Monday, 29 December 2008

2008 - Year end thoughts (Part 1).

2008 was another good year for fundraising with the sum of £2,601 handed over to The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013) in respect of The Pennine Challenge. Thanks to the team who accompanied me on a 44 mile bike ride and 22 mile run through the harsh terrain of the North Pennines, this took the overall total raised since I began fundraising to over £51,000. Brilliant!

2008 was also the year in which I started training for the 3100 mile run across the USA in 2011. More importantly though, 2008 was the year where the real building blocks started to be put in place to give me the best possible chance of succeeding in the USA. And what exactly do I mean by success?

Success will obviously be managing to finish the run in 1 piece in the 100 days that I've planned to do it in. The next campaign will also be considered a success if I manage to raise a considerable amount of money for St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013). 

The fundraising target is a very ambitious £50,000. At the time of writing there is £1395 worth of pledges on the board. That's not bad at all given that the run is still over 2 years away! I'd like to think that by the end of 2009 that figure will have nudged close to £5000. To help me achieve this I'll be continuing to sell Run Geordie Run t-shirts, selling the places in the "3000 scheme" as well as asking for conventional pledges. Also, thanks to Geordie band "The Exiles", there'll be a couple of charity songs for sale/download too. I saw the 2nd draft of lyrics back in October for the 2 songs. Both songs were superb to say the least! I can't wait to hear what they sound like when put to music.

The t-shirts are selling very well indeed with all proceeds going to the 2 charities. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of Brian Wells (design), (production), Peter McCowie (production costs) and David Fairlamb (erm......well David twisted a few arms).

The first few places in the "3000 scheme" have been taken up too. It is my hope that I'll be able to dedicate each mile of the run to a lost loved one. Please click the link at the right hand side of the page for further details.

As you can probably tell, I'm getting a "little help from my friends" with the organisation and support of this run. I'll talk more about that in part 2 as well as the plans for 2009.

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 8

Monday 22nd December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 27th December - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 27th December - 5 x run up the steps. (00:12:30).
Saturday 27th December - 5 x run up the Priory bank. (00:11:05).
Saturday 27th December - 6 mile run, Tynemouth, pier, Fish Quay and back. (00:58:34).

Sunday, 21 December 2008

A very good week of training.

Week 7 of training for the big run in the USA has me thinking that I'm currently well ahead of where I need to be with 2.5 years of training left. Not only that but I'm continuing to develop a whole new level of mental toughness. This is going to be essential to get me through the thousands of miles that I need to do between now and August 2011.

Thankfully, the chest infection I had last week is a thing of the past. This week saw me bounce back with some good running and average minute per mile times coming down to below 9 minutes. I enjoyed a cracking Beach Bootcamp session on Saturday and what I can only describe as the best steps session to date afterwards. I ran 9 times up the steps in King Edwards Bay with a lot less recovery time in between each one. The burn levels were nowhere near as bad as previous weeks and Dave Fairlamb agreed at the end that this was the best attempt yet at what is a difficult explosive style session that gets my heart rate near the red zone every time! It should have been 10 times up the steps but Dave said that if I could beat a passing female jogger who was running up them (with a good head start) then I could drop one.

This week's steps session drew the largest team of people ever to attempt it since I've been doing it. Each person took it in turn to accompany me on each attempt. The encouragement and support from each one of them was brilliant as ever. At the end, my legs were a bit shaky but that didn't stop me from doing a 5 mile run from Tynemouth Beach to Spanish City and back. It was slow on the way out with a toilet stop at the lake (the toilet's at the lake not the lake itself by the way!). I got just past Spanish City when my GPS watch read 2.5 miles. I was much quicker on the way back with the last 2 miles around the 9 minute mark. It was one of those runs where I felt I could have gone on for loads more miles. All in all, it was a very good couple of hours of exercise. The plan now is for a run to become part of the Saturday morning routine after Bootcamp and the steps. There is no festive rest and the next session is this weekend. 6 miles will be on the cards this time. I might be running to Blyth and back by the time the Summer comes!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 7

Monday 15th December - 6 mile run, Town Moor. (00:53:34).
Tuesday 16th December - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:44:30).
Tuesday 16th December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 16th December - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Thursday 18th December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 20th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 20th December - 9 x run up the steps. (00:22:08).
Saturday 20th December - 5 mile run, Tynemouth to Whitley Bay and back. (00:51:20).

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 6

Monday 8th December - 5.2 mile run. (00:52:40).
Monday 8th December - 4.8 mile run. (00:49:43).
Tuesday 9th December - 5 mile run. (01:02:12).
Thursday 10th December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 13th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 13th December - 7 x run up the steps. (00:14:12).

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The 3000 scheme

Running 3100 miles across the USA is a massive undertaking. Just like the 2007 run from John O'Groats to Lands End, I'll be running in memory of lost family members such as my parents Margery and Terry and my brother David. 

I don't want the dedication to lost loved ones to stop there, however. I want to open up this event to as many people as I can. Apart from the obvious effects of raising 10's of thousands of pounds for the 2 charities, it is my sincere hope that this run will have as far reaching an effect as possible and will serve to inspire and to give hope and comfort to as many people as possible. I know from the 1000's of emails I've received over the last 18 months, just how much last year's run and the cause I was running for meant to all of those people who got in touch. It soon became apparent that for every 1 runner like me, there are thousands of stories of great loss but usually great inspiration also.

It is my hope that 3000 miles of the run from California to New York in 2011 will be dedicated to the memory of a lost loved one. I will create a register on this site of all of the names and provide space for a comment or dedication to be left if the recipient wishes. These people will be in my thoughts as I run each mile and I will most certainly hope to draw on the dedications left for inspiration as well as running in their memory. There will be a nominal cost of £2 for each mile. It will be the recipients choice whether this will go to St Benedict's Hospice or The Children's Foundation.

If you would like to have a mile of the USA run in 2011 dedicated to the memory of someone please follow these steps:

1) Pay £2 by visiting either for St Benedict's Hospice or for The Children's Foundation. The choice is yours as to which charity to donate to.

2) Email with the following details:

a) Your name or family name.
b) The name of the person I'll be running in memory of.
c) A dedication and/or some information about the person I'll be running in memory of.
d) A picture of the person I'll be running in memory of. 
e) Whether you'd be happy for me to include some or all of the above details in a register on this website and if you'd be happy to have the person's name mentioned on this site during the run. You can supply as much or as little information as you would like.

Hopefully, all miles will be dedicated but one thing is fore sure, it will be an honour and a privilege to run in the memory of all of those people who are sadly no longer with us.

Friday, 12 December 2008

100% profit for charities!

Thanks to the generosity of Peter McCowie, who has offered to foot the bill for production costs, the entire proceeds from the first batch of t-shirts will be split between St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation! Superb!

