Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Day 40 - Busy times "off the pitch".

I had my fitness assessment yesterday afternoon (pictured) and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The most meaningful figures to the man in the street are of course weight and body fat. Well, I'm pleased to report that during the course of the run I lost over 2 stone. I went from 17 stone 1 pound to 14 stone 12 pounds. Considering I was 17 stone 8 pounds in January then this is some loss indeed! I can't remember the last time I was 14 stone anything. I think it was perhaps 1998, just before I went on a 3 week drinking holiday to Australia with my mate Adam!

My body fat percentage was 27% at the start of the run. Amazingly, this is now down to 19%! That's an 8% loss in body fat. In January, this figure was 35%! That's a whopping loss of 16% body fat in 8 months. The likes of this have surely not been seen since Mick Quinn was on Celebrity Fat Club.

There were improvements for figures concerned with lung function, blood pressure, resting heart rate and cardiovascular condition (V02). The V02 score was in the highest range and according to the assessment report "compares well with sample scores of international athletes". With respect, I think this must be referring to Brendan Foster as he is now!

Never mind all those meaningless stats though. I had a press up record to beat. The previous PB was 20 in a minute, achieved 2 days before the run started. I made a good start with the press ups and after the 10th one remembered to breath! With 5 seconds left I managed 21 in total before collapsing in a heap on the floor. What a victory! Almost as good as getting to Lands End! I managed a 40 minute session in the gym afterwards to celebrate.

Earlier on yesterday I spoke to the BBC Tyne website and they will be putting an article on the BBC Tyne website soon. It was cliches all the way! I'll post a link to the article when I have it.

I also had some correspondence with the justgiving website who want me to attend a "superuser" group. The idea is to find out if there is any advice that could be passed on to the larger justgiving.com community, resulting in everyone being more successful. There was also mention of me being the justgiving.com fundraiser of the month. This is great news as it attracts a £50 donation to the fund.

This morning, I spoke to Paul Tully who is the editor of the Newcastle United matchday programme. He seemed like a smashing bloke and was full of congratulation. There'll be an article about my run in this Saturday's Aston Villa programme.

I've been racking my brains to try and remember how many times I've been in the programme over the years. As far as I can remember the first time was when I, how can I put it, decided to take annual leave from school. It was January 1986 and the pitch at St James Park was full of snow. Me and my mate, Mark Huck, turned up to help clear the pitch after hearing an appeal on Metro Radio. It was a brilliant day. We must have cleared 10 square feet of pitch and I remember getting free fish and chips as a reward. A group of us had our photo taken and it subsequently appeared in the programme. The Spurs game the next day was still called off mind. The highlight of the day was getting hit by Derek Wright with a shovel full of snow.

The next appearance was in the 1992/1993 season. Again, me and my mate Mark Huck, were part of a photo that showed a huge section of the Gallowgate End. It was the first game of that promotion season against Southend and the photo appeared in the next programme. I think Mark's brother Neil and our friends Dan Tweedy, James Tweedy and Graham Robertson can all be seen in the photo.

My final known appearance was in 2002/2003 where I did an interview for a Football Aid match that I'd previously played in. The match itself was back in May 2002 and I wore the number 9 shirt. It cost me £1000 and my missus went off it when she found out what I'd done with the housekeeping! Now the following might not be entirely accurate but you know how it is! Peter Beardsley was my strike partner wearing the number 8 shirt. Manager Bob Moncur led us to a 5 - 2 win. The game seemed to pass by really quickly and I remember dragging a centre half away and Beardo ran into the space I'd made and scored a trademark sidefoot goal. I scored a belting header at the Leazes End that Sir Les would have been proud of. Unfortunately, it was during the pre match warm up!

I did an interview for Sky Sports News the following May and photos of this appeared in the programme. The interview involved me doing keepy uppies with Peter Beardsley and John Carver
at the side of the pitch. Peter did about 10 and so did John before I wellied the ball into the Milburn Stand! HAVE IT!!!!!

Moments later, Sir Bobby Robson arrived to do an interview. He was a patron of the Football Aid charity. After the interview I got to talk to him for 5 minutes. He took one look at me and said "Did you manage to last the whole 90 minutes?". We then talked about my Mam's Uncle - Charlie Wayman. Charlie played for Newcastle in the forties and was a prolific little goal scorer. Bobby remembered lots about him and it was great to talk to one of the finest men I'm ever likely to meet.