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

    yep! I hear ya loud and clear! I’m pretty much the same way… It’s easier to just say forget it! I’m starting Weight Loss Wednesday on Pint Sized Baker and I’ll be putting it all out there to motivate myself and hold myself accountable for the weight loss and goals. I’ll be trying a new way of eating and delving into almond flour and coconut milk. It’s scary, but I can do it. And you can do it too. I’m still trying to work my way up to a 5k. I can totally walk it and run some of it, but nowhere near running ALL of it. Here’s to a new goal – just to get through the day!

  2. says

    Amen. AMEN. I just spent half of this last weekend trying to figure out why I can start so much stuff but never finish it. And I pulled the same “I am so frustrated I can’t do it” mental game in my last 5k. Which I felt really stupid about when my 2 year old ran the following fun run and had a blast – with no idea how far he was running, how fast or that all he got was a tshirt. Just ran it because “running is fun mommy” – I’m pretty sure his outlook is healthier. Anyway, you should still do the half-marathon (you know those entries aren’t cheap) but just enjoy it. Run some, walk some.

  3. Sarah says

    Hang in there, Kristen. I ran my first half marathon in April and found myself hating running as well. But for me, it was because it became a job. I used to run to relieve stress and feel good about myself, but sticking to the training program was more of a chore. And it felt like ALL I did. Not to mention, my fiancé could miss days or weeks at a time and pick up right where he left off. Whereas if I missed a day (let alone a week), I’d take ten steps backwards.

    When it finally came time to run the half, the furthest I’d gone was 10 miles. Oh and I had a stomach virus. But I was determined, as I didn’t give up all of those week nights and Sundays to run for nothing! Dave and I decided to run separately and I subsequently had the worst run of my life. I walked every few miles and I came nowhere near my goal time. But when I got to mile marker 12, there was Dave, waiting for me, so we could finish together. He’d blown his own time by at least 20 minutes so that I wouldn’t have to cross the finish line alone. Then I remembered what it was all about for us–accomplishing something new together. What was your reason for doing a half marathon?

    I don’t think I’ll ever train for a half marathon again. Like you, I’m happier with lower mileage. I think if you focus on exercise that makes you happy, you’re less apt to get burnt out. I run once or twice a week now, doing yoga and spin class on the other days. Instead of getting discouraged with your running, try changing it up to refresh your mind. Then you’ll feel good because you worked out, even if it wasn’t running the 7 miles you were supposed to that day.

    Remember that no matter what, you can do it!

    Sarah (sksummers on Instagram)

  4. ann says

    This should be fun for you. If it isn’t fun, quit. If you need a break from it, whereby you could journal what gives you that spark, and come back to us when you are filled again.. No problem. I get it.

  5. says

    I love your openness and honestly about this. I’m proud of you for attempting to do a half marathon. If you decide to continue on… great! if not… you are saving yourself and your sneakers from a lot of pain. xo

  6. Whitney says

    Love you sweetie!! I think this is why we are such good friends. We are WAY more alike than we are different and neither of us is afraid to say this isn’t working for me. Like you said, one mile, three miles or seven miles….it all helps. Make a decision to move and it will benefit you. Remember, there’s lots of us who will love you no matter if you ever run another step or not!!!

  7. Penny says

    You don’t know me but I love reading your posts. I love your recipes and I love your wit. I think I love this post the most because it made me laugh out loud – because it sounds JUST LIKE ME! I have stopped and started WW more times than I can count this year and I do so well for a while and then for whatever reason I stop caring, go overboard with everything, and then slip into “What is wrong with me?” mode. I’m back on track now (I think). I’m going to go check out the challenge right now-maybe I can stay motivated for 28 more days (and then see where that takes me.) Thanks for the inspiration and together we’ll move forward one step at a time!

  8. says

    13 miles is a lot! that’s like me running from my house to the Salvation Army downtown! I used to work there and KNOW it’s exactly 13.1 miles!
    On a more serious note, I am at a crossroads myself, trying to figure out where I am going to take my life and how to do it with the resources I have available to me in this moment. Maybe more progress will be made with lots of little tiny victories rather than huge unfinished projects staring me in the face.

