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A non-runner's guide - from sofa to Palestine in 14 weeks

So yeah, I decided to do a half marathon. It's not particularly far and it feels like most of my mates have done it (starting ages ago as well). A former colleague of mine even ran 100km. In one stretch. So yeah, a half marathon is a baby step in comparison but somehow, to me, it feels HUGE and like an impossible feat to conquer. Probably because I never did any exercise as a kid and I always hated running in PE. Remember when you had to do the 3k run or whatever it was as a 12-.year-old? Worst day of my life. Essentially thought I was going to die.

Things have improved since, but only marginally. A few years back when I had little money but heaps of time I ran 6k every morning, and combined with cardio classes at the gym every afternoon I suddenly got abs I never knew I had. I still never really liked running, though.

And I still don't think I do. The reason why I've gotten on the wagon (that I'm pretty determined to jump right back off after the half marathon) is because I feel a need to structure my excercising, and the Palestine marathon is brilliant in its concept. It's attempting to shed some light on the fact that it's impossible to run a full marathon on the West Bank because of the Israeli checkpoints, so the marathon is run in two laps along the exact same stretch - through two refugee settlements and along the wall separating Palestinians from their land and each other. If I was ever gonna do a half marathon, it'd be this.

Me and my cinnamon bun baby, week 1 of training

Me and my cinnamon bun baby, week 1 of training

Last week (Christmas week, that is) was my first week of training. I've signed up using the Nike+ running app which customises training plans according to your current fitness levels. So far it's working surprisingly well, but it did tell me I was going to think that in the first week - apparently there's some sort of "fuck all this crap"-wall in week 4 - I'll make sure to keep you all up to date ;-)

The plan so far is not to finish the race at a certain speed, or even to raise the full £350 for The Said Foundation. It's basically to get through the race and to motivate myself to read more about Palestine and plan a trip to OPT and Israel for the race. The plan is also to document the training in the blog (see right for a photo from week 1). Finally, the plan is to show my 12-year-old self that it's possible to run and have fun. I mean, I hope. I take it I'll find that one out over the next 13 weeks.