Friday, September 27, 2013

The "Little Things" That Get in Our Way

What do you think about during the day?

It's amazing to me how much I think each day about "little things".

I enjoy and relish the simple joys in life.

  • Relaxing with a great cup of coffee on the front porch
  • Trying a new eye shadow or lipstick
  • Snuggling with one of my kitties
  • Reading one of my favorite blogs, Real Simple, Women's Running, or Food Network Magazine
  • Cooking a nice dinner for B and me
  • Treasure hunting at TJ Maxx or Home Goods
  • A new "How I Met Your Mother" episode

I'm sure the list could go on and on. I enjoy these simple moments. A lot. I realize this isn't exactly "Lifestyles of the On-the-Go and Fabulous".

This is 30, people.

On the flip side, I let those annoying, nagging little things get the best of me, too.

  • When my hair won't do what I want it to do
  • When I'm making a recipe and I run out of eggs (or some crucial grocery item), requiring a special trip to the grocery store
  • When I'm already pressed for time and I spill my coffee all over the place
  • When I'm ready to go home but realize I'm almost out of gas and have to stop
  • When I realize the heels on my pumps are clicky-clacking and I need to have them re-soled (as is the case right now...eesh)
  • When B is on the computer instead of helping me with dishes or other task at home
Sadly, this list could go on and on, too. Yes, I am the QUEEN of first world problems!!! I'm not proud of it. These are not problems. Minor annoyances at best. There are people who have REAL problems. And no, I'm of course not immune to real problems either. I've had my share of hardships over the years. But these are not problems.

But what if - just go with me here - I focused my energy from little things to bigger, more important things?

Case in point:

As I've mentioned, over the last few weeks, I've gotten past my failed attempts to PR on a 5K, and I've rededicated myself to training. I'm focusing on training consistently and enjoying running again. I'm even considering running the CrossKnox 15K at the end of October. So far, it has been going great! I've increased to a more moderate, healthy level of calories to fuel my running. I've gotten new shoes to hopefully correct some heel pain I've been having. I've had more energy and felt better while running than I have in weeks!

This Saturday morning, I had a 5 mile run on my schedule. We were meeting our RunKNOX group, as well as a larger community training group. Despite the recent progress I've been making, I woke up feeling negative. Why?

  • It was pouring the rain. Not just rain, monsoon. Some streets (on our route) flooded later that day. I expected an arc to float by.
  • My headphones were broken. You expect me to run without music?!
  • Despite the fact that my new shoes have great heel cushioning, they aren't broken in and already gave me a blister.
  • I'm frustrated that I haven't been losing weight lately or gotten faster lately. I had this negative feeling of "Why am I even doing this?"

Yep, the little things have come into play. I was whiny and didn't even want to go that morning. B's response to me was simple.

Well, I'm going. If you want to go, come with me. If you don't, don't.

Leave it to B to give me straight talk. I'm an adult, and it's really not his job to convince me to do this.

Plus, he knows that the best way to kill a drama queen is to starve her need for attention. Touche, B.

And with that said, I quickly got ready and went with him.

And what happened?

Once I got there, it was fine! It was great to see my running friends and coaches. I accepted the fact that I would just have to have a great run despite the rain and no music. I felt energetic again and great while running, despite the rain. I found humor in the absurdity of being soaking wet while running. I ran a 2 mile easy warm-up, them 3 miles at a more moderate pace (11:20 min/mi) than I usually run. I finished the 5 miles under an hour, which is good for me!

And then a light bulb went off.

I almost let minor annoyances stand in the way of a great run and a stepping stone to bigger running goals!

What other little things are standing in my way of achieving big things?

  • What if I didn't procrastinate annoying errands and my life felt more together?
  • Although I do budget, what if I spent less money on makeup, clothes, etc and saved for a vacation?
  • What if I didn't let little things stress me out and I could mentally focus on my goals?
  • What if I just put a teensy little bit of more effort into my workouts, blogging, relationships, etc?
I would probably be shocked at the results.

Since that run, I've made a point to really push myself closer to my limits in my workouts. I did extra speed intervals in my following run on Tuesday. During our core class yesterday, I got uber-competitive with myself and did exercises in the circuit faster and faster.

