A prearranged, formal combat between two persons, usually fought to settle a point of honor.

In other words:  a DUEL. Running Buddy has agreed to my semi-crazy plan—a track showdown. I’m so giddy with excitement that I’m having trouble framing a proper post. I literally start giggling as I type, and then I lose my train of thought. It borders the ridiculous…particularly coming from someone who has often proclaimed a dislike for the oval. But there’s something about having a plan…where mere days before I was floundering in a sea of antimotivation and disinclination, now I’m determined.

And what a plan! I have 7 weeks to whip myself into—not just any kind of shape—track shape. I’m going to need some speed work, some weight training, some threshold runs. At the end of July, RB and I will be facing off at the All Comers track meet at Furman University.

In college, we were both 10k specialists. I’ve often thought it would have been interesting if we had raced head-to-head back then. Despite being quite different runners (RB’s a little taller, has a little longer stride, and has a few extra gears. I’m not so tall or quick, but I may have a touch more natural endurance.), our personal bests were within 15 seconds of each other. It would have been hard to predict which of us would have come out ahead on a given day.

Unfortunately, RB and I went to schools in different divisions and in different time zones. We never got a chance to compete in our running “prime”…but there’s nothing like a second chance.

The stakes are high. There’s more than bragging rights on the line here. If I win, RB has to watch a movie of my choosing in its entirety. We have very different taste in movies, and I’m not sure she’s made it through a single movie I’ve recommended her. I’m thinking that perhaps a little introduction to “Monty Python” is in order. If she wins (you’re going to like this Jen), I will read the first “Harry Potter” book. I’ve long declared that I would never read any of those books (Sidenote: this decision has nothing to do with the subject matter. I think it’s great that kids are willing to read 400 page books. For no logical reason whatsoever, I just don’t want to get sucked in.), so losing would force me to break a promise to myself. RB is trying to push the stakes even higher—she’d like me to read the whole series—but I’ve warned her that she may come to regret that. If she makes me read a series of books, I’ll make her watch a series of movies. I’m thinking all six “Star Wars” (she hasn’t seen any) or the entire series of “Flying Circus” would suffice.

I’m a little nervous…I could very well lose. I believe my record against her is 1:5, which is disappointing. Scott suggested that I should have picked a longer race, where I’d have more of a chance to wear down her kick.  However, we know that she’s capable of beating me at a marathon, so there goes that theory. I do have a couple of advantages…the first is Scott, who has been called in to make sure I don’t falter in my resolve. He’s highly motivated—not just because he loves a crazy plan as much as I do, but also (I imagine) because he’s been waiting for years for me to give him the green light to help with my training. I emailed him on Friday and requested his help so I could “kick RB’s butt.” “Ok,” he sends back, “but you’re not going to enjoy it until the end.” Ooh, boy. To find a similarly tough coach, I think RB will need to look towards a country in the former Soviet Union. Or…she could probably ask Scott. He’d probably enjoy getting to help make us as evenly matched as possible. It’d just make things that much more interesting. 🙂

Also, with my gym membership I have more access to training facilities than she does. On a wretchedly hot or thunderstorming day, I always have the treadmill option. Of course, to really capitalize on this advantage I’ll have to make sure to actually use said facilities.

So, stay tuned over the next 7 weeks for training reports, trash talk, and hype. What fun!


9 responses

  1. I’ll be honest, I was kind of hoping for a second marathon attempt but this sounds more fun anyway! I’m excited. I wish I could be there for the race. Ooh, have Scotty2Hottie (ha!) film it! Yes, do that!

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