This past Saturday was the Big Day, the day I was supposed to run for 20 minutes straight. I had several reservations about this, not the least of which was the fact that the most I had run before that was 8 minutes. How was I supposed to go from running 8 minutes at a time to 20 minutes at a time? I was starting to think the “brilliant” people who thought up Couch to 5k were a teensy wee bit crazy.
That morning, I was contemplating the likelihood of my completing the running session, and my husband Stephen decided to become my very own personal trainer.
“Are you going to do it?” he asks.
“I think so,” I said meekly.
“Don’t just think you will. Do you know you will?”
“I am going to try,” I countered, not any more assured.
“Don’t try, DO IT!”
I think he was channeling Jillian Michaels.
Stephen accompanied me to the park so he could run with me, which made me very happy. It was a cool day, but the sun was shining and the birds were chirping, and I felt great, much better than I did when I did the second run of week 5. We start the warm-up walk, Stephen holding my water bottle (aww), and then it’s time for the Big One, the 20-minute run. He started off alongside me, but after a minute or two I left him in the dust. (Yes, that’s right, I’m in better shape than my skinny husband!) I tried to focus on my breathing and my pace, not wanting to push myself too much so I could finish strong. Occasionally I looked behind me to see where Stephen was, but after a while I couldn’t see him anymore. I hoped he hadn’t passed out. Hehe. I kept running, feeling strong, feeling proud. I didn’t look at my watch until 6 minutes in! I thought of Tara, a contestant on the Biggest Loser who has more tenacity than almost anyone I’ve ever seen, and I remembered how she and the other contestants ran a half-marathon after being on the ranch for something like 10 weeks. If they could do that, surely I could manage 20 minutes.
Another 7 minutes passed, and I was beyond the halfway point. I had run longer than I had ever run before at that point. I told myself that if I could do 13 minutes, there was no reason I couldn’t do 7 more. I kept a fairly steady pace, enjoying the weather and the nature (I know, cheesy), and then before I knew it I was down to 2 minutes, and then it was done!
I RAN FOR 20 MINUTES! (Yes, I’m aware I’m shouting at you, but that’s just how excited I am.) It was amazing. I felt amazing after it was over, like I had just scaled Mt. Everest (yeah, right). Tears sprung to my eyes as I thought about where I was just five short weeks ago, struggling to get through a mere 60 or 90 seconds of running. Now anything seemed possible, including the 5k coming up on May 9. If I can run for 20 minutes, there’s no way I can’t run for 30!
Saturday was a turning point for me in my running; now I feel like I truly am becoming a runner and will be able to make running a regular part of my fitness routine. Today I did day 1 of week 6, and it was a breeze. I’m not even all that nervous about the 25 minutes I have to run on day 3 of this week (mind you, I didn’t say I wasn’t nervous at ALL, just not that nervous). I NEVER thought I would be a runner. I always thought I just wasn’t one of those people. Now I’m on my way to being someone I never thought possible.
I’m so proud of what I have accomplished; I think I will be more proud of finishing that 5k than I am of having lost 66 pounds. I have learned that the only true limits I have are the ones I put on myself, and I have to push past my negative thinking and simply focus on giving my everything to what I do.
I’m on my way to a 5k, baby!