It got intense. I may have scared my workout partner. Sorry!

Maybe there's something to this idea of putting in just a little more effort!

Do the little things ever bother you? How do you work through them?


PS - As I shared on Facebook and Twitter last week, I'm trying a new topic/theme based format for my Fitness Friday posts. My goal is to provide fun, inspiration, and relevant information in a simpler way than an entire weekly run down of my workouts. Let me know what you think!

See what others around the web are doing with these great fitness communities:

Coffee & macarons

I was not compensated by any of the above organizations for this post, nor are they affiliated with this blog. I am simply sharing my honest opinions and experiences. The views expressed in this article are solely my own. Also, I'm not a health or fitness professional of any kind. See my  Terms and Conditions page. Title graphic from Flickr user blmiers2 using Creative Commons license.

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  1. that saturday rain made for awful running conditions, but you've gotta feel a little badass getting it done. :)

  2. Great post! I will admit that I struggle with letting little things bother me. It is something I am working on, but I really have to make a conscious effort. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget how small our problems really are!

    Miss Adventures in Running

    1. It really is so easy. I have to remind myself to step out of my box, or I'll get wrapped up in myself!

  3. Good for you getting out there even though it was raining and you didn't have music! Honestly, I might have just stayed home. You're an inspiration!

    1. Haha, I didn't feel inspired or inspiring that day, but thank you! :) Sometimes just getting out the door is an accomplishment.

  4. I always think 'oh maybe I'll just stay in' when it rains but when I do go out I find that I really enjoy the runs. I mean, I'm going to get all sweaty anyway so the rain shouldn't matter that much. Although, torrential rain is a bit much. I may have skipped that one!

    1. Haha, I didn't know just how bad it was raining until later!

  5. I think this is tough for us all, we forget to enjoy the little things in life that are so important but dwell on other small things that don't matter in the long run. I am trying to be better at staying in the moment and enjoying where I am.

    1. I am in the same boat. I spend so much time worrying about little things related to work or relationships, when 99% of the time those problems resolve themselves. Instead, we should enjoy life!

  6. I think we all tend to let little things bog us down. I have to be so careful about that. The good news is I'm getting better! Great running story!

  7. Little things bother me all the time - as you saw in my last blog post - you and I have a lot in common when it comes to that pre race anxiety, and most of what goes into that is little things! I'm impressed that your hubby was able to get you out the door with what he said. My boyfriend will say that exact thing and it won't motivate me at all. Haha

    Good on you for getting out there and doing it though. All those little things were things that would keep a lot of people from doing anything and you did it! That's the hardest part really, is getting out the door. :)

    1. Yes, we tend to have a lot of similarities in how we deal with running stress/anxiety!

      Haha - when B said that, I knew that it was all on me and I'd have only me to blame if I didn't go! Deciding to go really was the hardest part.

      Hang in there and I hope you find recovery! I'm still blown away by your half-marathon PR!

  8. This was a great post and I am sure a lot of us can relate...the monkey brain can really get me, it was nice to read how you sorted through it! Darlynn@ The Little Blog Dress.

  9. Isn't it amazing how you things are so much easier as soon as you see your running buddies? Way to get out there IN THE RAIN! You rock!

    1. Yes! I love seeing running friends! I get out of my own head and start having fun! Thank you!:)

  10. My curly hair misbehaving can really start my day off on the wrong foot too.

  11. my tough mudder event taught me a lot. one obstacle i really wanted to complete is called Everest (where you run up a half pipe and clear it) and i totally bombed, even after FOUR tries. i was so upset at first but then i realized that i'm doing one of the toughest events out there and so what if i failed this ONE obstacle? there's always next year!!

    and that quote it right -- ONE bad thing won't ruin it all; you focus on the victories - big or small - and just keep pushing on.

    Vodka and Soda

  12. Boy do I ever! I've been thinking about you and your sub-30 5k time goal lately. I made my marathon time goal public, and I think that (for me!) was not a good idea. I'm good at working toward goals and accomplishing them QUIETLY, when nobody is looking. When I feel like everybody is watching? Evidently, I'm not so good. Too much pressure :)

  13. I love this so most and can relate to so many things. Thank you for the reminder(s) very timely for me! :-)