I've just met Peter recently at the Beach Bootcamp sessions on a Saturday but he is no stranger to the cause. Peter was one of the sponsors of last year's run, finding out about the event via

The t-shirts are being printed today and I'd like to say a massive thank you to Peter, David Fairlamb, and Brian Wells for their help.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Chest infection!

I was 10 miles into this week's 50 mile schedule when a nasty chest infection took hold. I still had a go at yesterday's 5 mile run but it was a useless attempt. I managed to do 1 mile on the very icy paths of Gosforth. The cold caused a bit of pain in my chest and throat so I did the last 4 miles on the treadmill in the gym.

I seemed to have very little energy so the whole 5 miles took over an hour to complete. It was only when I had a sauna at the end of the session that the pain went.

I'm listening to my body today and therefore won't be doing the planned 10 miles. Hopefully, I'll be running again by the weekend though. It's been a long while since a chest infection has caused me to rest up. Given, the icy cold conditions I've been running in recently perhaps this was inevitable. I can't wait for the Summer!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 5

Monday 1st December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 2nd December - Personal Training Session. (01:15:00). 
Wednesday 3rd December - 7 mile run, Race Course Forest. (01:07:40).
Thursday 4th December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Thursday 4th December - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Saturday 6th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:50:00).
Saturday 6th December - 10 x run up the steps. (00:25:13).

Brilliant t-shirt news!

I received the t-shirt artwork from designer, Brian Wells, today. To say I'm pleased with the design is an understatement! I'm also pleased to report that I've taken pre-orders for almost all of this first batch of t-shirts. The sales from these will yield over £300 for the 2 charities. I'll keep you posted with news of exactly when they become available to buy and how to pay for them.I don't think it's too far off now. In the meantime, check this awesome artwork out.



Fatboy getting slimmer!

I had a body composition test this week with Mark Fleming and I must admit I was dreading it beforehand! Despite giving up booze, takeaways and bacon sarnies I think there is still room for improvement in my diet. It's going to take time but I'm definitely heading in the right direction. 

Anyway, imagine my delight when I found out I'd lost 6 pounds of fat this month! That's 12.5 pounds of fat lost since pre-training began in September! I've also gained 1.75 pounds of muscle this month and that's almost 3 pounds gained since September. My metabolic age (in simple terms, that's the age your body thinks it is) was  down to 45 from 52! Excellent! I'm getting younger! There were also noticeable improvements in other areas such as total body water and the Visceral Fat Rating (fat around major organs) was down to 9.  

According to Wikipedia "Visceral fat, also known as organ fat or intra-abdominal fat, is located inside the peritoneal cavity, packed in between internal organs. An excess of visceral fat leads to the "pot belly" or "beer belly" effect, in which the abdomen protrudes excessively".

Wikipedia also has the following to say about the "Sit Ups Myth" - "There is a common misconception that spot exercise (that is, exercising a specific muscle or location of the body) most effectively burns fat at the desired location, but this is not the case. Spot exercise is beneficial for building specific muscles, but it has little effect on fat in that area of the body, or on the body's distribution of body fat. The same thing applies to sit-ups and belly fat. Sit-ups and other abdominal exercises are useful in building the abdominal muscles, but they have little effect on the adipose tissue located there. In order to burn fat, one must take part in aerobic exercises.". Hmmm.... Very interesting!

All in all it was a pleasing set of stats and proves to me that the first 4 weeks of USA 2011 training have been a success.  The real challenge is going to be to follow that up this month, next month and every month for the next 3 years!

Pushed to the limit!

There seems to be a lot of "the toughest" ever this, that and the other at the moment. This label isn't something I'm just casually associating with a workout that I happen to find difficult. It is testament, I think, to how hard I'm pushing myself and more importantly how hard I'm being pushed by others. Namely, David Fairlamb and Mark Fleming.

Yesterday's Beach Bootcamp (pictured in simple form) made use of a different part of Tynemouth to previous weeks with the very scenic Priory providing the backdrop to a session that included 3 miles of running (at various speeds) and a tough arms session. Apart from the bikinis and hot weather, the whole thing reminded me of something you'd see on Aerobics Oz Style! You couldn't get a more perfect setting for a nice wintry workout!

The steps session at the end of Beach Bootcamp, aided by the now traditional posse of Bootcampers, left me in such a state. And I mean a right old state! I was as white as a sheet according to Mark Fleming. I just lay there in the freezing cold with legs feeling like jelly and a very sickly feeling in my stomach. It was like nothing I had experienced before. In fact I've never even come close to this in any Marathon, long distance run or gym class. That was after 8 sets! This week David said that we would be doing 10 sets! After the 8th, I muttered those not often muttered words - "I can't do any more"! I was half expecting a reply along the lines of "Ok, you've done well with those 8, we'll leave it there.". However, I don't think this is ever going to be the way things are done with David and Mark so set 9 was done with jelly legs and a sickly stomach and the promise that I could take as long as I wanted before setting off on the 10th. A couple of minutes rest was needed before setting off on the 10th. I was like Shakin Stevens on the way down to start the final set! Without too much pause for thought I started the final set. When I got to the top, I didn't know whether I should pass out, be sick, cry or just fall asleep on the top step! It was a good 3 or 4 minutes before I was able to walk again.

It took me the full day to recover from the steps! Not physically though! I found myself emotionally drained from the whole thing! I think David and Mark are starting to learn a lot about me and what I'm capable of. I've certainly learned a lot about them. They both demand nothing less than 100%. This is proper training this is!

Monday, 1 December 2008

More t-shirt details!

I've been getting more t-shirt details from the designer today and we have decided to go for a screen printed finish. This method is far more durable than conventional heat transfer and will last much longer without fading. I'll be putting these t-shirts through their paces in the gym and on the road over the coming months so we felt it would be a good idea all round to have a better quality finish.

The front of the t-shirt will feature the RUN GEORDIE RUN logo followed by the words "in aid of" and then the 2 charities logos. The back of the "supporters version" of the t-shirt will have the RUN GEORDIE RUN logo followed by the words "I'm supporting the '3100 mile run in 100 days across the USA, 2011'". The Custom Planet and David Fairlamb Fitness logos will be on each sleeve. I can't wait to see the artwork before it goes to print and rest assured that I'll put it on the blog when I get it.

I'm so pleased that the printer (Custom Planet) have waived the screen setup price (which isn't always cheap), the designer, Brian Wells has not charged for his time and we've settled on a price of £10. This means that £7.70 will be donated to the 2 charities for each t-shirt sold! That's £3.85 to St Benedict's Hospice and the same amount the The Children's Foundation. Brilliant!

In relation to the t-shirts, I received the following email today from a lady named Alyson. It is an important and timely reminder as to why I'm doing all of this and how important the funds that are being raised are to their recipients.

".....we would like a couple of t shirts, we have seen first hand what the charities you are raising funds for can help a child. Our son was born 5 years ago with a rare chromosome deletion and we have just had to rely on charities in making his life more comfortable.. what you are doing is fantastic. keep up the good work, take care and keep healthy.".

