Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Bet


 I have entered into a bet with my other half.

The bet is simple. That I can get her to the point where she is capable of running a half marathon in 6 months. She can't run a 5K yet.

About Me

I am what I would think of as "normal". But my parents are unsure of where I get my drive to exercise, my other half seems to see my as some sort of superman, often using words like "inspirational" and "incredible".

Truth be told, I am not a superman, I'm just a guy who happens to do a little bit of running on the side. I've run in a couple of 5Ks, a 10K, a couple of super sprint triathlons (if you're curious, it wasn't quite a super sprint, it was a 400m swim, a 20km ride and a 5km run) and a sprint triathlon (Usual distances).

I do not think of my self as particularly sporty, I'm between 56kg and 58kg depending on when I last ate, and I stand about 1.8m tall.

My History

When I was quite young, I swam. I swam a lot, I got my "honors" badge for swimming before I was in year 7, meaning I swam something like 1km in 40 mins, and in that same session, I extended it to 1.5km to get my 1.5km badge. Nothing like two birds with one stone. I eventually went on to swim for my city in my age group for a year or two, but eventually stopped when I went into senior school. At the time I thought I would be getting lots of homework, but looking back, I really don't know why I stopped -- I knew I wasn't the sort of person to actually do my homework.

Outside of that, I didn't really do sport, and I certainly didn't run. Even doing the breaststroke gave me issues with my knees. At school, we were made to do rugby and cross country running, where my knees were a serious issue. A bad tackle could cause my knee to dislocate, meaning that I'd be stuck squelching in the muddy ground clutching my leg until taken somewhere so that I could fix my knee. It was unpleasant. Cross country running was better, but it caused my knees to hurt a lot, so I ran very slowly. Slower than the over weight guys with asthma.

When I made it to sixth form, we were allowed to choose a sport. I chose badminton, which I knew I'd excel at from doing PE in previous years. I did do very well, often taking on the teacher and actually managing to put up a not-unreasonable fight, but always eventually losing. It was rare for me to lose to my peers.

After that, I went to university, I mostly stopped doing anything sport related in my first year, but my my second year, I'd been invited to come along to a pole exercise session, which I wasn't entirely awful at! I ended up performing at the university "woodstock", and teaching for a couple of years, so I didn't do too badly out of it.

Once I left university, I kept teaching at pole, but also took up running and entered a few triathlons. They were good fun, to say the least! After a couple of triathlons, I joined up with the Jitsu club and promptly put my back out.

After a year and a bit recovery, I was back on the mat, and back to running, but with not nearly as much dedication as I had before. I intend to go back to pole sooner or later, but I don't know when.

The Bet

While in the kitchen with my partner the other evening, our conversation turned to exercise. My other half does not consider herself sporty at all. I made the passing comment that if she gave herself over to me, I could probably have her running a marathon with around 6 months of dedicated training.

Obviously, she didn't believe me, and after a bit of cajoling and back and forth, we entered into a bet that I could have her running a half marathon in 6 months.

I've never run a half marathon, in training or otherwise, but I know what it, theoretically, takes to get there. I like a challenge.

My partner has a large mitigating factor that we need to deal with. She has quite a serious anxiety disorder, meaning that panic attacks in public, and extreme self consciousness are two of our biggest hurdles. Without that, I'd say us just agreeing to stop would be our biggest hurdle. She can do the running, she just doesn't believe that she can.

The First Run

The first run started out more difficult, since letting her keep pace and running side-by-side is quite difficult, especially since I have much longer legs, my natural pace is a bit higher than hers, so I started to pull away, leading to me upsetting her, with her saying that I was leaving her behind,

After she was warmed up, and I kept running a pace or two behind to make sure I was matching her pace, we managed to keep the run going, by simply running for 2 lamp-posts' distance, and then walking the same amount. She even said that while walking she was feeling lazy, because we weren't running!

Unfortunately, during the walk part of our run, a vicar, cheerfully invited us to worship with his parish. I thought that it was a lovely gesture, but he wouldn't be doing so if he knew what I thought about his god. I politely declined, keeping my cool and walking straight on. We would have to run back that way. We did another run section shortly afterwards, and turned round. After a brief walk, we were about to set off again with more running, but I needed to help my other half not freak out about being "Jesus at" if I could so verb my nouns. We got past this, and ran straight past the vicar with no offers of Jesus or other religious figures being politely sent our way.

When it came for the last run, I said that she should run for as long as she could. Before I could finish my sentence, I'd caused a panic attack, what I'd wanted to say was that, between where we where and home, she should run as much of it as she comfortably could, then walk the rest.

Once we'd managed to fix the panic attack, say the right words, we got back on our way. She managed to run all but about 5 meters of the rest of the distance back home (proving to me, but not to her, I think) that she can run for longer than she thinks.

I'm looking forwards to running more with my partner.

Tools of the Trade

We both have Fitocracy for logging our exercise, and our diet is quite simple. We're on our way to being vegetarian, and we explicitly avoid foods that are very high in carbohydrates. I'm looking at you pasta and rice. I think a plant-based diet will really help us in this.

Combined with these blogs and our fitocracy, we should be able to plot our course when we look back at this.

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