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Looking to increase my confidence...

Well let me start by saying that I used to be very overweight several years ago. I have lost most of it and have really increased my fitness levels. I work out 6 days a week for between one to two hours (depending on whether I'm doing weights that day in addition to cardio) Anyway, I've increased my speeds on my treadmill and do a lot of high intensity interval training and really mix it up alot. I'm thinking I'm doing really well especially when I thought I could never even run a mile.
So now that you have the background info, here's my issue and I really need help! We did a health and wellness challenge at work and I was the champion because I work out so much. Due to this, one of my co-workers that I'm "friends" with but not really (you know what I mean I think... ) came into my office the other day telling me he's looking for a 4th member to join a team to do a mud run. This run consists of 4 miles through a woodsy type setting in which they water down the course, in between you do all types of things like scale walls, crawl on your stomach in the mud under netting, run through waist high muddy water etc. It's really just for fun and he made it sound fun so I was excited about it and the fact that he brought it up to me. Well, I told him I definately wanted to do it, I think it was because I had a good workout day that day and I was feeling pretty high on myself. I do more than 4 miles every day on the treadmill but it's all interval type training, not usually straight out running the entire time. That night I went outside to run in the woods and OMG it is so much harder than running on the treadmill, even with the incline. I got so winded and could really feel my muscles. NOW, I'm getting nervous that I won't be able to do this, especially because I won't have my MP3 music to rev me up and because I could hear how labored my breathing was. When I work out I regularly use my MP3 to motivate me and rev me up so I don't hear the breathing! (Obviously, I can't have the player with me on the mud run! ) Here I was thinking this would be a great way to build my confidence regarding my new fitness levels and all but I'm thinking I might have to find an excuse to chicken out. I keep thinking of myself as the fat girl and starting to doubt that my work outs are really intense enough.
If you were me, what would you do? How would you train for this? What can I do to increase my confidence level in myself and be able to laugh about this and have fun with it instead of fearing it? Oy, what did I get myself into?!?!?
By the way, the run is on 5/3, that's only about 3 weeks away...
Thanks for any comments that can help! Sorry about the LONG post!

Fri. Apr 18, 3:36pm

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Congratulations! You've accomplished so much! You've gained so much since losing all that weight - don't let fear keep you from getting out there!

First, in those kinds of events you won't need your MP3. The energy and excitement of the event will carry you along! Anyone who has run a race can tell you.

You have three weeks. Do your runs outside and just concentrate on one mile at a time. Maybe even try intervals during your runs - 8 minutes of running, 1 minute walk, repeat until you're done with your 4 miles. It sounds silly and counterintuitive, but this can actually increase your endurance from the get go. I was training for a marathon and was freaking out that 7 miles was killing me. The next week for my 8 mile run, I tried this interval stuff and was amazed at how 'easy' those 8, and later 18, miles felt. I even did it during the marathon and while people were 'tsk'ing me 1 mile in, I was passing them at mile 13! And it increased my speed significantly for my 4 mile work out runs. So, you could try that.

You can do this. You've got a good base and it's not a small leap to get there.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 3:50 PM

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The intervals are really going to help you. I would intensify your workouts during the week - do intervals one day and endurance the next. Really challenge yourself - it's only for 3 weeks right? You can take it! Train one weekend day in the woods and then take sun off to rest.

I would keep training with the mp3 player. In fact mix it up and put some more and less intense music in your playlist. Don't worry so much about the event because when that happens you'll have other people there, there will be the adrenaline of the competition, and I think you be surprised to find the music would distract you.

And above all - have fun!!! Look at this as a way to challenge yourself in the short term and no matter what keep your sense of humor. Everyone likes a good sport. :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008, 3:52 PM

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Op here, thanks so much for the comments. So, according to both of you I'm doing what I should be doing with the intervals? I was just afraid that if I stopped running during the race and did some interval type fast walking that they would think I'm a wimp but I get your point about then being able to speed back up. I also started doing what you suggested, today I ran the full 4 miles on the treadmill WITHOUT intervals but after the first two miles I stopped to weight train for an hour then got back on and finished the other two. Tomorrow will be interval out in the woods then the next day will be trying to do the straight 4 (for endurance) on the treadmill but I'm only doing it at 5 mph. Am I totally over estimating my abilities with this kind of work out?
when I do interval training I usually do about 4.4 mph for my fast walk and up to 6.5 for mu running but it's only for about 3 to 5 minutes each. Will that still help me?
I REALLY want to have fun and come out of my shell with this thing, I am tired of being self concious of my abilities!

Friday, April 18, 2008, 4:08 PM

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You'll do great! Change that tape in your head that asks, "Can I do this?" to "I can and WILL do this!"

I'm excited for you, OP!!

Friday, April 18, 2008, 4:23 PM

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Thanks guys, I'm needing all the encouragement I can get!!

Friday, April 18, 2008, 4:43 PM

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I just ran my first 5K training only on the treadmill - and i wish i would have run at least some outside. you have three weeks...get outside! run trails, roads, etc.
If you have good cardiovascular fitness you will be fine, you just have to get your legs used to being on different surfaces and unpredictable inclines.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 4:56 PM

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Like Nike says, "Just Do IT"
You will have another accomplishment to add to your list.
You may find yourself looking forward to next year's event.
You will survive and be able to be a role model for others!
You can do it!

Friday, April 18, 2008, 5:19 PM

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You're all right! I CAN do it! I also decided I'm going to sign up for more of these things, including 5 K runs so that I can continue to challenge myself and build my confidence. Here's hoping!!
Thanks so much for all of the encouragement and tips!

Saturday, April 19, 2008, 11:17 AM

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Just a couple of weeks ago I raced in a 5K for the first time -- where one can't use an mp3 player. (Well, people did, but they get disqualified.) I hated it! I hated every minute of it without my music!! BUT I ran a much faster time than I had in training, and came in second in my division. :-)

It's just a totally different experience -- not so enjoyable during the race as a regular workout is, but much more satisfaction afterward.

Saturday, April 19, 2008, 12:00 PM

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