Emails to register your interest should be sent to with details of quantity and size. Don't worry, this is not a commitment to buy, but it does help me and the printer gauge the likely quantities and different sizes needed.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

This season's must have!

I'm pleased to announce that a limited number of exclusively designed RUN GEORDIE RUN t-shirts will soon be available to buy. Details are currently being finalised but I'm hoping that after production costs, at least £6 will be split between St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation for each t-shirt purchased.

I haven't seen the final design yet but I can tell you that the RUN GEORDIE RUN logo will feature on front and back. The 2 charities logos will be on the front with details of the 3100 mile run across the USA on the back.

Please get in touch if you are interested in buying this season's "nice to have, all in a good cause, will look dapper in the gym" item. Emails to register your interest should be sent to with details of quantity and size. I anticipate the final cost will be around the £8 mark (plus P&P) with all profits going to the 2 charities. That's all profits by the way. Once production costs have been taken into account, every single penny will be passed to the 2 charities. And while I'm on the subject of production costs, none of this would have been possible without the help of David Fairlamb, Brian Wells and our friends at

So don't forget, to avoid disappointment, please get in touch to register your interest at the address above and I'll let you know when the t-shirts are ready to buy.

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 4

Monday 24th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:43:00).
Monday 24th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:47:56).
Tuesday 25th November - 5 mile run, Shotley Bridge to Ebchester and back. (00:55:09).
Tuesday 25th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:50:10).
Tuesday 25th November - 5 mile run, Shotley Bridge to Leadgate and back. (00:59:15).
Wednesday 26th November - 5.5 mile run, Pets Corner. (00:53:28).
Wednesday 26th November - 4.5 mile run, Gosforth Round the Block and back. (00:45:09).
Thursday 27th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:47:12).
Thursday 27th November - 5 mile run, Gosforth Round the Block and Back. (00:48:59).
Friday 28th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:44:58).
Saturday 29th November - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 29th November - 8 x run up the steps. (00:15:11).

Finishing the week off in some style!

Despite the fact that I'm only 4 weeks into the USA 2011 training schedule, I feel like I've achieved a lot already. I've started to gain a basic level of fitness and endurance and the long process of putting the mental building blocks in place has begun.

Apart from the very cold and hilly 15 miles I did on Tuesday the rest of the week has been quite easy. The week started with a PB for the 5 mile Race Course route (00:43:00) on Monday and finished with the 3rd quickest time this year on the same route on Friday (00:44:58). The times in between varied according to fatigue, temperature and terrain. I was hoping to finish the running week in style and I can most definitely say that, by my standards, I did that very thing.

As I said in an earlier post, I've learned a lot from this week. The main thing is how to fit 50 miles into a week while working full time, doing the school drop offs and pick ups, having some good family time and still leave time to go to the match. I managed all of those things and could quite imagine being able to fit another 20 - 30 miles in per week. Quite how I'm going to add another 50-60 miles to that schedule by next Summer is going to take some planning.

Not only did I finish my running week off in style, I also thought I gave a good effort at Beach Bootcamp and then on the steps at a very cold and icy Tynemouth beach on Saturday morning. I started the 45 minute Bootcamp session quite well and as a result of giving everything I had left I faded a little towards the end. The were a couple of new drills in Bootcamp this week and David made the most of the fact that the tide was way way out. Once the 45 minute session was over it was time once again to tackle the steps 8 times. After 50 miles of running and a tough Bootcamp session, part of me was hoping that the steps, like the rest of Tynemouth, would be covered in ice. We couldn't believe that there wasn't a hint of ice on them. Not a drop!

Fellow "Bootcamper" Dan and I (pictured) led the rest of the group up the steps. There was absolutely no shortage of encouragement and the emphasis was very much on getting the technique right in order to distract from the burn in the legs. The first attempt was quite straight forward. Just like last week, though, there was little time for rest in between each set of steps. The next six sets of steps got more difficult each time and my legs felt more and more like jelly with every step. I think the week's effort had taken it's toll and I didn't quite know how I was going to get the last set in.

Following a very brief moment to gather my thoughts, Dan and I set for the last time, with Ashley and David close behind. Within about 4 steps, I was completely focused on reaching the top. My mind was transported back to the 1/4 mile sprint finish I had on Thursday evening. And what music was playing on the iPod that particular evening? Yep! The Rocky soundtrack! I completely had the frame of mind from Thursday evening and with each step my current surroundings disappeared and I found myself in "The Zone". I love that particular place in my mind. I paid many a visit there on last year's run from John O'Groats to Lands End. Good things usually happen in this place. Take this snippet from 12th July 2007, day 6 - "All I could see were my feet and the immediate bit of grass on which I was running. I wasn't taking in any scenery. I wasn't aware of any oncoming traffic.". You can read all about it here but in a nutshell I'd had a tough 24 miles with 12, 13 and 14 minute miles all day. I finished up in the zone that day with a couple of 9 minute miles and the confidence to take into the following day's Cairngorm challenge.

Anyhow! Back to the fourth flight on the 8th set of steps on Tynemouth beach! It was time to finish things off in style! I simply let loose with every last drop of energy I had and the end result was a canny bit of acceleration. I powered up the steps and I think I surprised a few people, including myself, when I got to the top so quickly. I didn't feel as tired as last week at the end either. The adrenalin was failrly surging around!

I couldn't have finished the week off any better! Thanks must go to the gang for all of the supporting words as each step went by. Now, I think David might have something new planned for next week. There was talk of a new set of steps and a steep decline somewhere. I'll be spending all week, next week pushing myself as much as I can in preparation for that next challenge!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

50 not out!

The final 5 miles of the week which was the 3rd quickest this year took the tally up to a very pleasing 50. I've learned a lot from the week and will be discussing the findings with Mark and David at the earliest opportunity. Now for the highlight of the week - Beach Bootcamp!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

45 done, 5 left for the week.

And yet again I managed 2 more lots of 5 miles. That's 45 for the week so far. I'll be looking to finish the week off in style tomorrow with as much speed as I can muster. But for now it's an early night for me for it promises to be an early start tomorrow. Not for a run though. It's Jack's sixth birthday.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

And another 10!

I moved 10 miles closer to this week's target of 50 today. I'll put a full review on the site on Sunday.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

15 miles on Tough Tuesday.

It was an early start today as I got the first of today's three planned 5 mile runs underway. It was very cold in the Derwent Valley so I made sure I had more layers on than Adrian in Rocky I. After yesterday's PB I felt I had nothing to prove so I set off at a steady pace and the intention was just to make it through the day in 1 piece. I nearly came a cropper though when I skidded on some ice in Ebchester! I managed to do the 5 miles in 00:55:09. The time was irrelevant given the cold, dark and slippy conditions.

