that you have a twin in Wisconsin who is 10 years older than you, and equally disappointed with herself?
    I’m sure that our Lord God loves us all the more for our imperfection. ♥

    I look forward to growing to love myself as I lose 40 more pounds of myself, and I’m so blessed to be able to share the journey with you!

  19. says

    Girl, get yourself to a yoga class! Give yourself some loving. Doing a half marathon is amazing!! But it is supposed to be fun! Don’t let negative thoughts continue to weigh you down. I also have perfectionism issues, and will be joining you in this challenge you linked to. Because I am at least 20 (and probably 40) pounds overweight, and have set a goal for myself to lose a pound a week for the next 4 months. We’ll see if it actually happens….but please be kind to yourself, do the best you can, but try to find beauty in the imperfection.

  20. says

    Wow, Kristen! Love this post. I can completely relate and I think it’s something many women feel. The need to have everything perfect. An all or nothing philosophy. I’m looking forward to the challenge you mentioned. I signed up for it and received my first email this morning. I think it will be a good reminder to help me refocus, appreciate the “little things” that really matter and stop beating myself up about things I don’t cross off my list while appreciating what I’ve done.


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