Last week, my workmates bet me (an unfit chump) the princely sum of £500 that I couldn't run a 10 kilometre race in under 70 minutes.
£500 I thought... "That's a lot of money, think of all the fags and booze you can buy with that".
Of course I naively said yes and took the bet, without really considering what I was letting myself in for. It wasn't until my first training run the other night that I realised exactly how pitifully out of shape I am. Or indeed exactly how far 10 kilometres is. And that I should probably start saving the £500 I'm going to have to cough up, when I fail.
The basis for my self-doubt is the fact that I've been a smoker for nearly half of my life. I'm also partial to a bit of beige food and I enjoy a drink. A lifestyle, I think you'll agree, not really conducive with a the sport of running.
Sure, I can skateboard for hours on end and I can do 20 miles on my bike without too much trouble, so I am active and I'm not overweight or anything. But I haven't run any kind of distance for a long time. Not since being made to do the dreaded cross-country in school. I hated it and I hated being forced into doing it. And that instilled a fear in me – a fear of running and a fear of failing at running, which lives with me to this day. So I never ran again.
But £500 is a good motivator. It's just the kick up the backside I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle. To quit smoking, eat healthier, to forget all the negative crap and just run.
So if you seen a thin, wheezy man trudging around the streets of West Wales, in what look like shoes of lead, don't be alarmed, It's just me... training for my 10K.
I'll be uploading my progress over the next few months, with stories, photos, disappointing stats and maybe a video or two. I welcome your comments, tips and mickey-taking. So please feel free to chip in. Thanks.