The second lot of 5 miles, at lunchtime, proved to be much more difficult. Thankfully, I had Carl Hudson to keep me company and steer me round in a respectable time (00:50:10). My energy levels dropped to rock bottom after the 2nd mile and it was only a very long conversation about food that made the run bearable. Food like sausage rolls, chips and beans from Carricks when I was a kid and the contents of a 10 pence mix up were on the agenda. These days I rarely make the kind of carefully thought out and calculated decisions that I used to when deciding what to have in my 10 pence mix up! It was 10 pence. Not 11 pence or 12 pence. Just 10 pence. You only had 1 shot to get the contents of the mix up right. Would I put a 2 pence chew in there (like a Refresher) or would I go for 4 smaller half pence chews ? Oh the decisions you had to make as an....erm.....7 year old. Anyway, after all of the reminiscing about food the run was over.

But why the lack of energy after 2 miles? I think this morning's porridge simply replaced the energy expended on the 1st run. I had nothing left for the lunchtime run and the deficit showed after 2 miles.

A similar thing happened on the final 5 mile run of the day but the hunger and lack of energy wasn't as severe. I decided to head for the hills on this one where the 1st mile is a steep uphill out of Shotley Bridge. I haven't ran up that hill for a couple of years but it was so much easier than I remember. The final time was nothing to write home about though at 00:59:15.

So that's 15 miles for the day and 25 for the week so far. I'm half way there! It's not only about the mileage though. I've gained some small idea of what training is going to be like on a daily basis from next Summer! Zikes! I've also discovered that the nutritional plan I've stuck to since September will need some adjustment before I undertake a day like today again. Incidentally, I ran 3 lots of 5 miles today to make up for the fact that I won't be able to do 1 of my 2 scheduled 5 mile runs on Friday when it's Jack's sixth Birthday! Thankfully, I'm back to a good old 10 miles tomorrow and then again on Thursday! I'll be aiming to finish the running week off in as much style as is physically possible with the final 5 miles of the week on Friday. Then with a belly full of jelly and ice cream (and probably porridge) I'll be looking for a good effort at Beach Bootcamp. Then, if I manage 8 lots of steps again I may even treat myself to a 10 pence mix up for old time's sake.

Monday, 24 November 2008

A superb start to a 50 mile week!

It's back to basics time this week and the aim is to get 50 miles of running in.  There'll be no room for the gym or any classes as I hit the road in time honoured tradition!

Today saw me run the first 10 of those 50 miles in 2 separate sessions. As I mentioned on Saturday, I've felt a change in the last couple of weeks. The change is in my legs and arms as I really feel like I've got about 10% more power and strength than I had in September. I've started to see proof of this with heavier weights being used in Body Pump, a higher sustained heart rate in Spinning and the ability to cycle up the steep Condercum Road with relative ease! There was further proof at lunchtime today as I beat my previous PB for the 5 mile Race Course route by a second. Today's time was 00:43:00 exactly. The previous PB was set just a couple of weeks after last year's big run from John O'Groats to Lands End. I was in tip top condition then. So given that this is only week 4 of my USA 2011 training schedule, today's PB has served as a massive confidence boost. 

I followed that 5 mile run up with another one after work with about 1/2 mile of it in pitch darkness. I'm taking my torch next time! That didn't stop me from posting a very respectable time of 00:47:56. Even more pleasing is the fact that I managed both of these runs on a bowl of porridge for breakfast and a jacket potato and beans for lunch. And this is another area I'm starting to have more confidence in. Mentors David Fairlamb and Mark Fleming have guided me into eating the right things at the right time. I'm starting to realise that I don't actually need to eat an abundance of food to fuel all of the exercise I'm doing. I reckon my takeaway days are well and truly behind me. I must admit though that I'm looking forward to having a bacon sandwich on Christmas Morning. I know it's a month away but I've been thinking about it for weeks now. I've got it all planned out. Bacon (fried), tinned plum tomatoes and black pudding in a large Greggs Stottie. Great man!

Anyway! (he says giving himself a hearty slap!). There are still 40 miles to get in this week before Beach Bootcamp on Saturday. I doubt there will be any more PB's. As David told me at the weekend, I'm well ahead of where I need to be. If I feel like I need a rest I should take one. There is no sign of needing a rest! Which is just as well as tomorrow is Tough Tuesday and I'll be running 5 miles before work, 5 miles at lunchtime and 5 miles before tea! Bring it on!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - WEEK 3

Monday 17th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:45:45).
Monday 17th November - Spinning. (00:50:00).
Tuesday 18th November - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:48:48).
Tuesday 18th November - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 18th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Thursday 20th November - 5 mile run, Race Course.  (00:45:12).
Thursday 20th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Friday 21st November - 17.7 mile bike ride. (01:38:54).
Friday 21st November - 17 mile bike ride. (02:00:15).
Saturday 22nd November - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 22nd November - 8 x run up the steps at Tynemouth. (00:16:14).

New logo!

What do you make of the new logo at the top of this blog? It's a very professional looking version of the one I designed in the summer. Thanks go to Brian Wells for coming up with the all new and very dashing RUN GEORDIE RUN logo.

This is the final version of the logo and will soon appear on the t-shirts that I train in. So when I'm in the gym, in a class, out running or at Beach Bootcamp I'll be able to effectively spread the word about the run. 

I'm currently working on some ideas to incorporate the logo into a kind of "Supporters of Run Geordie Run" t-shirt. If it's cost effective and a contribution to the 2 charities could be made they would be made available for purchase. Watch this space!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The toughest test yet (until I did the next one)!

I cycled to work in the freezing cold on Friday this week. I was particularly pleased with mile 13 which is a steep climb up Atkinson Road and Condercum Road until West Road. I usually get so far up the road and end up pushing to the top. This week was different however and I used my newly acquired leg strength and power to good effect. This wasn't at all bad for 07:30 in the morning either! 

Speaking of strength and power, I have noticed a change this week. As well as this cycle ride, I've been able to put more effort into the 2 Body Pump classes this week. I'm lifting heavier weights for the majority of tracks in the class. This is very encouraging, given that I'm only in week 3 of training!

Back to the bike ride though and I could not feel my toes by the time I got to work and they were without doubt the coldest 17 miles I'd ever cycled! I didn't realise that 8 hours later I'd be doing an even colder and more difficult ride home! I set off at 17:30 and I didn't feel very well at all. I was sick a few times at the side of the road and it was either the fish from the canteen or a "spare" chicken tikka sandwich from Bow Monkey that set it off. Despite being well wrapped up, I was absolutely freezing and whenever my heart rate got up to a decent level my head started to pound! What a state! 

It took me 2 hours to get home but not once did I think of giving up and ringing Katy for a lift (well maybe once or twice!). I felt far from 100% and the conditions were bordering on dangerous. That bike ride was one of the hardest things I've done this year. 13 hours later, on a snow covered Saturday morning I felt much better and ready for Beach Bootcamp. It was the hardest session out of the 3 I've done so far but as enjoyable as ever. There is always plenty of opportunity to push yourself during the session and with plenty of encouragement from David Fairlamb I tried to go faster or put maximum effort in where I could. I say it every week but the initial 45 minute session flew over and it was soon time to tackle "The Steps"! 8 times again! And once again I was in great company with several of the folk from Beach Bootcamp in attendance.

