This will come as a shock to no one, but I tend to overcomplicate things. I do it in every aspect of my life – parenting, training, nutrition, cooking – everything. I usually do not get caught up in the planning phase, as I am definitely one who takes action but, I maybe take too much action and end up confused, exhausted and right back where I started.

ARE YOU

A serial commenter on this blog, Gianna at Run, Lift, Repeat, wrote something that really struck me, after she read my piece on nutrition:

“…firmly believe we make things too complicated. On the running front I am happy that I was SO clueless when I first started distance running – my first halves (and current 3 year old PR) were all basically running start to finish no fuel/water. Now everyone is all you have to have x amount every x mins or you will die. I think we fail ourselves in just learning how to be in tune with your body.”

Lightbulb.

Now, obviously there are a lot of things I have learned since my first half-marathon that have been very helpful but, other then the right running shoes, sports bra, some water and fuel, there isn’t much else to it. However, a quick Google search will reveal you in fact need nine pieces of gear before stepping foot outside for a cold weather run:

winter-running-gear-in_fe

I love gear as much as the next runner but honestly, the only “essential” gear is this:

REAL WINTERRUNNINGESSENTIALS

Plus running shoes, of course! And Jess at Race, Pace, Jess just wrote this great article on Essential Running Gear That You Already Have for womensrunning.com. Great minds.

This started me thinking about what else I overcomplicate…

TRAINING

The Task: 

Train for a half marathon

My Overcomplicated Solution:

  1. Select or create a training program (this will take at least 2 hours)
  2. Talk to several friends and coerce them to do it too, think about not doing it if I’m going to have to run alone, blog about it many times over (obviously!)
  3. Plan out when I will need new running shoes so I can properly break them in prior to race day, schedule “buy new running shoes!” on my calendar.
  4. Plot out all long runs the night before or morning of and curse every hilly route I don’t want to take. Wonder why I didn’t plan this out two days prior but do the same thing the following week…and the week after…and the week after. End up running the same routes and thinking “that wasn’t so bad” afterward.
  5. Decide I need new x and y and z even though I already have at least two of each
  6. Realize halfway though training I haven’t done enough speed, distance and/or strength work
  7. Pile ALL of those on and get injured
  8. Run through the injury because the race is only two weeks away and I’ll be tapering soon anyway, and “taper” is exactly like rehabbing an injury.
  9. Dissect all my meals starting five days out from race day, obsess over how much sleep I need the night before, bring extra pairs of everything (including pins for my bib!) and lay out two different outfit choices in case the weather suddenly changes in the 20 minute period in which I am not checking it.
  10. Run the damn race.

The Simple Solution:

  1. Sign up for a race
  2. Train appropriately
  3. Run the race
  4. Hang out afterward and have fun and a beer
  5. Post pictures to all social media outlets, write blog post recap

Of course I don’t do all of those things to overcomplicate my training but, you get the idea. I’m pretty sure I have done all of them at one time or another and then, when race day comes, everything works out smoothly. In fact, in the hundred races or so that I have completed in my career, I have yet to not start or finish one. Still, I can drive myself crazy in the process.

meme

PARENTING

The Task: 

Have the boys write legibly in kindergarten.

My Overcomplicated Solution:

  1. Freak out because something is obviously seriously wrong with their cognitive function since everyone else in their class has perfect penmanship. I know this after the Valentine holiday when mine are the only ones the children did not write themselves.
  2. Google everything about how to get your five year-old to write legibly.
  3. Sit them down each and every night and force them to write their names, the alphabet, numbers, anything that someone may be remotely able to identify on paper.
  4. They are miserable.
  5. I am miserable.
  6. Have conference with their teacher who says it’s perfectly normal but obviously did not see everyone else’s Valentine cards and knows nothing about teaching because I do.
  7. By the end of Kindergarten, one of my boys can sort of write his name and the other just furiously scribbles and/or puts letters in no particular order all over the page and declares it a sentence.
  8. I consider having them text everything they need to “write” for the rest of their lives. Who writes anything anymore anyway? Pffff

The Simple Solution:

  1. Do not compare my kids to anyone else’s and for God sake do not Google it!
  2. Create fun ways to work with them on handwriting for a few minutes at a time, a few days a week.
  3. Wait six months.

Unfortunately this is mostly a true story. I freaked out about how horrible their handwriting was last year, and now? Let’s just say, this Valentine’s Day I won’t be writing any of them out! Now, of course their writing is still far from perfect but I also see that it’s no big deal. Every skill I’ve agonized over since they were born has been attained in due time. I have absolutely learned to relax more where their learning is concerned and have found a pretty good balance…for now.

36-funniest-and-hilarious-parenting-memes-34

EATING

This is a big one. It’s hard enough to choose, shop and prepare meals on a daily basis but, when I factor in my training, talk to my coach and now a nutritionist, I start to wonder if all this is really necessary.

Then, I read this article from Melissa Burton’s Facebook page and realized that some people have completely gone off the deep end where food is concerned and I immediately felt a lot better about my nutrition “obsession.”

How Hollywood’s Favorite Juice Bar Owner Eats Everyday | Elle | Interview with Amanda Chantal Bacon

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.32.42 PM

Just so you get a taste (ha!) for the ridiculousness of this woman:

“At 8am, I had a warm, morning chi drink on my way to the school drop off, drunk in the car! It contains more than 25 grams of plant protein, thanks to vanilla mushroom protein and stone ground almond butter, and also has the super endocrine, brain, immunity, and libido- boosting powers of Brain Dustcordycepsreishimaca, and Shilajit resin. I throw ho shou wuand pearl in as part of my beauty regime. I chase it with three quinton shots for mineralization and two lipospheric vitamin B-complex packets for energy.”

Brain dust. The woman is eating brain dust. I don’t think my Big Y carries that. Clearly a note in the suggestion box is in order! And, the irony of her last name being “Bacon” is lost on no one.

Ok, back to reality…

The Task:

Plan family dinners for the week.

My Overcomplicated Solution:

  1. Start thinking about what I want to eat this week vs what the boys will eat. My husband will eat anything.
  2. Keep thinking about it. Consider going with the same meals I always make because “I don’t have time!”
  3. Browse Pinterest and realize I cannot actually make the 25 things I just pinned.
  4. Tell Alexa my grocery list. Yes, she is my robot companion.
  5. Fail to plan enough time for grocery shopping and run around the store trying not to forget anything essential, never mind all the grandiose ideas I had for dinners.
  6. Make all the usuals for the week and go out/order out, at least twice.
  7. Feelings of failure permeate meals like a cheap spice

The Simple Solution

  1. Make meal planning a real priority if in fact it is one. < – – spoiler alert – it’s not!
  2. Eat real food, and have boys at least try what we are eating before feeding them chicken, pasta or pizza again.
  3. Only pin things and do not attempt to actually make them, like everyone else does on Pinterest.
  4. Enjoy your food, whatever it is, and be happy for the health and love of the people you are eating it with.

And it’s just that simple.

Oh and add wine…

[Tweet “Are you overcomplicating things like #exercise, #parenting and #nutrition? Stop that! Read this!”]

 

What do you overcomplicate?

Had you seen/read the Elle article?

Do you have a minimalist approach to running and racing?

 

 

 

 

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