admissions: on cupcakes and training

Last Friday as I was gathering up Zoe’s lunch and jacket and urging her to get her shoes on and trying to locate her water bottle that’s always missing, I stopped in the middle of the living room and groaned. Dammit.

What’s wrong? Christian asked. And I explained that since Sunday was Zoe’s birthday, today would be the logical day for her to take cupcakes to school to celebrate, and in my usual last minute haste to plan her party for Saturday, I had completely failed to plan for this. (If you know me well, you should not be surprised. If I am anything, it is NOT on the ball.)

So go to HEB and get some cupcakes, he said. And then I was all, Yeah I COULD, but that’s so boring, and I like to make them, and and and… Because I really do. I don’t keep the neatest house and I don’t take them on the grandest of adventures, but dammit, I will always make their birthday treats in whatever theme they want.

And then he was all, Dude. Have you seen your schedule lately? You need to take something off your plate. Pick up some damn cupcakes on the way to school and be done with it.

So we did, and Zoe carefully surveyed the choices and settled on a container of red, blue, and green frosted cupcakes because I don’t think the boys will want those pink and purple ones. And that was that. While I would have loved to have made pretty cupcakes for her class with my killer buttercream frosting, it was kind of a relief to just spend $6 and grab a 12-pack that someone else slaved over.


I have pretty much decided to give up on my half marathon training. I’m not giving up on running, but like those cupcakes, I had to take something off my plate. A lot of things are different this time around from the last time I trained for a half. My kids’ schedules are different (although more accommodating than last time). I’m completely out of shape from being our of commission for almost a year. We’re working on Listen to Your Mother.

But the biggest change is my attitude.

After my last grumpy running post, everyone came out in droves to lift me up and admit that at some point in just about every single run, there’s a point where you want to say “Eff this.” But my attitude towards my training in general has been negative and riddled with apathy and anger. It’s not self-doubt, because I’ve done this before, so I know my body can do it with the proper training.

It’s that I just don’t care.

My knee started hurting a couple of weeks ago, and after a run on Friday that should have been 7 miles, but ended up just shy of 6 (with tears!), it hasn’t really stopped hurting. My longer runs have all put me in a really bad place mentally. Like, not just that hard and challenging struggles that come with training. Pure hatred. I don’t ever feel properly prepared. I can’t hit my stride, ever. While I’m grateful that my back is well enough that I can run, I’m not enjoying this in the least.

When I was out on that 7 mile run that ended up just shy of 6 (don’t forget the tears!), I threw an internal hissy fit. I vowed to not only give up on the half marathon training, but to also quit the ambassador program and throw myself a big, fat pity party, preferably with donuts, because I am a failure. Then about a quarter mile later, I told myself I was probably being a wee bit overdramatic, and realized I could just step down a notch and run the 10k and not have to turn in my ambassador badge just yet. And then I felt I could breathe again.

I have a hard time quitting things. I wouldn’t say that I normally overextend myself, but when I commit to something, giving up is rarely an option, and I beat myself up over it if I do.

But this time I felt such relief.

Seems that just like the cupcakes, I just need to take something off my plate. Running should be an activity that helps relieve stress, but right now, sticking to a training schedule is just causing more of it. I feel like it’s a waste of time and energy to continue to push something that I am truly hating. I want to be at a point where I get grumpy if I DON’T run, but it’s not coming. So I’ll run the Zooma 10k, and I’ll probably run the Cap10k right after that. If I continue to run with some consistency over the next few weeks, I will be fine for that distance, and I can just aim to improve my time. I have my eye on the 3M half marathon next January.

I’ll run for fitness and for fun, to blow off some steam and to challenge myself when I’m ready. But right now I’m perfectly fine saying I quit. Kind of.