The first time up the steps was quite straightforward. I felt great at the top! But there was no time for hanging around in the cold so it was straight into the next effort. That was actually a feature of todays steps session. i.e. no recovery time in between efforts. Each effort brought more pain and burn in the legs. I stumbled slightly on effort 6. It was a bit like a boxer who goes down in the first round of a fight! It was a slip rather than a knock out blow! Effort 7 was the most difficult and I hardly had the strength to life my legs to the required height! Every time I even threatened to slow the pace down I felt a tap on my back pushing me on.
Effort 8 required every ounce of concentration, determination and energy I had left to give. The burn on the final few flights of steps was incredible and when I reached the top I fell in a heap. This was no slip! It was a knock out for sure! 

Without doubt those 8 efforts were the hardest thing I've done so far this year. The whole session just about put yesterday's difficult bike ride into the shade in terms of both raw difficulty and the sheer determination needed to succeed. I just need to put in 90 minutes tomorrow to bring this week to a close but it all starts again as soon as Monday!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Hmmmm.....time for a little adjustment!

I'm into the third week of training and while things could hardly be going any better I'm just a little concerned at how little time I've got left in the week to spend with Katy and Jack. Currently, I don't get in until after 7:30pm four nights of the week and this doesn't seem right somehow. So it's time for a rethink!

The first thing I'm going to try next week is to move 2 of the evening workouts to early in the morning! This is a big ask! A really big ask! But with 4 morning school drop offs per week there is an ideal opportunity to get 2 runs in somewhere beforehand. Tuesday evenings will stay the same with the back to back Spinning and Body Pump classes that form part of TOUGH TUESDAY. I think I'll keep Thursday evenings the same too with another Body Pump session. I'm actually starting to feel the benefit of those classes so it's important I stick at them. Friday's will still be a 34 mile round trip to work and back for now and of course I have 5 lunchtimes per week to make use of! I'll see how much more time this gives me with Katy and Jack and if further fine tuning is needed I'll make further changes. I'm sure, though, that it won't need too much adjustment to get the required 12 hours or so of exercise in while leaving enough family time. Quite how I'll manage to get 25 hours per week in by next Summer is something I'll have to really have a good long think about in the coming months. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, this Saturday I'll be taking Jack to Beachkid Bootcamp at Tynemouth Beach. This session, of course, runs alongside the grown up's Beach Bootcamp! He then has tennis in the afternoon! His weekend activities are starting to resemble mine!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - WEEK 2

Monday 10th November - Gym. (00:50:00).
Monday 10th November - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 11th November - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 11th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Thursday 13th November - 5 mile run, Race Course.  (00:45:12)
Thursday 13th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Thursday 13th November - Tennis.  (01:00:00).
Friday 14th November - 17.7 mile bike ride. (01:34:13).
Friday 14th November - 17 mile bike ride. (02:01:11).
Saturday 15th November - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 15th November - 8 x run up the steps at Tynemouth. (00:17:17).

On the Beeb again!

There is a great article over the on the BBC Tyne website about the USA 2011 run.  It's not only a thrill but also a great honour to see news of the next big run on such a high profile site as  News of the up and coming 3000 scheme gets a mention.  More news on that later this week!

The article is bang on and mentions "And running is just part of his training regime so far. It also includes spinning, gym sessions, cycling and the tough-sounding Beach Bootcamp on a Saturday morning at Tynemouth.".

The article can be viewed by clicking here.  I've also added a link to the ever expanding "media links" section on the right hand side of this page.

Thanks go to Rachel Kerr at BBC Tyne for her continued support and publicity.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

More steps in the right direction!

It was once again to sunny Tynemouth Beach this morning for another Beach Bootcamp workout. There was another good crowd in attendance today made up of all kinds of ages and abilities. From the looks of it I reckon there were a few rugby players and a few runners in there as well as the casual keep fit enthusiast.

Just like last week, the 45 minute workout was very enjoyable and I tried to put as much effort in as I could. I must admit that I did feel quite tired at the start due to the effort of the last 48 hours (running, cycling, gym and tennis) but I soon settled into today's routine where the majority of time was spent in the old pool area of the beach. Speaking of the pool I found this little gem of Miss Tyne Tees 1971. The event took place the month and year that I was born. It's well worth a nostalgic look by clicking here.

The time flew over once again, probably due to the varied routines and drills we went through and before I knew it the class had come to an end. The majority of folk left at this point but a few stayed behind to have a crack at the steps in King Edwards Bay (pictured). Now picture that scene out of the Rocky movies. You know! The one where he runs up the famous steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now picture that scene 8 times! Yes, I ran up the steps 8 times! Each time I was accompanied by a different person. Each person pushed me (not literally) all the way. Pictured above is David Fairlamb and myself on the 8th set of steps. I was concentrating on swinging those arms and the rest seemed to fall into place.

There was a definite improvement on last week and I've no doubt that this was down to the fantastic support around me. So thanks go to David, Ashley (who takes Beach Kid Bootcamp) and the other "bootcampers" for their help. Already, I can't wait until next week's session. Based on my experience of the last 2 weeks, for me, it is the icing on the cake. I've grafted for 11 hours this week (gym, running, cycling, tennis, spinning and body pump). It's great to have Beach Bootcamp at the end of it all to look forward to.

And speaking, as I did earlier, about that famous scene from Rocky. Aside from emulating Forrest Gump's epic run across the USA I'd love, one day, to run up those famous steps. Yo Adriannn!!!!!!

The Steps in pictures!

The first attempt!

Accompanied by Ashley on the second attempt.

Probably the last time I managed a smile on the third attempt!

Discussing tactics for the next attempt.

Rocky eat your heart out!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - WEEK 1

Monday 3rd November - Gym. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 4th November - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 4th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Wednesday 5th November - 8.4 mile run, Havannah Nature Reserve.  (01:27:13).
Wednesday 5th November - Tennis.  (01:00:00).
Thursday 6th November - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Friday 7th November - 17.7 mile bike ride. (01:37:13).
Friday 7th November - 17 mile bike ride. (01:54:11).
Saturday 8th November - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 8th November - 8 x run up the steps at Tynemouth. (00:35:00).

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Top training in Tynemouth!

I took part in my first "Beach Bootcamp" today on Tynemouth Beach taken by David Fairlamb. There was a good turnout for the 45 minute session which was made up of various components much like a circuit class. Unlike circuits, however, the surrounding beach environment is used as "apparatus". And I must say that it is used to very good effect indeed.