  9. says

    I haven’t been good at keeping up reading any blogs lately… but this post came to my inbox and I felt compelled to come visit again! Running and I have never gotten along (sophomore year in HS I got a bruised foot bone because of bad -but cute- shoes in gym and had to wear a -not so cute- medical shoe for pretty much 3 months) so I admire anyone who has dedication to run at all! ;).

    As far as the cleaning thing goes, I’m with you! Although I just started a new thing that works for me! I have tasks divided into days (like today – Tuesday is kitchen day – making sure the kitchen is clean and counters, small appliances are wiped down and hand-wash only dishes are done – oh and dishes caught up in general…) and on the day I focus on that room/ set of tasks. The next day I move on – EVEN IF I did nothing the day before. I also have it laminated and check things off so I know the next week if something (who am I kidding, I know what tasks) did not get done the week before. It has given me focus to get things done and not ‘squirrel’ from one thing to another but never get anything done.

    Good luck with the weight loss and live more challenge. I wish you luck. The last thought I wanted to share is something I read in a PCOS diet book (one of the best diets I’ve found for me since I have PCOS). It is that we are too hard on ourselves, if we slip up, we need to not hold it against ourselves. Eating dessert tonight should not make me feel so guilty that I don’t eat well tomorrow. In the book they mention a weight loss registry and the people who have lost weight aren’t people who have slipped up, it is those who slip up but continue to try… It is a great mindset to get into – I made a mistake, but I can still do this! Going along with that is one of the best things I’ve heard with diets is the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. You only have to eat healthy/well/according to the diet 80 or 90% of the time and the other 20 or 10% doesn’t matter. Give yourself a break ;).
    And good luck!

  10. Laurie says

    Maybe some new tunes or a running buddy will help pass the time as your distance increases. (Wish we lived closer so I could run with you, buddy). Also, July and August are hot and muggy… I know I am not too motivated to run then. Maybe September will be just what you need to get back on track. Hang in there, and be proud of all of your accomplishments, both big and small!!

  11. says

    Kristen, it’s like you are writing my story. I just signed up for the challenge. Perfect timing, cause I totally failed my current weight loss plan (that started today), but I am NOT going to let one little hiccup deter me from finishing this time! Oh, and now I am going to take a nice stroll to the store and buy myself some flowers. Thank you for this!! :)

  12. says

    Hey, friend. Here’s how I look at it. Life changes on a daily basis and seasons come and go. Even with goals, they change like the wind. You’re staying true to so many things that are important in life. I could go on and on about how I admire you, one being the wonderful Mama you are! Thanks for being authentic and real, and I highly recommend all of Brene Brown’s books. They are fantastic! XOXOX

  13. says

    You are pretty much speaking my mind right now. I’m in a similar situation, as I’m training for a marathon. I’ve run for 15 years and absolutely love it – done a bunch of half marathons and probably well over 100 races. I’ve truly loved getting out each day and moving my body this way, until I now have to move it way more than I want to. I feel totally burnt out and my passion has turned to something I just don’t want to do. The good news is, is that this will pass. It really will. You will have one random long run that you actually feel good for and finish feeling strong, and all of a sudden you will back on board. {This is at least what I’m telling myself} Keep pushing and your running mojo will pop up at some point!

  14. says

    Love your post because I can so relate! I have set a goal of running a half marathon before I turn 40 and I just turned 38 this year so I keep saying I have lots of time, but of course, we know how that goes! Even if I have to crawl across the finish line, I WILL do it and you can too! :)

  15. Barbi says

    It’s so sad how us women are so hard on each other, always comparing, always thinking that the other persons life is so awesome and ours isn’t. In reality they’re probably feeling just like us. Once you really have someone you can trust and share with you find this out. We really need to learn to respect each other and try to be positive and not try to constantly out best each other. Unfortunately, my mom was raised by a perfectionist and passed it on to me. I know I’m my own worst enemy and could use a few positive friends out there. I bet alot of you feel that way. Kristen thank-you for opening up about yourself , I’m sure it wasn’t that easy to do. And thanks for starting this dialogue.
    My very best to you.


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