I have a secret.

I’ve been working on a secret project for a few months now, and only a few people know about it. I’m very near the completion of said project, and I had planned on revealing my secret  with a most glorious blog post. In fact, most of it is already written, just sitting in my Drafts folder waiting to be published.

On Friday, I felt super confident about my project…cocky even, if I’m being honest.

And then on Saturday, to put it bluntly, I got my ass handed to me and my confidence came crashing to the ground in a spectacular display of FAILURE.

My secret? I have completed Weeks 1-8 of the Couch to 5k program. It’s all been treadmill, but still I was thrilled.

My failure? Read on my friends, read on…

For the last four years, the Couch to 5k program has been my Everest. I’ve started the program many times, but only ever made it as far as Day 1 of Week 5. For some reason, I never could get over that hump of Week 5 and the fear of the 20 minute run.

But back in November, I remembered there is a 5k race that I want to run in March. So I dusted off my treadmill, found my mp3 player and downloaded some C25k podcasts and began AGAIN. For some reason, this time something just clicked and before I knew it, I was waking up at 5am and running consistently 3 days a week. I had nearly completed Week 8 and while  it wasn’t always easy,  I could run over 2miles on my treadmill. ON MY TREADMILL – that part’s important to remember.

So since the 5k I want to run is a month away, I thought it might be a good idea to, you know, run on  ground that doesn’t move beneath me. I knew it would be different than running on a treadmill and wanted to get used to that before the race. Saturday morning, since it was 20 degrees outside, I headed up to the local rec center to use the inside walking/jogging track. It’s pretty small (10x around = 1 mile) and there were quite a few people using it, but I didn’t mind. I put in my ear buds, turned on my music, and started what was supposed to be Day 3 of Week 8 which is a 28 minute run. I nodded knowingly to the other runners and began my run.

I started off and right away I knew I was in over my head. This actual propelling-myself-forward-on-my-own-feet thing was ONE THOUSAND PERCENT HARDER than I had anticipated. Sweet Mother of Running, what the heck was going on?? I couldn’t find my pace, I couldn’t get my breathing right, my calves were screaming at me, and my feet were not happy about this new development.

After what seemed like forever, I glanced at my watch to see how long I had been going. Four minutes. Four minutes and 25 seconds. That’s how long I lasted before I had to slow down and walk. On my treadmill, I could do 28 minutes. On the ground, I barely lasted four freaking minutes.

(Insert crushing defeat here)

I walked for a bit and then tried to run again, in fact I tried several times to keep running, but honestly I was already done. My confidence had hit the wall and there was no getting it back. I was shattered. I mean, I knew it would be harder…I did…but I had no idea that it would be quite that different. I finally gave up  and left the track with my head hung low.

I came home and all Shawn had to say was “how was your run?” to get the tears flowing. Disappointed, frustrated, astonished – I was all of those things. I cried hard and told Shawn all about it, and I gotta give the man credit – he said all of the right things. He told me he was proud of me and that I shouldn’t give up, among other things. His words were exactly what I needed to hear, but I’m still sad.

I wanted more than anything, to be able to RUN this race. I wanted to be able to confidently say, “Yes, these chunky thighs can run 3miles!!”  I know there’s no shame in taking walk breaks, but this is a goal I had that I *thought* I would meet. Now I feel like I need to start over at the beginning, and there’s just no time.

I was scheduled to run again this morning, but I’m mad at running right now. I want to finish this last week of C25k , but does it really matter now? Does it even count? (This is where I stamp my foot and kick the wall and cross my arms and pout like a little kid. This is exactly how I feel today, and if I wasn’t at work, I would totally do all those things)

I know logically that even running on the treadmill is a big accomplishment for me – and each time I complete a run, I feel amazing. I’ll probably try to run on the treadmill on Tuesday and Thursday, and then maybe give it another shot on Saturday – it’s supposed to be warmer, so maybe I’ll head outside to the park and give it another go.  Maybe a humble attitude will make a difference.

I’ve got 3 more Saturdays that I can run outside before the race. I don’t know if this will give me enough time to get used to it. I’m not going to back out of the race, but I will be going into it a little less excited and a lot more wary.

Believe me, this is not the post I wanted to write today, but I feel like I need to get it out of my system before I can trudge forward into Week 9 – if there is a Week 9. Running and I might still not be speaking tomorrow, I’ll have to let you know.