The initial warm up consisted of a few laps of a section of the beach and promenade. Then it was into a rugby style drill, running around a marked out section of the beach passing a rugby ball. This required a bit of concentration, not only to find a decent pass but to ensure that I didn't run head on with someone. This drill was temporarily halted several times to enable other mini drills to be done and then the rugby style drill resumed again. During the first interruption, David took the opportunity to introduce me to the rest of the class and tell them what I was planning on doing in 2011. Time to breathe in!

Other drills included running up the steps in the pool area of the beach with the emphasis on rhythm and arm work and another round of running up the steps on the prom. My favourite bits were to follow though. There were various interval drills between markings on the beach. I particularly enjoyed the jog to the first line, small quick steps to the second line, high knees to the third line and a sprint to the finish before jogging back one!

Overall, there was plenty of variety in Beach Bootcamp, the time simply flew over and the difficulty level was just about right for me! Although, it is the kind of session where you can make it easier or more difficult and there are a few opportunities to rest. Not that I needed one! Honest!

Despite being a cold and damp November morning, I was really surprised at the turnout. I'm guessing there were at least 20 people there. And on top of that, were the children who had turned up for "Beach Kid Bootcamp" which was taken by another instructor; Ashley.

The morning's exercise didn't finish there though!  After the class, David and I ran up the longest set of steps from beach to prom 8 times. This took about 30 minutes to complete and I must say that I've felt some burn in my time but none as much as this! My legs were like jelly by the end but by the time I'd got back to my car I felt all the better for the extra effort at the end.

I would urge anyone who has 45 minutes to spare on a Saturday morning to make their way down to Tynemouth Beach for a really good workout. Further info can be found at

The question is, will I be back next week for another session? The answer is "Absolutely!".

Thursday, 6 November 2008

There was a nice plug today on Newcastle United fansite  Thanks to Ed Harrison for the early publicity.  The article can be viewed here.  

The fear factor!

Now that I'm 4 days out of the comfort zone that was pre-training there is now a developing feeling that everything single thing that I do could have a knock on effect to the big run in 2011. I've made a decent start to training this week with the usual mixture of Body Pump, Spinning, running, Gym, Tennis and cycling to work. 

I'll be looking to get about 12 hours of workouts in before this week is out.  The trick will be to do this again next week and the week after and so on! My aim is to be doing double that by next Summer with 110 miles of running per week. No wonder I'm able to steer clear of beer, curry and bacon sarnies!  There is a real fear factor now and it wasn't here last week!   As I said, I feel that everything I do, could have a knock on effect!

Speaking of fear!  I'll be cycling to work in the morning down the Derwent Walk Path at about 05:45 (Hopefully!).  I've ran it many times.  Even once or twice with no light whatsoever. Thankfully, I've got some new lights for my bike so the Blair Witch had better watch out!

To round off the first week of training, I'll be attending my first Beach Bootcamp on Saturday at Tynemouth.  As I've mentioned before this is run by David Fairlamb (Fitness) and he's offered to do an hour of running up and down the steps on Tynemouth Beach afterwards! Yes! Afterwards!  Expect a full report on Saturday afternoon!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

No room for complacency at the start of USA 2011 training

I had my 3rd body composition test on Friday.  Despite losing more weight, the results weren't too good with fat weight up slightly and lean weight down.  I'm not too concerned given that USA 2011 training starts in ernest this week.  

I have learned a lot about food recently and how I can change my diet for the better.   And by diet I not only mean the quality of food but also the quantity, type and timing needed to support the different type of exercise that I may undertake.  I have managed to sustain a decent diet for long periods.  It's only during the last couple of weeks that I have become complacent. 

I think, knowing that the real training starts this week has led to a desire to have a few last chocolate bars. Mind you, I haven't been anywhere near a takeaway, beer or fry up for nearly 2 months.

I'm taking the last set of results as a kick up the backside.  Mentor Mark (Fleming) is very keen that I get under 100 kg as soon as possible.  I'm only 3 kg off it, so if I put in the effort I'm hopeful of getting to that weight prior to 2009.  I did confess to Mark during Friday's weigh in that I had scoffed a huge cream scone (pictured) 2 hours prior.  I didn't half pay for it during the hour long workout in the gym afterwards.  I was shaking at the end!

So that's that.  Absolutely everything I do for the next 2 and a half years really counts towards the final result in 2011.  There is so little room for complacency now.   Quite appropriately, I happened upon this little gem on t'internet.  It is as if it was written with the USA 2011 training in mind.  I'll be heeding the advice on offer.

"There will never be a day that will not require dedication, discipline, good judgment, energy, and the feeling that you can improve. Each day offers an opportunity for improvement."

Gary Ryan Blair

AUCTION ITEM - Bond, James Bond!

Up for auction this week on eBay is a 96 page charity programme from the premier of Casino Royale in 2006.

Hopefully, it's sale will raise a few bob which will be added to the USA 2011 Tour Fund.

Ending this week is the Adidas Team GB tracksuit worn in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. This item currently stands at £50.01. Fingers crossed that the final price is a bit more.

Watch out for more interesting items in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Pre-training almost at an end!

I've been in the pre-training phase of USA 2011 training schedule for the past 10 weeks and it is almost at an end. Pictured to the left is the elevation profile of a 9.5 mile run I did yesterday (as taken by my GPS watch). Based on how I felt at the end of that very cold uphill run I could easily tell that there has been much progress made since September. I hardly felt like I'd done a run at all when I got to the end of the Derwent Walk after having set off from Blaydon Rugby Club 1 hour 37 minutes and 13 seconds earlier. I was gutted to later find out that my PB for this run is 01:36:16. If only I'd realised, I'd have made more of an effort of it! I'll save that one for next time!

Seriously though, what I feel I've achieved over the last 10 weeks is nothing compared to what I need to achieve over the next 2.5 years. The weekly mileage needs to increase.  The gym sessions need to increase and become more intense.  I'm bordering on 16 stone at the minute (better than 17 stone 8 pounds in January 2007!). At least 3 of that needs to come off before I set off from California in May 2011!   So much improvement and effort to be made but thankfully time is on my side.

My diet has changed quite a bit over the last 10 weeks. Despite having the odd lapse now and again things are definitely going in the right direction on this front. For instance, it has been 8 weeks since I had a takeaway or a bacon sandwich (my real vice). I've cut out processed food almost altogether and fresh vegetables and lean meat are regularly the order of the day for my tea. There is still plenty of hard work to do with my nutrition. With the help of my mentor's David (Fairlamb) and Mark Fleming, I'm far better placed to succeed than ever before. In fact, I've got a weigh in and an hour's gym session this Friday with Mark. The proof of the pudding will come out of that test!

At present my training is a mixture of running, gym work, Body Pump and Spinning. I'm so pleased to report that 3 weeks ago I added tennis to this list. Coach Phil Atess, really puts me through my paces for an hour with a mixture of drills and games. Despite not hitting a ball in anger for over 2 years I was surprised to find that I wasn't too rusty (by my standards!).

