Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Bet -- Day 1

Yes, I've been MIA for the past two weeks, but vacation and homework can do that to you. But I'm coming back with a vengeance, and I've decided to blog a personal experience over the next month or two. Yes, that's right--you get a daily view into Gstdog's life.

The reason? I took a very stupid bet. I have a friend that challenges me with ridiculous bets almost every time I'm out with him. You know the type--rather than using persuasive arguments or facts to convince your opponent, you throw out a bet in the hopes to make him back down. This is basically the equivalent of a bully that would actually get his ass kicked if he ever really picked a fight.

Anyway, day after day of stupid comments, I couldn't take it any more and just ignore him. I folded and took a bet without really considering the implications. What's the bet you ask? To run a 5-minute mile by the end of July. Was it a stupid bet, yes. But I'm willing to put that past me. Is it a stupid goal? Of course not. In fact, it's actually a rather good activity to keep me busy for the summer.

The first question is how many people can do this? Are we talking 5% of the US population or 1%? Maybe a better question is how many people are capable of doing this? When I was in high school, I was able to run a 6-minute mile in my sleep, but never really pressed to see how fast I could do a mile. Maybe I'll do some research later and find out.

The second question is can I feasibly run that fast while still staying in control of my bodily motions. Yesterday morning I decided to get a read on the situation--I hit the treadmill, punched in the 12 mph pace, and was off.

The first quarter mile was all good news. I was running with good control, and my head wasn't jerking all over the pace. Breathing was okay, and the legs felt great. This filled me with a lot of optimism--I can run at that pace. The only question is for how long?

The second quarter mile answered that question for me. I could feel the old ticker starting to pound a way, and realized I wasn't going to win anything today. So I pushed back on the throttle and brought it back to 10 mph. I had a lot of work ahead of me to build me endurance, and killing myself today could be painful tomorrow. Still, I finished the first half-mile in 2:45--15 seconds off the pace, but a promising statistic for someone who hasn't run more than 2 miles in a week in over 12 months.

The last half-mile was a lesson in reality, that I am indeed out of shape. I finished the mile in 6:20, which is over a minute off from where I wanted to be. So, can I shave off over a minute in 4 weeks? Maybe not, but I sure as hell am going to try. Even if I lose the bet, I'd still like to hit my target by August or September.

So, time to create a plan. I need to do 3 things:

1.) Build my aerobic endurance

2.) Build up my tolerance for lactic acid

3.) Get leaner (i.e., lose weight)

Starting tomorrow, I'll give regular updates on my progress. As well, I'll fill you in on my training plan. Trust me--those three steps above are not my own idea. There is a lot of great research and anecdotes about how to get in shape for a mile-run.

Also, I'm planning on adding a side bet--that I can out race my friend. No reason to go through all this training, only to walk away a "loser" if I run a 5:08 minute mile. I'd like to challenge him to train as well and see who can do better. Should be fun!

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