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  1. Yeah, this is a lesson all moms need to learn and remember — we take on too many spinning plates and think we can squeeze in just ‘one more thing’ and then eventually have a meltdown because eventually something has to give (usually our sanity).
    After years of doing half-marathons and such, I am right there with you about the long distance running. Over 6 miles is just not fun anymore — it bores me, kills my right knee, makes my left hip hurt, and it’s just not enjoyable anymore. So after the last half marathon as I hobbled into the finish line angry and in pain, I decided that was my last one. Ever.
    And since I took the pressure off of myself for that, I’ve been much happier and found other fitness stuff I could really get into (calisthenics) to push myself. All my friends sign up and run 15 races a year, and now I don’t really feel like I ‘have’ to join them.
    It’s so true that if you close one door, another one opens’.
    Give yourself a break and ‘listen to your body, mother’! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I think for now, I will be happy with my shorter distances. Can’t wait to run with you this summer!

  2. Good for you — and I mean that. Baking, running, working out . . . there should be some level of stress – you want to do a good job, you want to get better, you want an end result, and that will add stress.

    But, there should be enjoyment, as well.

    If it looks like there isn’t enjoyment? Why bother?

    1. Thanks so much, John. I know that we runners like to encourage each other as much as possible, but it’s nice to hear that it’s okay to quit if I wasn’t feeling it. 🙂

  3. “For everything there is a season.” I always hated who told me this when I lamented about life. But having been where you are about other things (and certainly not running), I can say that it is true. We all beat ourselves up about quitting at times, but there’s something freeing about giving up something that just isn’t working right now, even if it’s something you’ve always done. There are other opportunities around the corner for bigger and better things.

  4. I’m glad that taking something off your plate was a relief and helped you to see things in a new light. I know what you mean about sticking with commitments, but sometimes we just have to reevaluate if things aren’t working for us, right?

    1. And I get so blinded by the commitment, that sometimes it’s hard for me to see that it’s not working. :/

  5. The fact that you felt relief means, YAY for the right decision. When something that is supposed to bring you joy is just bringing stress (and tears,) it’s too much, you know? I love that you are honest about it; I used to read a lot of training type things when I first started running, and I actually think it makes you a fabulous ambassador to say, “It’s not the right time for this,” instead of all the things I read that made it seem like quitting or stepping back was a failure.

    1. YES. And it felt really good to get it off my chest. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else tell you it’s okay to quit, you know?

  6. I’m proud of you for knowing your limits! And for your husband for giving you some slack too. And you’re not quitting, you’re downsizing. 😉 xo

  7. I’m so glad you posted this. I have been feeling like a huge slacker jerk for not pushing myself more and resigning myself to the 10k. No more.

    1. You know, I always try my best to be supportive of those who think they can’t run a half marathon by saying all you have to do is train. But I really wasn’t expecting to have this mental roadblock myself, so now I get it.

  8. I can completely relate to the full plate…and then I seem like I go out and find a bigger plate because I can cram more stuff on it. Sometimes you just have to stop and put stuff in perspective. Bakery cupcakes are the new “bar” at our house, too!

  9. Sounds like a wise move. Good for you! Another neat trick if you’re ever feeling bad that you don’t have time to bake cupcakes is to buy the store kind, put them on your own plate, and let everyone assume you made them yourself. So I’ve heard.

  10. I decided a while back that while I want to do an activity that will help me get fit and stay fit, running absolutely cannot be one of those activities. Despite the running I’ve done before. I just hate it. I don’t want to put my shoes on and put one foot in front of the other really quickly.

    It feels good to say that. Life is too short to do the things you don’t enjoy.

  11. Quitting is hard. And you’re not quitting. You are just changing in a way that will make you happier. Cupcakes (store bought) for all! Love you.

  12. I always say I want to get into running and then I try it and I get bored with it or get irritated because my back, knees and hips hate the pounding.

    So I opt for some other form of exercise. I don’t see it as quitting, you are just choosing something else that suits you better at this point in time.

  13. Maybe you are comparing your now running self to your last running self and beating yourself up because it is not the same? Regardless, if you are not enjoying it one bit and you felt some relief committing to the 10K, then that is the right thing for you right now. Maybe you need to run with me : )…..

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