Not only is Phil a top class coach, he is also to blame for putting the idea of running from John O'Groats to Lands in my mind. Phil ran that route in 1992 and raised over £12,000 for charity. That was a staggering amount to raise in a pre-internet age. He told me about it in 2001 and 6 years later I followed in his footsteps.

I'm also pleased to report that my son Jack has started to play mini tennis and Phil is one of the coaches charged with coaching him. Good luck!

Moving on to the financial side of things. There are 2 distinct sides to the funding of the next event. Firstly, there is sponsorship. I'm pretty sure that given the magnitude of this event, I'll be able to reach the £50,000 target. I have a couple of fundraising initiatives that I'll be announcing over the coming months to help boost the fund before I do the actual run in 2011. More on that soon!

Secondly though and just as important as sponsorship is the Tour Fund. This is the pot of money that I'll need to pay for flights, insurance, accommodation, food, lap dancers in Vegas, fuel and all other incidental supplies.  This pot of money needs to be around £14,000. A more accurate figure will be calculated next year. Hopefully, the exchange rate will have picked up by then!

As I've said many times, the Tour Fund will come entirely out of my own pocket. It has been suggested by a number of people that I should seek assistance from various companies. If I do happen to find a company willing to support me then it would directed towards the sponsorship for the 2 charities. The only personal assistance I will be seeking will be for the supply of footwear. I have written to a couple of major footwear manufacturers and at the time of writing all I can say is that I await favourable replies! Given that I get through a pair of trainers every 600 miles or so I anticipate using quite a few pairs. If anyone has any contacts in this area and you think they may be willing to help out then please get in touch at

The good news is though that after 7 months of saving I have almost 1/3 of the Tour Fund in place. The fund was boosted in the summer when I was able to do a lot of cycling into work and I banked the saved petrol money. I'm also saving quite a bit by not drinking beer and the fact that takeaways are off the menu it's amazing how it all adds up.

To further boost the Tour Fund I've set up an eBay account and will be auctioning off some of my prized possessions over the coming months.  In 2004, I set out to raise £6,000 via eBay with the sole intention of buying a state of the art 50" Plasma TV and home cinema setup. It took 12 months to do but I made it and the TV was installed in time for Christmas (and I was on 1st name terms with the lady in the Post Office!). If you're interested in a bid then the list of items for sale by RUNGEORDIERUN can be found by clicking here. First up is an Adidas Team GB tracksuit worn in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Watch out for more unique items coming soon.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Tough Tuesday - a success!

Well I did it!  I managed to get that elusive 5 mile run in before the school run on the 3rd Tough Tuesday.  Somehow, I was up and away at 06:10 for a run in the dark.  I must admit that it's quite spooky in the dark country lanes at that time of the morning!  Perhaps I shouldn't have watched Dog Soldiers last week!

I followed that run up with my second quickest 5 mile run of the year (00:45:05) at lunchtime.  Carl, Carlton and Julie set a decent pace and I was able to keep up with them for most of the way.  Although Julie nearly came a cropper when she didn't see an oncoming lamppost and just missed it with millimeters to spare!  I would probably have beaten 45 minutes if it wasn't for the time wasted laughing at the incident!

To complete Tough Tuesday, I managed a Spinning Class and Body Pump after work.  I felt I had another session in me afterwards too but that feeling lasted all of 5 minutes!

The most pleasing and important thing about Tuesday was the fact that I got my lazy backside out of bed and managed to get 5 miles in.  This has certainly given me the confidence to do it again in the future.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Introducing........Tough Tuesday!

Two weeks ago I invented a new type of Tuesday.  It's a particular day of the week that will see training increase in difficulty, above all others, over the coming months.  It's what I like to call Tough Tuesday!  

All joking and catchy names aside, I've always wanted to have one day in training stand out from the rest.  This is the one day where I eventually hope to simulate the tiredness and fatigue (not to mention the calorie burn) that I will be experiencing for 100 days in 2011.  I hope to learn a few lessons along the way, particularly with regard to recovery. More importantly, though, I'll be putting myself to the test on a weekly basis.  It should serve as a useful benchmark.

Last Tuesday and the one before both saw me do a 6 mile run at lunchtime followed by Spinning and Body Pump after work.   Not bad for starters.  It was interesting to see how I coped with a steady 8.4 mile run on the following days.  The first 8.4 miler was done in 01:17:36.  Last week was 01:26:14.  What a difference!

For tomorrow's tough Tuesday, I'll be doing my best to get 5 miles in before taking Jack to school.  There'll be another 5 miles at lunchtime followed by Spinning and Body Pump after work.   It's all well and good to turn up and do these things.  I'll always be looking for as high a quality workout as possible.  For example, I'll not be looking for excuses in Spinning.  I'll be looking for my average  heart rate to be 160+, as per usual with a decent resistance on the bike. Mind you,  I'll just be looking to hold back the tears in Body Pump!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The beer is off!

Well I had my last night on the beer with the lads last Saturday!  Or rather I should have had.  I just couldn't bring myself to tarnish my new healthy regime so it was pints of orange all the way.  6 or 7 of them actually!

With a pint of orange at only 20p a pint in the Newcastle Comedy Club, I later made a contribution to the USA 2011 Tour Fund roughly equal to that of the money saved on the night.  

The tour fund, started earlier this year, has come out of my own pocket and now stands at over £3000.  The estimated cost of the tour will be close to £15,000 so there is plenty more saving to be done.  But I'm well on the way!  

Giving up beer will save a few quid as well as allowing me to train to my maximum at all times.  Thanks mainly to having a young family, I didn't get the chance to drink that much anyway so it will not be missed that much.  I've only managed 3 sessions since February!  They were all in August and make no mistake they were big sessions!  No wonder my metabolic age was 52!

So the next planned beer is in August 2011.  It will be a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale and it will be sipped in New York City.  Now it's time to build up that thirst!

I'm no longer 52 (metabolically speaking)!

Well I'm afraid this blog post is going to sound very much like the one I made last week.  I can't state enough just how pleased I am with the progress being made and the hours I'm able to put in to training.   This week, for example, should see me get over 10 hours of exercise in with a mixture of running, Spinning, Body Pump and interval sessions in the gym.  

5 weeks ago I started with a basic level of fitness on the back of a good number of sessions on the beer in August.  And with beer there's always Kebabs and Takeaways!  I could never have imagined the transformation that is starting to take place.  And I'm not just talking about a physical transformation either.  

My attitude towards food (eating the right types and at the right times) remains solid.   I'm now into the 4th week of healthy eating!   This must be the longest period of healthy eating I've managed in years and, despite being very early days in the training schedule, the results are starting to show.  Last Thursday, I had a good session in David Fairlamb's gym with coach and mentor Mark Fleming (pictured with me blinking!  I wasn't asleep!  Honest!).  This was a session, primarily designed to show me what I should be doing on my own in the time spent at the Northern Rock gym.  It was a very tough workout indeed!  I also took another body composition test. 

