For a refresher - you may want to re-read this: Proposition Wager
Back when the prop bet was made, the race up in Gaffney was scheduled for July 10th. Sometime between then and now, they rescheduled the race to July 17th. This was bad. My family and I made vacation plans for that week and now I'd have to find another race. Research began.
Apparently, 10K races are not very common. 5K's are a dime a dozen, yet 10K's are few and far between. The nearest 10K I could find was taking place up in Brevard, NC, not known for its flat country roads. Still, they had a race scheduled on May 29th and July 3rd. Nothing in the prop bet stipulated that I couldn't run a race earlier than July 10th, nor did it limit me to the number of tries. I decided I was going to try to finish my end of the bargain earlier than anticipated.
I was leery. I input the race map into the mapmyrun website and this is what I found:
If you click the "show elevation" checkbox, you'll notice that the end of the race has about .6 or .7 miles with 2 and 3% grades. Upwards. Ouch. Most, if not all, of my training was on rather flat areas, like a treadmill set to 0% incline. I figured if I could get to mile 4 by 32 or 33 minutes, I'd have a shot. Undeterred, I registered for the race and paced my training accordingly.
It was difficult. I began running last June, but mainly just for cardiovascular activity purposes. Constant speed, no variation in tempo, just boring running. Luckily, as I mentioned in my original post, I had a secret weapon.
The beauty of this blogger community is that even though we've all been basically introduced to each other via poker, there are many experts and enthusiasts in many fields. And most everyone is willing to give advice when asked. I called upon the PokerPeaker for assistance and he was more than happy to lend a helping hand with some training advice.
So beginning in January, I followed it as best as I could. There was some slight variation, based mainly on my 42-year old knees and their ability to withstand pounding punishment, but I kept at it. That was what I felt was my edge in this wager. Some people may call it discipline, but fellow Taurus' know the truth. Stubbornness. A blatant disregard for obstacles in your way.
G-Rob lost about 30 pounds in the first 6-weeks. He talked trash. I didn't care. This was a 6 month bet and I'd seen him lose that type of weight before. I remember my first run at an accelerated pace - a form of interval training known as a fartlek - I ran three 2-minute stretches at a 7:30 minute per mile pace. I was exhausted afterwards. My face was red and my legs were burning. According to my running log, that was on January 10th. My last week of training, I did 4 5-minute intervals at that pace. And I felt pretty good afterwards. Regardless of how race day ended up, I was coming out of this bet in much better shape. That alone was worth it to me.
The weekend before the race, G-Rob effectively conceded. He plateaued and then had a vasectomy. That took some of the pressure off, but in all honesty, I still wanted to successfully complete my end badly. Perhaps some of you also remember this:
The guy I lost that bet to is our Monday Night poker game dealer, Broc. I bet $100 I could beat him in a 75-yd dash, then fell and fractured my wrist, not my finest moment. This past January, Broc parlayed another $100 wager with me and G-Rob that we'd both fail our end of the prop bet. If we both didn't hit our goals, we'd each owe Broc $100 even though we wouldn't have to pay each other. But if we both made it, he'd owe each of us $50. If one of us made it, he'd owe that person $100. That also motivated me. I wanted my $100 back.
I went to bed early every night last week. I passed up a poker game last Thursday with two former NFL 1000-yd running backs, one a Heisman Trophy winner. I woke up at 5am alone and in the dark on Saturday and drove 90 minutes to the race. Then I ran.
As Daddy would say, "Crush." 11th place, 47:53 time, 7:53 per mile pace. Even with the hills.