You got this!

I can see the flaws on the surface of the photos above: the wrinkled skin of a woman in her 40s, the bags under the eyes, the very red face…

But mostly I see a woman who is really, really proud of what she has just accomplished.

So I’m letting the joy on my face outshine the heck out of the flaws. Can you see it?

At this point in the Couch to 5K training program (C25K, Week 5 Day 3), they throw a 20-minute jog at you.

I’m not sure why they do this, because the longest run I have completed so far without a walking break is 8 minutes. I did that a couple of days ago on the treadmill without an incline, which I know is much easier for me than taking it outside. But, I thought, 20 minutes? Are you freakin’ kidding me?

This morning, not having gotten up early enough to run before breakfast, I decided to give it a shot mid-morning (God bless a Minnesota August day with 70-degree temps, sunshine and a swift breeze), and I ran for 15 minutes straight. When my calves starting hurting a lot I took a short 2 minute walk break, then went back to running another 3 minutes. And I was more than satisfied. Because it actually wasn’t terribly hard.

Wow! Just five weeks ago I couldn’t run more than 90 seconds without a break, and even that was hard. Now I’m convinced that my calf muscles will catch up in a day or two and I will be doing 20 minutes no problem. And perhaps this is why they throw the 20 minute jog at you? So that you can see that it’s entirely possible.

I haven’t been running in nearly 30 years. Yet I’m doing it.

A few weeks ago my son Jesse (13) noticed that I was headed out for a run and asked if I was excited. I said that I was feeling pretty doubtful because I had to run 5 minutes without any breaks (which at the time was a huge jump in the training). Without hesitation he gave me a big smile and said:

Mom, you got this! You totally got this!

What a boost he gave me.

Today I could hear those words–even the upbeat and confident inflections in his voice–while I ran, and my smile got bigger and bigger as the distance passed.

Hey Jesse, I’m hoping you’ll be there the morning of the race to say it to me one more time.

He’s right. I absolutely, positively “got this,” even if I have to walk part of the 5K when the day comes. Because I’ve already accomplished way more than I thought possible just a couple of months ago.

And I’m grinning from ear to ear.