In the 4 weeks since the last test I had lost 3% body fat.  Now down to 25.5%  Brilliant!  Muscle mass was up 3 kg to 74.2kg.  Total Body Water % (which I know David is keen on improving) was up 1.5% to 51%.  Visceral fat rating (the fat around major organs) was down 2 points to 10.  The one stat that I was quite pleased with was my metabolic age (in simple terms that's the age your body thinks it is).  I had lost 3 years and was down to 49 from 52!  Remember that in real life terms I'm 37, so there is a long way to go on that one.
And in response to these stats Mark (pictured right) said the following "All improvements!  You have only lost 3 lbs in overall weight but you have lost a good percentage of fat and gained muscle.  The efforts you are putting in with the diet and exercise are paying off already".  That was music to my ears and was an echo of the encouragement given by David who said he could see a difference already when I turned up at the gym. 

Now the challenge is going to be to show David and Mark another similar improvement over the next 4 week period (I might even get down to my mid 40's in metabolic age!).  

This is an example of how I'm able to cope with the enormity of and pressure that is running 3100 miles across the USA in 100 days.  If the penny hasn't dropped yet then please let me explain.  I'll never think of that run in it's entirety.  Or indeed think of the thousands of miles I've got to run in training either.  I'll always look to break it down into as many manageable milestones that I can.  

At the moment, I can't see past the next body composition test at the end of this month.  Everything I do between now and then is geared up towards that test and recording another improved set of stats.  This will only achieved by a similar or even better effort than I've given in the first 4 weeks of training.  It's up to me to put that effort in but there are a number of people helping me along the way.  

Obviously, David and Mark are to thank for the advice and inspiration given so far.  My missus, Katy is instrumental in preparing and making all of the healthy food.  For example, I had a lovely warm chicken salad last night and I've just been informed that I've got a ham and pasta salad for my bait tomorrow!  Then there are the staff at the Northern Rock gym.  The spinning and body pump classes are second to none.  I always leave feeling that they've managed to get the most effort out of me that is physically possible.  

Also worth a mention are the various people I run with on a lunchtime.  Carl Hudson and Julie Symonds seem to be my latest regular running buddies.  They are training for various events themselves (including the Edinburgh Marathon).  Today, with their help, I managed an 8.4 mile effort in 01:17:36.  This was especially pleasing in the context of what I'd already done this week.  Monday was a 5 mile run, 45 minutes gym and spinning class.  Tuesday was a 6.5 mile run, spinning class and body pump.   What makes it even more pleasing is the fact that I'm doing all of this training while eating smaller quantities but the right quality of food.  I rarely feel hungry at all now.   Figure that one out!

Anyway, as I said at the top of this blog post, I'm very pleased with the progress made so far.  I'm getting more and more determined to succeed as each week passes.  There is no sign yet of that determination wavering.  Surely, I'm on for 46 metabolic years old at the next test!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Excellent progress being made in training!

I'm now 4 weeks into the training schedule for USA 2011 and I genuinely feel that things could not have gone any better so far.  Things are going so well on all fronts!  Have I made my point yet?  

Firstly and most importantly, I'm managing to get all of the required running, gym work and gym classes in.   My routine has really settled down and even if it means not getting in until 19:30 most nights at least I make it in time for story time!  This also means that every minute I'm not training is so very precious and spending quality time with Katy and Jack is of the upmost importance.  

For instance, I was ever so proud when Jack (pictured) and I went for a run on Saturday morning.  We managed 1 and 3/4 miles on the Derwent Walk.  That's not bad at all for a 5 year old and after he'd played tennis for 45 minutes.  Hopefully, we'll be able to repeat that distance this coming Saturday.  

Anyhow, I digress!  Being motivated enough to get out and run has never been a problem.  I usually have some good running company and recently, colleague and fellow season ticket holder, Carl Hudson has been dragging me round (not literally!) various routes on a lunchtime.  His company was especially valued in week 1 and 2 when my speed wasn't at it's best but he stuck with me and 4 weeks later I have started running at a respectable (for me!) pace again.  

Likewise, gym classes have always been enjoyable and again I've never had a problem getting the motivation to do a spinning class or boxercise and now I've started to do Body Pump.  The instructors at the Northern Rock gym are top class and always seem to be able to push me to my limit.

The problem I have had in the past though was attending the gym proper.  It's not been unusual for me to do 5 or 6 classes a week but trying to get into the gym has been a real issue.  Thankfully, David and Mark have helped out on this front with some advice and a schedule and getting in the gym is now something I look forward to.   In fact, I'm looking forward to a session in David's gym with Mark this Thursday.  I've got a feeling that one is going to be tough but I hope they are going to be able to see the progress made since I last had an assessment 4 weeks ago.

Put it all together and I've got plenty of training options.  I'm not likely to get bored!  I've never been so determined to train as hard and as long for anything in my life.  And that includes last year's run from John O'Groats to Lands End.  There is something quite different about this run.  I think it may be the fact that I know the size and scale of what lies ahead (and it's not my stomach for a change!).  I know how great the potential rewards are for completing this one.  The ultimate reward will be handing over sizable cheques to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.

I'm going off on a tangent here but stick with it.  I'll get back on track in a minute.  Already, I can tell that the interest in the event, even at this early stage, is starting to grow and gain momentum.  Appearing on the front page and page 3 of the Journal last week was fantastic.   Also, I was at a bit of a do last Thursday.  A lot of people there, knew who I was and what I was planning to do and some had seen the Journal article.  I was a little bit embarrassed at times with the praise that was sent my way.   No really I was!

Anyway never mind that!  Without going into too much detail, that Do, by the way, was one of the most amazing nights I've ever had.  To say that I was inspired by the people who were at the centre of the night is an absolute understatement.  It was a privilege to be there and I've had a spring in my step ever since.

Where was I?  Ah yes.  The training is going well!   Did I mention the fact that training is going well?   That's only half the story.  The other bit to all this is my diet.  And not just my diet but my changed attitude towards food in general.  I'm now into the 3rd week of healthy eating.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, David and Mark provided the inspiration and ideas for a structured eating plan and Katy has prepared and cooked most of it.  

Today was a textbook day in terms of eating and having enough energy to do the required amount of exercise.  I started off with the usual porridge and raisins.  Lunchtime saw me run 5 miles in 00:46:05.  I felt strong throughout and brilliant at the end.  In fact, I probably had a quicker run in me but I'm happy with that time.  I followed that run up with a baked potato and beans.  That was enough energy to be able to do 50 minutes in the gym followed by a tough spinning class.  I rounded off the day with roast chicken and vegetables followed by meringue and fruit.  Not a chocolate bar or bag of crisps in sight.  Nor the usual cravings for them either!

Well I hope you'll agree that things have started off on a really good foot.  I've just got to keep on keeping on, as they say.  Long may it continue.